Ugly Win Looks Good [5:31 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'In winning five of their past seven games after an 0-2 start, the Patriots have played some beautiful games, replete with rousing end-around plays, double passes and Tom Brady touchdowns. This, however, was not one of them.'
Bills QB injures shoulder, condition unknown [6:18 PM]
AP reports: 'Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said Johnson would be checked when the team returns to Buffalo, either Sunday night or Monday.'
Patriots 21, Bills 11 [6:17 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills could have used a couple of guys from last year's team -- Antowain Smith and Doug Flutie.'
New England 21, Buffalo 11 [6:16 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Antowain Smith was released by the Buffalo Bills last May. On Sunday, he haunted them.'
Bills dearly need a turnaround with turnovers [9:18 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have taken the ball away from the opponent just six times in seven games, the lowest total of any of the NFL's 31 teams. In fact, the Bills are on pace to break the team record for fewest takeaways - 18 in 1986. (Not coincidentally, the Bills finished 4-12 in '86.)'
Bills get first look at Patriots' QB Tom Brady [9:17 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Other than his fourth-quarter meltdown in Denver two weeks ago when he threw four interceptions in 10 passes, Brady has impressed with his poise and smooth direction of the offense. He appears to be the level-headed type who won't let momentary adversity affect him. It will be up to the Bills to try and rattle him.'
Bills veteran Fina is not dead, but his career is fading away [9:16 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It has taken its toll. Fina has reached the point where a player no longer expects to be fully healthy. He only hopes to be healthy enough to play. The veteran left tackle has played five games this season, essentially on one leg, and has struggled mightily at times.'
Brady's success squeezes Belichick, Bledsoe [9:15 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick sounded a lot like Wade Phillips this past week in trying to deflect his quarterback controversy. What happens when Drew Bledsoe comes back from internal injuries he suffered in the second game of the season?'
Top 40 [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills essentially handed Brandon a No. 2 pencil and asked him to paint like Picasso. Four years later, through his innovation and a staff increase from six to about 30, he has produced a masterpiece under the circumstances.'
Chiefs, Bills have lost home-field edge [6:44 AM]
Dallas Morning News reports: 'It hasn't been close in Buffalo. The Bills have lost at home by 18 points to New Orleans, 17 points to Pittsburgh, 16 to Indy and six to the Jets. The Bills have not lost five games at home since 1986, and they still have dates at Rich Stadium this season with Miami and New England.'
Bills aren’t playing for just a draft pick [6:15 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '"We still want to want to win and we're going to do what we can to win," said Donahoe, Buffalo's president and general manager. "We have not decided this season is a wash...it's anything but a wash. "We have a lot of games left to play and we want to see if we can get more consistent. We're going to put our best people on the field and we're also going to continue the process of evaluating our team and some of our young guys." He added, with emphasis, "This team has not thrown in the towel. We don't expect (the players) to and we haven't as an organization. "We still feel there's going to be plenty of opportunity to get ourselves headed in the right direction, and to do that we've got to put our best people out on the field to give us a chance to win right now."'
Bills-Patriots Preview [6:08 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'The Bills have survived offensively when teams have failed to mount a substantial pass rush. The Colts pressured by blitzing. The Patriots, who tend to do a little bit of everything and then emphasize what works, are clearly better when rookie nose tackle Richard Seymour is healthy. Even if Seymour does not make the sack, he pushes the center of the pocket - which makes life much harder for quarterbacks.'
Patriots Have Pretty Good Argument [6:01 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Who'd have thought that the talented Bledsoe being unable to play would be a godsend?'
If Only Holmgren, Kraft Had Known [6:00 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'It won't happen now. If Tom Brady, 24, keeps playing the way he has, the Patriots will be left to ponder if they should trade the league's hottest young quarterback for a couple of first-round draft choices, or stake their future on Brady and figure out if there's a way to unload Bledsoe without taking a huge salary cap hit.'
Bills (1-6) At Patriots (4-4) [5:59 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'The last three Patriots-Bills games have gone to overtime. All were decided by a field goal.'
Pats wear new label: They're favorites [5:52 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"People talk about Flutie running around all the time, but Johnson is the second-leading rusher on their team," said New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "He's able to scramble. He's a very gifted athlete. He's got a big arm. He'll take off and run. They've sort of got the same type of offense with him as with Flutie."'
Playoff talk a stretch? Maybe not [5:50 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Are the playoffs in the Patriots' future? Who knows? But if they're going to make a run, it starts today.'
CMGi Field rapidly taking shape [5:49 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"It's a modern looking facility, but with a very traditional twist," Wasynczuk said. "We felt New England is a very traditional area and that's reinforced with the style of the building."'
The school of hard knocks [5:36 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'He HAS played well when healthy. He's completed more than 60 percent of his passes for Buffalo, and is averaging a robust 6.83 yards per pass attempt this season on 102 completions in 190 throws. He's also rushed for 223 yards, second among NFL QBs this season. All of which has impressed Bills fans not at all. It was Johnson's ultimate misfortune to be an injury-prone quarterback whose backup was the charisimatic and resourceful Doug Flutie.'
A real self-starter [5:33 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'One significant difference between Williams and Belichick is that the Pats coach has the final say in all New England player personnel decisions. Williams must defer to Bills' GM Tom Donahoe. And Williams wouldn't have it any other way. ``The first thing about this job is that I'm doing it here with Tom,'' Williams said. ``I think football's like any other business. You have to be able to work together. If you can, anything else doesn't matter."'
The old master [5:31 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'It's known as the look of love, and that admiring gleam is never so apparent as when Patriots coach Bill Belichick is asked to address the unusual longevity of Otis Smith. Not only has the 36-year-old cornerback avoided the sort of decline that normally begins nipping at players in his position at a much younger age.'
Trying for a home run [5:26 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Forget the bogus 18-man injury report Bill Belichick put out for reasons he never will explain. When the Patriots start the second half of the season today against the Buffalo Bills, the majority of those 18 will play. In fact, many of them didn't even know they were injured when asked.'
Refresh your memories of a record-setting Patriots ground game [5:25 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'In 1976, the Patriots rushed for 2,948 yards and averaged a phenomenal 5.0 yards per rush. 1n 1978, when they set the 16-game record for total yardage, they averaged 4.7 yards per carry. With those marks, they established themselves as one of the best teams ever at running the ball, even though it didn't stay in the minds of some of their fans for very long.'
Hot QB battle could be fiery camp story [5:23 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The Drew Bledsoe-Tom Brady competition at quarterback will not be a problem in the second half of a season that has begun with a surprisingly decent 4-4 record for the Patriots and a remarkable 4-2 run for Brady. But there is a real chance it will flare up next summer, when all things will again be equal.'
Bills say farewell to obnoxious Foxboro [5:16 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Patriots begin play in a shiny new facility being built next door starting in 2002. For many players, it's good riddance to the old place, but for some it's a fond farewell. After all, this has been the scene of some of the most memorable games in Bills' history, a college-type atmosphere that will soon be lost in the name of corporate suites and seats with cup holders.'
Q & A with Bryce Fisher [5:15 AM]
D and C reports: 'Q: What's the worst thing about football? A: "The losing. I hate losing, I've never been good at it, it's terrible. I don't recommend it for anybody. We put so much effort into it, you put everything into trying to be good."'
Scouting report [5:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'Protect Johnson. It's the same old story, but here we go again. The guy can play if his line just gives him a chance.'
Robert Hicks trying to get new start with Texans [3:37 PM]
AP reports: The Texans will continue occasional tryout sessions until Dec. 27, when they can begin signing players for the team that will begin play next season.
Robert Hicks, who started seven games for the Buffalo Bills last season, is looking for a new start. `It's a new beginning for me,'' Hicks said. ``I'm blessed to be able to come down here and show this team what I have. It's like a rebirth for me.''
Jennings, Ostroski ready to hold the line [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Both Jerry Ostroski and Jonas Jennings worked with the first team in practice again Friday and are expected to start at the tackle spots.'
Before cheering stops, Miller deserves farewell tour [9:18 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Miller may be able to do another season after this one. But he would be wise to heed Hull's pregame words and get out of the booth before more people talk about his decline than talk about his storied career.'
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