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Buffalo Bills News - December 24, 2004

Marker Fitting the Bill [6:57 PM]
Washington Times reports: 'With a game at 2-12 San Francisco on Sunday before a finale against 13-1 Pittsburgh, Buffalo's first winning season since 1999 is almost certain. With only defensive tackle Pat Williams and offensive tackle Jonas Jennings heading for free agency, a decent amount of salary cap room available and just six starters in their 30s, the Bills' future is much brighter than it appeared two months ago even if they don't make the playoffs.'

Marker McGahee Practices "sparingly" [6:56 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'McGahee is still questionable and will be a game time decision. Jason Peters took part in individual drills, but missed team practice. He's questionable with his hamstring problem.'

Marker Tops Game Ball Winner: Takeo Spikes [6:55 PM] reports: 'Last year the Bills D was also highly ranked, but did not have as many turnovers as it does this Year. What was done in the off season to create a more ball hungry mentality in this year's D?
TS: I think just more emphasis on it day-in and day-out as far as practice situations made it able to transcend over to game days.'

Marker A Christmas Miracle For The Bills? [6:54 PM] reports: It’s that wonderful time of year again – you can feel it in the air. For most people this means the sounds of sleigh bells, people singing Christmas carols, a meal of Christmas goose and sharing gift with friends and loved ones. For Bills fans it means the sound of cheering football crowds, people singing the Bills Shout! Song, a meal of wings and weck and sharing Sunday afternoons with friends rooting for the Bills.

Marker Bills, Ravens Taking it to the house [6:53 PM]
ESPN reports: '"More and more, I think players have come to realize the significance of a non-offensive touchdown, how much effect it can have on a game," acknowledged Pro Bowl weak-side linebacker Takeo Spikes of the Buffalo Bills, after last Sunday's victory at Cincinnati, a game in which his club scored just one offensive touchdown but won by 16 points. "It's such a boost to your own team, and a comedown for the (opposition), maybe because of the instant nature of the (non-offensive) score. You don't expect the defense or special teams to score. But we expect them to, man, and it's a big part of what we're doing."'

Marker Bills shook off 1-5 start [9:25 AM]
Sacramento Bee reports: 'Both teams entered the season among the youngest squads in the league. One of the differences is the Bills have been able to squeeze productivity out of their inexperienced players. The 49ers have not.'

Marker Bills embrace rush orders [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Breaking the team record won't be easy. The Bills need to average six sacks in the last two games.'

Marker Bills choose terrible time to be petty [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' gift to the public, left in the media room before their public-relations staff arrived, was a blurb from Pro Football Weekly ripping Minnesota Vikings tackle Bryant McKinnie. Each copy had yellow highlighter outlining how "McKinnie, 25, had surrendered 191/2 sacks in the 28 games since his rookie season" and "even when he has played well, McKinnie has performed below expectations." Hey, we get it.'

Marker Bills refuse to take a holiday from game preparation [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The players and coaches would rather spend Christmas with their families, but they accept this as a part of life in the NFL. "It's just another day, same as anniversaries or birthdays," free safety Troy Vincent said. "Coach is not going to give you any time off, practice isn't going to end early. Holidays are just another day to us."'

Marker Just asking: Daimon Shelton [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The best part is when you have a chance to go head-to-head with a guy and blast him out of the hole and allow your running back to score. The worst part is the morning after a game. Sometimes my body is so sore it's hard to get out of bed.'

Marker Lines long at book signing [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He's not the only one bowled over by the response his book has received. The first three printings of "Where Else Would You Rather Be?" have already sold out, shocking his publisher. A larger fourth printing of 15,000 copies also is expected to sell out shortly. "My publisher couldn't believe it," Levy recalled. "I said, "You don't know people in Buffalo.' "'

Marker 49ers Ready For Sizzling Bills [6:58 AM] reports: '“They’ll mix it up. They are very similar to a lot of the things we do. They will get in two tights. But they want to run the football. They want to get the ball to McGahee and then set up play action with Drew (Bledsoe) and they have some talented receivers outside,” Erickson said. “But they would like to run the football, that’s what they want to do. They are very good on defense. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. They create turnovers, like I said. If you watch them play the last month, if you turn on the offensive tape, they are getting the ball inside the 50 a lot because of turnovers. They are playing with a short field a lot.”'

Marker Friday's San Francisco Coverage [6:57 AM] reports:
Donahue's path started same but veered from predecessor's (San Francisco Chronicle)
Rattay's surgery Tuesday (San Francisco Chronicle)
Five Keys to the game (San Francisco Examiner)
49ers' draft choice a snap (Contra Costa Times)
Rattay set for surgery to fix forearm problem (Contra Costa Times)
A coach who cares (San Jose Mercury News)
Rattay to have forearm surgery (San Jose Mercury News)
Linemen show promise for SF (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Bills shook off 1-5 start (Sacramento Bee)
Rattay decides on surgery (Oakland Tribune)
Quarterback Tim Rattay to have surgery on throwing arm (AP)
49ers QB Rattay to undergo surgery Tuesday (Sportsticker)
49ers' Rattay to have surgery (The Sports Network)
49ers Ready For Sizzling Bills (
49ers Host S.F. Boys And Girls Clubs (
Back In The Day With Maurice Hicks (

Marker Bills receiving gift TDs [5:01 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Buffalo's defensive and special teams point barrage is historic. In 674 regular-season games, the Bills have scored a defensive and special teams touchdown in the same game just 12 times — and two have occurred this year, twice in the last three weeks. The Bills also pulled off the feat at Miami.'

Marker With Moorman, consider the intangibles [5:00 AM]
Corning Leader reports: 'OK, so maybe Takeo Spikes was the Bills' most deserving selection once again and Terrence McGee is having arguably the best season for a kick returner in team history. But why do the voters continue to snub punter Brian Moorman?'

Marker Jaguars' Season Opener Was More Than a Victory [4:59 AM]
New York Times reports: '"The way you look at it is, hey, all we have to do is continue to win," Leftwich said in a conference call with Houston reporters. "If you continue to win, everything will work in our favor." Of course, none of it would matter if the Jaguars had lost the season opener.'

Marker Former Demon McGee named to Pro Bowl [4:58 AM]
DeRidder Beauregard Daily News reports: 'The 5-10, 201-pounder becomes the sixth NSU product to make the Pro Bowl, and the first since quarterback Bobby Hebert took part in the 1993 game after a stellar season with the New Orleans Saints.'

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December 23, 2004

Marker Peters Is Questionable For The 49ers [9:31 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The Bills have added Jason Peters to the injury report as questionable with a hamstring injury.'

Marker Bills still have playoffs in sight against lowly 49ers [9:09 PM]
AP reports: 'Still, everything seems stacked in Buffalo's favor. The Bills have won three straight road games with a pounding rushing attack, while the 49ers have lost four straight at home. Buffalo's highly ranked defense has been increasingly dominant, while San Francisco lost defensive starters Andre Carter and Jamie Winborn to season-ending injuries last week.'

Marker Bills' RB McGahee misses second straight practice [4:30 PM]
AP reports: 'Injured with a bruised and hyperextended right knee, McGahee wore a wrap on his leg, but walked without a limp. Will he play against the 49ers? ''I don't have no answer for you,'' he said.'

Marker Niners Struggling, Bills need win [4:18 PM] reports: 'The San Francisco 49ers are now paying the price for their spending spree in the late 1990s, trying to keep players together from their Super Bowl glory years. They have been faced with difficult decisions the past few seasons, parting ways with Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, and Jeff Garcia. They are a team in transition looking to escape the restraints of long contracts and large signing bonuses. But it doesn't come without a price and the 49ers are playing through their toughest season since 1978, a year in which they finished 2-14. San Francisco currently sits at 2-12, the league's worst record, an with games remaining against Buffalo and New England it's not impossible to think they may not win another game this season.'

Marker Bills' OT Williams doesn't need comparisons to know he's playing better [3:55 PM]
AP reports: 'The media has been critical of the Bills for drafting Williams out of Texas with the fourth pick, three spots ahead of McKinnie. Citing Williams' struggles on a line that combined to allow 105 sacks in 2002 and 2003, some questioned whether the Bills should have taken McKinnie.'

Marker Drew Can Still Win Games with his Arm [3:32 PM] reports: 'There are only two weeks left in the regular season and it's really starting to get exciting. The Bills are making a serious playoff push and could be playing in January with some help. This week, they have to make a tough road trip to the West Coast for the third time this season and what's worse is that they have to leave on Christmas day. It's tough to not be able to spend a lot of time with your family around the holidays, but that's how this profession is. The team knows they have a job to do and I expect them to play well against the 49ers to set up a big finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.'

Marker Buffalo (8-6) at San Francisco (2-12) [1:29 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Bills 31, 49ers 10.'

Marker Buffalo Bills vs. San Francisco 49ers [9:54 AM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'Bills win 30-0, and come home for a playoff showdown with Pittsburgh. Merry Christmas, Bills fans.'

Marker Trio of Bills heading to Hawaii in February [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The selections reflected the strength of the Bills. Their defense is ranked No. 3 in the NFL. Their special teams are first on kickoff returns, seventh on punt returns, third on kickoff coverage and 12th on net punting.'

Marker Williams, Burns split work with first team [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It looks likely one of them will start against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.'

Marker Thursday's San Francisco Coverage [5:58 AM] reports:
49ers lean to using top pick (San Francisco Chronicle)
A rare postseason snub (San Francisco Chronicle)
Season is over for injured Carter, Winborn (Contra Costa Times)
Proof is in pudding -- zero 49ers in Pro Bowl (Contra Costa Times)
49ers turn to future after snub (San Jose Mercury News)
Throw two more on the injury heap (San Jose Mercury News)
Is top draft pick worth it for 49ers? (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Team shut out of Pro Bowl picks (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
49ers representatives in the Pro Bowl: Zero (Sacramento Bee)
Pro Bowl snub of 49ers irks Ulbrich (Oakland Tribune)
Surprise! Donahue plans to use Niners' high draft pick (AP)
Niners' Carter, Winborn to miss rest of season (AP)
Niners' Carter, Winborn out for the year (The Sports Network)
49ers Say Thank You To Fans! (
Carter Joins Injured Reserve List (
Ulbrich Is 2004 Hazeltine Winner (

Marker Three Bills are Pro Bowlers [5:03 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"When you're first coming in, me personally, from a small school, my focus was, 'Please God, let me just stay in the league,'" said McGee, who won the kickoff return job from Antonio Brown in training camp and has been a smash hit with an AFC-leading 26.6-yard average. "To be able to go to the Pro Bowl and put that on my resume, it makes me feel that much (more proud)."'

Marker Bledsoe's passing could boost Bills [5:02 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Bledsoe has bought into first-year coach Mike Mularkey's run-first offensive game plan this season and it's paying off. But with Willis McGahee and Travis Henry injured and out for Sunday's must-win game in San Francisco, it could be an ideal time for Bledsoe to deliver his first 300-yard passing performance since the second week of the 2003 season.'

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09/10 New York Jets 1:00 pm
09/17 @ Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm
09/24 Denver Broncos 1:00 pm
10/01 @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00 pm
10/08 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 pm
10/29 Oakland Raiders 1:00 pm
11/2 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/12 New Orlean Saints 1:00 pm
11/19 @ San Diego Chargers 4:05 pm
11/26 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/3 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/10 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
12/17 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
12/24 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/31 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm

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