Saints notebook [6:11 AM]
Baton Rouge Advocate reports: 'Saints defensive tackle Norman Hand, a 330-pounder, clobbered 221-pound running back Travis Henry for a 3-yard loss on first-and-goal at the Saints 1 in the second quarter. On the ferocious hit, Hand knocked Henry onto the back of tackle John Fina -- forcing Fina to leave the game momentarily.'
Bills stacked up [6:09 AM]
Biloxi Sun Herald reports: 'It was one half of embarrassment followed by one half of excellence.'
Hot camp paid off [6:09 AM]
Biloxi Sun Herald reports: 'The temperature at kickoff was 87 degrees at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "Everybody complains about the heat in Thibodaux," Saints center Jerry Fontenot said. "I'm included because I don't like the heat. But I'll tell you what, we were ready for the heat today. While it still felt pretty warm out there today, we're so used to practicing in it and pushing through it. I think it really affected them in the second half."'
Brooks settles down for Saints [6:07 AM]
Mobile Register reports: '"We need to play two complete halves of football," said the Bills' new coach, Gregg Williams. "We can't have 17 unanswered points and we need to manage turnovers better. We need a total team effort."'
Saints use double-teams to break the Bills' Moulds [6:07 AM]
Mobile Register reports: '"Our defense played well," Moulds said. "They kept us in situations where we had chances to make plays and put the Saints away. By no means did the Saints come out and do what they wanted to do. Offensively, we just didn't make plays when they were there."'
Shaky start for Johnson [5:48 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Flutie-Johnson debate is alive and well.'
Bills' big-time start goes to waste in loss [5:47 AM]
D and C reports: '"We couldn't do it. I think that would have given our offense a boost right after the half if we had stopped them from scoring points. But we didn't, and it ballooned on us after that."'
Johnson's gut check needs guts [5:46 AM]
D and C reports: 'While he was taken down five times, that wasn't really the problem, execution was. When the Saints took away wide receivers Moulds and Peerless Price with double teams, that left the middle of the field open for Riemersma. Johnson saw it, but failed to connect.'
Reality still disappointing [5:45 AM]
D and C reports: 'The offense showed some flashes, but they were rare, and the bottom line is the Bills didn't score a touchdown. Rob Johnson once again failed to deliver on his ''potential.'' That storyline is getting tiring.'
Buffalo kicker times things perfectly [5:44 AM]
D and C reports: 'Yesterday, in his first regular- season NFL game, he connected on field goals from 37 and 22 yards, providing the only Buffalo points in a 24-6 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The job is his -- for now.'
Loss of Cowart hurts more than loss to Saints [5:43 AM]
D and C reports: 'Consider this: If Cowart -- second only to Baltimore's Ray Lewis among NFL defenders last season -- is gone for the season, the Bills will be without their four leading tacklers and their entire linebacking corps from a year ago.'
Buffalo Bills report card [5:42 AM]
D and C reports: 'Gregg Williams' debut turned out as expected -- his young team played well early against a beatable Saints team, failed to respond to adversity, and petered out in the end.'
Bills' will fight for survival in transition season [7:26 PM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'There you have it, 7 up, 9 down. Nothing too spectacular or out of the ordinary. The hope will have to be that the Bills have swallowed hard and are now in position to make a charge and not so much change in '02.'
Saints 24, Bills 6 [6:41 PM]
AP reports: 'While Buffalo's newly installed 4-3 defense held firm, quarterback Rob Johnson looked unsettled running the new West Coast offensive scheme.'
New Orleans 24, Buffalo 6 [6:40 PM]
Sportsticker reports: '"I thought we ran the ball well in the first half but you've got to come back with some play action and throw teams off," he said. "We didn't do that. I think our game plan was to come in, pound it, try to run the clock a little. I think it worked in the opposite for us. I think they came back and switched up things. I think we played into their hands a little."'
Christie cut on eve of new era [9:26 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm shocked and disappointed," Christie said. "I've spent 10 years in Buffalo. This is my 12th year in the league. I've made Buffalo my home. I've loved it here. I've loved the Bills. I think I deserve more from guys who have not been in Buffalo at all. I deserved more. This would not have happened with Marv Levy. Period."'
Bills and Saints have to lay it on the line [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Look for the Bills to feature rookie running back Travis Henry early and often. If Henry is effective, he will take some of the heat off Johnson and give him a chance to make some big pass plays against the Saints' suspect secondary.'
True Survivor [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo News Ronnie Vinklarek is 5-9 and weighs less than 200 pounds, but he's always been a suc-cessful offensive line coach.'
Best Bills' openers are tough acts to follow [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills 17, Dolphins 7 - 1980: Of course, this ended the 0-for-the-'70s, 20-game losing streak against Miami. The game itself wasn't particularly well-played. The winning score was a Joe Ferguson-to-Roosevelt Leaks touchdown pass. It's best remembered for the fact the fans tore down both goal posts.'
Major changes mean it's time for patience with the Bills [9:22 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Don't be confused by Williams' optimistic swagger. He's trying to prop up his young team's confidence and help sell tickets. But he's no dummy. He talks about making the playoffs and contending for the Super Bowl, but his actions tell another story.'
Bills' new broom sweeps a bit too clean [9:21 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'When Donahoe and Williams arrived in town they pledged that no old favorites would be dumped unless there was a viable "Plan B" to take his place. That's why the cutting of Jones was a last straw. The new guys are looking for a linebacker-type to play strong safety. Jones is no linebacker, but he averaged 109 tackles the last four seasons. His replacement, Raion Hill, has zero starts in his short career and a total of four tackles. He doesn't sound like a viable "Plan B" to me.'
News game plan in place for covering Bills opener [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'We plan to send eight staffers to the game - including Executive Sports Editor Howard Smith, who coordinates the coverage from the press box. They'll file their stories, columns and photographs for Monday's Sports tab.'
Saints ready to let loose with all weapons [8:17 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: 'The Saints appear to be catching Buffalo at a good time. The Bills, like the Saints last season, are still in the throes of an offseason overhaul. The club has a new head coach, general manager, coaching staff and 16 new players.'
Bills resemble last season's Saints [8:16 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: '"I see a significant difference in how the two teams went about the job," said Larry Felser, a longtime Bills watcher for the Buffalo Evening News. "The Saints, it seemed, brought in new free-agent blood, but they kept the players worth keeping. The Bills seemed to go out and make changes in the name of change."'
Fourcade's day in the spotlight [8:14 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: 'Today's game is the first for the Saints at Rich Stadium since that fateful day 12 years ago.'
An inside look [8:13 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: '"I always knew Jim (Haslett) was cut out to be a coach. Jim has one of the big intangibles you need to be a great head coach. He's not afraid to cut anyone's throat and then leave them for dead." -- Former Bills NT Fred Smerlas.'
Saints' journey starts in Buffalo; will it end in Super Bowl? [6:34 AM]
Baton Rouge Advocate reports: '"They're going to get to the quarterback," admitted Johnson, who may benefit from the Bills' switch to the rhythmic, quick passing game of the West Coast offense. "They've hit every quarterback they've played."'
Bills face imposing defense in season opener [6:08 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The feeling is that this afternoon's game at soldout Ralph Wilson Stadium has all the makings of a train wreck.'
Bills have no more time for excuses [6:06 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Well, the hype and posturing are over, it's time for the Buffalo Bills to show what they've got. And, frankly, there's some legitimate concern.'
Brooks wants to light up Buffalo [5:41 AM]
Mobile Register reports: '"We want to make a statement throughout the year and it starts today," said Joe Johnson. "It's very important we rattle (Rob) Johnson early and take out the running game."'
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