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Buffalo Bills News - December 16, 2003

Marker Bills vow to keep fighting despite knockout blow [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I do take pride in that, but that shows the character of these guys," said Williams on Monday. "They love to play and there are a lot of things throughout the course of the week with rehab and the strength training, that massive amount of meetings we have and the practice sessions, but they love to play on Sunday and it shows every time they step out there."'

Marker Bills shouldn't live without valiant Henry [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'This is your coaching staff at its finest. There's a simple reason Henry wasn't on the field. He's not in the Bills' two-point "packages." It shouldn't come as any great surprise. Kevin Gilbride, the offensive coordinator, has proved time and again he has no faith in his running game in short-yardage situations.'

Marker A special game for Walla Walla [7:11 AM]
Spokane Spokesman Review reports: '"When Billy was in the 5th grade, his brother, Joe, was starting quarterback for Wa-Hi. Their father, John, was the head football coach at Walla Walla Community College. Joe Volek was a good high school quarterback, he eventually went on to start for two years at Montana State. There was a talented sophomore quarterback at Wa-Hi that year whose dad was the offensive coordinator at Wa-Hi. The player was Drew Bledsoe, the coach was Mac Bledsoe. Halfway through the season, the talented sophomore replaced the very good senior at starting quarterback. This infuriated John Volek to no end. "As I was watching Billy lead the Titans to victory over the Bledsoe Bills I could not help but think, I know `Big Cat' Volek must really be enjoying this moment, as young Billy is getting the revenge for brother Joe and dad John."'

Marker Bills still have plenty to prove [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“There is a lot at stake for a lot of people these last couple weeks,” Donahoe said. Many of those people are coaches, headed by Gregg Williams, whose contract is up, and beleaguered offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, whose unit could not mount a successful fourth-quarter comeback for the fourth time in the past six games, resulting in losses by margins of 4, 2, 3, and 2 points.'

Marker Should the Bills keep Bledsoe, or cut him? [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Call me crazy, and I’m sure you will, but this guy has hit the proverbial wall and I don’t think he can be considered the quarterback of the Bills’ future. I think the Bills should let him go, sign an emerging free agent — how about Tennessee’s Billy Volek? — and move on.'

Marker Buffalo Bills replay [5:14 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Buffalo has a score to settle with Miami after Ricky Williams carried 42 times for 153 yards in the Dolphins’ 17-7 victory back in September which started the Bills on a season-long downward spiral. Miami still has to prove it can win in cold weather, and here’s a perfect opportunity because it’s going to be cold.'

Marker Inside slant [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Even worse than Henry's exclusion from the final drive was his absence on the game's biggest play, the two-point conversion attempt with 24 seconds remaining that could have sent the game into overtime and possibly prolonged Buffalo's playoff hopes another week. Henry was on the bench for that one, too.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:12 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Before that final possession Bledsoe looked helpless trying to throw against a Tennessee pass defense that entered the game ranked 32nd in the league. However, his receivers didn't give him much help, either.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:11 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'RT Mike Williams is playing better as his second season winds to a close. The former No. 4 overall draft pick has fared well in recent weeks pass blocking as he contained New York's Michael Strahan and didn't allow Tennessee's Jevon Kearse to register a sack when lined up against him.'

Marker Bills' Reese likely out for year [5:10 AM]
The Sports Network reports: '"I don't know whether he'll be able to make it either week," head coach Gregg Williams said Monday.'

Marker Gregg: Going, going... [5:09 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Players also like Williams swagger and self confidence, even though that’s been dented in the past few months, and they even like the fact he had the guts to do the unexpected at times, even though the unexpected usually turned into an expected disaster. But he made some promises he couldn’t keep, and he made some poor hiring choices, and he often didn’t appear to manage the clock or the game well from the sidelines. He also never seemed to “get it” that sometimes, the head coach has to take the hit even when he knows it wasn’t his fault.'

Marker Fitting End To The Season [5:08 AM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'It was a fitting end to the Bills season. They complained about a few calls that they believe would have made the difference, their quarterback had another costly fumble, and the offensive coordinator made a questionable choice with the game on the line. I thought that last play of the game was inexcusable.'

Marker The Bills Try To Regroup With Two Games Left [5:07 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Things were kind of down and out Monday as players gathered for the first time knowing they're out of the playoff race. All guaranteed they'd play hard for themselves and the fans in the final two games against Miami and New England.'

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December 15, 2003

Marker No catch for Shaw; No playoffs for Bills [8:19 PM]
AP reports: '''We could've done things earlier in the game and not been in that situation,'' Teague said. ''You can't dwell on one play.'''

Marker Bills Reese has torn left calf [8:18 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo Bills safety Izell Reese tore his left calf and is likely to miss the rest of the season.'

Marker Bills have more questions than ever [8:17 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Presumably he decided head coach Gregg Williams was history a month ago. Ditto offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and possibly one or two of the other offensive aides. But there are also personnel issues that must be addressed. Since the Bills are playing for nothing — including, it would seem, Williams’ job — why not thank Eric Moulds for the effort and tell him to take the last two games off to rest his nagging groin injury to be fully healthy next season? He’s not going to the Pro Bowl and is playing at a fraction if his ability. And what about running back? Travis Henry has gone over 1,200 yards and played the last 4 1/2 games with a broken leg. He’s earned the right to play if he desires, but with two cold weather games coming up — Miami at “The Ralph” and at New England — why not at least have him split time with Willis McGahee?'

Marker Titans trim Buffalo [3:23 PM]
Elizabethton Star reports: 'Shaw complained after the game that the catch was complete; however, referee Tom White differed. "He threw the pass and the receiver went down to catch the ball. It went into him (his hands)," White said. "As he rolled over, his arm came up in the air, but the ball was already loose. So he never really had possession of it under the definition of a completed pass. Therefore, it's incomplete and the try is no good."'

Marker Volek's leadership no surprise to teammates [1:18 PM]
Knoxville News Sentinel reports: '"You could tell he was in control from the beginning of the game," Titans wide receiver Justin McCareins said. "Billy throws a little bit different ball, a harder ball. He has a strong arm and likes to utilize it, so you have to be ready. I commend him for his effort because he showed what kind of player he is."'

Marker Len Pasquarelli: The search is on [12:36 PM]
ESPN reports: It's not official and, Bills GM Donahoe will continue to toe the party line, which is that coach Williams won't be evaluated until after the last game of the season. But start the search in Buffalo, folks, because Williams, a good guy who had to make the playoffs to survive, is a goner.

Marker Final drive is Bills' last gasp [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"You get tired of saying, "A play here, a play there,' " said linebacker Takeo Spikes. "When is it going to stop?"'

Marker Dispatched Bills flunk one last meaningful test [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills won't forget Volek's name anytime soon. It'll be all over the highlight shows, and it'll haunt them during the long offseason. The vaunted Buffalo defense had a chance to upset the Titans and keep the Bills' faint playoff hopes alive. Instead, they blew an 11-point lead and turned an obscure backup into a star.'

Marker Curse of the Coliseum continues to haunt Bills [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I caught the ball," Shaw said. "But what I think and what the officials called were different, so there isn't much we can do about it."'

Marker 'Beast' has beauty of a game [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It's all garbage now," Williams said of his performance in the Bills' 28-26 loss. "I played good and I made plays, but I throw it away because we lost."'

Marker Volek takes a step toward NFL reputation [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I had anticipated Steve playing based on his reputation in the past," Bills linebacker London Fletcher said. "But obviously Volek played one hell of a football game."'

Marker Monday Billboard [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'There were three former residents of Walla Walla, Wash., in the game. Both starting quarterbacks, Bledsoe and Volek, grew up there. So did Titans linebacker Peter Sirmon. In fact, Bledsoe used to baby-sit him.'

Marker Bills miss playoffs -- again [5:17 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“We have no one to blame but ourselves. It’s a dejected feeling when you have a team with this much talent and knowing that you didn’t get it done.”'

Marker Bills' Music City encore sour [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'That it was referee Tom White at the center of the storm somehow seemed fitting in this 6-8 season when the Bills dug a hole too deep and left too much to chance. Think about it. Their season is on the line and they draw the man in stripes who has become the poster child for controversy, recently being docked half a paycheck by the NFL for botching the clock that cost Seattle a win.'

Marker Henry's absence felt in last drive [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'In fact, Henry wasn’t on the field for the entire drive in the final two minutes as the Bills desperately tried to save their season with a stirring comeback victory. How can this be? The explanation from coach Gregg Williams is that Henry isn’t part of the third-down or two-minute passing packages. That role belongs to Sammy Morris. Oh.'

Marker Buffalo Bills report card [5:14 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Quarterbacks: Drew Bledsoe made it close with a big fourth quarter, but his 2-point conversion pass to Bobby Shaw was way too low and ruled incomplete. Was outplayed by backup Billy Volek overall, and game turned on his sack/fumble in the third quarter that sparked Titans from a 17-6 deficit. Bledsoe is now 2-9 in last 11 road games.'

Marker McNair stays on sideline as Volek pulls out victory [4:54 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: '''Billy's my MVP right now,'' McNair said. It was the first time he didn't play since Sept. 23, 2001, a streak of 45 starts.'

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09/11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
09/15 New York Jets 8:25 pm
09/25 Arizona Cardinals 1:00 pm
10/02 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/09 @ Los Angeles Rams 4:25 pm
10/16 San Francisco 49ers 1:00 pm
10/23 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
10/30 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
11/07 @ Seattle Seahawks 8:30 pm
11/20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
11/27 Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm
12/4 @ Oakland Raiders 4:05 pm
12/11 Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 pm
12/18 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/24 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
01/01 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm

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