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Buffalo Bills News - December 8, 2002

Marker Bledsoe talk is minimal [5:27 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: '"It's Buffalo against New England for us," Belichick said.'

Marker Plenty of storylines — and incentives — in crucial AFC showdown [5:26 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Today will be a homecoming of sorts for the Patriots’ former prodigal son, but outside of the obvious subplot, this game will have a significant impact on the division standings, which makes it even that much more interesting.'

Marker Crowd awaits the Drew they knew [5:25 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'The boos and cat-calls will be divided today. This one is bound to break up a few households. Brother vs. Sister. Husband vs. Wife. Father vs. Son. Brady-backers vs. Drew’s Disciples.'

Marker Homecoming to a home Bledsoe has never seen [5:24 AM]
Lowell Sun reports: '"It's the same old thing as when I was there, though," said Bledsoe. "You never know whether they're saying 'Drew' or they're booing."'

Marker Donahoe is making most of new home with Buffalo [5:23 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: '"It's a lot different," Donahoe said. "It's certainly more challenging. I'm fortunate here in Buffalo where we have a very good structure. I have a series of vice presidents who handle a lot of different areas for me. I sort of oversee it. I've gotten much more involved in the ticket area of the business, the marketing, overseeing public relations and overseeing the business aspect of it. Really the frustrating thing for me is I seem to get less and less time to do football."'

Marker At crucial moment, Wannstedt left script [5:22 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Dave Wannstedt's game-altering, go-for-it decision last weekend at Buffalo was the wrong one, period. Why? Because we know how it turned out.'

Marker It's easy to question 4th-down call now [5:21 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'You say Wannstedt gift-wrapped the game's turning point for Buffalo? No, he didn't. Buffalo took the lead into halftime, but Miami immediately took it back in the third quarter. Wannstedt's decision briefly swung momentum, giving Buffalo a field-goal lead, but Miami was playing for an 11-point lead there. Question the play call if you like, especially on a day Ricky Williams was rushing for more yards than any Dolphin ever, but not the decision to go for it.'

Marker Bledsoe expects mixed reaction in Foxboro [5:20 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"I do know I have a lot of fans there and a lot of people who appreciate what I did while I was there," said Bledsoe, dealt to the Bills in the off-season. "So it will probably be a mixed reaction."'

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December 7, 2002

Marker Patriots Mailbag - Ask Nick [11:33 PM] reports: The more you watch Tedy Bruschi, the more you realize how important he is to the Patriots defense. In the Kansas City game that he missed, the Chiefs were able to score at will and part of the reason is because the Patriots were lacking Bruschi's fire in the middle of the field.

Bruschi was scheduled to be out of this weekend's Buffalo game, and this is a huge loss for the Patriots. Bruschi makes up in pure desire and adrenaline wheat he lacks in physical size. That adrenaline is contagious to the rest of his defensive teammates. It will be interesting to see whether the Patriots defense struggles without that presence in the middle.

Marker Bledsoe returns with Bills needing win [7:15 PM]
AP reports: '''I'd hoped all along that when we got to these games that they'd be important games from the standpoint of the playoff race,'' Bledsoe said. ''That's really turned out to be the case.'''

Marker Bills' Robertson tests positive again [4:20 PM]
ESPN reports: Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Tyrone Robertson, who earlier this year served a four-game suspension for a repeat violation of the NFL substance abuse policy, has tested positive again and now will be banned for a year from the league.

Marker For Pats, this is best time of the year [9:53 AM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: '‘‘The intensity goes up in December,'' said linebacker Roman Phifer, who played in his first playoff series last year after 13 years in the NFL. ‘‘There are so many teams in contention in our conference it's going to be like a playoff atmosphere. We must step up like we did a year ago.'''

Marker Moulds, Law know each other all too well [9:37 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We're two competitive guys, competitive on the field but friends off the field," Law said. "We're both looking to push our teams to the next level. Every time we compete, hey, it's war out there but afterward, all said and done, may the best man and best team win."'

Marker Gumbel warms to the task of Bills games, even if he hates cold [9:36 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'CBS' top play-by-play man and analyst Phil Simms will be calling their fifth Bills game of the season Sunday when they do the Bledsoe Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots for 65 percent of the country.'

Marker Law not easy for Moulds to break [5:40 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Patriots have won four straight games against the Bills and in those games, Moulds has averaged just four catches for 38 yards and no TDs.'

Marker Defensive lineman faces 1-year suspension [5:39 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Tyrone Robertson has been suspended for a second time for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.'

Marker Toronto the good for Bills defender [5:38 AM]
Toronto Star reports: '"Canadians are nice to a fault. Very cordial, very hospitable. They say, `Pardon me?' Instead of, `What'd you say,'" he says, curling his lip into a snarl. "Compared to Americans, who are kind of crass, they're polite and proper. I like that. It's nice."'

Marker Answer is to keep them guessing [5:37 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Or do the Patriots, as another example, continue playing their ''Dollar'' (no down linemen) defense in an attempt to surprise the Bills because they might think Buffalo is probably thinking there's no way New England will try to confuse their inexperienced offensive line again with linebackers and defensive backs walking and talking amongst each other near the line of scrimmage, then seemingly improvising in their pass rushes/coverages?'

Marker He's been a priceless addition for Buffalo [5:36 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''Oh, yeah, he's good. He's not as big as Moulds or as physical, but he's fast and a really smooth athlete,'' Bill Belichick said of rising star Peerless Price, the Bills' fourth-year receiver who has the numbers (72 receptions, 1,020 yards, 9 touchdowns) but perhaps not yet the reputation to join his teammate in the Pro Bowl. ''He's a glider. He's a tremendous athlete who makes route-running look easy, effortless. ''He's a real polished receiver in addition to a real talented receiver.'''

Marker Middle of the road [5:35 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The defensive keys to winning, according to Johnson: Stop the Bills on third down and stop their running game on every down.'

Marker An AFC trend has reduced the risks of passing game [5:34 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The top 17 quarterbacks in the AFC have combined to throw 5,728 passes. Of those, 3,619 were completed -- 63 percent. Of the 2,109 that weren't caught, only 163 fell in the arms of the opposition.'

Marker Belichick: All things considered, Simms should be Hall of Famer [5:33 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The first time the Patriots faced the Bills this season and won, 38-7, they exploited backup corner Chris Watson. He was playing in place of starter Antoine Winfield . Now Winfield's back and he's covered everyone from Wayne Chrebet to Santana Moss to Tony Gonzalez. He's better than Watson. He and fellow corner Nate Clements are a pretty good pair.'

Marker Bills benefit if Bruschi's out [5:32 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'Bruschi's injury is considered significant because Bledsoe has completed 75 passes to his primary backs, Travis Henry and Larry Centers.'

Marker Patriots’ no-name offense just works [5:31 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'As game day approaches, the Buffalo Bills are facing the unenviable task of trying to figure out what kind of offense the Patriots run. Good luck. The Patriots don’t even know themselves.'

Marker Vrabel and Bruschi molded to fit [5:30 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: '"You’re not trying to transform a guy that you know that this just isn’t what he is," Belichick said. "Mike is not really a defensive end in this league so he needs to be a linebacker.I mean, Pittsburgh saw the same thing, and that is all he can be."'

December 6, 2002

Marker NFL: Officials erred on Bills' TD call [8:32 PM]
Miami Herald reports: 'During a game, the back judge, who stands behind the secondary, is in charge of calling the delay of game penalty. The back judge looks at the clock and then looks to see if the ball has been snapped.'

Marker Short passing game still key [8:31 PM] reports: 'In the first game in early November a combination of good execution by the Patriots and poor tackling by the Bills allowed New England to rack up over 186 yards of offense after the catch. Tom Brady and company transformed what has been referred to as a "dink and dunk" offense into big plays and touchdowns.'

Marker Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 12/06/2002 [8:30 PM] reports: 'Q: What do you think Buffalo did well in the first game that they might want to go back to and do this game? BB: Well, let's just say what they think they did well. They said that they thought they moved the ball well, they just didn't score in the red zone. They said that they thought that they played pretty good defense, they made good on the screen passes. So there are two things right there that I'm sure they feel like they were close on a couple of kickoff returns. Those are some things right there that they said that they thought went pretty well, I guess a couple of things that didn't go well, they overrode them. Move the ball into the redzone, then you are not effective on offense.'

Marker Bledsoe in big game on and off field [8:29 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“I know that I still have a lot of fans out there and a lot of people appreciate what I did while I was there so it will probably be a mixed reaction (during the game). There will probably be some people that cheer for me. (But) during the course of the game I would expect the New England fans to do what they did the whole time I was there... which was to support their team.”'

Marker Under Phillips, Falcons defense is for real [7:44 PM]
ESPN reports: In his first year with Atlanta, former Bills HC & DC Wade Phillips has the Falcons ranked in the league's top 10 in several defensive categories: Sacks (2nd), Interceptions (4th), Giveaway/Takeaway (6th), Forced fumbles (T8th)

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09/13 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
09/20 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
09/27 @ Miami Dolphins 4:25 pm
10/04 New York Giants 1:00 pm
10/11 @ Tennessee Titans 1:00 pm
10/18 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/25 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 9:30 am
11/08 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
11/12 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/23 @ New England Patriots 8:30 pm
11/29 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/6 Houston Texans 1:00 pm
12/13 @ Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 pm
12/20 @ Washington Redskins 1:00 pm
12/27 Dallas Cowboys 1:00 pm
01/03 New York Jets 1:00 pm

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