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Buffalo Bills News - December 20, 2001

Marker Bills Grade: Worse off. [3:40 PM]
CNN/SI reports: Rob Johnson: Everybody but Mario Cuomo weighed in on the Johnson vs. Doug Flutie debate last offseason, and the whole mess did make for a heck of a Bills-Chargers game in October. But you can't ignore these two realities: Johnson got hurt a lot, like he always does, and when he did play, he didn't win much. Like always. Thus, Buffalo made the wrong decision for 2001. Flutie would have given them a shot at more success than 2-11. But long term, Johnson may still be the answer. That is, if the Bills bring him back, which they appear to be leaning toward.

Gregg Williams: Last year, the Bills were in playoff contention until the final two weeks of the season. This year, the Bills were in playoff contention until the regular season started. With the salary cap cutbacks that took place this year, Buffalo never really had a chance. The best hope is that this was a take-your-medicine type of season that bears quick fruit in the future. Still, somewhere out there, Wade Phillips is smiling, and counting his money from that last Ralph Wilson paycheck.

Marker Packers decide not to add Ex-Bill Cornelius Bennett [1:02 PM]
ESPN reports: The rehabilitation of the Green Bay Packers battered linebacker unit won't include the addition of five-time Pro Bowl performer Cornelius Bennett. Team officials having concluded after a workout that the 14-year veteran was not in good enough physical condition to help the team.

Marker Patriots got lucky in rebuilding to get Ex-Bill Antowain Smith [12:58 PM]
ESPN reports: To be successful, you have to be lucky and the Patriots got a few breaks. Belichick knew Antowain Smith from trying to stop him for years in Buffalo. After the Bills released him, the Patriots signed him for $500,000. He's gained 920 yards on 240 carries.

Marker Its Jim Kelly Time [12:28 PM]
LA Times reports: He was, however, more than their QB, much more. He was the architect -- the creator -- of the Bills' new offense, which was a fast-break, no-huddle, impressively pass-oriented offense. First he envisioned it, then he sold it to the Buffalo coaches, and finally he directed it on the field, calling all the plays himself. That first year, 1990, Kelly's offense was the most remarkable new thing in American sports.

Marker Laughing stock no longer [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Still, that's a long way up from being the laughingstock of the league, which is what they were in 2000.'

Marker Ho, ho, hum . . . empty seats await Bills, Falcons [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Falcons rank 30th in the NFL in attendance with an average of 54,628 fans through seven home games.'

Marker Bills made right choice on bottles [7:54 AM]
D and C reports: 'When two major beer makers offered their product to sell in nifty plastic bottles last year, at least 20 NFL teams jumped on the idea. The Buffalo Bills are happy they weren't among them.'

Marker Leave your hat on at the stadium [7:53 AM]
D and C reports: It's tough. It's one of those things where what we do is dangerous (enough) and I wish fans would at least adhere to the rules. It's something that needs to be worked on.

Marker Reeves increases Kozlowski workload [7:52 AM]
D and C reports: 'About 45,000 fans are expected to attend Sunday's game. Keith Brooking, the Falcons' star linebacker who grew up in Georgia and attended Georgia Tech in Atlanta, doesn't understand the apathy. "They've been kind of complaining about the Braves attendance as well," Brooking said. "I don't know what it is about this city."'

Marker Bob Christian: Ultimate anti-star [7:51 AM]
Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: 'Christian, a 5-foot-11, 232-pound fullback, is blocking as well as anyone at his position in the NFL. He has become an integral part of the Falcons' offense and has compiled several career highs as a result. He has been in the league for 10 years and continues to improve. But crow? Forget it.'

Marker Dome joins bottle ban for Falcons game [7:50 AM]
Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: 'The incidents, however, led Georgia Dome officials to reconsider the notion that the sober and well-hydrated are not also capable of mayhem. Henceforth, starting with Sunday's Falcons game against the Buffalo Bills, fans purchasing water will drink it out of cups, as well, not water bottles.'

Marker Tackle faints when workout induces asthma [7:48 AM]
Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: 'Ticket manager Jack Ragsdale said that about 40,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday's game against Buffalo.'

Marker Gregg Williams press conference [7:44 AM] reports: Aaron [Schobel] is the third-leader sacker among rookies in the league [with 6.5], and has a chance to challenge those other two guys in attempts the rest of the year. He's tied for second with Bruce Smith as a rookie here in all-time sacks ? he's two behind Cornelius Bennett, and both Nate and Aaron didn't start until Weeks 5 and 6.

Justin's got 34 tackles with Cincinnati and 7.5 sacks, and Kendrell Bell 63 tackles and 7 sacks, and you can throw Nate Clements' stats in there and be pretty impressed with 62 tackles from a defensive back's point of view, along with a punt return for a touchdown and a interception return for a touchdown.

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December 19, 2001

Marker Bills' Henry to Miss Sunday's Game Because of Sprained Knee [8:23 PM]
Bloomberg reports: 'Williams said tests showed there was no structural damage to the knee.'

Marker Clements proving to be impact player for Bills [8:02 PM]
AP reports: '"Everyone knows him. They've got to. The guy makes plays. He's physical, strong, fast. He's just good."'

Marker Bills Injury Report [1:45 PM] reports: Out against Falcons
QB Rob Johnson (Shoulder), DT Shawn Price (Knee), DT Pat Williams (Leg), RB Travis Henry (Knee)
Questionable against Falcons:
FS Travares Tillman (Chest), OLB Kenyatta Wright (Shoulder), WR Peerless Price (Ankle)

Marker Bills' Henry out with sprained right knee [1:16 PM]
AP reports: 'While tests revealed no structural damage, coach Gregg Williams said on Wednesday that he felt it best to rest Henry this week.'

Marker Chris Mortensen on Bills-Patriots game [9:49 AM]
ESPN reports: NOTE: Score is wrong (16-13) in ESPN article :-(
You can't knock a victory, even if the records of these two teams suggested the Patriots are the vastly superior team. The young Bills are just 2-11 but are playing their buns off for Gregg Williams. True, the Bills can point to many plays and say, "We should have won" -- but that's an old line. The Patriots won and now they get an unforeseen opportunity to possibly steal the AFC East when they host the Dolphins on Saturday.

Marker Watson catching on at corner [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"The coaches put me in the nickel spot and I have to step up," Watson said. "That's what this game is about. You have to be ready to produce when your number is called."'

Marker As the saying goes, [8:16 AM] reports: It was a loss that Bills players have to deal with but in the 12-9 "Rule Book" game, some positive signs emerged - mostly with the defense. and especially in the secondary. There is no use getting into that 'obscure rule-book' thing because everyone now knows what happened and will be waiting while the NFL's competition committee will take that embarrassment out when they meet early next year.

Marker Ask Aaron Schobel a Question! [5:47 AM] reports: 'Schobel recorded a pair of sacks on the Patriots' Tom Brady, bringing his season total to 6.5, tying Bruce Smith's 1985 mark as a rookie for second-best in franchise history. With three games left to play, Schobel has a chance to break Cornelius Bennett's 1987 mark of 8.5 sacks before finishing his rookie campaign.'

Marker Bills hit the road to finish season [5:43 AM] reports: 'The Bills will wrap up their 2001 season with three straight road games to finish the campaign, starting this Sunday with their first visit to Atlanta's Georgia Dome since 1994, and with a chance to play spoiler down the stretch.'

Marker Ostroski honored for courage [5:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Jerry Ostroski was recognized by his teammates for his sportsmanship and commitment to football.'

December 18, 2001

Marker Bills recognize Ostroski for sportsmanship [4:18 PM]
AP reports: 'Voted the team's Ed Block Courage award winner Tuesday, Ostroski was noted for his charitable efforts and perseverance in returning to the Bills lineup after breaking his leg last August.'

Marker Call against Bills was correct [1:30 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'You want a hosing against the Pats, recall the 1998 season when Buffalo had seemingly secured a key win in the final seconds at Foxboro only to have the officiating crew award a first down to Pats' wide receiver Shawn Jefferson, even though both feet were out of bounds on the catch ... and he was short of the marker.'

Marker Bills' attendance drops 9 percent [10:49 AM]
Buffalo Business First reports: The Buffalo Bills have concluded the home portion of the NFL schedule and as the losses mounted, attendance fell. The attendance figures are the lowest for the Bills since 1987 (437,187), a season which was interrupted by a strike by NFL players.

Marker Bryson ready to rush [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm glad to be on the field any time," he said. "I just want to help the team win some games."'

Marker Team shakes its head over obscure rule [9:13 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Just to say the ball is dead because he's asleep on the sideline, I don't understand that."'

Marker Fans decrease as losses increase [5:20 AM]
D and C reports: '"I'm not worried about the crowds," he said. "We're going to really get better over the next two or three years with Tom (Donahoe) and our drafting crew. I'm very optimistic. "I'm not just saying this. We have some good young players that'll improve, some that won't and they'll be gone. But with another draft and maybe two, we're going to get much better."'

Marker A day later, loss and referee's call still stings [5:19 AM]
D and C reports: '"We understand the interpretation and how it was interpreted, but the thing is there's a lot of interpretation in that rule, it's tough in the possession part of it," Williams said. "There will be a lot of discussion the rest of the season and into the off-season on that type of thing."'

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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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