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Buffalo Bills News - September 8, 2000

Marker Bills' defense leads the way [6:26 AM]
Green Bay News Chronicle reports: '"We didn't have a high number of sacks, interceptions, things like that," said linebacker Sam Cowart, who led the Bills with 186 tackles last season (fifth-best all-time in team history two). "We were a very conservative defense Bills. As a result of that, we gave up the least amount of big plays last year drive. That's our philosophy. It kind of takes away from our players' stats, but we're able to do that and finish in the top three or four in defense every year."

Marker Under the microscope [6:24 AM]
Green Bay News Chronicle reports: 'Moulds is one of the NFL's best receivers and look for him to test whoever starts at cornerback in place of the injured Mike McKenzie two. The candidates are Edwards, who has practiced and played at safety all summer, and McBride, who was flagged four times and surrendered a 61-yard pass to the Jets last week Bills. Moulds, however, was contained by Tennessee last week, catching two passes for 46 yards drive. "(Last week Tennessee) did a lot of stuff with their pass rush where we couldn't get him the ball that much," Bills quarterback Rob Johnson said. "They doubled him in certain situations. Hopefully, we'll be able to get him the ball more. Obviously, we're not going to try to force the ball to him if they're doubling him."'

Marker Bills' notes [6:22 AM]
Green Bay News Chronicle reports: 'Phillips surprised most Bills fans last year when he replaced Doug Flutie in the starting lineup with Johnson for the final regular-season game two. Flutie had guided Buffalo to a 10-5 record Bills. The move drew criticism, but Johnson was glad his teammates were around for support drive. "Last year, I felt the guys rallied around the change," Johnson said. "That made it easier to handle, because Flutie's such a fan-favorite up here. The support I was getting was more from the organization than the community." This year, he feels the fans have come around. "I think they have accepted that as long as we keep winning," Johnson said. "If you lose some games, they will want the other guy in there."'

Marker Tailgate Blitz [6:19 AM]
Green Bay News Chronicle reports: 'I picked up the recent edition of Penthouse and was overjoyed to find another quality piece of journalism mixed in with all those annoying advertisements and pictures two. In the story, Bills starting quarterback Rob Johnson says former starter Doug Flutie is "not much fun to play with Bills." Hey, you can't blame Flutie drive. You'd be bitter, too, if your only claim to fame these days is hocking cereal and discount telephone calls.'

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September 7, 2000

Marker Moulds frustrated by Bills offensive mistakes [8:14 PM]
AP reports: 'Too many mistakes on offense make Eric Moulds an unhappy man. After avoiding questions from the media all week, and amid speculation that he's discouraged over his contract situation, the Buffalo Bills marquee wide receiver said Thursday his frustrations stem from the team's play -- specifically on offense -- and are not personal. "I'm more frustrated two, not really to get the ball bills, I'm more frustrated for the offense as a unit drive," Moulds said as the Bills prepare to play the Green Bay Packers Sunday. "Last year the defense carried us. I don't want it to be a situation where it becomes a one-dimensional team as far as the defense carrying us each week." Moulds added that he was particularly discouraged by the number of times Bills quarterback Rob Johnson was knocked down in Sunday's 16-13 win over Tennessee. Johnson was eventually knocked out in the fourth quarter with a nerve "stinger" in his lower left leg. "I was upset about the way they were hitting Rob," he said. "You could just see his eyes during the game, he was worried about getting hit so much that it takes a little bit away from his game."'

Marker Super Sunday night game topped MNF [5:14 PM]
CNN/SI reports: Dr. Z doesn't have a whole lot to say about the game itself. Mostly, he compares and contrasts the announcing styles of ESPN's Sunday night crew with ABC's Monday night bunch. Still, it's an interesting read, with a few nice comments and insights in it.

Marker Chiefs expected to follow Buffalo's lead [1:23 PM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'The Titans didn't rush for enough yardage in Buffalo. The Titans didn't throw enough downfield passes in Buffalo. The Titans offense, one that had sparkled in the preseason, was just nowhere to be found in Buffalo. OK, now tell the Titans something they don't know. "We knew going in (the Bills) were going to play that kind of game," Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said. "We told our guys it was going to be a slow, methodical game against a defense that deserved their ranking last year (No. 1 in the NFL). We were going to have to pick and choose, we were going to have to be smart, and when the one or two plays came free we were going to have to make them. "One or two plays came free and we didn't make them," he added. "Anybody that wins against (the Bills) will have to win ugly."'

Marker Favre's game streak may be his top record [1:16 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'But of all his stats - the 16 fourth-quarter comebacks, the second-place standing behind Dan Marino in passing yardage for the '90s, the decade's lead in TD passes - one means more than any of the others. Come Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Favre will start his 127th consecutive game...an NFL record.'

Marker Playing hurt [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Favre expects a better offensive showing this week, but knows that won't be easy. He thinks the Bills' defense is better than last year's top-ranked unit. It doesn't help the Packers that one of their biggest weapons, running back Dorsey Levens, is out with a knee injury. However, they aren't devoid of talent. Antonio Freeman is one of the best wide receivers in the league. Fellow wideout Bill Shroeder is a rising star with a knack for getting open downfield. The Packers also have a couple of quality tight ends in Tyrone Davis and Bubba Franks, their first-round draft pick out of the University of Miami. Running back Ahman Green is no Levens, but he brings more game-breaking speed. Still, stopping Favre is Priority One for the Bills' defense. "He can make plays any time, so we're particularly concerned with him," Phillips said. "Normally when you give him a little time, he's going to tear you up. He just didn't happen to do it (against the Jets), but he still had them in position to win. He's that kind of quarterback."'

Marker Moulds mum about mood swing [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Quarterback Rob Johnson thinks the source of Moulds' frustration was the lack of receiving opportunities last Sunday. With the Titans paying special attention to him, Moulds didn't catch a pass until the fourth quarter. He had two receptions for 46 yards, including a 36-yarder that set up Steve Christie's winning field goal. Both passes were thrown by Alex Van Pelt. Johnson threw to Moulds four or five times without a completion, although Moulds drew one pass interference penalty. "I'm sure he is (frustrated) a little bit. I know I would be if I was him," Johnson said. "He's an outstanding player and he wants the ball. All the receivers are all the same. All the great ones want the ball, and if they don't get it, they are not happy, I assume." However, there's also speculation Moulds could be unhappy about his contract situation. Moulds becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and stands to cash in with a huge contract the way receivers such as Keyshawn Johnson, Isaac Bruce, Marvin Harrison and Joey Galloway did this past offseason. Moulds has said in the past he wants to stay in Buffalo, but the Bills don't have enough money under the salary cap right now. It may take dumping some high-priced talent after the season to give Moulds a contract he is happy with.'

Marker Buffalo defense won't rest [8:27 AM]
Green Bay Press Gazette reports: 'Perhaps the most impressive of the Bills' new breed is Wiley, the defensive end charged with replacing the NFL's second-leading sacker of all-time, Bruce Smith. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Wiley has the Bills in the running to own the NFL's best defense, again. That's right, again. The Bills' no-name defense, which was denied even a single Pro Bowl selection last season, had the NFL's top-rated defense in 1999 even if most people thought that label belonged to Baltimore (which was second) Tampa Bay (third) or Jacksonville (fourth). "I don't think we got our due as far as being No. 1," Bills linebacker Sam Cowart said. "If you ask a lot of people who finished No. 1, I think they might have said Tampa Bay or Jacksonville or something." If no one saw what the Bills' defense did last year, which included holding Tennessee to 15 points in an AFC wild card game before the Titans used a kickoff lateral to win in the final minute, then they should have taken notice on Sunday night. In front of a national television audience in the 2000 opener, the Bills made Titans' Pro Bowl running back Eddie George look like he belonged on the practice squad. George averaged only 2.2 yards a carry and finished with a mere 37 yards. Tennessee managed only 172 yards of total offense in the Bills' 16-13 victory.'

Marker Buffalo's victory achieved up front [6:27 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'It's expedient to chalk up Buffalo's 16-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday night as revenge for last season's Music City Miracle, but that wasn't the cause. It's also simplistic to say it was because of dropped passes by Tennessee's Frank Wycheck and Eddie George. There are always a few plays that would change a game if you went back and changed their outcome. The reason the Bills won is because of good, old-fashioned, football technique. They did it so well that Bills defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, a Chester native, should have gotten the game ball. The Bills were able to walk away with the victory because the Buffalo defense, particularly the interior linemen, shut the door on George, Tennessee's workhorse of a running back.'

Marker Winning is all that matters to Bills [6:07 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Buffalo Bills weren't interested in making excuses for their lackluster offensive performance in the season-opening victory over Tennessee. They readily admitted they made mistakes, but the fact is it was just the first game, and the Titans weren't exactly a nice, cushy opponent to kick off the season against. "That was a good team we played," running back Antowain Smith said. For all the missed blocks, penalties, errant passes and ineffective runs, the bottom line -- as coach Wade Phillips pointed out -- was that the Bills came out with a 1-0 record. "My biggest concern is the win," Phillips said. "If we win, that's the important thing and that's what I want the team to realize. The most important thing is to win."'

Marker A special need for special teams [6:05 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills special team units are dominated by young players long on exuberance but short on experience, and it showed Sunday night in the season opener against Tennessee. Be honest. Every time the Bills went flying downfield to cover a kick or punt, you flashed back to the Home Run Throw Back, especially on that last kickoff return when Derrick Mason was streaking up the middle of the field in the final half-minute looking like he was protected by an invisible force field. Be honest. Every time new Bills' return man Chris Watson went to field a kickoff or punt, he looked like a Little League outfielder trying to gauge a fly ball. "Just catch it! Just catch it!" many in the crowd of 72,492 screamed.'

Marker Buffalo WR Moulds starting to simmer [6:04 AM]
D and C reports: 'Eric Moulds, who stormed out of the locker room after Sunday's night's victory over the Tennessee Titans, again refused to speak with reporters yesterday. "I'm not happy," Moulds was quoted as saying following Sunday's win. Quarterback Rob Johnson speculated that Moulds' frustration is showing early over the extra attention he's receiving from opposing defenses now that veteran Andre Reed is no longer with the team. Moulds caught just two passes -- not until the fourth quarter -- against the Titans for 46 yards. His last catch, for 36 yards, set up Steve Christie's winning field goal. Apparently that wasn't a good enough start for Moulds. He becomes a free agent after this season and is looking to join the highest-paid receivers in the NFL, such as Joey Galloway and Keyshawn Johnson, who earn $5-6 million annually. Moulds' cap figure for this season is just under $1 million.'

Marker Bid for NFL may be tied to Olympics [6:03 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Since Ted Rogers bought the Blue Jays - what, already? - and installed Paul Godfrey as the tallest forehead, hardly anyone holding the reins of power seems to be talking baseball. Somebody thought Rogers would leap into the fray to buy the Maple Leafs, once the Honest Grocer (ret.) was eased out, and there were suggestions The Cable Guy take over the Argos, too. But it turns out the real sporting passion for the new baseball proprietors seems to be a favourite old fantasy friend and trend, the NFL coming to Toronto...But if we're thinking NFL - and the usual suspects are because of Godfrey's re-emergence into the limelight - let us consider the following: That new $700 million (U.S., of course, meaning more than $1 billion Cdn.) price tag for NFL expansion franchises apparently is no matter any longer. Because now Toronto is going to sit on a Ralph Wilson mortality watch and wait for the Buffalo Bills to become available? Hmmmm. The suggestion, obviously, is that the NFL will allow the move of a team out of an established market, one with an 80,000-seat stadium, into an unestablished market, one that is governed by trends (Raptors in; Blue Jays and Argos out). Most importantly, it also is a market that contains no stadium suitable to the NFL. The only way you buy this scenario is to believe that the stadium will be provided. How? Well, you know how. That 100,000-seat Olympic 2008 stadium, the one that is going to be 20,000 permanent seats with 80,000 Meccano-set seats added on.'

September 6, 2000

Marker Williams emerges as imposing threat for the Bills [9:15 PM]
AP reports: 'Pat Williams has surprised everyone in the NFL. Everyone, that is, except for the Buffalo Bills. Signed as an undrafted free agent for the NFL minimum salary in 1997, the defensive tackle Williams is emerging as a force in the Bills' new-look scheme. Lining up alongside fellow heavyweight nose tackle Ted Washington, the two 310-plus-pounders provide an effective and -- after one game -- unstoppable one-two punch. "It worked good. Not anybody can stop me or Ted," Williams said after practice Wednesday. "(Washington) softens then up for me, and then I go out and punish them a little more. "So Ted punishes them, I punish them, and they be done."'

Marker Titans' sexy defense [9:35 AM]
Shout! reports: 'Let's talk sexy defense. No, not the Bills' defense. While they're very good, probably a top-five unit - possibly No. 1 again - they're not sexy. They're into fundamentals. They play sound, they play great, they rarely take risks. They stuff the run, they stop the pass.'

Marker You Make the Call (#13) [9:33 AM]
TBD reports: "You Make the Call" is a presentation of both real and imagined NFL scenarios, where we invite you to "make the call" based upon the Official Rules for the NFL for 1999. Good luck, because you'll need it.

Marker Game Day Photos: Bills defeat Titans [9:24 AM]
Shout! reports: Game day photo gallery from Sunday where the Bills avenged their dramatic playoff defeat against the Titans.

Marker Newman's play makes Bills forget last year's starter [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Gabe Who? That's what a lot of Buffalo Bills fans are saying after outside linebacker Keith Newman's performance during Sunday night's thrilling 16-13 win over the Tennessee Titans. The second-year pro had a tremendous night with the first two sacks of his career and was solid against the run. Although his first tackle was wiped out by a Tennessee penalty, Newman's hit on running back Eddie George on the game's first snap set the tone for a dominating night for the Bills' defense.'

Marker Antoine Winfield racks up tackles like a linebacker [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It was no fluke that cornerback Antoine Winfield led Ohio State, a school famous for linebackers and hard-hitting safeties, in tackling his senior year. For the Bills, it's like having an extra linebacker on the field.'

Marker Buffalo stampede: Offensive linemen will pose problems [8:20 AM]
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: 'Now that Gilbert Brown's career has eclipsed you might not find a better pure run-stopping nose tackle than Ted Washington and Pat Williams. The problem for the Packers is they both play for Buffalo. "Those two big fat guys they play inside are really good athletes," an executive in personnel for another team said Tuesday. "If you go in there and just try to run the ball, you're going to be in trouble. The run defense of their front seven is probably the best in the National Football League."'

Marker Nice guys don't get NFL teams [6:01 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '[Paul] Godfrey [the new president and CEO of the Blue Jays] and his Rogers friends [of Rogers Communications] have identified four NFL teams as being vulnerable to franchise moves -- the most logical of the four being the geographically correct Buffalo Bills. With team owner Ralph Wilson turning 82 next month, and Wilson being very aware of his own mortality after a life spent in the insurance business, the Detroit-based owner is very aware his time frame for selling the team and not putting his family in a mess of inheritance tax is short.'

September 5, 2000

Marker Titans' intro wasn't to show up Bills [2:17 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The Bills got some misguided inspiration even before kickoff. As coach Wade Phillips noted, "When they came out and introduced their special teams, they got some of our guys mad because that was last year." His reference was to the unit that produced "Home Run Throwback", the kick return for a touchdown that beat the Bills in last January's playoff game at Nashville. But the Titans weren't trying to show up their hosts. The introductions were a tribute to Tennessee special teams coach Alan Lowery, who designed that fateful play, but had severe chest pains earlier in the week, was hospitalized, and didn't make the trip to Buffalo.'

Marker Bills QB still feels after-shock [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Johnson was still sore on Monday, but walked without a noticeable limp. More important for the Bills, he is expected to practice Wednesday and start Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. "It's a little weak right now," Johnson said following team meetings. "It was like a stinger in the shoulder. You lose power and feeling in it, so it can come back in five to 10 hours or a couple of days. It's good that the feeling is coming back. "I hurt this ankle in Jacksonville and I played on it and I couldn't even walk (afterwards). That could be what's making it worse than it should be. But I don't think it will be bad at all."'

Marker Cottrell keeps Bills defense in full bloom [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'I'm not sure what Cottrell has to do to get respect in the sport. A year ago, his defense finished No. 1 in the league. It allowed the fewest yards by an AFC team in 21 years. And yet, half a dozen head coaching jobs came open without him getting so much as a sniff. During the offseason, the Bills lost four defensive starters. Experts assumed an inevitable drop-off. One national publication predicted they'd be the 16th-best defense this year. Then, in Sunday night's opener, Cottrell and his staff turned in another defensive gem. They wiped the floor with Tennessee's new offensive staff and left Buffalo fans wondering if this year's defense might actually be better than last year's version. "Ted was really in touch with what they were doing," said Chuck Lester, the Bills' linebackers coach. "He was able to anticipate and makes the calls - bang, bang, bang, bang."'

Marker After scare, coverage team due for change [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Titans nearly pulled off another Music City Miracle when Derrick Mason was one missed tackle away from taking a kickoff for a touchdown in the final minute of Sunday night's game after a 33-yard Steve Christie field goal had put Buffalo in front, 16-13, with 33 seconds left. Mason's 57-yard return almost was enough to set up a field goal that would have forced overtime. Phillips said the entire return unit was not to blame. "Our left side of our kickoff coverage didn't stay in their lanes," he said. "They got out of their lanes or let guys push them by. We may shuffle people around a little bit." The left side included rookies Corey Moore, Sammy Morris, Travares Tillman and Fred Jones in addition to special teams veteran Donovan Greer. Phillips said the right side, which included cornerback Antoine Winfield and safeties Keion Carpenter, Daryl Porter and Raion Hill, did a good job. Winfield came across the field to assist on the game-saving tackle on Mason. Phillips might move Hill to the other side to balance things out a little, but ultimately it's up to the rookies to get the job done. "They'll get better once they see the film," Phillips said. "It just takes time for those guys. It's just a process for some guys."'

Marker Titans drop ball [6:44 AM]
Titans Exclusive reports: '"They are one tough team," Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said. "And when you play a team like Buffalo, you have to catch balls and not make mistakes. This is the first time in a while we've dropped this many balls, and the rest is history. To win, you have to make the plays when you have a chance. We didn't.'

Marker Titans take look at loss [6:35 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Despite the big plays that weren't made, Fisher found some good in the loss. "If an average team goes up to play in a place like Buffalo against the quality players and systems that they have and converts two third downs out of 14 attempts -- zero in the second half -- drops four balls for probably over 100 yards and touchdown opportunities, has 12 penalties, gets zero turnovers, they should get beat convincingly," Fisher said. "'So if there are any positives in this loss, it's that we did not play well, yet we had a chance to win the game."'

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09/07 @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
09/14 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
09/21 San Diego Chargers 1:00 pm
09/28 @ Houston Texans 1:00 pm
10/05 @ Detroit Lions 1:00 pm
10/12 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/19 Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm
10/26 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/09 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
11/13 @ Miami Dolphins 8:25 pm
11/23 New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/30 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/07 @ Denver Broncos 4:05 pm
12/14 Green Bay Packers 1:00 pm
12/21 @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 pm
12/28 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm

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