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Buffalo Bills News - December 30, 2004

Marker Thursday's Pittsburgh Coverage [5:17 AM] reports:
Nothing personal between Steelers and Bills (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
It's official: Maddox to start (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Farrior picked as team's MVP (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Roethlisberger's jersey climbs to top of sales list (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Farrior overwhelmingly picked as MVP (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
Cowher names Maddox as the starter Sunday (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
Roethlisberger doesn't think Suggs deserves fine (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
Donahoe earns players' respect (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
This Sunday a day of rest for Big Ben (Beaver County Times)
Steelers' MVP? Farrior's the pick (Beaver County Times)
Turnarounsd (Beaver County Times)
Maddox to start for Big Ben (Washington Observer Reporter)
Despite 13-game winning streak, Roethlisberger all but certain to rest (AP)
Steelers draw huge TV ratings in Pittsburgh (AP)
Inside slant (CBS Sportsline)
Strategy and personnel (CBS Sportsline)
Notes, quotes (CBS Sportsline)
Farrior Selected Steelers’ 2004 Most Valuable Player (
James Farrior MVP Press Conference (
Steelers will play to win (
Giant Eagle Jerome Bettis Show Post-Season Taping Dates (
Buffalo Bills Conference Calls (
Steelers RB Duce Staley named this week's Ameriquest Mortgage Neighborhood MVP (

Marker Steelers head into Buffalo intent on winning [5:02 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"That's just the way it is. You've got to be smart about it because there are things in the future that you have to start looking for. I think that it's a fine line that you're on. But it will be hard to tell the 11 guys on the field that they're trying not to win."'

Marker Bills' playoff chances no longer slim [5:01 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Cowher has said the Steelers are coming to Buffalo to win and hints that most of his regulars will be in the lineup, but the wizards of odds in Las Vegas obviously don't believe him.'

Marker Gray's defense near top [5:00 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Regardless of where the rankings end up, Gray said it is LeBeau who can do the most crowing. His team is primed for a run at the Super Bowl after a Steelers' record 13 consecutive wins, the Bills are still on the outside looking in, and the Redskins (5-10) are looking forward to the draft. "Dick's been No. 1 most of the year," Gray said. "You look at that team, sitting 14-1, it's great. But all three of the guys who were here last year landed on their feet and we all showed we can handle our own business."'

Marker Bills steel for one huge game [4:59 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'For the Bills to be still in a position to make the NFL playoffs on the final day of the regular season, dozens upon dozens of factors had to fall perfectly for them over the past two months. More than anything, they had to get their own act together, then hope for some divine intervention.'

Marker Inside slant [4:58 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"I don't know if anybody wants to play the Bills. We've been on a run," cornerback Troy Vincent said. "We've played well consistently over the past couple of weeks in all three phases, and that's what people are seeing. When you have all three phases playing well, that's a difficult team to beat."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [4:57 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'What makes Evans so prolific right now isn't just his speed, Mularkey said, but his toughness. He isn't intimidated by any coverage he sees or by physical tactics of defensive backs.'

Marker Notes, quotes [4:56 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'When asked about Donahoe's comment that the Steelers made a mistake by firing him, Cowher was upfront in a conference call with Western New York beat writers on Wednesday. "Like I said, I can't speak for him. I'm not bringing things out of the closet and I don't hold grudges," Cowher said. "In this business, and if you stay in this business long enough, sometimes those things are going to happen. I feel like I'm working for the best owner in football and we're trying to win a championship here. I don't hold grudges and I have nothing negative to say about him. If Tom still feels that way, that's Tom's feelings. I can't change that, I can only tell you what I feel."'

Marker Pittsburgh (14-1) at Buffalo (9-6) [4:55 AM]
AP reports: 'Looking to join the 1992 San Diego Chargers as the only teams to make the postseason after an 0-4 start, the Bills have won their last six games by an average of 23.2 points. ``We put ourselves in a bind starting 0-4, but nobody panicked,'' safety Lawyer Milloy said. ``We're getting stronger. ... I know there's probably some teams right now that don't want us to get in.'''

Marker Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers [4:54 AM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'But the playoff-juiced crowd at the Ralph will inspire the Bills to a tough, hard-fought 17-13 win.'

Marker Villarrial Misses Practice [4:53 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'He missed Wednesday's practice with a sore abdomen. Travis Henry is listed as questionable, but he lightly jogged on his own. Jason Peters did practice sparingly and is questionable with a sore hamstring.'

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December 29, 2004

Marker First Round Picks Shine in Rookie Season [9:31 PM] reports: If the early results are any indication, the two teams set to battle in Orchard Park this weekend may have actually benefited the most from their prized top picks. After Manning and Rivers were quickly off the board, Miami (Ohio) quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 11th overall pick in the draft. Just two selections later, Wisconsin receiver Lee Evans became the fourth receiver taken overall in the draft by the Buffalo Bills.

Marker Season On The Line Sunday [9:29 PM] reports: '“We realize this is a big game, but at the same time the last five, six games have been big games for us so we know exactly what to expect, we just got to go out and play,” wide receiver Eric Moulds explained.'

Marker Mularkey facing former team with playoffs on the line [9:27 PM]
AP reports: '``The most important thing when you are going through that kind of period is the guy standing in front of the team needs to remain a pillar,'' Wyche said. ``He can't be blowing in the wind, and he didn't. ... He kept our eye on the ball. He was like a veteran coach.'''

Marker Despite 13-game winning streak, Roethlisberger all but certain to rest [5:10 PM]
AP reports: 'Roethlisberger sat out the Steelers' practice Wednesday with bruised rib cartilage and, while he hasn't been officially ruled out, the rookie quarterback will do little more Sunday than stand along the sidelines wearing a white ski cap.'

Marker Buffalo Bills Conference Calls [2:55 PM] reports: Q: (To Mike Mularkey): What was the talk around town during the losing streak at the beginning of the season, and also the talk in the locker room and among your coaches? I hear that there was no panic setting in, at least among the organization.
A: I don’t know what the talk was around town because I literally have not even seen my house in the daylight, let alone know what is going on around town. I don’t know good or bad. There was no panic button. The biggest chore that I had was to try to make these guys understand not to be influenced by outside sources. That it is easy to do because they are in it a lot more, the environment with the fans, media, they are the ones that are trying to influence you to say you are good or bad. They had to believe what was going on in this building and they never lost sight of that. That is a credit to them.'

Marker 'Throwaway' games could slow momentum [1:40 PM]
ESPN reports: 'So there is definitely something to be said for momentum. And that clearly makes teams such as Buffalo, Carolina and New Orleans dangerous first-round playoff foes. None of the three might even qualify for the 2004 playoff pool, since each needs a win on Sunday, coupled with some outside assistance. Teams that have already received their postseason invitations, though, don't want to see the Bills, Saints or Panthers on their opening-round dance cards, that's for sure.'

Marker Offense keeps Bills in high gear [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Anybody have any questions after watching the last six games?'

Marker Bills vs. Steelers Preview [6:04 AM] reports: You couldn't have scripted a better story in Hollywood. The Bills end the regular season at home against the Steelers in a game filled with possibilities and a reunion of many coaches and front office people. It's there for the taking, the Bills have won six straight and a win against the best team in the league will give the Bills a shot at the playoffs if the Jets or Broncos lose. Mike Mularkey, Tom Clements, Tom Donahoe, and Tom Modrak will be renewing acquaintances.

Marker Van Pelt contacts Wannstedt about possible job [5:02 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Former Pitt quarterback Alex Van Pelt has enjoyed working as a color analyst on Buffalo Bills radio broadcasts, but he has a coaching itch he said needs scratching.'

Marker Wednesday's Pittsburgh Coverage [5:01 AM] reports:
Cowher: Approach is same as it always is (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Scott may replace Townsend (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Steelers fans can rock to this band's fight song (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Roethlisberger won't play Sunday (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
Van Pelt contacts Wannstedt about possible job (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
Cowher not interested in getting Bettis to 1,000 yards (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
Steelers salute man's charitable work (Beaver County Times)
Steelers will have new faces in lineup (Washington Observer Reporter)
With or without Big Ben, Cowher taking game seriously (McKeesport Daily News)
Roethlisberger questionable for Sunday's regular-season finale (AP)
Roethlisberger questionable for regular-season finale (The Sports Network)
Head Coach Bill Cowher's Press Conference (
Vote for Ben for Rookie of the Week (
Steelers Pre-Game Notes (
Bills Pre-Game Notes (

Marker Baker gives Bills a boost [5:00 AM]
Cherry Hill Courier Post reports: 'Undrafted rookie safety Rashad Baker came off the bench Sunday as the Bills rolled to a 41-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers - Buffalo's sixth straight win and eighth in the last nine games. Baker, a Woodrow Wilson High School graduate, had one assisted tackle and one pass deflection on defense. The University of Tennessee product also contributed an assisted tackle on special teams.'

Marker Offense rages, but soaring Bills riding Gray's ball-hawks [4:59 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'What Jerry Gray and his players are doing is special. My only question is: When do we start to acknowledge it?'

December 28, 2004

Marker Rookie WR Evans catching on with surging Bills [10:03 PM]
AP reports: '''At certain times you just feel like it's just you, and everything's against you,'' Evans said. ''It's certainly been a 180-degree turn.'''

Marker Steelers-Bills game offers compelling story lines [5:05 PM]
East Valley Tribune reports: 'In September, Buffalo was 0-4, and playoff chatter would have elicited a one-word response that is the same as its coach’s last name. After six wins in a row, however, it has become the team no one wants to play.'

Marker Teams Earn the Right to Rest Players [5:03 PM] reports: 'I don't think the NFL should take any action to make teams play their starters in what are usually meaningless games. If you're good enough to wrap things up early on, then you should have the luxury of doing what you believe is best for your team.'

Marker Roethlisberger questionable for Sunday's regular-season finale [4:22 PM]
AP reports: 'Cowher said his plans for the game would not change even if another playoff berth were not dependent on the outcome. ``This is not about what we owe anybody. It's what we owe ourselves. This is how you play the game,'' he said. ``We've got to play the game the way we know how to play the game. Those aren't things you can turn on and off, and if you think you can turn it on and off you're going to be mistaken and be led down a road that's going to be very disappointing.'''

Marker Head Coach Bill Cowher's Press Conference [3:17 PM] reports: 'Let me just say this in regard to this football game, certainly we are looking at the playoffs and we will certainly keep that in mind as it relates to the health of our players. But we are not going to approach this game any differently than we have approached the other 15 games. I am a firm believer that you are who you are. We are a football team that we when we step on that field, we are going to play our way. It is for no other reason than that. I think the last thing you can do is try to go into any football game and diminish the importance of it. Certainly, you are going to keep the big picture in mind, but we are going to go out there, and we are preparing this week as we always have to go up there and win this football game. It is going to be a big challenge for us because certainly Buffalo, with all the things that they have at stake, they are the winners of six games in a row, eight of the last nine games, they are a very formidable opponent and they can be an opponent that we see somewhere else down the line. We are not going to diminish that. We will get our week off. This to me is a little bit different that if we were playing in six or seven days. If you are playing that first week, then maybe you would approach it differently. But I look at the fact that we have a bye week. We are going to get our time off. We have to go up and play football. That is what we are planning on doing.'

Marker Roethlisberger questionable for regular-season finale [3:16 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher announced at his Tuesday press conference that rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is questionable for Sunday's regular-season finale against Buffalo because of bruised rib cartilage.'

Marker Cousineau stayed close to home [3:16 PM] reports: '“We waited down in the hotel lobby for them, but they never showed up. They didn’t even call,” Cousineau said. “I didn’t need to have my rear end kissed by the Bills, but the way they treated me was about as rude as it gets. For whatever reason, the Bills were playing hardball with me right out of the gate. Barber had played with the Bills, and I found out later that he didn’t treat any players very well. This was at a time when a lot of players were leaving Buffalo.”'

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09/10 New York Jets 1:00 pm
09/17 @ Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm
09/24 Denver Broncos 1:00 pm
10/01 @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00 pm
10/08 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 pm
10/29 Oakland Raiders 1:00 pm
11/2 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/12 New Orlean Saints 1:00 pm
11/19 @ San Diego Chargers 4:05 pm
11/26 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/3 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/10 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
12/17 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
12/24 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/31 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm

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