First-place Niners try to focus on Bills [8:16 AM]
Oakland Tribune reports: 'As for the game itself, the 49ers (8-2) would do well to take the Bills (1-9) seriously. For one thing, it's not that long ago that they resided in the same low-rent neighborhood in the standings that Buffalo currently inhabits. Additionally, the Bills nearly knocked off Miami last week before falling 34-27. And the Bills have a pair of dangerous receivers in Eric Moulds and Peerless Price, who have combined for 71 catches for 1,187 yards.'
Niners give Bills new plan to follow [5:28 AM]
D and C reports: '"We've been playing physical the last several weeks and we've got to go out and do it again," Williams said. "That's the mark of being a pro, playing hard each week and hopefully gaining some experience with our younger guys."'
There's still a little Buffalo in DeHaven [5:27 AM]
D and C reports: '"Maybe before the ballgame there will be some feelings of nostalgia, but really as we get going it becomes a football game, so we're competing and we want to win."'
Q & A with Aaron Schobel [5:26 AM]
D and C reports: '[Q:] When you were drafted, what word came immediately to mind when you heard you were going to Buffalo? [A:] "Cold. But to tell you the truth, I'd rather be cold than hot. I hate the heat."'
Scouting report [5:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills are merely a blip on the 49ers' screen and they could be ripe for a letdown.'
ESPN Game Preview [10:16 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Can the Bills' solid run defense (?) slow down the Garrison Hearst comeback parade? I don't see the Bills slowing Hearst down. The Niner OL is doing a great job, and Hearst is having an amazing year catching the ball out of the backfield.'
Shayne Graham answers e-mails [10:03 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: New Billls kicker Shayne Graham took time out of getting adjusted to Buffalo to answer some e-mails from fans.
Larry Centers promotes 'Toys for Tots' [9:33 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Buffalo Bill Larry Centers spent his evening off this week supporting the Marine Corp Reserve Annual Toys for Tots program at the Walden Galleria Mall. Joined with several members of the local Reserves, the Bills fullback autographed team pictures and helped collect toys for needy children this holiday season.
49ers reclaiming glory, Bills not so much [8:13 PM]
AP reports: '"Last year, we were in sort of the same situation (as the Bills), and we started to turn it around," 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson said. "So this could be their turnaround point, and hopefully we can shut them down and make sure they don't get too much confidence."'
Ex-Bills aide isn't bitter [8:00 PM]
Sacramento Bee reports: '"I think it ended up pretty good for me. I had no complaints at all. I didn't think I'd get fired, but in this league, they like to point fingers and find somebody to blame for those things. You would hope that 13 years of fairly good work would make up for one play. But you move on."'
Without a doubt, Garcia wins over skeptics [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'GMs around the league must be kicking themselves, wondering how they missed on this guy.'
Little to choose between NFL's best and worst [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Maguire, a former Bill who still lives locally during the season and hosts a local cable show, isn't surprised by the team's collapse. But did he really expect this much of one? "When I looked at what they did in the preseason and saw the guys go down with injuries, yeah," said Maguire. "If you don't have an offensive line, you can't play. And they don't."'
Upon further review, Bills feel jinxed [7:55 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Williams is almost as futile (1-7) on challenges as his team (1-9) is in games.'
Homecoming king [7:53 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I tell you, all that this family has gone through, Jeff has kept us together," Bob Garcia said this week in an interview. "I don't know how he handled it so well, but he did. "He always stayed positive and that's probably the biggest reason he's been able to handle everything so well in his life. He has worked tremendously hard for it."'
Hearst is the Niners' unsung hero [7:51 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Back in the lineup after two seasons and no less than four surgeries to repair his left ankle, Hearst has emerged as the comeback story of the NFL season. With 776 yards on 147 carries through 10 games, Hearst is giving the Niners offence the versatility it lacked while he sat out recovering from a blood disorder that essentially caused a portion of his ankle bone to die.'
Bills' loss especially good one for 49ers [7:31 AM]
San Francisco Chronicle reports: '"The most wonderful years of my life were in Buffalo," the 53-year-old Kansas native [Bruce DeHaven] said.'
Revitalized defense is the key to 49ers' resurgence [7:29 AM]
San Francisco Chronicle reports: 'The 49ers' offense has become an explosive one, with Jeff Garcia throwing to Terrell Owens and Garrison Hearst back in game- breaking form, but the 49ers will go as far as their defense takes them.'
Owens practices, but status is in doubt [7:28 AM]
San Jose Mercury News reports: '"Day to day,'' Owens said when asked to assess his status.'
49ers a different bunch from '94 [7:27 AM]
Contra Costa Times reports: 'The entire NFL is different, too. The era of dynasties is dead. Teams can rise from the ashes or go up in flames in an instant.'
St. Clair's No. 79 jersey to be retired [7:26 AM]
Contra Costa Times reports: 'Hall of Fame tackle Bob St. Clair is bursting with excitement about having his No. 79 jersey retired by the 49ers at halftime of Sunday night's game against the Buffalo Bills at 3Com Park.'
Owens practices, Mariucci upbeat that he'll play [7:23 AM]
Oakland Tribune reports: 'Up to three inches of rain are predicted for Sunday, which means the game may be played in a quagmire.'
Johnson hopes surgery isn't needed [6:03 AM]
D and C reports: '"The doctor I saw in California said it was a breath away from popping through the skin. It wasn't very good. Hopefully, it will heal correctly and I won't have to have surgery."'
Hearst's comeback 'a miracle' [6:02 AM]
D and C reports: 'Hearst is in the midst of writing the NFL's ultimate comeback story, one whose latest chapter plays out tomorrow night at 3Com Park when the 49ers host the Buffalo Bills.'
Confidence separates young 49ers, Bills [9:09 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Looking at the rosters for the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills, who meet Sunday, both teams are among the youngest in the NFL. The 49ers have 13 rookies and nine second-year players; the Bills have 11 rookies and nine second-year players. What's the difference between the two? Confidence.'
Bills will find 49ers balance overwhelming [1:21 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Even when the San Francisco 49ers were struggling to escape the salary-cap jail in which the Buffalo Bills landed last spring, their offense could cause problems for anybody. But San Francisco is 8-2 and on top of the NFC West two years after crashing to 4-12 in 1999 because the 49ers defense is finally catching up. That can only be bad news for the hapless Buffalo Bills, who head into Sunday night's nationally televised game still reeling from their collapse last week against Miami. None of San Francisco's first seven wins were by more than a 10-point margin, with five coming by six or less -- three in overtime. But last week, playing on the road, the 49ers harassed Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning into throwing four interceptions. San Francisco's 40-21 win sent Colts coach Jim Mora into one of his post-game tirades and likely ended Indy's realistic playoff hopes. Buffalo, of course, said goodbye to such hopes well before Halloween. While plenty of numbers hint at reasons for the Bills' 1-9 record, the most significant is minus-12. That's Buffalo's giveaway/takeaway ratio, and it ties the Bills with Indy, Miami and Minnesota at the bottom of the National Football League.'
Donahoe upbeat as Bills struggle [1:16 PM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: '"This is a very good situation and will be a great one when we get the team going," Donahoe said. "We have a tremendous owner who's willing to go out and pay for players. We have a great situation with our stadium and facilities. Now, all we have to do is start winning. And we will."'
49ers have a long-running memory of former coach [10:39 AM]
Sacramento Bee reports: 'The presence of longtime offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick is felt around the 49ers' practice facility every day. He coached in San Francisco for 21 years before he died in spring 2000 of bile duct cancer. The team kept his locker intact under a glass encasing inside the coaches' locker room. Every year, the top offensive lineman earns an award named in his honor. The 49ers even have two running plays named after him.'
Garcia named NFC's Player of the Month [10:38 AM]
Sacramento Bee reports: 'Garcia threw for 12 touchdowns in November and led the 49ers to a 4-0 record, including two fourth-quarter comebacks. He did it all while wearing a brace on his left knee following a knee sprain in Chicago on Oct. 28.'
49ers' DeHaven not bitter in facing his former team [9:49 AM]
Contra Costa Times reports: '"There are some people in the organization I'm looking forward to seeing," said DeHaven, a Livermore resident. "I can honestly say there's not one person in that entire organization I hold any ill will to at all."'
Garcia collects award despite playing in pain [9:48 AM]
Contra Costa Times reports: 'Garcia completed 95 of 145 passes -- a 65.5 percentage -- for 1,032 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions this month while leading the 49ers to a 4-0 record, including two fourth-quarter comeback wins. Not bad for a guy who's been battling elbow pain all season and wrenched his knee Oct. 28 in Chicago.'
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