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Buffalo Bills News - September 29, 2001

Marker Starting Not Important to Hampton [9:19 PM]
Pittsburgh.com reports: 'Analysts considered Casey Hampton to be something of a "reach" when he was drafted 19th in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers last April.'

Marker Lewis Likes the Blitz [9:18 PM]
Pittsburgh.com reports: 'The Bills' most critical injury, however, may have been the torn Achilles tendon suffered by middle linebacker Sam Cowart in the opener. Cowart, who made the Pro Bowl after making 181 tackles in only 12 games last season, was expected to be the lynchpin for Williams' new 4-3 defense. He was replaced last week by rookie Brandon Spoon on running downs and by Kenyatta Wright on passing downs. Spoon was injured in the game and will join Cowart on the sidelines today. "I'm not crying that he's not playing," said Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. "I never wish injury on a player. I just hope he recovers 100 percent from it. But he's one of those guys where you kind of give a sigh of relief when you hear he's not playing."'

Marker Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-2) Preview [6:08 PM]
AP reports: Buffalo's defense couldn't have played much worse than it did during the first two games. The Bills will have to improve in that area without their best defensive player. Buffalo takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ralph Wilson Stadium in a matchup of winless teams.

Marker Bills' Donahoe psyched about facing Steelers [3:30 PM]
AP reports: 'It's no wonder Donahoe was less candid discussing payback against the Steelers. "We have our issues we're trying to address. That's where our concentration is," Donahoe said. "But as far as me being a factor in the game, I'm not a factor." But in some ways he is.As the first executive to hold the title of president in franchise history, Donahoe is front and centre in overseeing a new Bills era. Since taking over in January following John Butler's dismissal, Donahoe has brought in a new coaching staff, headed by rookie Gregg Williams, defused a quarterback controversy by releasing Doug Flutie in favour of Rob Johnson, and is attempting to rebuild the Bills from scratch.'

Marker Bills make roster move [2:55 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'The Bills today announced offensive tackle Jon Carman has been signed to the 53-man roster.'

Marker Defense ready to go against Johnson [2:35 PM]
Steelers Digest reports: '"If he gets a little excited, he'll get out of the pocket and scramble on you and hurt you that way," said Smith. "You do get a little excited when he holds the ball, but you have to be conscious of getting overaggressive and he takes it up the field and the defensive backs are running downfield and he's getting a big gain on you. You can't let him sit there and pick you apart. If you get some pressure and get in his face and disrupt his throws, you can get some interceptions and knockdowns."'

Marker Donahoe downplays any extra incentive against Steelers [9:20 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'For Donahoe, who started in the Steelers' organization in the 1960s as the team's ball boy, this game has to conjure bittersweet feelings. Donahoe's tenure with the Steelers ended in January 2000 when it was determined that his relationship with Cowher had deteriorated to a point that owners Dan and Art Rooney II felt they had to decide which one must go.'

Marker Moulds will play; tackles questionable [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If Fina and Jennings can't go or are limited, rookie Marques Sullivan, who has been working at right tackle, will see time at tackle.'

Marker CBS draws the line on technology in smaller markets [9:18 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If the Buffalo Bills continue to flounder, Buffalo television viewers will be suffering through more than just the losses. They also will suffer through some games in which CBS doesn't appear to be trying its hardest to provide quality telecasts. During the Indianapolis Colts' 42-26 demolition of the Bills on Sunday, CBS didn't use the technology that helps viewers see where teams have to go to make first downs. In the Bills' opener two weeks earlier against the Saints, Fox also didn't use the technology.'

Marker Bills fans alerted to Route 219 work [9:17 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Fans heading to the Bills game Sunday on the westbound New York State Thruway are being asked to consider alternate routes to the stadium, Erie County Sheriff Patrick M. Gallivan announced Friday.'

Marker Young OT seeks right answers [6:10 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'The education of Marvell Smith in advanced offensive tackle play took additional steps the past three weeks. Russ Grimm, his coach, did everything but paint the proper foot placements on the practice field for Smith.'

Marker Steelers' Great Hall finally has grand debut [6:08 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'The 40,000-square-foot hall contains a food court, lockers used by Steelers Hall of Fame players, and jerseys and other artifacts from both Steelers and Pitt football history. It also has banners, murals and 20-foot-high reproductions of the Steelers' four Super Bowl trophies.'

Marker Steelers Report [6:07 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'The Buffalo Bills are advising their many Canadian fans to arrive on this side of the border tonight if they plan to attend the game tomorrow because of the long delays at border crossings.'

Marker Bailey no longer awestruck by opposition [6:06 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Opposing Bailey will be John Fina, a 10-year veteran, a former No. 1 pick and a player with 120 NFL starts on his resume. "If you look at it from a fan's standpoint, which I was just a year ago, yeah, you're thinking ... 'That's Tony Boselli,' " Bailey said of his debut. "Once you start playing, you don't think about that at all, you've got to play ball. I'm a defensive end, and he's an offensive lineman. That's as far as it goes."'

Marker Donahoe still quiet about Cowher feud [5:55 AM]
D and C reports: 'Tomorrow, Donahoe's old team and old nemesis come to Buffalo, and Donahoe is doing his best to downplay the game. "The game has nothing to do with me and Bill Cowher, it has to do with the two teams on the field," he said. But he did admit, "Obviously anytime you've worked somewhere and were raised in a city, the game has a little extra meaning for you, I'm not going to deny that."'

Marker Now it's must-win time for Johnson, Williams [5:53 AM]
D and C reports: 'Remember Johnson's diving touchdown to beat Kansas City last season, a play that was termed his "defining" moment? Turns out it was a moment frozen in time. Since then, Johnson has lost the last six games he has started, including this season's ugly losses to the Saints and Colts. During that stretch, he has thrown three touchdown passes vs. eight interceptions, been sacked 29 times, suffered a half-dozen injuries and gone through more ice than Barry Bonds has baseballs.'

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September 28, 2001

Marker Moulds practices, confident he will play Sunday [8:20 PM]
AP reports: '"No way am I 100 percent," Moulds said. "But I'm going to go out there and play because I only know one way to play, and that's play hard and play physical."'

Marker Steelers re-start season with impressive win over Buffalo [4:25 PM]
Stillers.com reports: 'The Stillers will go into Buffalo and show they are READY TO DO SOME DAMAGE in the AFC. The Bus rolls on for a 120 yards and 2 TDs while the defense BATTERS Rob Johnson into submission. Stillers win 26-14 and (finally) head to their new home base to battle the, ahem, 1st place Bungles.'

Marker Steelers Want to Forget Bad Loss With a Big Win [1:37 PM]
McKeesport Daily News reports: 'It was bad enough that the Steelers have had to live with a loss the past three weeks, but they had to live with, for all intents and purposes, a bad loss.'

Marker Bills plan to hound 'The Bus' [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Williams' Titans defenses did a great job against Bettis, holding him to an average of 46 yards in seven games. "He's a downhill, off-tackle runner," Williams said. "Jerome is a guy who's really strong at the point of attack, and he gets stronger as the game gets on." Bettis disputes that. He said it's more of a case that defenders get weaker from him pounding on them all day.'

Marker Moulds may return to practice today [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Wide receiver Eric Moulds and tackles John Fina and Jonas Jennings were held out of practice again Thursday, but Buffalo Bills coach Gregg Williams has not ruled the starters out for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Williams said Thursday the three players have improved, and he is hopeful they will practice today.'

Marker Colts have model offense for Bills [5:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'When a play is whistled dead, rather than go back to a huddle Manning takes his team right to the line of scrimmage. What are the advantages of this? Because he can snap the ball at any moment, the opposing defense can't risk trying to substitute or it could be whistled -- like the Bills were -- for a too many men on the field penalty. By leaving the same players on the field, the defense not only grows fatigued, it can be caught in bad matchup situations. While he's at the line, Manning can scan the defense to see who's on the field and where they're lining up which gives him a greater chance of making a prudent play call.'

Marker Moulds sits again [5:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'Coach Gregg Williams held out hope that Moulds would be able to work out today and be ready for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh.'

Marker Smith apologetic for grabbing Johnson's helmet [5:10 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: '"That's just part of the game," he said. "I don't know how he's taking it, but I just come to play hard. If he misinterpreted it, I'm sorry for that. It was nothing intentional."'

Marker Rusty Steelers can't let Bills get on track [5:03 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'But it isn't rustiness that concerns the Steelers. It's frustration. That can surface when a defense faces a team that can't protect the quarterback, can't get the ball to their best wide receiver and has an offensive line that is hurting both in performance and health.'

Marker Steelers Report [5:02 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'Bills right tackle Jonas Jennings did not practice yesterday and is not expected to play. That means former Steelers tackle Kris Farris, a No. 3 draft choice in 1999, could start against his former team.'

September 27, 2001

Marker Stillers-Bills: Who can minimize mistakes? [9:48 PM]
Stillers.com reports: 'Expectations should be low for this game....it's going to be sloppy and the victor will be the team that self-destructs less. Despite the slop, I'll still be back in my glory watching Stiller football again! Look for Pittsburgh to get back in the AFC Central hunt with a 16-13 victory.'

Marker Moulds remains questionable for Steelers game [5:51 PM]
AP reports: Receiver Eric Moulds, nursing a sprained left shoulder, missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game with Pittsburgh.

Coach Gregg Williams held out hope that Moulds would be able to work out on Friday and be ready for Sunday's game. If not, the Bills (0-2) will use Peerless Price as their deep threat, and elevate sparingly used Avion Black as their third receiver.

Marker Steelers DE Smith brushes off Bills' tough talk [3:44 PM]
USA Today reports: Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith laughed when told that Buffalo Bills quarterback Rob Johnson sent a pointed message his way.

The particular play in question was Smith's 8-yard sack of Johnson.

In the process, Smith ripped Johnson's helmet off by the face mask. He was penalized, but a visibly shaken Johnson threw an interception to Deshea Townsend on the next play.

Marker Game Prediction - First win of the year [3:42 PM]
USA Today reports: Pittsburgh (minus 3) at Buffalo

Gregg Williams, inspired by the movie, has ordered an official Bubble Boy uniform to help keep quarterback Rob Johnson healthy.

BILLS, 24-20 (ATS: BILLS)

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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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