Bills' Flutie Still Stumped by Benching [7:55 AM]
New York Daily News reports: '"It was very frustrating and it made for a very unsettling offseason for me, personally," Flutie said yesterday in conference call with New York reporters. "I guess we weren't winning by enough." Flutie, who will start for the injured Rob Johnson (shoulder) Sunday against the Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium, led the Bills to a 10-5 record last season. He was benched in the regular-season finale and the AFC wild-card playoff game in Tennessee. "I went to the Pro Bowl in '98, and I was the first alternate at the Pro Bowl last year, yet I'm not good enough to start for the team in the playoffs," he said.'
Never-say die Jets: Anything's possible [7:54 AM]
New York Post reports: 'A win over the Bills Sunday would make the Jets 7-1 at the halfway point in the regular season, assure them of sole possession of first place for another week and make them 5-0 against AFC East competition - a huge tiebreaker factor. It, too, would leave the Bills at 3-5 at the turn with a debilitating 0-4 division record, including 0-2 against the Jets. In essence, a Jet win over the Bills Sunday would allow the Jets to just about bury Buffalo the way they've buried the 2-6 Patriots with a season series sweep.'
Snippy Flutie feels slighted [7:53 AM]
New York Post reports: 'Flutie, who's obviously not a real fan of the Bills' organization for the way he's been treated, was asked if he's playing for his future. "I'm under contract for another two years and it's very difficult for them to release me because of salary-cap situations," he said.'
Groh denies quote [7:51 AM]
New York Post reports: 'Al Groh and a number of Jet players yesterday vehemently denied a report that Groh, in his halftime tirade Monday night, called the players "pathetic losers." Groh called the report "totally inaccurate," adding, "I'm not going to repeat what I said, but that's nothing I would ever think of saying to those players. It's nothing that I would ever say. It's a complete and total fabrication." Several Jet players were asked yesterday if they heard those words and none said they did.'
It's Back to Earth [7:50 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'The Jets, 4-0 against AFC East opponents, face the Bills Sunday in Buffalo in a game Groh marked down on his calendar long ago as one of the toughest of the season. It is certainly a dangerous game, coming off a thrilling comeback and facing a team that linebacker Sam Cowart said is "in a desperate situation." Buffalo is 0-3 in the division and has wilted with three losses in four games after losing to the Jets.'
Anderson's Magnetism Is Catching [7:49 AM]
New York Newsday reports: '"A lot of people talk about me being the most underrated back," Curtis Martin said. "I think Richie [Anderson] is the most underrated back, because he means so much to this team. He's like the motor to this team. Once Richie gets going, a lot of us get going."'
Anderson has caught on as secret weapon [7:48 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: '"Richie [Anderson] is a big-play guy," running back Curtis Martin said. "A lot of people talk about me being the most underrated back. I think Richie is the most underrated back. He means so much to this team. He's like the motor to this team. Once Richie gets going, a lot of us get going."'
Angry Flutie goes off [7:46 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'Bills coach Wade Phillips said he watched the Jets-Dolphins game until the score was 30-7 and was shocked to learn of the Jets' comeback the next morning. "It's just like with Dewey and Truman," Phillips said. "I expected to see it in the papers and it wasn't there." Phillips was an infant in 1948 when the Chicago Tribune mistakenly proclaimed Thomas Dewey the winner over Harry Truman in the Presidential election. ... Sure enough, The Miami Herald ran a headline touting a Dolphins' victory on its Web site early yesterday morning.'
Jets go forward after comeback [7:45 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'In general, the Bills are grumpy about their 3-4 record, with all four losses coming in the last five games. Specifically, they weren't thrilled about nearly upsetting the unbeaten Vikings at Minnesota before falling, 31-27, Sunday. "Especially when you come off a loss," said quarterback Doug Flutie, who will start a second straight game for the injured Rob Johnson, "you've got to get a win and get the bad taste of the loss out of your mouth. We can't wait till Sunday." And while the Bills aren't saying anything provocative this week, some expressed irritation after they held the Jets to 234 "legitimate" yards and one "genuine" touchdown in Game 3, only to be beaten by Kevin Williams' kickoff-return touchdown, Testaverde's 45-yard Hail Mary scoring pass to cornerback-turned-receiver Marcus Coleman, and their own special-teams gaffes.'
Groh admits to error [7:43 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'Al Groh concurred with several commentators who accused him of committing an error during the Jets' Monday night comeback win over Miami. "It was a mistake by the head coach," Groh said Wednesday of his decision to go for two points after the Jets had cut their deficit to 30-13 early in the fourth quarter. "I don't have a chart. I just have a gut and a heart and I try to use those. I just made a mistake. It wasn't good thinking."'
Tight end hurting [7:42 AM]
Jets Confidential reports: 'Two Jets players who were listed a questionable last week are doubtful this week. Tight end Anthony Becht's knee has gotten worse and he likely won't play against Buffalo. John Abraham definitely won't play because of an abdominal strain in his stomach.'
Bills-Oilers playoff game earns the title [8:54 PM]
NFL Insider reports: 'I was at the greatest comeback in NFL history. I was sitting in the press box, rubbing my eyes and shaking my head in disbelief, just as I did several times Monday night at Giants Stadium. But what happened Monday night did not equal what happened on the afternoon of Jan. 3, 1993 in Orchard Park, N.Y. Not in terms of sheer drama and absolute jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart-stopping shock.'
Riemersma's 50-50 to return for Sunday's game [8:38 PM]
AP reports: '"I feel I'm right at 50-50. It felt a lot better than last week," Riemersma said Wednesday after practicing with Buffalo's first unit for the first time since his injury. "But I think the true test will be tomorrow on how I feel. I worked it pretty good today, but I'm going to see how it jumps back tomorrow and take it day to day."'
Who's Got Randy? [10:42 AM]
Buffalo Post reports: "I'm going to take the blame," said Irvin, whose third-down holding penalty on Moss sustained Minnesota's other touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. "I didn't do the things I on that last play that I needed to.
Breakdown In Minneapolis [10:41 AM]
Buffalo Post reports: "Too many mistakes," said linebacker Sam Rogers, whose third-quarter interception set up what looked like the clinching Buffalo touchdown. "I hate to say that week in and week out, (but) that's what's killing us. Mistakes always seem to wind up as touchdowns."
Collins says Riemersma's ready [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips isn't quite ready to say it, but tight end Bobby Collins will: Jay Riemersma will return for Sunday's game against the New York Jets in Ralph Wilson Stadium. "He'll be back this week," Collins said.'
Bills' hopes for playoffs are fading [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I wouldn't say the window's starting to close," linebacker Keith Newman said. "There's still a lot of things that gotta happen in the division. The Jets gotta come here this weekend. Miami's gotta come here the beginning of December. And Indy hasn't played either of them. "But you don't want to count on the other teams."'
Flutie's days in Buffalo should be numbered . . . no matter what [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Doug turned 38 Monday. He's too old for this team. It needs time to grow and he doesn't have that sort of time left to watch them grow. Beyond that Rob Johnson needs to play in order to develop. He hasn't had enough starts to constitute an entire season. He needs to be allowed to make mistakes, to see every situation a couple of times, gain the experience necessary to operate as Flutie did Sunday.'
It's imperative: Beat Jets [6:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'The teams that Buffalo has lost to on the road -- Jets, Dolphins and Vikings -- are a combined 17-2 and the Bills were in every game. In fact, the Bills have outgained six of their seven opponents so far in total yardage and tied the other (Miami with 254). "Certainly, we gave a great effort," coach Wade Phillips said of the loss to the Vikings, in which the Bills rang up 406 yards and controlled the clock for 36 minutes but yielded two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. "We've played some tough teams on the road and we could've beaten all three. But, we've got to find a way to beat them.'
Flutie cool in dome, but tests to come [6:11 AM]
D and C reports: 'Flutie has it all over Johnson in terms of experience, coolness under pressure, and pocket awareness. There were times in this game when I'm sure Johnson would have taken an untimely sack, or would have needed to waste a timeout because he couldn't communicate the play properly. This, of course is unacceptable. Johnson has to learn to deal with adversity, and he has to learn to cope with noise and to win on the road, something he's done only once in five career road starts as a Bill. That said, Flutie did not win the game.'
Even Flutie can't offset Bills' deficiencies [6:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'Flutie is 17-9 as starting QB for Buffalo and Johnson is 7-7 over that span. The Flutie-Johnson debate seems pretty simple to me: Short-term gain vs. long-term potential. Flutie is the more experienced, charismatic and entertaining player. At this stage of their careers, he might win a game or two more per season than Johnson. It is understandable that the majority of fans would prefer to go with the proven commodity at QB. Johnson has the physical talent to win in the NFL but still has lots to learn. He's not going to develop sitting on the bench. The Bills are a relatively young team and figure to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender in a year or two -- assuming they don't lose Eric Moulds to free agency and can shore up the offensive line. Quarterback is the most important position, and from an organizational standpoint it is logical to have him play now to grow with the rest of the team.'
Bills floundering as defense coughs up latest loss [8:03 PM]
AP reports: '"We just made some mental errors," second-year linebacker Keith Newman said on Monday. "We didn't close things out in the fourth quarter. We didn't put the stamp on the victory."'
Flutie Flakes are a breakfast hit again [1:36 PM]
AP reports: 'Since the seemingly unsinkable Flutie Flakes were introduced in 1998, 1,945,500 boxes of the frosted cereal have been snapped up. The original red box remains the best seller, with 1,152,000 boxes sold. Fans have also snapped up 680,000 Flutie Flakes chocolate bars, which are made by Buffalo's Fowlers candy company; 86,512 boxes of Flutie Fruitie Snacks; 9,811 Flutie T-shirts; 570 baseball caps; and 362 mini-footballs.'
Postgame Report [1:24 PM]
Viking Update reports: 'All week, the Vikings talked about starting strong and playing 60 minutes of football. It didn't happen for the Vikings, but they didn't need it to win against the Bills.'
It wasn't the offense that betrayed the Bills [1:20 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'If anybody had told the Bills' coaching staff that its offense would go into Minneapolis, score 27 points, roll up over 400 yards, commit only one turnover and enjoy an 11-minute-plus edge in time of possession, a victory would have been assumed. But, alas, the Bills didn't win their second straight game. They didn't steal back the victory they let slip away to Indianapolis three weeks ago. Instead, Buffalo saw its record slip to 3-4 and its playoff odds grow even longer with barely half a season to go. And the reason is, for the second straight week, the Bills were betrayed by their defense.'
Flutie Did His Job, But Johnson Is Still The Bills' Best Bet [1:17 PM]
Jamestown Post Journal reports: 'The calls to talk-radio stations will be overwhelmingly in favor of keeping Flutie as the starter, even after Johnson returns in two or three weeks. They'll rave about Flutie's poise, his command of the offense and his ability to avoid a sack. And, to be honest, they'll have a point. Flutie demonstrated all of those in a rather remarkable performance. But it says here that if Coach Wade Phillips, who isn't afraid to make the tough decision (remember he benched Flutie last year before the Tennessee playoff game), will stick to his convictions and return Johnson to the starting position. He has to. Why? Because this team is not attempting to make one last run toward the Super Bowl, as it was two years ago.'
Spunky Bills spiked by Vikes' rally [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills had an opportunity to knock off the last of the National Football League's undefeated teams Sunday, but failed.'
Bills beaten to finish line again [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills almost played a great game Sunday. A couple more of these "almost" games and their playoff hopes are going to be history.'
Defensive backs taken to school [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The numbers might say otherwise, but the Bills' secondary actually held its own with Moss and Carter for most of the game. The defensive backs jammed them at the line of scrimmage to knock them off their pass routes and effectively took away the slant routes, one of the Vikings' pet plays. Moss and Carter had just one catch between them before each made a 28-yard grab to set up a field goal at the end of the first half. Then came the second half.'
Flutie shows Bills have plenty in reserve [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'At an average of $5 million per season, Flutie is probably the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL. Against the Vikings he played like it. He deserved the victory.'
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