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Buffalo Bills News - December 30, 2002

Marker Bengals Report Card [5:29 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: 'COACHING, F: The players laid a big egg in what was likely Dick LeBeau's last game as head coach. The team was uninspired. The only time the players showed spark was after Bills linebacker London Fletcher took three cheap shots.'

Marker Bengals game by the numbers [5:28 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '4th, 6th, 5th, 5th, 5th, 4th: Bengals' finishes in their own division the past six seasons.'

Marker Bengals in 3 words: Stink, stank, stunk [5:27 AM]
Dayton Daily News reports: 'Bengals linebacker Takeo Spikes got some love from Bills fans who want him to sign here as an unrestricted free agent in 2003. Don't worry, Bengals fans. The club is prepared to use the "transition player" tag on Spikes, meaning the Bengals can match any offer sheet he signs with another club. "They (Bills fans) were telling me, 'This is where you belong,' ’’ Spikes said. "It was nice to know."'

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December 29, 2002

Marker Game-day notebook: Holmgren offers to give up GM duties [8:49 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: The hottest name being thrown around in the Cincinatti is Tom Modrak, currently working with the Bills (coincidentally Cincy's opponent today). The Buffalo personnel man and former Eagle would be interested in becoming a GM, even in Cincy, if Brown decides to restructure.

Marker Week 17: Tom Donahoe Postgame Quotes [8:01 PM] reports: "I think Gregg did an excellent job and under the circumstances I think that some of the criticism he was taking was unfair and unwarranted. Our coaches in two years have not operated with a full roster. Next year we will. I'm anxious to see them coach and perform with a full complement of players."

Marker Week 17: Bills-Bengals Postgame Quotebook [7:44 PM] reports: "We are disappointed, granted the team did not have a lot of success last year, but I think when we got together as a team and saw what we had we felt like we had a team that could contend and could get into the playoffs and make something happen. So we are disappointed with what has happened this year but at the same time, optimistic looking ahead to next year. I think that we did a lot of things this year that we could build on and we are still a young team."

Marker Bills Close Season With Win [7:43 PM] reports: Drew Bledsoe hooked up with Eric Moulds for 10 touchdowns this season. This is 92nd occasion since 1970 that an NFL QB-receiver combo have teamed up for 10+ touchdowns in one season (two other combos in 2002: Jeff Garcia-Terrell Owens, S.F. and Peyton Manning-Marvin Harrison, Ind.)

Marker Bengals end worst [5:16 PM] reports: 'A season dictated by a series of blowouts in the first month of the season fittingly ended in one for the Bengals.'

Marker Bills 27, Bengals 9 [4:17 PM]
AP reports: 'It also was a most discouraging finale for Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna, who came six snaps short of earning a $1.625 million contract bonus. To achieve the bonus, Kitna needed to take part in 61 snaps against Buffalo to appear in 80 percent of Cincinnati's offensive plays this season.'

Marker Buffalo 27, Cincinnati 9 [4:16 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Capping an outstanding first year in Buffalo, Bledsoe completed 23-of-31 passes for 230 yards to help the Bills (8-8) match a franchise record by registering a five-win improvement over last season.'

Marker Pride is on the line for Bills and Bengals [9:21 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Contrary to widespread speculation, Gregg Williams likely will remain in Buffalo next season. That doesn't mean he's completely safe, but a win over the lowly Bengals should make him a little more secure.'

Marker Around the block [9:21 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He is still a work in progress. He is not St. Louis' Orlando Pace or Seattle's Walter Jones yet. The learning curve is steep for rookie offensive linemen because of all the precise techniques they are required to master.'

Marker End of the line [9:20 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I never thought I'd quit coaching," said Levra, the Buffalo Bills' defensive line coach who is retiring following today's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. "I thought I'd die on the sideline."'

Marker Fans should stop talking nonsense and get off Bledsoe's back [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bledsoe could be the Bills' leader for the next two U.S. presidents. Be happy. There are at least 10 NFL teams without a viable quarterback.'

Marker Feeling down? Look at the Bengals [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'In the team’s first 23 seasons with Paul Brown as coach, general manager or both, Cincinnati was 171-168-1 with two Super Bowl appearances. Under Mike Brown, the Bengals are 55-136 and have never made the playoffs despite drafting in the top 10 nine times.'

Marker Q&A with Ryan Denney [5:09 AM]
D and C reports: '[Q:] How will you spend New Year’s Eve? [A:] “We’ll be driving back to Colorado. Unfortunately, the season has ended a bit early for us.”'

Marker Isolation Booth: TKO Vs. Bledsoe [5:08 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: 'The Bills are reportedly interested in Spikes as a free agent. So is New Orleans.'

Marker Keys to the game [5:07 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: 'Although the Bills were eliminated from playoff contention in last week's 10-0 loss at Green Bay, they desperately want to win today.'

Marker Bengals-Bills by the numbers [5:06 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '52 - Sacks allowed by Buffalo. 23 - Sacks by Bengals defense.'

Marker The Edge - Bengals vs. Bills [5:05 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: 'Bills 27, Bengals 24.'

Marker Little left to play for [5:04 AM]
Dayton Daily News reports: 'The Bills rank fourth in the league in pass defense, allowing just 188.9 yards a game, and Clements leads the way with five interceptions.'

December 28, 2002

Marker Bills buoyed by one thing: Bengals they're not [6:40 PM]
AP reports: '''I can't compare it to Cincinnati, but it definitely starts at the top. And in Cincinnati, their top guys have been the same guys for a while,'' Bills defensive end Chidi Ahanotu said. ''Here, you've got some good people in (Bills president) Tom Donahoe, who've been around a lot of winning organizations. The same with (coach) Gregg Williams. They're consistent in what they do and what they preach, and that is the foundation that you lay to start a winning franchise.'''

Marker Where Are They Now: Ken Jones [11:16 AM] reports: Where is it written that an offensive lineman who is drafted in the second round can not be shifted to the defensive line during his first training camp? Certainly not in Lou Saban’s book.

Marker A Family Affair: Sunday With The Schobel's [11:15 AM] reports: Though this is the first time they've played against each other in the NFL, they are no strangers on the football field. Growing up they played together in both high school (Columbus, TX) and on the same team at Texas Christian in college. The elder Schobel claims there is no additional pressure in literally going up against his sibling.

Marker Buffalo Bills Notebook: Week 17 Quick Hits [11:14 AM] reports: Entering the season finale Sunday against Cincinnati, linebacker London Fletcher is just 9 tackles shy of the team's single-season tackle record of 206 set by Chris Spielman in 1996. Fletcher has recorded 12-or-more tackles in a game 11 times this season and has had 14+ in five straight.

Marker Riemersma, others may bid farewell following Bills' finale [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It's absolutely in the Bills' court," Riemersma said this week as he prepared for the season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. "I've stated all along that I wanted to be here for my entire career. They've given me no indication that I won't, either. But obviously you know what happened last offseason. So that's a valid question."'

Marker Ready for a Schobel showdown [8:08 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'The two both said they probably won't talk during the game. It'll be all business. After the season is over, however, they'll spend plenty of time together watching film and trying to get a little better. They've talked on the phone plenty this season, critiquing each other. Big brother has had plenty of advice for little brother, but not this week.'

Marker Bengals at Bills [8:07 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'Game keys for Bills...Score early and often. If the Bengals fall behind by a large margin, their interest level and focus will drop severely.'

Marker No holding back for Schobels [5:20 AM]
D and C reports: 'Aaron is Buffalo’s right defensive end, meaning he lines up to Kitna’s left. As a tight end, Matt normally lines up on the right side of the offensive formation because most teams are right-handed. However, there will be situations when Matt will come in motion to the other side, and he will probably find himself swapping helmet paint with Aaron.'

Marker Brothers to battle in Bengals-Bills [5:15 AM]
Dayton Daily News reports: 'They attended Columbus (Texas) High School together — Matt was a quarterback and Aaron was a defensive end and receiver — and played at Texas Christian University together. But that was then and this is, well, war. Sort of.'

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