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Buffalo Bills News - October 1, 2000

Marker Bennett heads back to Buffalo, again [10:38 AM]
Anderson Herald Bulletin reports: 'The fans will still not boo him Sunday during introductions. He meant too much to them for too long for them to do that. With the more recent departure of stalwarts Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed from the Bills' Super Bowl years, familiar faces are tougher to come by. "We made (game days at Rich Stadium) special," Bennett said. "When I played there we had some special guys, but I thought we did a great job making it a special place." But now, the Bills and Colts are fighting the New York Jets for supremacy in the AFC East. It is still difficult to win at Rich Stadium, but that is what Bennett is about this weekend. Forget sentimentality. "It's another game. There's always going to be great memories, but right now I'm just still trying to get better and help this team win football games," he said. "That's about all it means now."'

Marker Bills look to Linton to provide a lift [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The third-year veteran from North Carolina will try to add a spark to a Bills offense that has been average through three games. The Bills' attack ranks 12th in yards and 16th in points. It has a fair fight on its hands today, because average is an apt description of the Indy defense. The Colts finished 15th on defense last year. They're 15th this year.'

Marker Holler guy [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Intense . . . loyal . . . high attention to detail," Bills center Jerry Ostroski said when asked to describe [Carl] Mauck. "He wants to win. I never dread hearing what he has to say, even when we lose. A lot of times he's feeling the loss just as bad as we are, because he's been on our side, and he knows what it's like."'

Marker Bills' offense must help the defense rein in the Colts [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'No matter what the oddsmakers say, a Bills win would be a mild upset. . . . . But the timing, after a Colts Monday night game, might just be right for Buffalo. Bills, 27-26.'

Marker Passing ability seems to run in the Manning family [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"The style of college football changed so much while he [Peyton Manning] was there [at Tennessee] that his sophomore season was better than his junior or senior seasons," said Archie [Manning]. "Part of it was the offensive line was better, but the SEC, the toughest conference to begin with, was stronger and there were great defensive coaches like Bill Oliver at Alabama and later Auburn, Bob Stoops of Florida (now head coach at Oklahoma) and Woody Widenhofer (the ex-Steeler defensive coordinator) at Vanderbilt.'

Marker Can Bills defense keep Peyton in place? [8:15 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '"As a quarterback, I know any time you face Buffalo it's tough to move the ball," Manning said. "So when you have it, you really want to take advantage of the possession because you won't get many. "I think Buffalo has the best defense in the league ... and I'm not just saying that, I thought that last year."'

Marker Colts, Bills play for real this time [7:04 AM]
D and C reports: 'When the Bills (2-1) and Colts (2-1) square off today at The Ralph, nobody will say the game doesn't mean anything. Neither club can afford to slip too far behind the idle New York Jets (4-0) and the 3-1 Miami Dolphins, who also have a ''bye'' facing winless Cincinnati. The Bills, coming off a 27-14 loss to the Jets two weeks ago, are in the midst of a critical three-game stretch against division rivals, traveling to Miami next week. Today marks the start of a three-game road trip for the Colts with the first two against division foes Buffalo and New England. Both sides are crying sympathy, if anyone cares to listen.'

Marker Bills' scouting report [7:02 AM]
D and C reports: 'Bills win if...Their special teams don't implode again. The only thing Ronnie Jones can ask of his beleaguered unit is to not lose the game. The Bills stack up well in the offense vs. defense matchups, but special teams could be huge...Manning doesn't have another game like he had last Monday. If he gets hot, it could be lights out for the Bills despite their great defense...Rob Johnson continues to play at the efficient level he has worked at so far, then adds a couple of big plays. The Bills need to score points today, and it would be nice to not have to work too hard for a score such as a 75-yarder to Eric Moulds, Peerless Price or Jeremy McDaniel.'

Marker Bills ready for rematch [6:55 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"The Bills were the best team in the AFC at the end of last season, in my opinion," Mora said in his weekly conference chat with Buffalo reporters. "And I mean that 100%. Other than that fluke play against Tennessee, they were probably going to be in the Super Bowl. I felt going into the season they were going to be as good as they were last year."'

Marker Healthy Flutie promoted to backup [6:53 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Bills coach Wade Phillips didn't rule out Flutie seeing action against the Colts, but didn't make it sound too likely, either. "We have to play all that by ear, but I think (Flutie's) a guy that can come in and spark-plug you," Phillips said Wednesday. "But I'm awfully happy with how our quarterback is doing. I don't think you want to endanger that."'

Marker Colts haven't enjoyed most trips to Buffalo [6:43 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Since the Colts relocated to Indianapolis in 1984, they've won twice at what now is Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills. Once was during the strike-interrupted 1987 season when the replacement Colts walloped the counterfeit Bills 47-6. Jim Harbaugh led the Colts to a 27-17 victory in 1994, but normalcy has since returned to the series. The home-standing Bills have won five in a row over Indianapolis. "I've only been here for two of them,'' coach Jim Mora said. "Don't blame me for the other ones." OK, but the last two have been decidedly one-sided -- 34-11 in 1998, 31-6 on the final weekend of the '99 regular season. "On those particular days," Mora said, "they were a lot better than we were."'

Marker Colts, Bills stay busy lauding each other [6:40 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Something's been lacking leading up to this afternoon's early-season AFC East showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills. Namely, bulletin-board material. Rather than spitting verbal barbs back and forth, the two rivals seemed content to swap sugar-coated superlatives.'

Marker Buffalo pulls running back switch [6:38 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Smith, a former first-round pick who rushed for 1,124 yards in 1998, has not taken the demotion well. He lashed out at the decision earlier in the week, saying he was being made a scapegoat for a rushing offense that ranks 16th in the NFL in yards (298) but 25th in per-carry average (3.2). And the bulk of that work has been done by Johnson himself, the team's leading rusher with 109 yards and a 6.8 average. Smith and backup Shawn Bryson have managed 159 yards on 68 carries (2.3). "There aren't any scapegoats," Phillips said. "We're 2-1. Make me the scapegoat if we end up 13-3."'

Marker Opposites attack [6:28 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The Bills return from their bye week with the No. 2-ranked defense in the NFL (second to New Orleans, believe it or not), allowing an average of only 248 yards per game. The Colts fly into western New York on the wings of very impressive Monday night mauling of the Jacksonville Jaguars, averaging 460 yards of offense per game. That's best in the AFC and second to the unbelievable Rams over the entire league.'

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September 30, 2000

Marker Staff predictions [4:09 PM] reports: 'Colts 27, Bills 16...Colts 27, Bills 24...Colts 31, Bills 24...Colts 27, Bills 17...Colts 27, Bills 14.'

Marker Bring on the Bills [4:07 PM] reports: 'The bottom line is without a consistent rush, the Bills could be in trouble offensively.'

Marker Manning still trying to make Colts proud of draft pick [3:54 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The only question for the 24-year-old Manning is whether he can catch Kurt Warner and Brett Favre, or have to be content as the NFL's third-best quarterback. On Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Manning's wares will be on display against the Buffalo Bills and the league's second-best defense. But Colts' coach Jim Mora warns that when watching Manning, don't expect to see a finished product. "Peyton is still learning ... he's still a young quarterback," Mora pointed out. "Everybody expects these unbelievable things from him ... and I probably do too, because he's done some great things. So I don't want to sound negative in any way. Still, there are things that happen in games that he hasn't seen before and that he'll learn from."'

Marker Jills to take center stage [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Jills, long a sideline attraction at Buffalo Bills games, will move to center stage Sunday for their first halftime dancing and singing performance at intermission of the game against the Indianapolis Colts.'

Marker Bills' menu: Manning in pressure cooker [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Harassing Peyton Manning figures to be a huge key to the Buffalo Bills' success Sunday in their AFC East showdown with the Indianapolis Colts. The Bills would love to pressure the Indianapolis Colts' quarterback like they did when he visited Buffalo in January. He did not get sacked once. Yet he was forced to hurry throw after throw in the 31-6 Bills victory. Quarterback pressures - not necessarily sacks - will be a prime goal of the Bills' defense. "A pressure is definitely as good as a sack, especially this week," said Bills linebacker Sam Rogers. "He's so hard to get to. If you make him throw the ball away, you've accomplished the same goal as a sack."'

Marker Comedians drop the ball in football pregame shows [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Speaking of progress and comedy, the Buffalo Bills now have taken to making announcements on their Web site, Bills' decision to make some announcements this way essentially bypasses the media as the conduit to the public. If the Bills keep doing things this way, the local broadcast stations might conclude that staffing practices aren't always necessary.'

Marker New approach pays for Pathon [6:24 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'As he watched his Indianapolis Colts teammates dash to a remarkable turnaround in 1999, Jerome Pathon was going in the wrong direction. Following a solid rookie season, the Vancouver-raised wide receiver had injury and performance troubles, slipping to just 14 catches for 163 yards from 50 grabs in 1998. Adding to Pathon's pain was not playing a part in the Colts' renaissance from 3-13 chumps to 13-3 Super Bowl contenders, as teammate Marvin Harrison became one of the NFL's brightest wide receivers with help from quarterback Peyton Manning and running back Edgerrin James. Pathon is back in form this season, though.'

Marker Peerless trying to reach his potential [6:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'Price has just eight catches for 78 yards and he seems to be -- at least before tight end Jay Riemersma got hurt -- no better than the third read on most of Buffalo's passing plays. "Eric (Moulds) is the go-to guy," Price said. "I'm just out there running my routes, and you can't do anything about where the ball's going. I have to do my job and when the ball comes my way, I have to make the play. "Eric is the first read on most of the plays, and that's where Rob throws it. And then usually by the time Rob comes off him (and looks elsewhere) he has to scramble."'

Marker Something has to give in Buffalo [6:09 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"I haven't looked at all the defensive teams,'' coach Jim Mora said, "but if there is a better defensive team in the National Football League than Buffalo, I'd be surprised."'

September 29, 2000

Marker Red Scare - Playbook of Buffalo vs Colts [5:00 PM]
CNNSI reports: Nice example of how the Bills hope to exploit the weak defense.

Marker Cowart gaining recognition [5:00 PM] reports: 'While people around Buffalo know that Sam Cowart is a great linebacker, the nation is beginning to learn what Cowart means to the Bills' defense. This week, Cowart will be featured in an article in Sports Illustrated, as well as having a feature article written about him for'

Marker 'That play' not music to Zeigler's ears [1:08 PM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'Said Zeigler: We felt like we should've been the guys in the Super Bowl. Zeigler saw a shot at the Super Bowl flash before my eyes." Giants coach Jim Fassel responded like a typical football man when he heard that Zeigler had confessed he already was line-dancing with teammates as Dyson returned the kick. "That's the problem," Fassel said. "Those guys on the coverage team were probably celebrating, too."'

Marker Scouting the Bills [11:49 AM] reports: 'I predict that this game will be close early, but we will pull away in the second half. Colts 27 - Bills 16.'

Marker Giants' Zeigler feels pain of Titanic loss [9:01 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'Zeigler felt pain Jan. 8 when the Titans pulled off their wild-card miracle victory. After the Bills took the lead at 16-15 with :16 remaining, he remembers players talking about their trip the following week to play Indianapolis. Then Frank Wycheck tossed his barely legal lateral to Kevin Dyson, who went 75 yards for the touchdown and the amazing finish. "After that I tuned football out for the rest of the playoffs, I didn't even want to watch it," Zeigler said. "People were saying if we had won that game we would have made it to the Super Bowl instead of Tennessee. And we thought we had the game won."'

Marker Cowart's play thrusts him into limelight [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Sports Illustrated has a story on him this week. ESPN and CBS Sports have done features on the Bills' defense with Cowart as a focal point. He did a conference call with the national media at the request of the National Football League two weeks ago, then followed that up with a 23-tackle performance against the New York Jets. "The attention is nice," Cowart said. "I'm just working hard trying to be consistent and trying to do my best." Cowart is playing so well, he might just be the best linebacker in football right now.'

Marker Manning big test for Bills backs [5:06 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell has his favorite horror movies. Scream. Nightmare on Elm Street. The replay of the Indianapolis Colts 43-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars last Monday night. Peyton Manning, arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in just his third season, threw for a team-record 440 yards and four touchdowns and the Colts rolled up 533 yards offense. Manning is Cottrell's problem this week when the Bills (2-1) host the Colts (2-1) in a key AFC East Division battle. So how does his No. 2-ranked defense stop the Manning Machine? "We're hoping he gets a case of the West Nile virus," Cottrell said jokingly, letting out one of his patented bellylaughs. "Seriously, your technique has to be so sound because this guy is a pin-point passer. He can throw it deep, he can throw it short. Our techniques have to be sound against his receivers."'

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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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