Bills Can't Hold On In New England
The Fumble Was The Game: Kelly Holcomb said he will have to look at the big sack/forced fumble play on film to see what went wrong. He said that fumble was the game, if they were able to take time off the clock the way they were going up and down the field they would have tilted the field position and used the clock to win it. If he had a split more second he would have been able to hit Eric Moulds. Defensively, the Patriots didn't do anything they didn't expect. The 4th down play he was trying to get the ball to Roscoe Parrish but the safety was there and it would have been intercepted, so he thought he'd get to Eric one on one and see if he could make the play. He doesn't understand the pass interference call on Moulds, he re-iterated was Eric said, saying that they have to let them play down there. The team must look ahead there is nothing they can do now about the first half of the season.
Questionable Penalty Hurts Bills Chances: Eric Moulds thought the offensive pass interference call on him was a tough call since he didn't think he committed the penalty and at that time of the game they should just let them play. The final fourth down play, he tried to make a play and they wish they had that play back. It was frustrating to let this game get away. They made plays like they had to but just not enough. Moulds wouldn't call the game a morale victory since there aren't any in this league. They thought they had them out of the game but turnovers and the experience factor helped the Patriots come back and win.
Adams Benched: There was a big man missing in the middle most of the second half. Sam Adams did not play down the stretch and Coach Mularkey said it was a coaching decision to go with the younger players. Adams struggled in the first half getting called for two penalties but doing little else. He was benched once last year and then came back on fire the rest of the season.
Mularkey Disappointed But Proud: Coach Mularkey addressed the media early this morning after the tough loss in New England. He called it very disappointing to lose the game that way. They played well enough for most of the game but they need to learn how to finish games off. With a team of the Patriots caliber you can't give them a breath or they will comeback, it wasn't surprising. The game played out like he thought they would, he didn't think they had a letdown until the very end. The sack/forced fumble happened after a breakdown in protection. The final fourth down play was not supposed to go to Eric Moulds but nothing else was there. He said he's proud of the guys and thought they took a step forward despite the loss since they overcame a lot of adversity going into the game as everyone counted them out and for 55 minutes they responded. He said he's frustrated for his team, not at his team. He would not talk about the officiating because he would lose his cool if he did, indicating he was not happy with some calls. The bye is going to be good for the team to heal up a bit and to take a good look at themselves scheme-wise and personnel-wise. If changes will be made this is a good time to do it. On Kelly Holcomb, he thought he made some great throws and gave them a chance to win. Mike Williams was available but since he barely practiced this week, the coach decided to go with Jason Peters who seemed to play well according to the coach.
Bills Grade Out Well in Loss: One of those rare losses where the team actually played pretty well. The team actually gets decent grades at almost all positions despite falling short in the 21-16 loss. Gameday Grades.
Bills Played Well In Loss: The Bills played their best game of the year for the first 50 minutes in New England. Unfortunately the problems of the first half of the season reared its ugly head in the final 10 minutes as the Bills lost a heartbreaker 21-16 to the Patriots. Game Review.
Sunday October 30, 2005
Bills Lose Heartbreaker: Corey Dillon scored two touchdowns 1:30 apart in the fourth quarter as the Patriots escaped with a 21-16 win in a game that the Bills dominated for the first 50 minutes before caving in the fourth quarter. Kelly Holcomb lost a fumble on a sack and that setup the second Dillon touchdown. The loss ruined the 251 yard effort by Holcomb and 136 yards rushing by Willis McGahee. We will have our complete game review in a little bit.
Peters Starts: Jason Peters started for Mike Williams tonight. Williams was active after practicing on Friday but Peters got the start and Williams saw very limited action. Troy Vincent left the game in the fourth quarter with a left arm injury. Injury Page
Gameday Inactives: A surprise inactive for the Bills is Jonathan Smith as the Bills are only dressing five wide receivers. Other inactives include: George Wilson, Liam Ezekiel, Greg Jerman, Jason Jefferson, Jim Leonhard, and Lionel Gates.
Clear Night Ahead: The weather will be beautiful for a Halloween eve primetime matchup tonight. There is no chance of rain as it will be clear with a gametime temperature of 49°. Winds will be out of the west at 8mph.
Saturday October 29, 2005
Bruschi Activated: As expected the Patriots have activated Tedy Bruschi. That makes him eligible to play tomorrow. He missed the first six games after having a stroke in the off season. He will give the Pats a huge emotional lift tomorrow night.
Williams Upgraded: Mike Williams participated in last night's practice fully and has been upgraded to probable. He now expects to play on Sunday and start at right tackle. He has been suffering from a sprained ankle. That is good news since his backup Greg Jerman is listed as out. The other probable player, Terrence McGee, also practiced fully and will play. Injury Report
10 Bills On List: 10 people with ties to the Bills are on the preliminary list of candidates for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2006. Topping that list is owner Ralph Wilson, LB Cornelius Bennett, WR Andre Reed, and RB Thurman Thomas. Also on the list are: C Kent Hull, LB Darryl Talley, Special teamer Steve Tasker, NT Fred Smerlas, CB Lemar Parrish and coach Chuck Knox. There are 112 people on the list in all and it will be wittled down to 25 modern era semi-finalists next month. Then down to 13 with two senior candidates added before the class will be selected prior to the Super Bowl.
Friday October 28, 2005
McGee's New Deal: The Bills and Terrence McGee agreed to a four year contract extension late this afternoon that will keep the rising star in a Bills uniform through the 2009 season. The Bills would not disclose the details of the deal but his agent said it comes with a $5 Million signing bonus and is worth $18 Million. It averages out to $4.5 Million of "new money" each year of the deal. McGee spoke to the media before tonight's practice and said it meant a lot to him that the Bills wanted him to stay. He also wanted to stay because he is used to the system and loves the fans. He was surprised a deal got done in the middle of the season, that is a rarity with the Bills.
McGee Talks Positive: A report in the Buffalo News confirmed an earlier report that contract talks with Terrence McGee are ongoing. His agent described negotiations as positive. The talks intensified last week as the team reportedly proposed a four year extension worth around $4 Million a year on average. McGee would be a restricted free agent after this season but the Bills would be able to match any deal he gets or give him a high qualifying offer. A new deal would give him significantly more money a year earlier then he would if he waited for unrestricted free agency.
Thursday October 27, 2005
Williams Doesn't Practice: Mike Williams did not practice today increasing the likelihood that he will join his backup, Greg Jerman on the sidelines for Sunday's game. If that happens, Jason Peters will get his first start at tackle. On the positive news front, Terrence McGee returned to practice and will play on Sunday. Injury Report
Mood Discouraging: Kelly Holcomb said the mood is discouraging around the team like it is every week after a loss. There is nothing they can do about it now, they just have to get ready to win a big game this week in primetime. He needs to do what the defense gives them hopefully they will have chances downfield, when they do, they need to take advantage of it. Holcomb is sure there will be a new wrinkle from Bill Belichik but they need to protect the ball and move it without getting sacks. He knows it was hard last week since Oakland had a good plan. They have been moving the ball but they have to have to make plays with the deep ball and he thinks it will come. Everyone is looking forward to this game and they need to have a better week of practice than last week. They know it is a tough challenge and nobody thinks they can win except for the players in the locker room.
The Beginning Of Hell: Lawyer Milloy said this week presents an opportunity to go on top of the division with a win against the World Champions. It is a place that they know they have not been successful in years past. They need to have their blinders on and to get past the mystic. The Patriots are beatable and vulnerable according to the former Patriot. He does know that Belichik will have them set after going back to the basics over their bye week. He is very good at letting them think they aren't as good as they are. The bye gives them an advantage especially since there is no better team in dissecting their opponent than New England. To counteract that, the Bills need to spend more time in the study room to see what the Pats have done and where their vulnerable spots are but they also need to look at what the Bills are doing wrong since the Pats will try to exploit them. He called this week the "beginning of hell" as far as their schedule is concerned over the next month or so.
Receivers Want Deep Game: To a man, the Bills receivers said yesterday that they have to make the deep play, even if it means forcing the issue. Lee Evans, Eric Moulds, and Josh Reed all expressed disappointment in that they haven't made many big plays. They feel that they need to throw it up there and let them make the plays. The Bills have been heavily criticized for the lack of a downfield passing game. They have been called but they never materialize because of either a bad throw, not enough time to throw, or nobody being open.
Wednesday October 26, 2005
Bills Have Great Practice: Coach Mularkey addressed the Western New York media in his usual media day press briefing. He said the injuries at right tackle are a concern but they have to deal with it like they would if it happened in the middle of a game. The loss Sunday was disappointing but it is how you come back from it will matter. They can't dwell on it but he knows their mind frame is right because they had one of their best practices of the year today. The coach said J.P. Losman has learned a lot watching the past few weeks and is throwing the ball better in practice showing a marked difference from when he was a starter. He re-iterated that everyone needs to be more consistent and it has been emphasized. The team recognizes the fact that they need to be more consistent, now they just have to do it. To address the run defense they are showing them what they are doing wrong which includes gap control but the main problem is missing tackles. They need to hit and wrap up and have 11 guys going to the ball. If they do that, they will build confidence. They will practice this week on Friday night to prepare for the primetime affair on Sunday. This way there won't be too much time between the practice and the game. He also feels players will enjoy the night practice and be very focused. On the Patriots, he said that the team always adjusts to losing players and coaches. He said he still sees a good football team in New England despite players playing different roles than they expected them to play. He knows Tom Brady is a playmaker who likes to take his shot and is very capable of succeeding. They need to stay away from allowing Brady to make the big play. They let a few games get away from them but there is nothing they can do about it, there is still plenty of football to play.
Jerman Out: The Bills have only listed three players on the injury report all with ankle injuries. Terrence McGee is probable, Mike Williams is questionable, and Greg Jerman is out. Chris Villarrial is not on the injury report despite suffering a concussion last week against the Raiders. He practiced on Wednesday but Williams didn't. Jason Peters took the snaps at right tackle in practice, he had been backing up the left tackle spot but with Jerman and potentially Williams out, he may be pressed into service on the right side. The Patriots continue their practice of listing many players on the report. They have two players out, one doubtful, 10 are questionable, and one probable. Injury Report
Raiders Show No Class: Since Sunday's loss Coach Mularkey has made a few comments regarding the Raiders running up the score by going in for a touchdown with :14 left in the game. He discussed it with Raiders coach Norv Turner after the game and Turner said that Mularkey would understand in the future. Mularkey said he would take a knee in a similar situation like he did last year against St. Louis. Turner said the team wanted the score so they went for it. The Buffalo News reports that sources say Raiders owner Al Davis is upset about the touchdown since it rubs it in against his friend, Ralph Wilson.
Boston Massacre?: The Bills head into another house of horrors for them when they go to Gillette Stadium to face the Patriots on Sunday night. They have never one in that stadium, they have never beat the Pats in primetime. New England is fresh off a bye week and will have Tedy Bruschi back for inspiration. I hate to say it, but the Bills look like they will be heading into the bye on a very down note. Game Preview.
Tuesday October 25, 2005
Team Needs Consistency: Coach Mularkey said after watching the film, he knows what he thought, that the team did not win the battle of the line of scrimmage. He is discouraged because they did on the first two series of the game. He said the injuries on the offensive line shouldn't matter, since they did the job against the Jets when they were all banged up. The problem remains consistency in all areas. Gap control and tackling problems have hurt them in the run defense. They need to swarm to the football on every defensive play and for some reason they aren't. They need to practice it hard all week and carry it over to Sunday and having the confidence to execute during the games. Mularkey said the team had five downfield play calls, the same number the Raiders had. They just have not been able to hit it for whatever reason, they will continue to call them. This week's game is very important since it's a division game and it is a tough close race. The team understands there is more than a half of football season left and they need to get back to work for this week's battle. They have to move on and forget about the loss. They have done some good things so the coach doesn't think the momentum is gone that they gained after two straight wins before Sunday's debacle.
Villarrial Concussion Shouldn't Keep Him Out: The coach confirmed in his Monday press conference that most of the banged up players should be ready to go on Sunday with the exception of Greg Jerman. His sprained ankle will keep him out at least a few days. Chris Villarrial has a mild concussion but should play. Terrence McGee has both legs banged up. He may miss a day or two of practice but should also play on Sunday. Injury Page.
Does The Grieving Begin? Many fans are begin to realize that even though the season is less than half over, the Bills playoff dreams may be all but dashed. Tony Bogyo tackles the grieving process in his humorous way in this week's article. Complete Story.
Monday October 24, 2005
Passing Stats Tidbits: There are some interesting quirky numbers when it comes to the passing stats from the Oakland game and for the season. In the Oakland game both Kelly Holcomb and Kerry Collins were 9 of 15 passing in the first half, and they both finished 19 of 27 for the game. Of course, the Bills lack of a deep passing game allowed Collins to throw for 102 more yards than Holcomb. For the entire season the Bills and their opponents have identical numbers also in pass attempts and completions. They both have 107 completions in 182 attempts for a completion percentage of 58.8%. For the season though the opponents have thrown for 233 more yards than the Bills (1193-960). That is despite the Bills having the number one ranked passing defense before yesterday's debacle in Oakland. It appears the Bills will drop to third in the league in pass defense.
Jerman Injury Appears Most Serious: The Bills will re-evaluate all their new injuries before Wednesday's practice. Greg Jerman and Mike Williams each suffered ankle injuries. Williams hurt his left ankle, that is not the same ankle that cost him to miss three games earlier in the season. He returned to the game when Jerman sprained his right ankle. His injury appeared more serious. Chris Villarrial was lost in the third quarter after taking a shot to the head. Coach Mularkey would not call it a concussion at this time. Terrence McGee suffered a scary right leg injury when he was rolled up on, it got caught under a pile again after he returned to the game. He then left for good. The coach said it isn't believed to be serious. Injury Page.
Offense Played Well Enough: Troy Vincent thought the offense and special teams created momentum and the defense couldn't answer. He thought the offense played well enough to win. The fact that they couldn't get off the field on third downs, specifically the third and long situations, was why they lost. There is an attitude and commitment that they need to just get it done. He said they are not out of it, but right now they are not good enough, their play doesn't lie, it shows that.
McGahee Knows He Got Manhandled: Willis McGahee said he had no problem with the 4th down play giving the ball to Daimon Shelton. He said he had his chance on third down and didn't get in. Shelton wasn't surprised he got the call for the first time in five years since they worked on it during the week. McGahee felt the Raiders defensive line played great ball but re-iterated that he thinks he's the best back in the NFL. The only players on offense that played well were the receivers as he admitted he and the offensive line got manhandled. He's frustrated but they can't do anything about it now, they have to concentrate on the division game next week.
Holcomb Discouraged From Loss: Kelly Holcomb thought they had a chance in the 2nd half when they went no huddle and pulled within a touchdown, they just couldn't do it. It was frustrating when the Raiders ran out the clock in the fourth quarter as they held the ball for 13 and a half minutes in the final quarter. The team needs to find a way to win on the road, Holcomb feels they are awful on the road right now. They need to look ahead now to Sunday night's game against New England. Holcomb thought the fourth down run with Daimon Shelton was going to work since they were probably keying on Willis McGahee.
Lost The Game In The Trenches: Coach Mularkey addressed the media after the game and admitted it looked like the team was beaten on both sides of the ball as they lost the line of scrimmage. They needed more pressure up front on defense. The Raiders ran the ball as anticipated and they were successful as they won the game in the trenches. They were the better team today as the coach knows the Bills just didn't make the plays. They had no chance to stop them and it was unacceptable. They made way too many plays on the defense. On offense, they tried to take shots downfield but they just weren't there. They thought Daimon Shelton could get the yard on the fourth and one play they just didn't do it. The team is frustrated as they have done some things to hurt themselves. He knows the team has to get better whether it is personnel or scheme wise. They need to be more consistent across the board according to the coach.
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