By Mark Gaughan » 7:59 AMThe Bills are searching in the dark without a flashlight at backup quarterback, with Tuesday’s release of Thad Lewis and the signing of Jordan Palmer. When have the Bills been great at backup QB? Not that often, with a few notable exceptions. Here are the five best Bills backup QBs…. Read more »
By Tim Graham » Tuesday, January 14, 2014Perhaps two coaches with local ties will become the NFL’s newest offensive coordinators. The San Diego Chargers promoted former Buffalo Bills quarterback Frank Reich today. The Detroit Lions reportedly are expected to hire former University at Buffalo assistant Bill Lazor. Chargers coach Mike McCoy wasted little time in naming Reich,… Read more »
By Jerry Sullivan » Monday, January 10, 2000
By Sunday afternoon, Thurman Thomas already had put it behind him. When you’ve been an NFL player for a dozen seasons, when you’ve won and lost big ga…”I think they can, though,” he said. “I really do. I think that loss yesterday put it straight to the younger players that, hey, we’ve got a good team and all we should care about is winning. That’s what we always cared about when we had Steve Tasker, Jim Kelly and all the rest of those guys.”
Thomas said times have changed dramatically in 10 years. Free agency has raised the stakes and given players more freedom. It’s harder to keep talented rosters together. No team comes back intact from one year to the next. It’s difficult to maintain a personality.
He doesn’t know what will happen to this team, or to him. He said he wants to come back, though he doesn’t want to take a pay cut. He also said he’ll retire if both Andre Reed and Bruce Smith leave.
Still, he believes his young teammates will come back even more determined after the Titans game, made hungrier and wiser by the loss.
“I think that loss yesterday could very well be the difference between a guy taking $2 million more from another team or staying here,” Thomas said. “Back in the day, I think all the guys on this team would have taken less money to stay here, because we knew what we were about. We knew what we had to do to win.”
Wade Phillips feels his team is getting to that point. He was effusive in praise of his young players. They made their mistakes. But watching players like Robert Hicks, Peerless Price, Sam Cowart, Antoine Winfield, Pat Williams and Rob Johnson battle from behind convinced him better days are ahead.
He brought up the ’89 playoff game, too. He said it flashed through his mind after the loss.
“I thought of that, I sure did,” Phillips said. “I remember thinking ‘These guys have a good football team.’ They fought their hearts out and then they had that drop . . . then the next year they went to the Super Bowl.
“I think we showed we have a lot of good young players,” he said. “A lot of them showed up in this game, and we’ve got the best defense in football. . . . The team fighting back was really encouraging, because it looked like everything was going against us and we made plays.”
The disputed touchdown couldn’t take away the fact that Johnson came of age on the Bills’ final drive. If there was any doubt that it would be his offense next year, his team, it was erased when he calmly moved them down the field, making key throws to a poised rookie, Price.
“He showed what he could do,” Phillips said. “He showed his potential. You had to be on the sidelines with him, talking to him. He was still fine. Some things happened to him early that really could have rattled a quarterback, and he fought through all that.”
There are times when you wish Phillips was a little more emotional. But his temperament seems suited for a loss like this. He even admitted it would have been difficult for the Bills to win on the road next weekend with a roster devastated by injuries.
He could have stood there and ripped Phil Luckett’s officiating crew. He could have fished for sympathy. Instead, he said how proud he was of his players’ effort, and how encouraged he was about the future.
When you’ve spent your life in sports, you learn not to dwell on the setbacks, no matter how discouraging. I think Thomas and Phillips are telling Buffalo fans they might as well let it go, too.
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Sunday, January 9, 2000
Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith was in no mood to talk about his 2 1/2 sacks Saturday that made him the NFL’s all-time leader in playoff games…”I won’t be next to all these guys next year,” Wiley continued. “We’re a different team next year. Who wants to wait? Who wants to go to camp again and do all that stuff when the result could be this? Talk about the rug slipping from under your feet. The whole foundation has been shaken. It’s not hard, it’s ridiculous.
“They had the 12th man with their crowd and they were pumping them up like it is the loudest crowd in the world. They made us make bad plays on offense and defense, but it’s not Buffalo and then more than that, they had a 13th man. You name them. They’ve got jerseys on, too, U60 and line judge 42. I think those numbers came into play today. I know I’m going to get fined, and I ain’t the richest guy on the team. I don’t care. They’re going to take it before I see it anyway.”
Other players also sounded off about the officiating, fines be damned.
“People who watched this game can clearly understand that we didn’t get a fair shake,” Rogers said. “All we asked for all year was to call a fair game. In a game of this magnitude, with people’s jobs on the line, you can not make calls like that. Guys fought their tails off and to come up short like this, it’s heartbreaking.”
Bills owner Ralph Wilson was irate over the officiating, but there is nothing he can do.
“I think (instant replay) has been working pretty good this year,” he said. “The only thing I don’t quite understand is in the last two minutes, why it goes to the people up in the booth. But I voted for it, and I think it’s been working pretty good.”
Wilson said he won’t complain to the NFL office. “What good does it do?” he said.
Quarterback Doug Flutie did his best to adjust to being a backup Saturday, but it wasn’t easy.
“It’s just frustrating to have no say in it — to stand on the sidelines and have no say in the outcome,” he said. “It’s been one of the hardest years of my life.”
Flutie added that Rob Johnson didn’t appear to be nervous in his first playoff start.
“I think they were flying and coming around the corner on him,” he said. “If you’re standing there flat-footed, you’re going to get drilled. You slide a little more. He got more and more comfortable as the game went on.”
As for his future with the Bills, Flutie said, “I have no idea. I don’t know what they’re thinking.”
Bills inactives were defensive tackle Sean Moran, offensive guards Joe Panos and Victor Allotey, wide receivers Kamil Loud and Jeremy McDaniel and linebackers Jay Foreman and Keith Newman.
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