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  • [Bills] FOXBORO FLOP

    Bills can't get untracked in lopsided loss to Pats

    By MARK GAUGHAN
    News Sports Reporter
    11/15/2004


    Associated Press
    Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe gets drilled by New England's Rosevelt Colvin after an 8-yard run in the first quarter.


    James P. McCoy/Buffalo News
    Bills running back Willis McGahee is gang-tackled by New England defenders. McGahee finished with 37 yards rushing.

    FOXBORO, Mass. - Gillette Stadium lived up to its reputation as a House of Horrors for Drew Bledsoe and the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night.
    The Bills received a drubbing at the hands of the New England Patriots that can be summed up in one word: embarrassing.

    The 29-6 result was every bit as ugly, if not as lopsided, as the Bills' 31-0 loss in last year's regular-season finale.

    The Bills were outgained, 428-125, and New England held a time-of-possession edge of 41:22 to 18:38.

    Bledsoe suffered indignity upon indignity against his former team.

    His passer rating of 14.3 was the lowest of his career. One of his three interceptions went to the Patriots' "disaster" cornerback, Troy Brown, the receiver who spent nine years catching passes from Bledsoe. And Bledsoe was yanked from the game late in the fourth quarter in favor of rookie J.P. Losman.

    "Well, there is not much really to say on tonight - we just got beat," Bledsoe said. "They went out and played like the world champs. They played very well and we didn't play well enough against them."

    With the Bills at 3-6, it seems only a matter of time before Losman takes over permanently for Bledsoe. For the record, coach Mike Mularkey dismissed the idea after the game, saying the time is not right for such a move and that he's not giving up on the Bills' playoff chances.

    So much for the mini-roll the Bills brought into the game. The Patriots jumped to a 20-0 halftime lead. They had 273 yards by halftime - 5 more than the Bills had been allowing per game for the season.

    The Bills' only points came on a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown by rookie Jonathan Smith. It came late in the third quarter.

    "We did not play well enough to win tonight, especially against a team that does not make mistakes," Mularkey said. "I felt good going into the game. I felt good after the week. I felt good after talking to them this morning. And I wish I hand an answer but I don't."

    "I think it killed everything we've been trying to establish," said a frustrated Eric Moulds of the momentum the Bills carried into the game. "We fell back today."

    The Bills' offense managed only eight first downs.

    The string of 100-yard rushing games by Bills back Willis McGahee came to a stop. McGahee managed just 37 yards on 14 carries.

    "What happened out there today is they did a great job of containing me and we just didn't get anything going," McGahee said.

    Bledsoe, however, had the longest night of any of the Bills, completing 8 of 19 passes for 76 yards.

    His first interception came with 8 seconds left in the first quarter on a long bomb for Moulds that was overthrown and into double coverage. His second interception came with the Pats ahead, 13-0, late in the second quarter. Bledsoe locked onto Moulds over the middle. Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi read the quarterback's eyes, ignored tight end Tim Euhus in the flat, and stepped directly in front of the throw. Buschi's 29-yard return to the Bills' 27 set up a touchdown that gave New England a 20-0 lead 35 seconds before intermission.

    Bledsoe locked onto Moulds again on the third pickoff, which came just a minute into the fourth quarter. It was a short pass for Moulds, who lined up in the slot with Brown guarding him. All Brown had to do was turn and catch the ball.

    "I know I had Moulds in the slot, so you know he is their go-to guy," Brown said of his first career pickoff. "So I figured it was going in that direction. I do not think he saw me coming. I was locked behind those big guys, and I don't think Drew saw me."

    "That was awesome," Pats receiver David Patten said. "That was the icing on the cake tonight."

    Losman played the final two possessions, but it was a forgettable debut for the first-round draft choice.

    On his third play, Losman scrambled away from a pass rusher but was tackled by Pats linebacker Willie McGinest and fumbled. New England recovered withy 3:31 left in the game.

    Losman got back on the field with 31 seconds left. But his second pass, a short one for Euhus, was easily intercepted by linebacker Tully Banta-Cain. Losman was 1 of 2 for 5 yards.

    The Bills' defense, which had not given up more than 20 points in five straight games, was overwhelmed by the balanced Patriots offense.

    The Patriots scored on five of their first six possessions, marching 81, 91, 75, 27 and 70 yards en route to two touchdowns and three field goals.

    Pats quarterback Tom Brady completed 19 of 35 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

    Pats running back Corey Dillon carried 26 times for 151 yards and averaged 5.8 yards a carry. It was the fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season for Dillon, and the first 100-yard rushing effort against the Bills this year.

    "He is so talented," said Brady of Dillon. "He is so big and fast. The offensive line just played a great game tonight."

    The Bills benched free safety Izell Reese in favor of rookie Rashad Baker in the second quarter after Reese gave up an easy long bomb for a 47-yard gain. That play set up the Pats' second field goal, which put them ahead, 6-0.

    Baker, an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee, fell down on the Pats' first touchdown, a 13-yard throw from Brady to Pat

    ten that put New England ahead, 13-0. However, Baker was not beaten deep the rest of the game.

    Adam Vinatieri kicked five field goals, from 27, 24, 20, 45 and 37 yards.

    The Bills now are 2-14 in their last 16 road games and have won just one of their last 11 away from Ralph Wilson Stadium.

    The Bills have lost seven of their last eight to the Patriots.

    A sellout crowd of 68,756 saw the Pats improve to 8-1 and take a two-game lead in the AFC East. They have won 16 straight at home and 23 of their last 24 overall.

    "It's hard to pinpoint what went wrong," receiver Lee Evans said. "We just never got into a rhythm. You need to take your hat off to them. They played great."

    e-mail: [email protected]

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  • DJRamFan
    [Bills] Bledsoe is still starter . . . for now
    by DJRamFan
    Mularkey won't give up on veteran despite loss to Pats

    By BUCKY GLEASON
    NEWS SPORTS REPORTER
    11/16/2004

    Buffalo Bills coach Mike Mularkey still hasn't given up on his team's chances of making the playoffs this season, which explains why he isn't quite ready to begin the J.P. Losman Era any time soon. Drew Bledsoe will be the starting quarterback Sunday afternoon against the St. Louis Rams.
    After that, we'll see.

    Mularkey's reasoning Monday after the Bills' embarrassing 29-6 defeat to the New England was built more on mathematics than reality. The Bills are 3-6 with seven games remaining, including a five-game stretch that includes four road games. Ten teams in the AFC have a better record than Buffalo, and only Miami's is worse.

    Technically, the Bills can make the playoffs. Realistically, their chances are slim at best.

    "It's still too early to rule out where we're going from this point in the season," Mularkey said after meeting with his players. "There are seven games left. We're not out of it. Drew has proven in three (wins) of four (games) before this game that he was a big reason why. We'll start with Drew this week."

    Problems that had plagued Bledsoe for two-plus seasons resumed Sunday against the Patriots in what could have been the worst game of his career. He completed just eight of 17 passes for 76 yards, had three interceptions and failed to lead the Bills' offense into the red zone, let alone the end zone. His 14.3 passer rating was the lowest for any game in his 12-year career.

    "I think he just threw some poor balls," Mularkey said. "We had some guys open, and then we didn't and forced some things in there. Against that team, you can't afford to do that."

    Losman came off the bench cold as the third quarterback and wasn't much better in two series against the Pats. The Bills' first-round pick in April was sacked and fumbled the ball away on his first NFL drive and threw an easy interception on his second. He didn't exactly inspire thoughts he was the next Ben Roethlisberger, the rookie quarterback who has led the Pittsburgh Steelers to seven straight wins.

    But could Losman be a better option than Bledsoe?

    Mularkey said he merely wanted to take a peek at Losman knowing Sunday's game was basically decided, not kick-start a quarterback controversy. Mularkey wouldn't even say whether Losman, who is still not fully recovered from a broken leg, would be promoted to backup and therefore get more snaps in practice.

    "It was really just a matter of giving him some time," Mularkey said. "It was purely exposure. I don't think we put him in there to win the game. It would have been a tough comeback based on the number of scores we needed. It wasn't to start a controversial thing. It was to get a...
    -11-16-2004, 07:57 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bills] Is there anything left to play for?
    by DJRamFan
    The Associated Press
    Drew Bledsoe watches from the sidelines Sunday night after being replaced by J.P. Losman the final two series against New England. Is it time for the 12-year veteran to take an early retirement? The Bills aren't mathematically out of the playoffs, but the season is realistically shot.
    [Day in Photos]


    The five W's
    WHO is starting to think about 2005? Bills fans should be because 2004 pretty much came to an end Sunday night in Foxboro. Mike Mularkey made reference to the Pittsburgh team he played on in 1989 that was 4-6 at one point in the season yet rallied to make the playoffs, so he's not going to give up. The rest of us can give up. This team is not making the playoffs.


    WHAT do we make of J.P. Losman's debut? Not much. The kid was terrible, but let's be fair. The game was hopelessly lost and the Patriots the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots were in a feeding frenzy. Still, two turnovers on five plays was not what Bills fans wanted to see from their QB of the future.


    WHERE was Drew Bledsoe looking when he threw that interception to Tedy Bruschi? He was trying to hit Lee Evans over the middle, but unless he has X-ray vision he couldn't have seen Evans because Bruschi was right in front of the rookie receiver. How many other 12th-year quarterbacks would have thrown that pass?


    WHEN is Mark Campbell going to re-surface? The Bills' starting tight end has gone three straight games without a pass reception. He has just 10 catches for 135 yards this season.


    WHY didn't the Bills try to make an early statement against the Pats? Last week on the opening series against the Jets, Mularkey went for a fourth-and-1 at the 12 and Willis McGahee scored a touchdown. Against New England the Bills had a fourth-and-5 at the Pats 35 on the opening possession. Too far for a field goal, too close for a punt. Why not go for the first down there? If they make it, maybe they go in and score and perhaps the game turns out different. Then again, maybe not.


    Sal Maiorana

    Leo Roth and Sal Maiorana
    Staff writers

    (November 16, 2004) Sal: It's ridiculous that we're asking this question in the middle of November about a team that clearly has talent, but when you're a team that can't win on the road, that's the plight the Bills face. Seven games to go, yet the season is basically shot. I don't think there's anything to play for except getting the team's young players ready for the future.

    Leo: I agree, although with seven games to go, there's still plenty of time to sell more beer, hot dogs and merchandise. I hear there's a No. 11 jersey clear-out sale this week.

    Sal: Didn't they already have one of those? Oh, my mistake, that was Rob Johnson's No. 11 jersey.

    Leo: Seriously, the Bills' goal these final weeks...
    -11-16-2004, 07:52 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bills] The Bills' future is now and starts with Losman
    by DJRamFan
    Sal Maiorana
    Democrat and Chronicle columnist
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    (November 16, 2004) FOXBORO, Mass. I know I've seen enough. I'm pretty sure every clear-thinking Bills fan has seen enough. I wish Mike Mularkey would admit that he has seen enough.

    The Drew Bledsoe Era in Buffalo should be over. After about two years' worth of mostly sub-standard and sometimes hard to watch performances, it needs to be over.

    Unfortunately, the coach said Monday that it's not over. At least not yet.

    Mularkey said Bledsoe will be the starter Sunday when the Bills host St. Louis, his reason being that he's not ready to give up on the season with seven games remaining.

    With a 3-6 record it's going to be over very soon whether he sticks with Bledsoe or turns to J.P. Losman. So if Losman was healthy enough to make that cameo appearance in New England, it makes all the sense in the world to start him for the rest of the year and begin his developmental process now.

    Tom Coughlin's Giants are 5-4 and very much alive in the NFC playoff picture. But Coughlin has grown tired of the bumbling Kurt Warner so he announced Monday he's turning the reins over to rookie Eli Manning. I don't hear too many Giants fans grumbling.

    Sunday night at Gillette Stadium Bledsoe dipped to an almost unfathomable level of incompetence and an ESPN national television audience had the misfortune of sharing in the misery of Joe Average Bills fan.

    It should have been the proverbial last straw. Rarely has Bledsoe ever looked worse and his cartoonish 14.3 passer rating, the lowest of his career, only tells part of the story.

    The computer-nerd quarterback rating formula hinges largely on touchdown passes and interceptions and at times does not fairly portray how a quarterback played in a game.

    Make no mistake: This time it painted a picture Picasso would have been proud of, accurately capturing the essence of Bledsoe's ineptitude.

    He had no touchdowns and three interceptions while completing just 8 of 19 passes for 76 yards. Just as troublesome as the balls he threw to the Patriots were some of the balls he threw to his teammates: Too high, too low, too far in front, too far behind.

    "There were some errant throws," Mularkey offered, almost in a whisper, during his post-game news conference.

    Added wide receiver Eric Moulds: "I think he was pressing a lot. Anytime you have a ball skip or things like that happen, a quarterback is pressing trying to make a play. He's had some bad games here, so it could be one of those things where he wants to beat this team really bad and go out there and play well, and he's rushing his throws and not relaxing."

    Bledsoe looked lost. He looked completely...
    -11-16-2004, 07:53 AM
  • Nick
    Bledsoe remains Bills starter
    by Nick
    Bledsoe Still Starter --
    Mon Nov 15, 2004 --from FFMastermind.com

    AP reports QB Drew Bledsoe remains the starter for the Buffalo Bills. HC Mike Mularkey on Monday insisted that rookie QB J.P. Losman still needs plenty of work, considering the first-round draft pick missed almost two months recovering from a broken leg. The coach added that Bledsoe still provides the Bills' best chance to win. That said, Mularkey wasn't happy in assessing Bledsoe's performance in Buffalo's 29-6 loss at New England on Sunday. "I think he just threw some poor balls," Mularkey said. "He didn't play as well as he needed to for us to win." Bledsoe's long-term status as starter is up for debate now that the Bills (3-6), who host St. Louis on Sunday, have fallen out of the playoff picture.
    -11-16-2004, 07:43 AM
  • Nick
    Losman named Bills starter
    by Nick
    Link.

    Not exceptionally surprising. Even if they weren't forced into this from a monetary standpoint, Holcomb and Nall aren't exactly amazing competition....
    -08-30-2006, 04:00 PM
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