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Spiller, Jackson battle through injuries

Bills running back C.J. Spiller injured his ankle on a third-quarter carry against the Ravens and was replaced by Fred Jackson.

He returned to spell Jackson, who limped off, late in the third quarter.

They rotated with Tashard Choice in the fourth quarter.

Second-quarter analysis: Where did this come from?

By Jay Skurski

Raise your hand if you saw this coming: The Buffalo Bills are administering a beat down to the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Bills lead the Baltimore Ravens, 20-7, at halftime here at Ralph Wilson Stadium, taking the lead even after the second quarter started in the worst possible way.

On the first play of the second quarter, Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel was sacked by Ravens defensive end Chris Canty. The ball was recovered by Baltimore’s Brandon Williams, setting the Ravens up at the Buffalo 27-yard line. Three plays later, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Brown and the Ravens went ahead 7-6.

From there, however, it was all Bills. Buffalo ran the ball on eight straight plays, setting up the play action perfectly, with Manuel throwing a strike to rookie receiver Robert Woods for a 42-yard touchdown. Woods beat Buffalo native and Ravens cornerback Corey Graham on the play.

On Buffalo’s next possession, running back Fred Jackson broke through the line for a 16-yard touchdown.

Continue reading "Second-quarter analysis: Where did this come from?" »

Urbik reinjures knee

Buffalo Bills right guard Kraig Urbik limped off the field after tweaking a knee injury suffered last week against the New York Jets.

He was replaced by Sam Young late in the second quarter.

Aaron Williams out with back injury; Ravens lose Webb

Bills defensive back Aaron Williams, who set up a field goal with a first-quarter interception, was injured defending a deep pass in the second quarter and was on the sidelines late in the fourth quarter.

Williams leaped to knock down a pass thrown by Baltimore's Joe Flacco and appeared to land on his shoulder. He was holding his arm close to his side as rolled over following the play. He was treated on the field.

He missed one play but then headed to the locker room with two minutes left in the first half.

Williams was able to play on Baltimore's first series in the third quarter but was removed with a lower back injury late in the game.

The Baltimore Ravens also lost a player from their secondary as starting cornerback Ladarius Webb left with a thigh injury. His return is doubtful.

First-quarter analysis: Red-zone struggles on full display

By Jay Skurski

A 6-0 lead after the opening quarter sounds pretty good for the Buffalo Bills, but it’s easy to be disappointed by it.

The Bills twice have had to settle for field goals inside the red zone today against the Baltimore Ravens at Ralph Wilson Stadium, with Dan Carpenter converting both times from 27 yards out.

The Bills are now failed to score a touchdown in their past five trips inside the red zone, settling for Carpenter field goals each time.

The Bills’ first drive of the game covered 64 yards in 11 plays and took 4:43 off the clock. The big play was a 26-yard completion from EJ Manuel to T.J. Graham on a third-and-9 play from the Baltimore 40-yard line, setting the Bills up at the Ravens’ 14. The drive stalled when on third and 3 from the Baltimore 7, Manuel was sacked by Terrell Suggs.

The Bills’ next drive also stalled when Manuel scrambled on a third-and-7 play from the Baltimore 14-yard line, sliding down 2 yards short of the first down.  After missing his first field goal of the season, Carpenter has now made nine straight.

Continue reading "First-quarter analysis: Red-zone struggles on full display" »

Leodis McKelvin, Jairus Byrd unavailable; Ray Rice active

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin has been ruled out, and safety Jairus Byrd will not make his season debut.

A pregame workout of McKelvin's hamstring wasn't encouraging enough for the Bills to dress him for today's game against the Baltimore Ravens in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Byrd, the two-time Pro Bowler, will miss his fourth straight game with plantar fasciitis.

For the Ravens, running back Ray Rice is active and will start. He was sidelined last week with a hip injury.

Here are all of the inactives:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Wide receiver Jacoby Jones
  • Wide receiver Brandon Stokley
  • Guard Jah Reid
  • Center Ryan Jensen
  • Defensive tackle Terrence Cody
  • Inside linebacker Arthur Brown
  • Safety Jeromy Miles

Buffalo Bills

  • Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin
  • Guard Doug Legursky
  • Cornerback Ron Brooks
  • Cornerback Stephon Gilmore
  • Cornerback Leodis McKelvin
  • Safety Jairus Byrd
  • Kicker Dustin Hopkins

News staff selections: Week Four

Each week in Football Friday, The News' football writers pick games  against the spread in Thursday's Buffalo News, including one "Best bet"  (*). View selections, by game, below and see each writer's record on the season at the bottom.

Baltimore at Bills (+3 1/2)
Gaughan: BLT
Skurski: BLT
Graham: BLT
Sullivan: BLT
DiCesare: BLT
Northrop: BLT*

Continue reading "News staff selections: Week Four" »

Bills Live: Bills win, 23-20; Alonso INT stops Ravens' final drive



Spotlight on: G Colin Brown

By Jay Skurski

Colin Brown's grasp on a starting job with the Buffalo Bills could be tenuous.

Brown has struggled in the Bills' first three games -- and that's putting it nicely.

The website Pro Football Focus, which grades every play of every NFL game, has Brown graded as the worst starting guard in all of the NFL. Brown's pass blocking efficiency, which is a metric used by PFF, is 89.1 and he's accounted for 18 of the offensive line's 35 pressures allowed, according to the site.

Since PFF started handing out grades in 2008, Brown's cumulative season grade is the second-worst ever recorded.

With a matchup against hulking Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata on tap Sunday, Brown's performance will again be in the spotlight. The matchup will take on even more significance for Brown because the player he was competing with for the starting left guard job during training camp, Doug Legursky, is probable to play Sunday as he nears his return from a knee injury that has kept him out the first three weeks of the season.

Another poor performance from Brown could result in a change to Legursky along the Bills' offensive line. Ngata, 29, is 6-foot-3, 340-pounder in his eighth NFL season. He's a rock in the middle of the Ravens' defensive line, and will require a double team by the Bills on most plays (with Brown being joined by center Eric Wood). 

On the line from Vegas: Field goal seems low for Ravens spread

By Tim Graham

Joel Staniszewski doesn't always agree with the point spread. But as a handicapper and former oddsmaker, he usually understands how it came to be.

The St. Joe's grad was forced to muse on the number for Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"I'm just surprised at the line," Staniszewski said today from Las Vegas. "The defending Super Bowl champs are only a three-point favorite. I thought it would be more.

"The trends that I've looked at basically affirm that the Ravens are the team to bet here."

Continue reading "On the line from Vegas: Field goal seems low for Ravens spread" »

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |