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With 4.5 sacks, Mario Williams AFC's defensive player of the week

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills pass-rusher Mario Williams was named the AFC's defensive player of the week for his record-breaking performance Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Williams was defensive player of the week twice in 2007 and is the first Bills defensive lineman to win the award since Aaron Schobel in 2006.

Williams recorded 4.5 sacks, a club record, against Carolina. He had 3.5 of them on third down. Since he joined the Bills, 9.5 of his 15 sacks have been on third downs.

"The guy's a tremendous player," New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said today on a conference call with Bills reporters to preview Sunday's game at the Meadowlands. "He's been a tremendous player in the league for a long time.

"He's probably the guy that had the biggest disappointing 10 or 11 sacks he had last year, whatever it was, as there was in the league. The guy's a great player."

Kyle Williams feels like throwing up

By Jerry Sullivan

Remember a while back, when offensive coordinator Nate Hackett talked about running C.J. Spiller until he threw up?

Well, another Bills star was talking about losing his lunch late Sunday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with overwork. It was defensive lineman Kyle Williams reacting to the latest heart-wrenching loss to the Patriots.

"Listen, if I had a dollar for every tough one with those freaking guys," Williams said after the Bills lost their opener to the Pats, 23-21, on a late field goal. "It makes me vomit."

I'm sure many Bills fans share the sentiment. The Bills have lost too many of these close games to count during the last decade or so, several of them to the hated Patriots. Sometimes, they blow the Bills out. Other times, they rally from behind and rip your heart out. This was one of those times, as the Patriots rallied from a four-point deficit in the fourth to steal the opener.

Williams has seen it a few times before. In fact, his first NFL game was a two-point loss to New England. In the 2006 opener, the Bills had a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter, but lost, 19-17. The Bills led by 10 at halftime that day. They scored a bizarre early touchdown when London Fletcher recovered a fumbled kickoff for a TD. This time, they scored on a 74-yard fumble return by Da'Norris Searcy.

In the 2009 season opener, the Bills had a 24-13 lead with 2:12 left at Foxborough on Monday night. They scored a gift defensive TD that night, too, on an interception return by Aaron Schobel. But the Pats scored two late TDs, the second after Leodis McKelvin returned a kickoff from deep in his end zone and fumbled, and the Bills lost that one, 25-24.

Williams said it was tough to swallow. But you have to deal with it and move on. It's a new era, with a new coach and new quarterback. Still, it's hard to accept the same crushing result.

"Coach said hopefully we're going to learn from it and keep pushing and wake up better for it tomorrow," Williams said. "But it doesn't seem like it now."

Joe Ferguson as Mark Sanchez, Don Beebe on overrated Bills list

By Tim Graham has been naming the most underrated and overrated players for each team. The Buffalo Bills' all-time lists were posted today, and they look solid to me.

Feel free to add your thoughts or list some omissions in the comments section below.

Here are the winners and losers, with a snippet from author Patrick Crawley's review:


Drew Bledsoe: "Bledsoe was expected to be Jim Kelly 2.0. Instead, he was just another Joe in a decade-long line of disappointing Bills quarterbacks."

Don Beebe: "He's a memorable player and an inspirational one. He's just not quite as impressive as the mythic persona that's been built around him."

Peerless Price: "Price has one great season (94 catches, 1,252 yards receiving, nine touchdowns) causing the speed-starved Atlanta Falcons to cough up a first-round pick to pair him with Michael Vick."

Joe Ferguson: "He was Mark Sanchez before Mark Sanchez."

Shane Conlan: "The most damning piece of evidence against Conlan? The Bills didn't skip a beat without him. After he left in 1992, they actually improved their league defensive ranking."


Fred Smerlas: "Smerlas was point man on the so-called 'Bermuda Triangle' defense that paved the way for Buffalo's success in the early 90s."

Butch Byrd: "He had 40 [interceptions] in seven seasons. Even if you totaled the seven best seasons of Hall of Famers Deion Sanders (36) and Rod Woodson (38) they can't match that."

Howard Ballard: "He went on to start 80 straight games at right tackle for a Bills offensive line that set high marks for success, peaking with back-to-back 2,000 yards from scrimmage seasons for Thurman Thomas in 1991 and 1992."

Kenneth Davis: "The consummate 'deliver when it counts' guy, Davis scored seven postseason touchdowns in his six seasons with the Bills."

Aaron Schobel: "He had four seasons with 10-plus sacks, including back-to-back double-digit sack seasons in 2005 and 2006 -- the only Bills player other than Bruce Smith to do so."

Is Buffalo's front office allowing itself to get out-leveraged?

By Tim Graham

I've wondered out loud how a team can miss 13 straight postseasons and claim to rebuild through the draft yet fail to re-sign the players who develop just as they hoped they would when drafting them.

I asked Andrew Brandt, an ESPN business analyst who handled player contracts and the salary cap for the Green Bay Packers, how the moribund Bills could connect on a second-round draft pick such as left guard Andy Levitre and not be able to re-sign him.

The problem, Brandt explained, is that the Bills should have addressed Levitre's future a long time ago.

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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 |