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Eric Wood on Meadowlands result: 'We kind of threw it away'

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills captain Eric Wood used the words "terrible" and "unacceptable" to describe Sunday's performance in a 27-20 loss to the New York Jets.

"That was a game, we kind of threw it away," Wood said this morning at One Bills Drive. "Credit them. They played well. They were able to hit some big plays on us, but that's on us."

The Jets' defense ravaged the Bills. The Jets sacked rookie EJ Manuel eight times and registered 16 quarterback hits.

The Jets also kept C.J. Spiller under a yard per carry and Fred Jackson to under 2 yards a carry aside from a 59-yard rumble.

Continue reading "Eric Wood on Meadowlands result: 'We kind of threw it away'" »

Inaction Jackson: Why Fred's non-play was a splendid moment

By Tim Graham

On the Buffalo Bills' fourth-quarter comeback drive, EJ Manuel completed six of his eight throws.

One of those incomplete passes was a critical drop.

The play was critical not because it was a mistake, but for how the Bills benefited from it.

On first down from the Carolina Panthers' 46-yard line and with 47 seconds left, Manuel checked down to running back Fred Jackson nowhere near the sideline. Rather than catch the ball and get tackled quickly by linebacker Thomas Davis for a short gain, Jackson dropped it.

Continue reading "Inaction Jackson: Why Fred's non-play was a splendid moment" »

Two Right Smack: Anatomy of a game-winning play

By Tim Graham

The play took a heartbeat to say and 3.3 seconds from snap to completion.

It felt like an eternity.

With six seconds left in Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Buffalo Bills were 2 yards away from a touchdown they had to have. The Carolina Panthers were up by six points.

EJ Manuel, his eyes darting about after 9-yard scramble, called the play:

Two Right Smack.

Continue reading "Two Right Smack: Anatomy of a game-winning play" »

Bills' play total in bottom half of NFL after Week One

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills ran 61 offensive plays in their season-opening loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, a total that ranks tied for 20th in the NFL after Week One.

That's far below the goal of the team's new up-tempo, no-huddle offense, and is 28 fewer run than the 89 run by the Patriots, which was the most in the league on opening weekend.

"We would have liked to have their number of plays and wear them down a little bit more," Bills center Eric Wood said.

So what went wrong?

Continue reading "Bills' play total in bottom half of NFL after Week One" »

Third downs doomed Bills more than clock management

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills fans sound upset over the no-huddle offense's inability to run time off the clock with a late lead Sunday against the New England Patriots.

Buffalo's real problem, though, was an inability to convert third downs.

Up-tempo offenses are no good when they record only four first downs. Buffalo failed to move the chains and kept the ball a mere 22:17. Buffalo's defense was on the field far too long, which showed when Tom Brady dissected it in the fourth quarter.

Continue reading "Third downs doomed Bills more than clock management" »

13 penalties pockmark valiant Bills effort against Patriots

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills committed a penalty on the first play of their season opener.

The Bills committed a penalty on their sixth offensive snap.

The Bills committed seven penalties before the New England Patriots were charged with one.

Subtract all those yellow flags and the Bills might have pulled out an improbable victory today in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Instead, the Patriots stayed closed enough to win, 23-21, on a field goal with five seconds to play.

"There's some self-inflicted things we did today that you can't do against a team like that," Bills running back Fred Jackson said.

Continue reading "13 penalties pockmark valiant Bills effort against Patriots" »

Bills, EJ Manuel must beware of Brandon Spikes

By Tim Graham

With the young Buffalo Bills about to open the season with a rookie quarterback returning from injury, they ought to be wary of Brandon Spikes and his potentially dastardly antics.

The New England Patriots' middle linebacker is dirty and has a history against the Bills.

Spikes drew league fines each time he played the Bills last year, $21,000 for a blindside hit on tight end Scott Chandler and $25,000 for a head-to-head hit on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick that knocked off Fitzpatrick's helmet and turned into a heated altercation.

After the second game, Fitzpatrick said Spikes is "a punk at times," and Bills center Eric Wood called him "a headhunter."

You better believe Spikes would love nothing more than to get inside rookie quarterback EJ Manuel's kitchen and rattle some pots.

Continue reading "Bills, EJ Manuel must beware of Brandon Spikes " »

Doug Marrone: O-line continuity an overrated concept

By Tim Graham

One of the joys of covering a new head coach is learning how he thinks. As various situations unfold or problems arise, we find out how he likes to address them.

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone today revealed he disagrees with a time-worn football chestnut.

He claimed offensive-line continuity is overrated.

Continue reading "Doug Marrone: O-line continuity an overrated concept" »

Bills name Fred Jackson, Eric Wood and Kyle Williams captains

By Jay Skurski

Running back Fred Jackson, center Eric Wood and defensive tackle Kyle Williams have been voted by their teammates as captains for the 2013 season.

Jackson, 32, is entering his seventh NFL season, all with the Bills. The former undrafted free agent out of Coe College has made 46 career starts and his 4,231 career rushing yards ranks fourth in franchise history.

Wood, 27, is a former first-round pick of the Bills in 2009. He signed a four-year contract extension with the team last week, saying "I never would've forgave myself," if he left Buffalo, "especially with the direction we're going and to watch them make the playoffs without me."

Williams, 30, is entering his eighth season. He and Jackson are third-time captains, while Wood is a first-time captain. 

The three players will have a "C" affixed to their uniforms. According to the Bills, their responsibilities will include assisting in the on-field communication with the game officials.

The NFL introduced the team captain initiative in May 2007 with the purpose of supporting and recognizing the importance of team leadership.

What to look for at today's Bills practice

By Jay Skurski

A steady barrage of news has filtered out of One Bills Drive in the last week.

To recap, in the past seven days alone, the Bills have:

    • Lost veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb to a concussion that ultimately landed him on the injured reserve list.
    • Lost No. 1 cornerback Stephon Gilmore for 6-8 weeks because of a broken wrist.
    • Signed and then eventually released former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart. They also traded with the Detroit Lions for another quarterback, Thad Lewis, only to release him, too. 
    • Announced they are planning to start undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel against the New England Patriots, which would make NFL history, if first-round draft pick EJ Manuel isn't ready because of knee surgery.
    • Welcomed back Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, who doesn't sound thrilled to be back. Then watched as Byrd had a second opinion on a foot injury.
    • Signed one of their team leaders in center Eric Wood to a contract extension.
    • Made a round of cuts Friday, then another one Saturday that left them three players under the maximum roster limit of 53.

So when the Bills get back to work today to prepare for the season opener against New England next Sunday, here's what to look for.

Continue reading "What to look for at today's Bills practice" »

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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 |