Bills BAD TO THE BONE!

The Bills' 35-0 loss to the 49ers Sunday night, Dec. 2 was unbelievable – yes, unbelievable. If you were in the stands, or if you were watching it on television, you saw something physically impossible; something that went against every known law of physics;

 

something that could only be theorized by research scientists in a book, not proven in real life – until this football game in front of a national cable audience.

The 49ers held the ball so long that it was determined that they actually possessed it for 87 minutes. Well how can that be, you ask, the game is only 60 minutes long?

No matter. It's because the Bills offense' was so ineffective, causing the entire Bills sideline to hyperventilate for four quarters, that a huge vacuum was created over the stadium (not unlike what happened to Jody Foster in the movie "Contact"), which affected the time continuum and aided the 49ers in setting a new NFL time of possession record.

OK, the 49ers really only held the ball for 39 minutes, 48 seconds. But it was a horrid performance on all fronts for the Bills.

Defense: San Francisco ran for 230 yards – Garrison Hearst had 124 yards and a touchdown – and the Bills defense did not force any turnovers for the millionth time this season. Offense: Alex Van Pelt threw four interceptions and passed for 162 yards; the running backs rushed for only 29 yards. Special teams: Chris Watson fumbled a kickoff, new kicker Shayne Graham badly missed a 49-yarder at the end of the first half, and Nate Clements was offside on an extra-point try that the Niners missed, but because he was offside, Jose Cortez got another chance and nailed it.

"We knew offensively, the 49ers were playing very well," Gregg Williams said. "We didn't convert on third downs. We didn't get off the field on third downs. I've always said time of possession is a team stat … We weren't physical enough to be able to match inside with them today."

That's the truth. When San Francisco decided it would give Buffalo it's running game in the second half, it blasted it with middle runs right up the gut. The Niners rolled up 136 yards after half time, when Buffalo knew the NFL's second-ranked running attack would be unleashed. And San Francisco still managed to make it work. Buffalo's mistackles and mispositioning really cost it on defense.

In short, Buffalo embarrassed itself worse than it ever had this season. It was the worst Bills' loss since the 52-17 shellacking by Dallas in Super Bowl XXVII. At least Buffalo scored in that game.

It was the first shutout of the Bills since losing to the Steelers 23-0 Nov. 15, 1993. It was the worst loss since the Bills' scab team lost 47-6 to Indianapolis in October 1987. It was the worst regular season loss by a regular Bills team since losing to the Jets 42-3 in September 1985.

Had enough?

Read on, if you dare.

Gregg Williams said, "When you're playing a team that's playing as well as they are right now … again, (you must watch) turnovers – we turned the ball over, we didn't get any (turnovers). We had the balls on the ground. We knocked the ball loose a couple of times, it bounces right back to ‘em. And we turn it right over on a kickoff return again. That's inexcusable."

The Buffalo offense was putrid under Van Pelt for the first time since he took office two games ago. It had 191 total yards and it was two of 12 on third downs, against a defense that was ranked 24th coming into the game.

Van Pelt was off the mark most of the night, delivering the ball just behind his receivers on some throws and then taking wild chances on others, which resulted in four picks.

And two of the picks resulted in 14 points. Another, Chris Watson's fumble on a kickoff with four minutes, four seconds remaining, led to another touchdown and a 35-0 lead.

Then added to that misery, is the fact that the 49ers were operating effectively and efficiently on offense under Jeff Garcia. They never had huge, huge gains – their longest play was the 23-yard touchdown to receiver Tai Streets, giving them a 14-0 lead – but they consistently had sizable gains. In fact, they had 16 gains of 10 yards or more – 15 of which were less than 20 yards. That's Bill Walsh offensive perfection.

Look at the 49ers' second drive, which culminated in Garrison Hearst's one-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead, and you begin to see how the night was going to go for the Bills.

Hearst's touchdown came as the result of five double-digit yardage gains on the drive – pass to J.J. Stokes for 13 yards, pass to Terrell Owens for 14 yards, reverse to halfback Vinny Sutherland for 16 yards, pass to Streets for 11 yards and run by Hearst for 13 yards. Talk about rhythm! It takes Buffalo three games to get that many sizable gains.

This is the typical Bill Walsh attack: The quarterback throws to places where the defense isn't. San Francisco was able to find space within the Bills' coverages, and that resulted in Garcia spreading the ball around.

On the Niners' second touchdown play to Streets, Garcia took advantage of the weakness of the Bills' defense. Antoine Winfield, playing the nickel in the slot, came on a blitz. Garcia, seeing that Winfield was coming his way, knew that Streets would be facing one-on-one coverage from Bills free safety Travares Tillman. Tillman had OK coverage, but Streets managed to haul the ball in on the up and out pattern for the score and the 14-0 lead.

Buffalo did manage to pressure the 49ers – the Bills had two sacks and several close-calls. But on some plays it was made to pay for the pressure. When Buffalo sat back in coverage, it couldn't cover. Terrell Owens made two straight second-quarter catches where it looked like he was open with only one Bills defender worried that he was open. On the second one, a third and 11 from the Buffalo 30, Garcia rolled right, with Nate Clements covering Owens. When it looked like Garcia might run, that caused Clements to hesitate momentarily, and it was just the split second Garcia needed to get Clements off of Owens. It went for a 17-yard completion. But only one man covering Owens? The Bills need


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