Game SnapShot: Buffalo at Dallas

<b>Game SnapShot</b><br> <b>KICKOFF:</b> Sunday, 1:00 ET<br> <b>GAMEDATE:</b> 11/09/03<br> <b>SURFACE:</b> Sportfield Real grass<br> <b>TV:</b> CBS, Greg Gumbel, Phil Simms, Armen Keteyian<br> <b>SERIES:</b> 9th meeting. The Cowboys lead the series 5-3. The Bills won the last meeting, 10-7 in 1996 at Buffalo. The last meeting in Dallas was a 13-10 Bills victory in 1993.

2003 RANKINGS: Bills: offense 27th (32nd rush, 21st pass); defense 3rd (15th rush, 3rd pass). Cowboys: offense 10th (7th rush, 16th pass); defense 1st (3rd rush, 1st pass)

The Bills have 14 turnovers in their three road losses this season, and they have not shown the ability to overcome adversity away from home. Running the ball behind RB Travis Henry early on is critical because the offensive line has not held up well under heavy pressure on passing downs, which has led to poor decisions from QB Drew Bledsoe. WR Eric Moulds' groin is healed, adding a deep threat that has been missing the past two games. Dallas will attempt to control the clock with an offense that averages 34 rushing attempts per game. Buffalo has solid corners, although they do not produce many INTs, but Cowboys QB Quincy Carter's decision-making will be put to the test.

Bills: Bledsoe needs 19 completions to pass Dave Krieg (3,105) for the ninth-most all-time. ... The team has a combined 28 sacks allowed and turnovers committed in the past three road games. Cowboys: They are 6-0 when the offense has 30 or more rushing plays. ... Carter's 113.0 fourth-quarter passer-rating ranks second in the NFL.

Cowboys 26, Bills 16


--QB Drew Bledsoe is out to shake his horrible play on the road this season at Dallas on Sunday. In Buffalo's three road losses, he has thrown six interceptions and no touchdowns while being sacked 14 times. The Cowboys say coach Bill Parcells has told them the key to beating Bledsoe, whom he coached in New England and against twice a year while later coaching the New York Jets, is to put pressure on him, because if he's got time, "He'll pick you apart," said DE LaRoi Glover.

--OG Mike Pucillo came out of the bye week still the team's staring right guard. The second-year pro and first-year starter had a rough first half, being manhandled in several games. "He's gotten better the last couple of weeks," coach Gregg Williams said. "He's played stronger, and I think he'll continue to get better down the stretch."

--WR Eric Moulds practiced again on Thursday and is getting closer to full strength. Moulds missed two games with a groin tear and was about 75 percent when he returned to the lineup against Kansas City and was mostly ineffective pushing off and gaining separation from defensive backs. Moulds is still the Bills' leader in receptions with 36 for 510 yards, but has just one TD so far.

--PR Antonio Brown remains last in the NFL with a 4.1 average on 22 attempts. He faces a good challenge this Sunday, going against Dallas' 12th-ranked punt coverage team.

--RB Travis Henry is coming off back-to-back 100 yard games and is making it no secret he's ready for a big second half. The placing of No. 1 pick Willis McGahee on the active roster notwithstanding, Henry wants the ball even more than the 21 carries he's averaged per game so far. "I had a good off season workout program, and I feel like I can be a workhorse," Henry said. "Ride me until they can't ride me no more."

--TE Mark Campbell has signed a contract extension. He was working on his original deal signed with Cleveland. He joined the Bills in a trade last February to replace Jay Riemersma and has been a solid blocker and pleasant surprise as a receiver with 23 catches for 197 yards.


--LG Larry Allen was not one of the four Cowboys players Bill Parcells listed as injured Wednesday, but he was the only one who had to be carted off the field Sunday with what owner Jerry Jones called a hyper extended knee. Allen returned but did not finish the game.

And while Parcells does not know if Allen will play the whole game against Buffalo, the coach said Allen is not injured.

"I guess [his status] could [put us at a disadvantage] at some point. But, at this point, it hasn't yet," Parcells said. "I don't want to get into this Larry Allen discussion."

He might not want to, but the whole thing is ready to boil over.

Allen is not playing well, when he is playing at all. Jones is on the sideline trying to motivate him, as he did Sunday, which leads to more questions. And Parcells is sounding increasingly frustrated with his big-money offensive lineman, who cannot be counted on to last an entire game.

Further complicating matters is right tackle Ryan Young's knee injury. His injury is not to the ligaments or cartilage, and he is listed as questionable. It is a problem that could linger all season, so Parcells cannot afford to go into games with Allen capable of surviving only a quarter.

"I love that question, 'Do you feel comfortable?' I do not ever feel comfortable about anything. OK? I really don't," Parcells said.

--LB Dat Nguyen received high praise from Cowboys Bill Parcells, who called the undersized linebacker "a football-playing dude." Nguyen leads the Cowboys' top ranked defense with 66 tackles. He also has two sacks, five quarterback pressures and five pass deflections.

And while Parcells admits the solid play of the smallish linebacker has been a surprise, he is not ready to give up the idea of super-sizing the linebackers.

"If you have a standard, and you continually compromise your standard, then you have a team of exceptions and eventually that gets you beat," Parcells said. "I don't want to go around looking for every 5-9 linebacker in the country to see if he's that guy, because I don't have the time. I'd rather look for the 6-3 or 6-4 guy."

--FB Richie Anderson (herniated disc) should be ready to play against the Bills after missing last Sunday's game with the Redskins. Coach Bill Parcells said a final decision won't be made until Friday when he will make Anderson go through some contact to see how his back reacts.

--RT Ryan Young (knee) practice Wednesday and Thursday but remains questionable for the Bills game. If he cannot go the Cowboys will alternate Kurt Vollers and Torrin Tucker at the position. Vollers is the more experienced answer but Parcells wants to force feed Tucker so he will be ready to go if the Cowboys need him on an extended basis later in the season.

--WR Joey Galloway was the Cowboys' leading receiver after five games but after catching just three passes in the last three games combined, he is now third behind Terry Glenn and fullback Richie Anderson with just 22 receptions. Reasons abound for Galloway's drop in production. He has drawn double coverage's and the opposing defense's best cover corner opening the middle of the field for Glenn. "Winning helps me sleep at night," Galloway said.


The Bills are glad to have a healthy Sammy Morris back in their lineup.

Morris, one of the few holdovers from the John Butler Era, is the team's third-down back, its best at picking up blitzes and its special teams captain. Morris missed five games after hernia surgery, and the Bills' ability to pick up blitzing linebackers and defensive backs suffered.

He was able to see some action in the Oct. 26 loss to Kansas City, and with the bye weekend, was able to come close to being 100 percent heading into Sunday's game at Dallas.

"I'm fairly close," Morris said. "I still have some soreness from the surgery and some healing going on, but for the most part, I feel pretty good. Really, on Sunday, when the adrenaline is flowing, I will be fine. I feel capable and confident in what I can do."

The Cowboys love sending athletic, hard-hitting safeties Roy Williams and Darren Woodson on the blitz. They have accounted for three sacks, six pressures and two tackles for losses so far. For Buffalo, how important is getting Morris back?

"He has a very good understanding of our pass protections," coach Gregg Williams said. "He's been a very good pass protector but he also gives us a little bit of a one-on-one mismatch with some of the linebackers that we would go against in that part of the game. Plus he runs the football well. It's good to have him healthy here in this final stretch."


According to his biography, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a successful businessman with interests in oil, gas and real estate.

But truth be told, Jones is a country salesman so slick he could sell ice in Alaska, potatoes in Idaho and oranges in Florida.

How about selling supposedly passionless left tackle Flozell Adams to coach Bill Parcells?

Yes, Jones did that, too.

It was last spring. Adams' contract was up, and a decision had to be made on whether he could serve as the team's anchor on the offensive line for years to come.

All Parcells knew was that Adams, 28, had been the team leader in penalties in 2002 and an integral part of the woeful offensive line mix considered to be the primary source for the Cowboys' woes.

Questions about Adams' dedication to the game also had to be answered for Parcells, who finds the idea of a 6-foot-7, 357-pound man lacking passion loathsome.

"Bill had looked at him on film," Jones said. "The thing he didn't know, that he needed to hear, was how much Flozell wants to win, how much he wants to compete and how bad it hurts him not to prevail. You cannot see those things on film. No one looked good on the offensive line last year. But [I] wanted Bill to have the whole picture."

The picture came clear to Jones during halftime of a game last season when he encountered an emotional and seemingly teary-eyed Adams.

"He was just so mad and frustrated that he teared up," Jones said. "He has a quiet nature and it makes people think he doesn't have passion. But it hurts him to have a bad play or bad game. Those are things you cannot step in and see. Those are things you recognize over the years."

It hasn't taken years for the Cowboys to recognize the benefits of Jones' sales job.

Adams has more than lived up to his price tag a five-year, $25 million deal, including a $10 million signing bonus.

He has replaced guard Larry Allen as the team's best offensive lineman. He has become the reliable blind-side protector that teams expect from the left tackle, while remaking himself as a vocal leader for a young group in need of a bell cow.

Considering the continued state of flux on the offensive line, Adams has become a source of comfort for a coach who is never comfortable.

Parcells has watched two centers be sidelined for the season. He acknowledges that right tackle Ryan Young, who has missed two games with knee swelling, will be iffy the rest of the season. And he doesn't know what to expect on any level from Allen, who has struggled with injuries and conditioning since training camp and now has his passion being questioned.

Parcells chooses not to talk much about Allen these days, but regarding Adams, he is downright effusive.

"Flo's doing real well," Parcells said. "I didn't know Flo, and he wasn't easy to get to know. He is somewhat quiet, but I know him pretty well now. I think he is doing a real good job. I really do. I mean, I will take him. You can put him up against most guys that are out there."

The Cowboys have done most of their damage on the ground running left behind Adams.

And in the last two weeks, he held Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice sackless and has Washington's Bruce Smith questioning his role.

Rice is considered to be the league's premier pass rushers. And Smith, who needs two sacks to become the league's all-time leader, was demoted to second string before the game against the Cowboys because they thought Regan Upshaw might have a better chance of penetrating against Adams. Upshaw was also shut out.

Adams credits his seemingly Pro Bowl-caliber play to Parcells' guidance and the teachings of offensive line coach George Warhop, two enhancements Jones felt would help take the sixth-year veteran to the next level.

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