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BILLS' BENTLEY BECAME A ONE-ARMED GIANT-KILLER COACHES PRAISE VETERAN LINEBACKER, WHO HAD 14 TACKLES DESPITE TORN MUSCLE

Walt Corey couldn't resist the opportunity to take a friendly dig at Ray Bentley.

"He made more tackles with one arm than he has in the other games with two arms," the Buffalo Bills' defensive coordinator said of the veteran inside linebacker.

The reference was to Saturday's victory over the New York Giants. Playing most of the game with a torn pectoral muscle, which limited the use of his right arm, Bentley was credited with an eye-popping 14 tackles, including seven first hits.

The performance inspired the coaches to select him player of the game earlier this week.

Although each member of the team was awarded a game ball for his part in helping to overcome the loss of quarterback Jim Kelly to a knee injury -- and holding his own against one of the better clubs the Bills will face this year -- Corey and the rest of the coaching staff felt Bentley deserved special recognition.

"What he did was impressive," Corey said. "Ray's a gutsy kind of guy anyway. He's a barroom type of player who uses barroom tactics to get the job done.

"You could tell, from the film, that the injury was really bothering him. It's tough enough playing this game with two good arms, let alone one. So he would just put a shoulder on a guy, then get the other arm wrapped around and make the tackle."

Bentley was in pain from the game's opening series.

The injury occurred when he drove his right shoulder into Rodney Hampton, after the Giant running back caught a tipped pass to help set up a touchdown.

"It was very painful," Bentley said. "But you get that adrenaline going and you don't even think about it. That was my kind of game because you knew they (the Giants) were just going to run the ball right at us (which they did 42 times for 157 yards)."

Although Bentley said the injured area was "all purple and swollen," he is expected to play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

And he is expected to start for the third game in a row.

For most of the season, he has taken turns as a starter and alternated during games with Carlton Bailey.

Did Saturday's game make a statement to the coaches about Bentley's quality?

"I don't think it made any statement I haven't made before," he said. "They know I'm a good football player, and they know the things I'm capable of. That's why I'm here. That's what I'm paid to do.

"When I get my chance to get on the field, I'm going to play my best. And with the team playing so well, that just makes everything seem a little bit shinier."

Bentley was replaced by Bailey for only one series against the Giants. Over the last few games, Bentley has had the edge in playing time.

"The more you play, the better feel you get in a game, the more comfortable you are out there," he said. "You're able to establish things you want to get done. And you keep your level of intensity higher."

Bentley sees this as the best season of his five-year NFL career.

It isn't so much his numbers are all that impressive (he ranks seventh on the team with 72 tackles), it's just that his feel for the game never has been stronger.

"Saturday, I had a good beat on what they were going to do," he said. "They weren't trying to fool us, they were just trying to overpower us. And we just went after it.

"A lot of times, I know what the other team is going to do before they know what they're going to do. That's just from the tendency-studying I do, and the feel you get for things. You get a certain mind set where you know what's going on.

"And, hopefully, you can do something about it."

Even with one arm.

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