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BILLS GET FIRST SHUTOUT SINCE '92 BEFORE WELL-BEHAVED CROWD

When the Buffalo Bills blanked the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, it was the first time that Buffalo had shut out an opponent since 1992.

Of course, that number could be a bit higher if the Bills played the hapless Eagles a little more often.

The Bills held Philadelphia's anemic offense to just 22 yards rushing and 169 yards of total offense in a 26-0 victory in front of a crowd of 70,872 in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

It was the first time that Buffalo held a team scoreless since a 38-0 blowout of the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 20, 1992.

Things also were looking up in the stands Sunday. Area police agencies reported few major problems, with the crowd much better behaved than on the previous Sunday, when numerous fights broke out and arrests were made during a night game against the New York Jets.

Even from the press box, Orchard Park Police Chief Samuel M. McCune could tell Sunday's game was a far cry from the rowdy scene played out at the Jets game.

"Last week, looking at both end zones,
there was a steady stream of security guards going up and down," McCune said today. "This week, there were very few trips."

The numbers backed up McCune's observations.

Arrests were down to six Sunday from 24 at the previous game.

And ejections were down to fewer than 50 Sunday from 233 a week earlier. McCune cited several factors for the routine day in the stands and outside the stadium.

"I think it's a little bit of everything," he said. "It's not the opening game. It's not against the New York Jets. And it's not a night game."

"I'm sure a lot of people are starting to get the message that there is a crackdown on rowdyism," the chief added. "At least, I hope they are."

On Sunday, four arrests were made inside the stadium, and two juveniles -- 13 and 14 years old -- from Buffalo were arrested on charges of breaking into vehicles in the parking lots. They will be petitioned to Family Court.

On the field, if the Bills (2-1) were worried about a letdown, or looking past the Eagles toward next Monday's clash with the Miami Dolphins, they didn't show it.

Already leading 9-0 in the second quarter on three Steve Christie field goals, Bills defensive end Bruce Smith hammered Eagles quarterback Doug Pederson, jarring the ball loose. Buffalo's Phil Hansen picked it up at Buffalo's 33-yard line and returned it 19 yards to the Philadelphia 48.

Four plays later, Doug Flutie threw a 15-yard scoring strike to tight end Jay Riemersma, giving Buffalo a 16-0 lead. Another field goal by Christie made it 19-0 at the half.

Antowain Smith added a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to close out the scoring.

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