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A few observations from the Sabres' game with the Blues on Wednesday night: 1. Classy move by St. Louis coach Andy Murray, putting West Seneca native Lee Stempniak in the starting lineup for his first NHL game in Buffalo -- along with long-time former Sabre Jay McKee. 2. Lindy Ruff has done a nice job getting his team back in the conference race. The Sabres seemed like a …

Looking at the Bills' team statistics, it's hard to believe they're two plays from 7-4. In the latest league stats, they're now 31st in offense and 31st in defense. Stats don't tell the whole story, but it's hard to make an argument that they're a playoff contender -- or even an average team -- in the face of such evidence. And it's hard to buy the Bend But Don't Break the…

Just received the inactives for today's Bills-Jaguars game and there's good news for the Bills. Rashean Mathis, the Jags' Pro Bowl cornerback, is out with a groin injury. Aaron Glenn will start for Mathis at left corner. The Jaguars were vulnerable against the pass to begin with, so Mathis' absence should l give J.P. Losman an even greater chance to test them downfield. I …

Roscoe Parrish, normally a quiet presence in the locker room, is complaining about not getting involved enough in the Bills' passing game. Parrish griped to more than one reporter during Wednesday's open locker room about the team's failure to utilize his game-breaking talents. Parrish has a total of four catches in the last five games. He hasn't had more than one catch i…

Back in the summer, when Aaron Schobel signed an extension that made his contract worth $50 million over seven years  -- the same numbers as the Sabres' Thomas Vanek -- I said we should have periodic updates to determine which of Buffalo's $50 million athletes was doing more for the money. So here goes: Schobel, who was no factor against the Patriots, has two sacks i…

So much for wondering where it would rank among the all-time wins. The Bills just became the first home team in 34 years to give up 56 points in an NFL game. Where does this rank among the all-time worst losses in team history? I suspect it won't hold a candle to that 52-17 debacle against the Cowboys in the Super Bowl. Even so, it's hard to crush them for this. The Pat…

Sitting around waiting for the start of the Pat-Bills game and wondering: If the Bills pull the upset, where will it rank among the all-time Bills wins? I think it could be among the top two or three regular-season games in franchise history.  It might even rank among the top five or six,  counting playoffs. Of course, we won't know until the Pats finish their ru…

OK, so if I say it's hard to imagine J.P. Losman having a good game Sunday, that makes it a personal vendetta? It's not personal. I actually wanted J.P. to succeed. I like the guy, though he should run some of his quotes through a filter sometimes before opening his mouth (I can relate). He's among the 1 percent of athletes who actually deign to live in the city that bears…

The report on Marshawn Lynch doesn't sound good. In his Wednesday press briefing, Dick Jauron said Lynch's injury was more serious than your garden-variety sprained ankle -- the typical basketball-related sprain. He said it might be more than a one-week injury and he wasn't optimistic about Lynch's chances of playing against the Pats. I think they should be conservative an…

Two games into his career, Jonny Flynn is already stirring memories of some of the great freshman in Syracuse basketball history. First, he scores 28 points to break Carmelo Anthony's record for a frosh in his debut. Then he drills a 28-footer to beat St. Joe's in the closing seconds on Tuesday night. I'm old enough to remember another last-second shot by an Orange freshma…

In the latest NFL stats, the Bills are 28th in total defense (yards allowed). They're up to ninth in points allowed at 18.4 a game. I know they haven't faced a lot of offensive powers, but it's still impressive for a young defense that has been besieged by injuries. There might be something to the bend but don't break philosophy, after all. Last year, the Bills were 18th i…

A moment of silence for one of the great writers, Norman Mailer. Mailer's account of the Ali-Foreman fight in Zaire -- simply entitled "The Fight" -- was one of the great sports books of all time. I remember reading it in college and thinking, "My God, I wish I could write OR report like that some day.' Mailer was one of the great characters, and a bit of a …

Sorry, but it's a little to convenient. The Sabres are off to a slow start, they can't generate offense, their $10 million man is struggling, and we're supposed to believe it's because the NHL has gone back to a defensive-minded style? Because people have figured out the Sabres? I'm not saying there isn't justification for some of this talk. But it's laughable to hear it s…

Dick Jauron met with the media at 2:45 p.m. today and, not surprisingly, wouldn't say whether J.P. Losman would be his starting quarterback for the rest of the year. But Jauron did say that it was largely Losman's performance against the Bengals -- rather than Trent Edwards' wrist injury -- that led to his decision.  He reiterated that performance will dictate his lin…

Sorry, I'll get it right eventually. I was mistaken about the Patriots and the bye. This will actually be the FOURTH consecutive year that the Patriots play the Bills after a bye. Which makes it even more amazing.