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WADE'S FAULT

I have been an entrenched Buffalo Bills fan for as long as I can remember. This victory over our beloved Bills is the quintessential sucker punch . . . but it has not been delivered by the Tennessee Titans. Nor was it delivered by the field officials who maybe did not want to reverse a bad call. Indeed, it was a good call. This defeat rests squarely on the shoulders of Wade Phillips.

Doug Flutie has shown his worth all season. His talent and versatility speak for themselves. He has led this team magnificently. And what is his reward? To lead his team further into the championship venue? No. His reward is to be benched and have Rob Johnson give it a "try."

You let someone give it a try if you're in the third or fourth week and your opponent is not in your division. You give it a try if the game is clearly won and you want to give your best guy a well-deserved rest. You give it a try if you're down 30 points and the two-minute warning has just gone off. You don't give it a try in a wild-card playoff game. Duh!

What was Phillips thinking???

Maybe he's got something against Flutie. . . . such natural talent that can't be confined no matter what kind of bad breaks he gets (Trump/N.J. Generals/Canadian football).

Flutie's talent-to-salary quotient is way off. Maybe this is a way to prevent him from advancing his own monetary worth, by taking a chance on Johnson. (See Doug, we told you. We don't need you after all.)

If the Titans had not pulled off that last play, Buffalo would have won by one point and Johnson would look like the hero Phillips wanted him to be. It is undeniable: Flutie would never have let the game decay to the point where a last-minute play by the Titans would make any kind of difference.

One of these days, Flutie will get the lasting respect and recognition he so richly deserves. I had hoped it would be with my favorite team, Buffalo. That is, obviously, not the case.

I'm sure the City of Buffalo is lamenting their stolen victory. I am truly sorry, fair citizens. I feel your pain. But in fact, our hopes and dreams for a winning season were not stolen, wrenched from our faithful hands, by the Titans.

No, they were carelessly and recklessly trampled upon and thrown away by Wade Phillips.
CECELIA SAAD
Las Vegas

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