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MOORMAN REGRETS TAUNTING PENALTY

Punter Brian Moorman, generously listed at 6 feet, 180 pounds, said he takes the same attitude as any other body-rocker who tries to make plays on the Bills' special teams. That means to zone in on the ball carrier.

"We want to have an attitude on special teams and that doesn't mean the kicker doesn't have the same attitude," he said. "I've got that attitude."

But Moorman admits that mind-set got him and the Bills in trouble during their 27-24 loss at San Diego on Sunday. The Chargers' Ronney Jenkins, who entered the contest ranked second in the league with a 28.6-yard average on kickoff returns, averaged a modest 21 yards on his first two tries Sunday. But on his final attempt, he found a crease and took off down the sideline before Moorman dragged him down at the Bills' 26-yard line. But Moorman compounded the coverage mistake after getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting Jenkins after the tackle.

That set up the 13-yard winning touchdown scramble by quarterback Doug Flutie.

"You get caught up in the game when you're out there," Moorman said. "I was angry that they made it through, I heard him say something to me, and so I just stood up and walked off. I didn't think I should have been called but it happens and you have to move on. Hindsight is 20-20 and it wasn't the right thing. I'd love to have it back. I'd love to have that moment back and if I would, I could, but I can't so I won't. That's the way it goes."

Moorman said the taunt wasn't in retaliation for a similar action earlier in the game when Chargers kicker Wade Richey taunted Bills rookie Nate Clements. Richey wasn't flagged on the play.

"We get ridiculed and some players don't think we're part of this game," Moorman said. "He thinks I shouldn't run him down. . . . Wade got up in Nate's face and that's not why I did that. It was just the way it worked out and then I walked off. I just got into the game just like everyone else did."

Bills coach Gregg Williams said he spoke with Moorman about the taunting penalty, and he also wasn't pleased with the delay of game penalty prior to kickoff.

"That is an oversight on Brian's part," Williams said. "Everybody's looking at the guy to set the play. You don't do that in the NFL, you kick it. You are handed it, you put it on the tee and you kick it."

Bills quarterback Rob Johnson is the league's 18th-rated passer (79.2) after completing 24 of 37 passes for 310 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Chargers.

Johnson, who is the ninth-rated passer in the AFC, seemed to be winning over more and more of his teammates.

"I think that our quarterback over the last couple of weeks has proven that he's the guy," said veteran fullback Larry Centers. "(Sunday) he made a great statement and he showed everyone in the Buffalo area that the Bills kept the right quarterback."

Williams said Johnson did a good job Sunday of improvising and creating situations on the run. Johnson's 67 yards rushing was a season high.

"I thought he played well," Williams said. "A lot of guys played courageous and battled through some tough times in the ballgame, and he was one of them."

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is the league's sixth-rated passer (92.9) and second in the AFC. . . . Running back Edgerrin James is the NFL's second-leading rusher (662 yards) behind the Jets' Curtis Martin (738). By comparison, the Bills have rushed for 687 yards as a team.

e-mail: r mckissic@buffnews.com

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