They may not have scored a touchdown Sunday, but the Buffalo Bills hit ratings paydirt with their last-minute, 17-16 victory over the Washington Redskins.
The game averaging a 34.1 rating on Channel 4, was up about 10 percent from the season average of 31.2. Of course, the weather may have had as much to do with that as the game featuring five Rian Lindell field goals. In the last 15 minutes, the rating hit 46.8, a Super Bowl-like figure.
Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots, the CBS announcers, were a little unfair to Bills Coach Dick Jauron during the game when they criticized him for failing to throw the red flag to challenge an apparent Redskin fumble that was ruled an incomplete pass.
The Buffalo News reported today that referee Tony Corrente told a pool reporter after the game that a member of his crew apparently told Jauron the ruling couldn't be challenged. Corrente added Jauron could have challenged the call and argued it was a completed pass but the Bills wouldn't get the ball anyway. In that case, the Redskins would have benefitted more from a challenge than the Bills.
The Redskins' decision to only have 10 defensive players on the field when the Bills first got the ball wouldn't have surprised anyone watching the Fox pregame show. Insider Jay Glazer reported before the game started that was the plan to honor the late Sean Taylor, who died Tuesday of a gunshot wound.
Fox pregame analyst Terry Bradshaw suggested the Bills do the classy thing and take a knee. Of course, the Bills offense has been so woeful this season that some might think opponents only need 10 men on the field. Jauron said he wasn't aware that the Skins had only 10 men on the field. The Bills' Fred Jackson ran for 22 yards on the play, but the Bills didn't score on the drive.
-- Alan Pergament