EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- For one of the few times this
season, Drew Bledsoe and the Buffalo Bills lived up to the
preseason hype. The New York Giants' failure to do even that has
put Jim Fassel's job in serious peril.
Question on the Bills: Should the Bills pursue another backup QB in the offseason, or is Van Pelt the heir to Bledsoe?
Finding an heir is never as cut and dry as it may seem. Typically players come from other organizations after proving themselves or showing potential and are given the chance to take the QB job. Any way it goes, with the way Bledsoe is getting hit, the Bills need to start developing someone quickly.
Question on the Giants: In terms of mailing it in, has anyone tanked the season more than the Giants?
It's amazing that a team with such a strong veteran presence is doing such a terrible job handling adversity. This team isn't hurting for personnel. On paper, they look like a potentially dominating team, but they haven't transferred it onto the field. The Giants don't seem to have any confidence as a team.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
Shaking off the effects of a concussion and some internal
strife, Bledsoe threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns, and the
Bills embarrassed New York 24-7 on Sunday in a game that ended with
78,000-seat Giants Stadium three-quarters empty.
Bledsoe hit 19 of 29 passes before another blow to the head
forced him to the bench in the third quarter.
"There is an overall sense of frustration because we feel like
we've underachieved this season," Bledsoe said after the Bills
(5-7) snapped a four-game losing streak.
"We've played three good games over the course of the season,
today being one of them."
The situation for the Giants (4-8) is worse.
The Bills came into this season thinking they had a shot to make
the playoffs for the first time since 1999. The Giants were
thinking Super Bowl again after a high-powered offense got them
back to the playoffs last season.
Turnovers, injuries, dumb plays, penalties and bad tackling hurt
them all season and they all were evident again in a game that all
but ended New York's playoff hopes and Fassel's tenure as coach.
"It's hard to describe my feelings right now," a subdued
Fassel said after enduring the first four-game losing streak of his
six-plus seasons as coach. "It's hard. It's just hard to watch
them play that way."
It was also hard for co-owner Wellington Mara, who had seen
Fassel lead the Giants to three playoff berths and a Super Bowl
after the 2000 season.
"I'm very disappointed," Mara said. "I never go into a season
or game with high expectations. But I do go into some with higher
hopes than others, and this year we had high hopes."
Mara refused to discuss Fassel's future.
The Bills still have an outside shot at the playoffs if they can
win their final four games.
Buffalo took control with a 17-point second quarter. Bledsoe
threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dave Moore, a 22-yarder
to Bobby Shaw and set up a short field goal by Rian Lindell with a
Bledsoe also had consecutive passes of 21 and 18 yards to set up
Travis Henry's 13-yard third-quarter TD run that gave the Bills a
17-point lead. It was on that drive he took a helmet-to-helmet hit
from Giants lineman Keith Hamilton.
"When I got up everything was yellow," Bledsoe said. "I was
thinking fairly clearly."
Bledsoe missed some practice time this week with headaches,
nausea and some vision problems after being kneed in last Sunday's
loss to Indianapolis.
The Bills' offense also came under fire this week when
cornerback Antonio Winfield questioned why coach Gregg Williams was
throwing so much without big-play receivers.
The Bills then took advantage of big holes in the Giants'
defense, turnovers and a decimated offensive line to hand New York
its fifth loss in six home games.
A 31-yard pass to Shaw and a 15-yard unnecessary roughing
penalty set up Lindell's go-ahead 26-yard field goal.
A fumble by Collins on the ensuing series gave the Bills the
ball at the New York 41. Bledsoe hit Josh Reed on passes of 15 and
20 yards before connecting with Shaw for the score on second-and-17
Bledsoe had only three TD passes and eight interceptions in his
last nine games.
Coming into this game, the Bills had not scored a touchdown
on the road since Sept. 14. ... Giants TE Marcellus Rivers and LG
Wayne Lucier left the game with knee injuries. CB Will Allen had a
foot sprain. The Bills lost Moore in the second quarter with a mild
concussion on the touchdown. ... Bledsoe now has 198 career TD
passes, tying him for 26th place in NFL history, one ahead of Ken
Anderson and one behind Phil Simms. ... Henry finished with 113
yards rushing, giving him 3,137 yards in his career, surpassing
Cookie Gilchrist for fifth all-time among Bills. ... The Bills has
six sacks, including a career-high three by DE Aaron Schobel, who
also had a fumble recovery that led to a TD.