SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Coach Mike Mularkey shut off every
television in the locker room Sunday morning, ordering his Buffalo
Bills to focus on the only game with playoff implications they
That blackout led to a knockout: The Bills demolished the San
Francisco 49ers 41-7 for their sixth straight victory, boosting
everything from their postseason hopes to their confidence in
Willis McGahee's injured knee.
Mularkey still won't say the word "playoffs," but his Bills
certainly showed the determination and desperation necessary to
become just the second team in NFL history to reach the postseason
after starting 0-4.
"It's the same situation we've been in now for a long, long
time," said Drew Bledsoe, who went 21-of-32 for 172 yards and a
touchdown. "In order for us to have a chance, we've got to go and
win the next game. There's only one way to approach it. ... Sure, I
saw the other (scores) in the stadium, but it doesn't matter."
Though nothing was decided, the other games went exceptionally
well for the Bills (9-6): Fellow contenders Baltimore, Jacksonville
and the New York Jets all lost.
"Some of us know the situations, but the only thing we could
control is what was right here," linebacker Takeo Spikes said.
"We knew the problems (the 49ers) were having, and we wanted to
beat them with our best game."
McGahee rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and rookie Lee
Evans caught two scoring passes as the Bills extended their longest
winning streak since 1990. Buffalo also clinched its first winning
record since 1999.
From Spikes' menacing tackles to Evans' impressive catches, the
Bills haven't looked much better this season. Using a no-huddle
offense and playing suffocating defense, they jumped to a 17-0
halftime lead and then they poured it on, forcing four turnovers
and scoring almost at will.
That's been the story of the last six weeks, which have been the
most prolific offensive stretch in franchise history. The Bills
have scored at least 33 points in every victory, winning every game
by at least 10 points.
The Bills also were able to rest McGahee and Bledsoe in
anticipation of next week's big game against Pittsburgh. Backup QB
Shane Matthews played most of the second half, and Shaud Williams
rushed for a score while spelling McGahee, who was questionable for
the game after missing practice earlier in the week.
Buffalo often went without a huddle and also threw the ball more
than normal in the first half. Bledsoe mercilessly picked on San
Francisco cornerback Jimmy Williams, who was forced to make 10
tackles before halftime while chasing the Bills' receivers.
Kevan Barlow rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown with 6:19 to
play for the 49ers (2-13), who stayed on track for the first pick
in the upcoming draft by reaching the lowest point yet in a
horrendous season for this once-proud franchise.
"Hopefully, this is a bad dream," fullback Fred Beasley said.
"Once this season is done, hopefully we'll go home and wake up,
and then we'll get ready for next year."
Though the crowd at the home finale appeared to be the 49ers'
smallest of the season, the halftime boos were the loudest. It was
the Niners' second 34-point loss of the season, following their
shutout defeat at Seattle on Sept. 26.
San Francisco could match the worst record in team history with
a loss at New England next Sunday.
"They physically got after us in all aspects of it," coach
Dennis Erickson said. "Bledsoe did a nice job at the line of
scrimmage. As you know, when we get behind, we have to drop back
and throw it, and we continue to have problems."
Quarterback Cody Pickett got his first NFL snaps after Ken
Dorsey was sidelined with a bruised finger -- but Pickett threw two
interceptions and looked lost.
Buffalo punter Brian Moorman, who threw an incomplete pass on a
faked punt in the third quarter, actually finished with a better
quarterback rating (39.6) than Dorsey (26.7) or Pickett (18.8).
It was Buffalo's biggest victory since a 38-point win
over Indianapolis in 1992. ... The 49ers played without defensive
starters Andre Carter, Jamie Winborn and Anthony Adams, who all
were lost for the season during the week. WR Brandon Lloyd also sat
out the second half with a foot injury.