Final

Bills 41

(9-6, 4-4 away)

49ers 7

(2-13, 1-7 home)

4:05 PM ET, December 26, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
BUF 0 17 10 1441
SF 0 0 0 77

Bills blow past 49ers to sixth straight victory

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 could control.

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).

Game notes


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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERBUFSF
bufTD12:55Shaud Williams, 27 yd run
Drive info: 1 plays, 22 yds, 0:19
400
buf12:39
Drive info: 1 plays, 22 yds, 0:19
410
THIRD QUARTERBUFSF
bufFG12:05Rian Lindell 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 39 yds, 2:46
200
bufTD4:34Willis McGahee, 1 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 50 yds, 3:34
260
buf4:20
Drive info: 7 plays, 50 yds, 3:34
270
FOURTH QUARTERBUFSF
bufTD13:35Touchdown
Drive info: 6 plays, 52 yds, 2:31
330
buf13:26
Drive info: 6 plays, 52 yds, 2:31
340
SECOND QUARTERBUFSF
bufFG6:56Rian Lindell 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 47 yds, 3:18
100
bufTD11:30Willis McGahee, 3 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 4:19
60
bufTD0:29Touchdown
Drive info: 9 plays, 40 yds, 3:24
160
buf11:19
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 4:19
70
buf0:25
Drive info: 9 plays, 40 yds, 3:24
170
FOURTH QUARTERBUFSF
sfTD6:25Kevan Barlow, 1 yd run
Drive info: 13 plays, 73 yds, 6:08
416
sf6:19
Drive info: 13 plays, 73 yds, 6:08
417