Question on the Bills: Will their young defenders improve by season's end?
I think so. Their young cornerbacks play hard and show promise. They need some help up front, to get more pressure on the quarterback.
Question on the Vikings: Will they ever get better defensively?
The defense has been an Achilles heel for the Vikings in recent years. They have a new coordinator and a new system, but the defensive backfield is weak. So Vikings' games this season could come down to whoever has the ball last will have a shot at winning.
Eric Allen played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
Peerless Price streaked untouched down the middle of the field
for a 48-yard touchdown reception in the extra period, and Bledsoe
set career and franchise highs with 463 yards passing Sunday in a
wild 45-39 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
"It'd be nice to win one in regulation," Bledsoe admitted.
The Bills, who lost 37-31 to the New York Jets last week when
Chad Morton returned the opening kickoff in OT for a touchdown,
played back-to-back overtime games for just the second time in
their history -- first done in 1987. It was also the third time
since 1995 that a team opened a season with two overtime games.
Indianapolis split in 1995, as did Tennessee in 1997.
Mike Hollis tied it as time expired in regulation with a
career-long 54-yard field goal that bounced over the crossbar. That
answered Moe Williams' 3-yard TD run that put the Vikings up 39-36
with 26 seconds left -- the fourth lead change of the fourth
"It took everything we had," Bledsoe said, "but hopefully
this is a step for us in the right direction."
Bledsoe, who became the third-quickest quarterback in NFL
history to reach 30,000 yards passing for his career earlier in the
game, completed 35 of 49 passes for three touchdowns -- two to
"With Drew, if you're down 40-0, you believe you can win,"
Price said. "We never thought we were out of it. With Drew in the
huddle, the thought of losing never crosses your mind."
Price, whose 3-yard TD catch put Buffalo up 36-32 with 4:19 left
in regulation, also had a career day with 13 catches for 185 yards.
Rookie Josh Reed had a touchdown among his eight receptions and 110
Daunte Culpepper, whose three fumbles led to 13 Buffalo points,
completed 25 of 45 passes for 281 yards and no interceptions a week
after he was picked off with 2½ minutes left by Chicago's Mike Brown to set up the Bears' go-ahead TD.
"We're good at the start of the game, we're good at the middle
of the game," Moss said, "but in the home stretch, we can't seem
to get it done."
The touchdown by Williams, who rushed 17 times for 102 yards,
capped a 10-play, 60-yard drive highlighted by a one-handed catch
by Moss in the flat that put Minnesota at the 3 with 40 seconds and
no timeouts remaining.
But the Bills turned right around and reached the Vikings 44 in
three plays. Then with 7 seconds left, Bledsoe found Price for 8
yards to set up Hollis for his tying kick.
"Why couldn't it have bounced back toward me?" asked Vikings
coach Mike Tice, still looking for his first win. "That's just the
way it's going against us right now."
Minnesota's Doug Brien made two field goals but missed another --
as well as two extra points, and Tice indicated he'll find another
Brien -- nearly cut after missing four of five field goals in the
preseason _ was supposed to squib his last kickoff in the fourth
quarter before Buffalo's tying drive, but he kicked it deep into
the return wedge.
"We played hard and it was there for the taking," Tice said,
"but when you miss PATs in this league, you usually don't recover
from it. And when you miss two, there's usually no way to
Brien appears to have played his final game with the Vikings. A team source told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Vikings are likely to release Brien, who survived a kick-off at the end of the preseason, and re-sign Gary Anderson.
"I don't know what to say," Brien said. "I mean, sometimes you screw up so bad there is nothing to say. I just screwed up."
Hollis made four field goals but missed a 45-yarder on Buffalo's
second overtime possession. But Buffalo forced another
three-and-out, and Bledsoe found Jay Riemersma open over the middle
for 28 yards to the Minnesota 48. Then, Price caught the winning
score with 7:30 left.
"This is hard to put into words," Culpepper said.
Aaron Schobel had three of Buffalo's five sacks. ... The
only other Buffalo quarterback to throw for at least 400 yards was
Joe Ferguson, who had 419 in 1983. Bledsoe's previous high was 426
yards in 1994, also an overtime victory over Minnesota. ...
Bledsoe, playing in his 126th career game, surpassed the
30,000-yard mark with a 14-yard completion to Price midway through
the second quarter. Dan Marino (114 games) and Warren Moon (125)
were the only ones to reach the milestone faster, and Brett Favre
also needed 126 games. ... The Bills, who gave up two TDs on
kickoff returns in an overtime loss last week to the Jets, let
Bates return a punt 61 yards to their 3 early in the second half to
set up a 2-yard TD by Moss. But Buffalo's Charlie Rogers ran back
the subsequent kickoff 90 yards for a TD that tied it at 20.