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Bills Head Coach Wade Phillips Press Conference

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            **Q:  How do you rebound from Monday night's loss and being eliminated from the playoffs?**  

P: This is something that unfortunately we had to go through and I'm certainly worried about it. New England had to go through it earlier in the year. You don't have a chance to make the playoffs. I think you find out a lot about the character on your team and you find out a lot about your team in these kinds of situations. We have to fight back. We still have goals to accomplish. One of them is we can still have a winning season. We have to set our goals a little different for the last two games. This is going to be an important game for us at home. I think our players realize that.

Q: Were you surprised at how quickly that game got out of control?

P: Well certainly. When they make less than 100 yards in the second half and they get 35 points on you, you shake your head. We made some plays that just gave it to them. I thought we fought back defensively pretty well against them, but we didn't have as good a game offensively especially in the passing game as we had in previous games.

Q: Who will be your quarterback?

P: Rob Johnson will be our quarterback.

Q: Why did you replace Rob Johnson with Doug Flutie at the end of the last game?

P: Because we were behind. I don't think you keep your starting quarterback in there when you don't have a chance to win. That's where we were. I did keep Johnson in until I thought we didn't have a chance to win. I wanted to give him a chance to bring us back and it didn't happen.

Q: Was Rob Johnson demoralized after the game?

P: I think it is tough on a quarterback. The spotlight is on him. When you lose, (Drew) Bledsoe's gone through it. It is tough on a quarterback when you get sacked quite a few times and you don't win the ballgame. Everybody wants to blame the quarterback. I think it is tough on him. It is part of the process of being a quarterback, you're not going to have all great games. I think Drew Bledsoe is a great example of that, he keeps fighting back and I think Rob will too.

Q: The irony is that when Rob Johnson came out, Doug Flutie led the offense to a touchdown?

P: Yeah, Doug did a good job and we expect him to. He is a good player for us and we think we can win with Doug too. We've won games with both of them this year and the last several years. We're glad we have both.

Q: Do you ever have second thoughts about replacing Doug Flutie with Rob Johnson earlier in the season? Flutie's record has been better this season, although Johnson has played against tougher opposition.

P: Yeah, no kidding. In Kansas City I thought Rob had a tremendous game and in Tampa when we got beat, we had over 400 yards against Tampa's defense. We've done some good things, but this last game we didn't have a good game. I think we can bounce back.

Q: How weird is the whole quarterback controversy?

P: Everybody else says it is a controversy, but I just say we have two really quarterbacks and I'm glad we have them. That's the way I've looked at it all along.

Q: Do you think Doug Flutie will be back next season?

P: Yeah, I sure do.

Q: How tough was losing Sam Cowart to injury?

P: Obviously the leading tackler in the league, probably the best linebacker in the league, it is a big blow. When you look at it too with (Antoine) Winfield going out basically the same time and Sam Rogers – who had five sacks in the previous four games – and Keion Carpenter – who was leading the league interceptions – with all four of those guys going out that was the biggest blow. Because they were all really good players at the positions they played. I thought we fought back pretty good this last week. It took us a couple weeks, I mean we didn't play good defense the last half against Tampa when those guys went out. We didn't play real well the next week, but this last week I thought they met the challenge. Starting three rookies on defense we played pretty well against a great offensive team.

Q: There were some lofty expectations on both of these teams -

P: They picked us to go 6-10 here, but I guess that's pretty lofty. Like I said, we can still have a winning season and if we come out with nine wins and it is not good enough to make playoffs then that is the way it goes. You still have a successful season and I think that is what we're looking at.

Q: How surprised are you that these teams that these teams are not in the playoff hunt?

P: I'm not surprised. The division is awfully tough. We lost 17 players off this team last year. You can name the big three, but we also lost Thomas Smith and Kurt Schultz who are both really good players in our secondary. We lost seven starters and now we've lost four off the defense in the last couple weeks. I think with all the players that we've lost, our season isn't where we want it to be, but I don't think it is a disaster.

Q: Is there a reason your offensive line has become porous?

P: I think it is similar to what New England is going through, if you don't have a strong running game which we haven't had, we were eighth in the NFL in rushing last year and this year we're twentieth or so, so I think that is the big difference. If you're able to run the ball better, then your offensive line looks better. You don't get the number of sacks and you don't have to throw it quite as many times. I think that is a big factor with us, and other teams in the same situation. We have thrown it well enough to be twelfth in the NFL in passing, so we have done some good things and we haven't turned the ball over very much.

Q: What did the Colts offense do that surprised you? It seemed like they struck real quick.

P: They did. They had about 230 yards of total offense, for a team that averages that 380. They didn't move the ball very well on us. I thought we did a good job against them overall defensively, for the people we had especially in the secondary where a lot of guys were out also. To hold (Peyton) Manning to 116 yards passing, and sacked him twice. I thought we had an outstanding game as far as how the defense played.

Q: Their defense really made some plays.

P: Yeah, we made some big mistakes. I mean we had an interception for a touchdown, a fumble for a touchdown, those are the things – we had a blocked punt, those kinds of things get you beat. That's where we were.

Q: What are your feelings on instant replay?

P: I think it is fine. We were for it, I think it gives you an opportunity to at least get back a play that someone made a mistake on. I think sometimes they look at it and say, 'I think the coach got this one wrong or that one wrong.' I think there are situations where you want to use a timeout to try to help yourself. For instance in our game, whether our quarterback threw it forward or not, if it was a fumble for a touchdown I think those times at least you can challenge it and see if they feel like they got it right anyway.

Q: What is the weather going to be this weekend?

P: Cold.

Q: Snow?

P: I can't predict weather or football games.

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