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Victory Not Enough to Keep Flutie No. 1

November 13, 2000|From Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Doug Flutie led the Buffalo Bills to another victory, and then lost his job as starting quarterback.

Saying he's sticking to the plan he had all along, Coach Wade Phillips declared that Rob Johnson will regain his starter's status following Buffalo's 20-3 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Phillips said he based his decision on what he saw from Johnson's performance filling in for Flutie for one series against the Bears.

"I wanted him in the ball game, playing some, getting a feel for the game again," said Phillips. "I think he'll be fine next week, and if he is, then he'll be playing."

While Flutie did most of the work, Johnson did account for the drive that produced the game's decisive points. With the score tied, 3-3, Johnson moved the Bills 54 yards to set up Steve Christie's 42-yard field goal with 61 seconds left in the first half.

As if in response, Flutie returned at the start of the third quarter and drove the Bills 70 yards, capping the drive on a fourth-and-one keeper to all but seal the victory.

Phillips' decision is the latest in weeks of controversy. The Bills were 3-4 in games started by Johnson when he suffered a separated right shoulder Oct. 15.

Under Flutie, the Bills are 3-1, and have climbed back into playoff contention. He completed 16 of 26 passes for 171 yards with an interception against the Bears.

"I'm very happy with the way things have gone," Flutie said. "But, you know, Rob's healthy now."

Meanwhile, the Bears--who once had a quarterback controversy with Cade McNown and Jim Miller--no longer have one. After replacing the injured McNown (separated shoulder) and leading Chicago to a 27-24 victory over Indianapolis the previous Sunday, Miller suffered a torn left Achilles' tendon in the second quarter and will be sidelined for the season.

Thus, the Bears (2-8) were forced to go to third-stringer Shane Matthews, who completed 11 of 24 passes for 106 yards with three interceptions and one lost fumble. Chicago managed only 234 total yards and its leading receiver and deep threat, Marcus Robinson, was held to 37 yards in five catches.

The Bills won despite losing a group of players, including defensive end Marcellus Wiley (knee), nose tackle Ted Washington (stinger), safety Antoine Winfield (shoulder), guard Ruben Brown (toe) and running back Sammy Morris (ankle).

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