Dome too hot on McKelvin scale

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Lightning Leodis McKelvin, the kid who blazed down the faded Rogers Centre turf for a 95-yard kick return four months ago, has a message for the suits operating the stadium lid.

"Open the roof," McKelvin said last night, referring to the showdown on Sunday between his Buffalo Bills and the sunscreen-loving Miami Dolphins in Toronto. "It's our home-field advantage. Let's play in the cold."

Sorry, Leodis. Even though some of your fans put together a petition of more than 1,000 names urging the teams to toil in the December elements, it is not going to happen.

And maybe that's a good thing.

Yesterday, in front of the usual sellout throng at Ralph Wilson Stadium, you had everything in your favour. It was damp. It was raining. It was Bills weather.

And then your team stunk out the joint, losing 10-3 to a San Francisco 49ers squad that became the first West Coast-based NFL team to win in the Eastern time zone this season.

Your kicker, Rian Lindell, clanked a pair of field goal attempts off the uprights. Thanks for that. We in Canada, after all, are accustomed to watching a sport in which hitting the goal post is a common occurrence.

Your sputtering offence botched a couple of fourth-down conversion attempts inside the 49ers' 10-yard line, a pair of questionable calls in which the decision was made to pass instead of handing off to workhorse Marshawn Lynch, who rumbled for 134 yards on the day.

And now, bitterness is festering from the local media, fans, and, it seems, inside your locker room.

Receiver Lee Evans, for one, wondered why Lynch was not used in the red zone.

"When you get down there, you have to have a certain attitude," Evans said. "You have to be able to get into the end zone. You let your linemen be your linemen and let Marshawn do his thing."

Your coach, Dick Jauron, did the opposite. And now, there are some media types in Buffalo who want him fired.

"I always feel I'm playing for my job ... it's just the nature of our business," Jauron said when asked if he thought his position was in jeopardy.

What a mess.

Your team has not digressed into the Bickering Bills of the late 1980s, but, given time ...

Losing five of your past six games already has soured your faithful fans at The Ralph. How about that ugly scene when you guys were walking off the field? Disgruntled spectators threw cups and plastic bottles, told Lindell to retire and booed Jauron.

They have reason to be bitter. Your team was 5-1 at one time. Now, after consecutive home losses to the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and now the 49ers, they are ready to run you out of town.

All the way up the QEW to Toronto.

Except you guys are not feeling the love up there either.

Late last week, the official line was that only a couple of thousand Rogers Centre seats were available. This recent awful performance won't have the good citizenry of Toronto clamouring for ducats, as overpriced as they are.

Wasn't this thing supposed to be a slam-dunk sellout months ago?

And just wait until you take the field. There are reports that only a couple of thousand tickets were purchased here in western New York. Don't be surprised if you see thousands of Dolphins jerseys in the stands.

According to Evans, at 6-6 every game from here on in "is a playoff game for us." And even if you win out -- a daunting task with the Fish, Denver Broncos, New York Jets and New England Patriots remaining on the schedule -- 10-6 might not be good enough to get in.

Back in August, Toronto fans were thrilled with your pre-season kickoff return against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That came with the roof closed.

Maybe it should stay that way, given how your team has taken a nose dive while playing outdoors recently.


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