Fewell fuels Bills to win

KEN FIDLIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

BUFFALO -- It's probably too little, too late, but there's no questioning that Perry Fewell's appointment as interim coach has energized the Buffalo Bills in a way most of them never thought possible.

"Any time you get a new head coach, we have to adopt his philosophies, what he wants from his team," said Terrell Owens, in the wake of Buffalo's 31-14 rout of the Miami Dolphins yesterday.

"He wants us to be aggressive. Guys are excited. You like that in a coach and it feeds from him to the entire team.

"We like the energy he brings. We like the newness of what's going on. Not only on gameday but throughout the course of the week of practice. It's been a little bit more lively around here."

Lively? You want lively? We take you to the fourth quarter of a 14-14 tie. The seconds are draining away and overtime looms. Then, with 3:35 left in regulation, Fewell, who puts his money where his mouth is, made an aggressive move.

With his offence on the field at the Dolphins 39-yard line, facing a fourth and five situation, he eschewed the conservative play, which is to punt. He sent out Rian Lindell, his field goal kicker, to try a 56-yarder, knowing that, if he missed, it would give Miami excellent field position with more than enough clock to steal the game.

"I knew the ramifications," said Fewell, "but I thought that, at that point in time, we could turn the tide. It was right on the cusp of his range. He had missed one earlier and I told him then: 'We're going to need you again.' I had confidence in him."

Lindell responded with the second-longest field goal in Bills history to give Buffalo its first lead of the day.

Now, this is where the pre-Fewell Bills would have gone all timid and soft and coughed up the lead, losing in dispiriting fashion. Not this time.

After stopping Miami on the next series, the Bills' offence stayed aggressive, scoring twice more before the end of the game, including a 51-yard deep pass to Owens.

"The biggest thing is we finally finished in the fourth quarter," said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. "It's been our downfall all year. We've hung on and played hard til the fourth and then let it slip away. Hopefully, we can use today as a turning point."

On the Owens TD, Fitzpatrick recognized single outside coverage and switched out of another, more conservative play, dropping the ball into Owens' hands.

"Our thing this week was to be aggressive and attack and dictate," said Fewell. "Ryan saw something that he could be aggressive on. He got the green light and let it go.

"I told him: 'You have some big gonads' and I told him as long as he keeps hitting (those passes) to keep throwing them."

In all, the Bills scored 24 unanswered fourth-quarter points, 17 of them in those final 215 seconds. Those final moments had more fire and attitude than the Bills have displayed in a long time.

"It seemed like two hours," said Fewell of those final three minutes that delivered him his first victory as a head coach in the NFL. "I was wanting to get out of there with a victory. We made the decision to keep pounding the ball. We could have kneeled the ball down. We wanted to be aggressive. We wanted to dictate to them, so that last minute was real long for me."

The Bills are looking at a short work week heading into their game against the Jets at Rogers Centre on Thursday night, but, coming off this very satisfying win, Thursday can't come soon enough.

KEN.FIDLIN@SUMEDIA.CA


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