1. IS THIS THE BREAKOUT GAME FOR CHARLES CLAY?
Tight End Charles Clay is expected to play Sunday despite missing some practice time and being listed as questionable on the injury list. And Bills fans are hoping that Clay's 40-yard touchdown reception against the Steelers last week signals his emergence as a weapon in the Buffalo offense.
Clay acknowledges that he hasn't played a prominent role in Buffalo's struggling pass offense through the first 13 games.
"I feel like as a group, at times, we leave things out on the field," Clay said yesterday in an appearance on The John Murphy Show."Consistency has probably been the biggest thing."
The veteran tight end says he has an ongoing dialogue with QB Tyrod Taylor, but he's not ready to challenge him or question him about the targets coming his way.
"I tell Tyrod all the time, 'I don't have as much going on as you do. I'm just running a route against one person," he said. "He has to worry about a lot more than I do. As comfortable as I can make him, I will. Letting him know if you need me, I'm there. If I'm open, I'm there. But I don't try to be too much in his head and have him thinking more than he should."
- FOR 'ZO, IT'S MORE ABOUT JUST FACING A WINLESS OPPONENT**
No one wants to be the team that loses to a previously winless team this deep into the season. And Cleveland is three games away from matching the 0-16 season posted by the 2008 Detroit Lions.
But veteran LB Lorenzo Alexander says he's not focused on avoiding a loss to a winless team.
"The narrative all week is we can't be the first team to lose to them. That's playing from a perspective of fear," Alexander says. "That's not how I'm wired and most of the guys on this team. I'm going out there because I have a lot of pride in my teammates and myself."
"That hasn't crossed my mind. That's just been the narrative all week, but I'm just going out there to fly around because I love to play football. I don't care who it is. I want to go out there and dominate you --whether you're the New England Patriots or the Cleveland Browns."
3. ONE BIG GAME IN A 44 YEAR OLD SERIES
Tomorrow's game marks the 20th regular season meeting between the Bills and the Browns, two franchises that share a rust belt identity and the Lake Erie shoreline. But there's only been on playoff meeting between these two, and it was a doozy.
The Bills lost a 1989 AFC Divisional Playoff game in Cleveland on a heartbreaking end zone drop by RB Ronnie Harmon. It was a loss that saw the birth of Buffalo's no-huddle "K-Gun" offense. And some former Bills think it helped propel the franchise to their Super Bowl appearances in the next four consecutive seasons.
Former LB Shane Conlan was a three-year veteran on that team. He's back tomorrow to be the "Leader of the Charge" bringing the Bills out on the field before kickoff. Conlan has vivid memories of that Saturday afternoon in January 1990 in old Cleveland Stadium.
"The funny story about that game – I was stretching in warm-ups before the game right in front of the Dog Pound.," Conlan says. "This fan was screaming 'Conlan you suck.' And then he said, 'I bet you wish we drafted you instead of Mike Junkin (LB from Duke, chosen 3 spots before Conlan). I just shrugged my shoulders. Then the fan said, 'You both suck."
Conlan thinks Buffalo's last second loss to Cleveland that day helped form the character of the team for the next four years.
"It was a great game. But that game propelled us. We knew we could play with those guys. After that loss it really did propel us for the next five or six years."