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San Francisco 49ers @ Buffalo Bills: A Prospector's Guide

49ers_logo_medium  vs.  Th_bills_icon_medium

The 49ers continue a tough road trip at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  The 49ers are coming off a loss at Dallas that was rather ugly, but also revealed some positive steps forward.  Not a lot, but some.

The San Francisco 49ers travel to Buffalo this weekend in what will be only the 10th meeting between the two teams. The series dates back to 1972 and the Bills hold a 5-4 overall advantage over the 49ers. The 49ers have only traveled to Buffalo on three occasions, with the last being a 26-21 loss in 1998. The last time the two teams faced one another was in 2004 when the Bills beat the 49ers 41-7 at Candlestick Park.

The 49ers enter this week’s game following a 35-22 loss against the Dallas Cowboys. In that game, QB Shaun Hill completed 21-of-33 passes for a career-high 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 100.9. It marked his fifth career game with a passer rating of over 100.0 in seven games of action with the 49ers, including five career starts. WR Isaac Bruce recorded his 42nd career 100-yard receiving contest after catching eight passes for 125 yards and his fi fth touchdown of the season. The 49ers defense held the Cowboys to just 2.6 yards per carry, and enter this week’s game having not allowed a 100-yard rusher in nine games.

Gore enters this week’s game ranked tied for fourth in the NFL for yards from scrimmage with 1,191. His current pace would give him 1,732 total yards on the year.

At San Francisco, CA, December 26, 2004

QB Cody Pickett made his NFL debut against the Buffalo Bills, replacing an injured Ken Dorsey. His final statistics reflected the sort of day it was for the 49ers as they were defeated by the Bills 41-7 in the final home appearance of the 2004 season. In just over one quarter of action, Pickett completed 4-of-10 passes for 55 yards and zero touchdowns. He was intercepted twice, fumbled once and generally played as if it was his first NFL game.

Yet, his effort and ability were not without bright spots. Pickett flashed arm strength, mobility and moxie that the 49ers expected from the former Washington Husky. He led the 49ers on their only scoring drive of the day, a 14-play, 73-yard effort that was capped by a one-yard touchdown run from RB Kevan Barlow. Pickett completed three-of-five passes on the drive, including a 17-yard strike to WR Rashaun Woods and an 18-yard bullet to WR Cedrick Wilson on fourth and 17.  Dorsey completed just 5-of-10 passes for 54 yards and one interception before leaving the game with an injury to the middle finger of his right hand.

Buffalo’s quarterbacks fared significantly better than San Francisco’s. In fact, all of the quarterbacks on the Bills roster played in the game. QB Drew Bledsoe was pulled early in the third quarter after his 21-completion, one-touchdown effort. He was followed by QB Shane Matthews and rookie QB J.P Losman.

2008 Statistics

49ers (rank) Bills (rank)
22.9 (t-18th) Points Per Game 24.8 (8th)
314.4 (22nd) Total Offense Per Game 319.3 (19th)
101.9 (23rd) Rushing Yards Per Game 106.1 (21st)
212.5 (15th) Net Passing Yards Per Game 213.2 (13th)
28:28 (22nd) Possession Average 30:42 (15th)
28.2 (29th) Opp. Points Per Game 22.6 (19th)
347.7 (23rd) Opp. Total Offense Per Game 325.6 (16th)
103.8 (14th) Opp. Rushing YPG 114.1 (20th)
243.9 (29th) Opp. Net Passing YPG 211.5 (16th)
-13 (32nd) Turnover Differential -5 (t-24th)