"Bills In Toronto" series during a
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"Bills In Toronto" series during a
ORCHARD PARK, N. Granit Xhaka Arsenal Shirt .Y. -- Bills centre Eric Wood was not at all surprised hearing team president Russ Brandon raise concerns whether Buffalo loses a competitive edge playing annual home games in Toronto. Brandon first questioned the benefits of the "Bills In Toronto" series during a meeting with Wood and fellow team captains about a month ago. "He knew that a lot of players have expressed some harsh feelings toward Toronto," Wood said Wednesday. "And he basically told us as captains that he was going to do whatever it takes around here to win. And thats something he wanted to address." Brandon went public with his concerns during his weekly show on Buffalos WGR-AM earlier in the day. While noting the Bills games north of the border have boosted the small-market franchises revenues, Brandon added that they havent paid off in wins. Following a 34-31 overtime loss to Atlanta on Sunday, Buffalo dropped to 1-5 in Toronto since the series was established in 2008. "It has been a challenged market there, and certainly has not translated into enough wins for us there," Brandon said. "Nothing comes above winning. When I took over the reins on Jan. 1, I said that was the No. 1 focus, and that will be the No. 1 focus. Thats one of the reasons that this will be reviewed in a grand manner." Brandon stopped short of saying the Bills would consider or be allowed to opt out of the four remaining years of the deal, which they renewed in January with Toronto-based Rogers Communications. "Im going to look at everything. Ill just leave it at that," Brandon said, before being asked a second time whether the Bills can opt out. "My focus in this organization is simple, to put ourselves in the position to win championships and sustain success. Period. Nothing comes above that." Wood has been among several players who have criticized the series. He called the games in Toronto "a joke" last year following a 50-17 loss to Seattle. Last week, receiver Stevie Johnson questioned whether the warm-weather Falcons "fixed" the schedule in getting to play indoors at the domed Rogers Centre, and avoid the wintry conditions -- and traditionally more raucous environment -- at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. The loss put a big dent in the Bills chances of staying in the AFC playoff race. At 4-8, Buffalo plays three of its final four on the road, beginning with a trip to Tampa Bay (3-9) on Sunday. Buffalo is in jeopardy of extending the NFLs longest active post-season drought to 14 seasons. And the Bills will go a ninth straight year without a winning record. The Bills are 0-4 at Toronto during December. Their lone win came on Oct. 30, 2011, when they defeated Washington 23-0. Rogers officials declined to comment on Brandons statements. So did NFL vice-president Christopher Parsons, who heads the leagues international offices. The Bills made the decision to play games in Toronto, about a 2-hour drive from Buffalo, in a bid to expand their fan base and generate additional revenue from Canadas largest city and financial capital. A lack of home-team support and poor attendance remain issues since the series started. The announced crowd of 38,969 on Sunday was by far the smallest of the series, and well short of the stadiums NFL capacity of 46,470, not including suites. Rogers did announce the first four regular-season games had been sellouts before later acknowledging the totals included thousands of free tickets. The games also attract a larger than usual contingent of visiting team supporters. Several Atlanta players were pleasantly surprised to see a notable number of fans wearing Falcons jerseys in the stands on Sunday. "The crazy part is we had a lot of support here," Falcons safety William Moore said. "It didnt feel like we were in Canada." The series has generated revenue and lured more southern Ontario fans back to Buffalo. The Bills estimate Canadians now make up about 15 per cent of their season ticket base. That rivals the number of season ticket holders the Bills get from nearby Rochester. As part of the initial five-year deal, Rogers agreed to pay $78 million to essentially lease eight Bills home games: five regular season and three preseason. The final preseason game was eventually dropped because of scheduling difficulties. In exchange, the Bills earned more than double what they usually generated from hosting games in Buffalo. The value of the most recent deal has not been revealed. Mesut Ozil Arsenal Shirt .C. - Blair Jones scored the eventual winner in the third period as the Abbotsford Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Oil Barons 3-2 in American Hockey League action on Friday. Theo Walcott Arsenal Jersey . His head snapped back from the impact and hit the floor. The All-Star power forward was all right afterward, a relief for the Minnesota Timberwolves.WASHINGTON - Fresh off his first All-Star Game appearance, DeMar DeRozan - heading into uncharted waters as the Raptors ready for a rare playoff push - addressed his teammates following Tuesday morning shoot around. "Each and every single game matters from here on out, especially if we want to do something special," he told them, as the third-seeded Raptors prepared to begin the unofficial second half of their season against the sixth place Washington Wizards. "We cant take [any] nights off," he stressed. "These 30 games are going to be big and weve got to start tonight." Message received, at least in the first of those final 30 games. It took just over four minutes for all five Raptors starters to get on the board. In the end, six players scored in double figures and the teams bench totaled 43 points on an impressive 18-for-26 shooting, as Toronto came away with a 103-93 win, its third in three games against the Wizards this season. "Thats whats great about our team, everybody understands their role and thats real big," said DeRozan, who had a quiet night by his recent standards, scoring 14 points. "We have anybody that can [step up], it can be anybody. If one guys not playing well, somebody else always picks it up." DeRozans uplifting words were not a surprise to Dwane Casey. The Raptors leading scorer had told his coach that he intended to make the speech on the flight to Washington the day prior. "[I] sat with him and talked about the second half of the season, what to expect, and he said he was going to do that," Casey said. "We talked [Monday] night as a team, talked about the next 30 games, what to expect as a team. Now weve got to follow it up with action. Every team coming out is going to be gunning for him - hes achieved All-Star status - and us as a team, were in the playoff hunt. So weve got to meet those expectations." As a team, the Raptors were expectedly rusty early on, specifically on defence. Washington scored 27 first-quarter points, shooting 57 per cent in the frame, while Wizards All-Star John Wall had 11, matching his game total from the Raptors last visit to Verizon Center, Torontos 101-88 win to begin the month of January. "Its always tough to find a rhythm when youre coming off the All-Star break," said Kyle Lowry, who vacationed in an undisclosed location this past weekend after being passed up for the All-Star Game. "Its always tough but we figured it out in the second half and third quarter, for me especially to get going a little bit." In a matchup between two of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference - arguably the two best - Lowry connected on just two of his eight first-half attempts, scoring six points as Wall exploded for 19, making nine of 12 shots. The Raptors lead guard came out of intermission looking like a man on a mission,, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the third, draining long jumpers, getting into the paint at will and knocking down a series of tricky step backs. Kieran Gibbs Jersey. Lowry finished with a double-double, leading his team with 24 points and 10 assists and Wall was held to three points, without a single field goal, in the second half. "I was trying to attack a little bit more," Lowry, the scorned should-be-All-Star, said of his third-quarter clinic. "That first game out of the break is always tough and I didnt want to let that be an excuse for us to lose this game." "He took the game over in the third quarter and willed us to a win," Casey said of his point guard. "Just his aggressiveness. He attacked their feet, didnt settle for the three, got into the paint and kept attacking." The Raptors recorded 25 assists, 17 from their point guards - Lowry and Greivis Vasquez - and shot 57 per cent on the night, holding Washington, one of the better three-point shooting teams, to 4-of-15 from beyond the arch. Although it looked like it was going to be smooth sailing for Toronto in the third quarter, leading by as much as 20, things got interesting down the stretch when Washington turned up its defensive intensity and the Raptors quickly went ice cold. Toronto was held without a field goal in the final 7:35 of the game, as the Wizards cut their deficit to six down but were unable to get any closer. "We just turned the ball over way too many times against their pressure," Casey said after this team committed eight of their 15 miscues in the final frame. "Thats just from rust and time off, timing, speed of the game." The rest seemed to do wonders for the Raptors, winners of their last three games, specifically Amir Johnson, who has had over 10 days off after missing two contests with a sore right ankle. The Raptors forward made his return off the bench, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds in a spirited 25 minutes of action. Patrick Patterson made his third straight start - scoring 10 points in 34 minutes - and should stick with the first unit for the time being as Johnson works his way back to full health, though Casey wouldnt commit to the lineup change. The Raptors will go for the four-game sweep of Washington when the Wizards visit Toronto next week. They are now four games ahead of the Wizards and a game and a half in front of the fourth-place Chicago Bulls, Torontos Wednesday opponent at the Air Canada Centre. "Thats a tough team," Lowry said of the Bulls, who will be well rested having arrived in Toronto Tuesday, getting the night off. "A different type of game tomorrow night. Theyre very defensive-minded. Theyve got a great coach [in Tom Thibodeau] and a very intense team, with Joakim (Noah) their All-Star. He leads the charge so weve got to match his intensity." Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '