Originally created 12/29/96

Bills QB's face says it all



BUFFALO, N.Y. - Jim Kelly didn't speak to reporters after yesterday's game. No problem. His face said it all.

Kelly, the Buffalo Bills' veteran quarterback, left a 30-27 AFC first-round playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars after losing a fumble with 7:13 remaining. The fumble led to the Jaguars' go-ahead points, and to Kelly leaving the field with a dazed look, out of the game with a concussion.

Minutes later, Kelly - a veteran of four Super Bowl losses from 1990-93 - left Rich Stadium for perhaps the final time riding on a cart.

"He's in the training room with the doctor," Bills coach Marv Levy said. "He's not wanting to communicate. He's lying and resting."

The absence of Kelly, who completed 21 of 32 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown, all but ended the game, Jaguars players said.

Kelly was replaced by Todd Collins for the final two series. The Bills, many near the organization believe, could release the 36-year-old Kelly in the off-season, and make Collins their quarterback of the future. The future, Jaguars safety Dana Hall said, wasn't ready yesterday.

"That was a tough situation for him to come in in," Hall said. "We had our ears back."

Which meant they were rushing hard with the front four. Jaguars defensive end Clyde Simmons sacked Collins on his first play for an eight-year loss. On the next two plays, Collins threw incomplete and the Bills punted.

The Bills didn't regain possession until 42 seconds remained, and on that series, Collins was equally rushed. He completed one pass to Thurman Thomas for a seven-yard gain, but after spiking the ball to stop the clock, he was sacked and fumbled by Jaguars rookie defensive end Tony Brackens. Jaguars linebacker Eddie Robinson recovered, securing the victory.

"When you bring a young quarterback in and he hasn't played all game, and he hasn't seen the pass rush, he gets back there, and he doesn't really have a chance," Hall said. "Jim Kelly was standing back there, and finding open receivers. They had the same routes without Jim in there, but Collins wasn't going to stick around.

"He was going to get out of there and make something happen. Once Jim went out, it made it real tough on them."