We’re getting an early start on the blogging this morning after a good workout here at the team hotel in Amherst, N.Y.
(9:25 a.m.): I just looked outside my window and saw Frank Gore board the team bus for the trip to Ralph Wilson Stadium, about 20 minutes away. The Niners will need a good day from that man today.
The early word is that neither Arnaz Battle nor Josh Morgan will be available. Jason Hill is slated to play. He has a slight groin strain. And the weather is not going to be great. First-year player Chris Hannon, who was activated when Ahmad Brooks was waived, will be in uniform and wearing No. 15.
The early forecast for kickoff (1 p.m.) is 39 degrees, feels like 31, and cloudy.
It’s expected to remain that way until 3 p.m. when there’s an 80-percent chance of rain/snow. By 4 p.m., the chance of precipitation rises to 100 percent.
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(11:46 a.m.): CB Walt Harris, who is battling a right hamstring strain, is going to start.
Also, the word is that the 49ers plan to re-sign LB Ahmad Brooks if he clears waivers. And . . . Brooks could even be in uniform for the first time next week against the Jets.
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49ers: Jamie Martin (third QB), KR Allen Rossum, CB Reggie Smith, S Dashon Goldson, C Cody Wallace, T Jacob Bender, WR Arnaz Battle and WR Josh Morgan.
Bills: Gibran Hamdan (third QB), S Donte Whitner, CB Jabari Greer, LB Teddy Lehman, T Demetrius Bell, TE Robert Royal, DE Aaron Schobel and DE Copeland Bryan.
Ryan Denney starts at DE for Schobel, Bryan Scott starts at S for Whitner, and Leodis McKelvin starts for Greer.
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Not mentioned on the injury report is KNBR radio play-by-play man Joe Starkey. He had a cold in the past couple days, and he is experiencing laryngitis. This morning, he had no voice. KTVU-TV’s Joe Fonzi is in the booth, and might have to team up with analyst Gary Plummer on the broadcast.
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There have been a few questions about former Cal receiver Robert Jordan since he left the team in training camp to cope with the death of his grandfather. Jordan has expressed an interest in playing again. He had a workout with the 49ers recently. He was not in great shape, so the 49ers passed on him. But they remain interested in him. The 49ers need a small, quick receiver for the practice squad to help give the defense that kind of “look” in during the week.
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Bills win the toss and elected to defer until the second half. The 49ers will receive the opening kickoff.
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–Delanie Walker and Michael Robinson back deep. It’s Walker to the 28.
–Gore with three runs. He gets 4 yards on third-and-3 for a first down.
–Gore brought down for 2-yard loss. Now, it’s third-and-9 from the 40.
–Hill gets time to throw and connects with Johnson for 16 yards. Foster was on the field for Gore on that play.
–Hill overthrows Bajema down the seam on first down.
–Hill to Jason Hill for a 15-yard gain on third and 7. The Niners are moving with the line giving Hill a lot of time to throw.
–Niners are playing smash mouth. Gore gets a total of 5 yards on two runs. It’s third and 5.
–Make it third and 10 after Vernon Davis’ false start.
–Hill in the shot gun. Bills come up with a blitz, but the 49ers block it up perfectly . Bruce shakes free for another first down receptioon vs. CB Terrence McGee.
–Gore loses 4 yards.
–Hill hits Bruce for a 12-yard touchdown. Wow, what a drive. The protection was outstanding, and Bruce completely turned around rookie Leodis McKelvin. It’s 49ERS 7, BILLS 0 with 6:51 remaining in the quarter.
–Trent Edwards completes 11-yard pass to Evans on third-and-7.
–Bills have thrown on five of their first seven plays. The 49ers ran on their first five plays.
–Niners force a punt when they hold near midfield. Niners came with a blitz. Spikes was covering TE Derek Schouman on the play.
–Clements is back to return the punt. It’s a bad punt, out of bounds at the 23-yard line. That’s where the 49ers will take over.
–On third and 1, the 49ers got the call they didn’t get last week. McKelvin is called for defensive holding while working against Johnson. That’s a first down.
–Unbalanced line with Staley on the right side. Johnson and Bruce get tangled about 15 yards down field (that’s right, Johnson and Bruce!) and the pass falls incomplete
–It’s third and 8 . . . Hill hits Jason Hill near the marker, but Jason Hill didn’t run the proper depth for a 7-yard gain. The Niners will punt.
–Lee drops the punt inside the 20. Roscoe Parrish makes the fair catch at the 13. That’s where the Bills take over with 1:06 left in the quarter.
–Fred Jackson with a 28-yard gain, but it’s coming back on a holding penalty on Bills WR James Hardy.
–That’s the end of the first quarter. Through 15 minutes, Gore has touched the ball 12 times already, while Lynch has touched it just 3 times for the Bills.
–Bills convert a third-and-5 situation with a pass to Schouman.
–Willis breaks up pass to Josh Reed. Lawson lined up in the slot vs. Reed and then blitzed. It’s third and 7.
–Another third-down conversion for the Bills, who beat the 49ers’ blitz with an 8-yard pass to Evans against Roman near the left sideline.
–It’s sprinkling here. But weather has not been a factor, yet.
–Edwards to Evans for 22 yards vs. the coverage of Walt Harris. Bills are at the 19.
–Ray McDonald, someone whose name I haven’t written in a while, stops Lynch for no gain.
–Lynch takes snap in the “wildcat” or single wing and pitches to Parrish on a reverse. He’s close to the first down inside the 10. It’s a gain of 9 to the 10.
–Third and 1 . . . Edwards with a sneak for a first down and a 3-yard gain.
–Bills at the 2 after Fred Jackson’s 5-yard gain.
–Edwards incomplete. Balmer with a good play to get a hand on the ball as Edwards was throwing.
–Edwards throws it away on third down with Willis in hot pursuit. The Bills just did the 49ers a HUGE favor by throwing on second and third downs. The 49ers have not been able to stop teams in short-yardage situations all season.
–Lindell for a 20-yard FG. He clanks it off the left upright after a high snap. NO GOOD. Great job by the 49ers to hold the Bills to a short field-goal attempt, and horrible job by the Bills field-goal unit to get zero points out of it. Lindell had a streak of 53 consecutive field goals inside 40 yards before that lame attempt. This game is following the formula that the 49ers need to pull off the upset.
–Gore gets the call on first down from the 20. He gains 6. How do you like this Ground Martz Offense?
–On third down, Jason Hill catches a 20-yard pass. Man, that looked smooooth.
–Niners have another third down after Sean Ryan can’t come down with a short pass from Hill. It’s third and 8, and the 49ers call a time out.
–Denney with the same as he gets lost in traffic. Hill initially had a very nice pocket. That’ll bring up a Lee punt.
–Booming punt that Parrish catches at the goal line. Michael Robinson with tremendous coverage to bring down Parrish at the 7-yard line. That’s about a 65-yard punt with a 6-yard return.
–After Lynch’s 11-yard gain on first down, the 49ers’ defense holds.
–Clements is back deep to return the punt, but it’s another horrendous punt. The 49ers will take over at the Buffalo 47 with 2:39 left in the half. The 49ers have a chance to make this a two-score game heading into the second half.
–The 49ers will have a third and 5 after the two-minute warning.
–Hill had the makings of a big play, but Dominique Zeigler drops it at around the 25-yard line. Zeigler has great hands, but he couldn’t come up with that one. Lee will punt it back to the Bills.
–Lee with a 21-yard punt. Parrish makes the grab at the 21-yard line with 1:48 left in the half.
–Lynch fumbles and the 49ers recover at the Bills’ 41-yard line. Roman with the recovery. Willis stripped the ball from Lynch.
–There’s 34 seconds left in the half. Completion to Jason Hill for 7 yards to the 34.
–Hill takes a shot deep to Zeigler, who turns into a defensive player to knock down the pass so McGee can’t intercept it.
–Shaun Hill scrambles for a 2-yard gain to the 33 with :16 seconds left. They’re sending Nedney out for about a 50-yarder.
–Nedney makes it . . . with a couple inches to spare. He made it. It’s 49ERS 10, BILLS 0 with :11 remaining in the half. That’s impressive that he was able to get the distance in these conditions.
–Nedney’s kickoff hits off Bills S John Wendling, who was 10 yards off the ball. Jon Corto recovers at the 49ers’ 48 with :09 left in the half.
–Good pressure from Lawson and Roderick Green. Edwards throw incomplete.
–Here’s the final play of the half . . . but first the Bills call a timeout. Edwards will throw a Hail Mary. Michael Lewis, Mark Roman and Tarell Brown are lined up 40 yards off the ball. Edwards under pressure throws to Reed but he doesn’t get too far. That’s the end of the first half.
–Bills get a big return to the 45. That’s where they take over with J.P. Losman at QB. Edwards has a groin problem.
–Lynch moves the pile, as Roman could not bring him down without a lot of help. He takes it all the way to the 49ers’ 36.
–Bills fail to convert on third and 21 after a holding penalty. Moorman will punt.
–Clements fields it near the sideline. Niners take over at the 13. There is a steady drizzle here. That means more Frank Gore.
–Gore fumbles on second down, but he recovers it.
–It’s third and 8 . . . Hill could have been called for intentional grounding in the end zone, but he threw the ball near the line of scrimmage, and Johnson was also in the vicinity.
–Andy Lee with a 58-yard punt. He is having a much better day than the Bills’ Pro Bowl punter, Brian Moorman. The Bills take over at their own 41 with 10:53 remaining in the third.
–Big run from Lynch, who made Michael Lewis miss about 10 yards down field. It’s a 50-yard run to the 9-yard line.
–Lewis doesn’t miss this time, as he stops Lynch for a 3-yard loss after Lynch shook free from Roman behind the line of scrimmage.
–The Bills with a third and goal from the 4 . . . Donald Strickland breaks up the pass to Parrish at the goal line.
–Lindell on for another short FG attempt. It’s a 22-yard attempt. And it’s good. 49ERS 10, BILLS 3 with 8:54 remaining in the quarter.
–Walker returns the kickoff to the 31-yard line.
–Nice diving catch from Bruce for 19 yards to midfield.
–Vernon Davis lines up at fullback with Gore behind him. Quick out to Bruce for 7 yards. It’s third and 3.
–Six-yard pass to Jason Hill for a first down. Hill lined up 8 yards deep behind Shaun Hill and ran to the flat.
–Davis with a 37-yard touchdown pass, however, he pushed off on safety Bryan Scott, so it’s coming back after a 10-yard offensive PI. Davis is lucky they don’t call a penalty on him for taking off his helmet.
–It’s third and 11 from the Buffalo 38 . . . Hill tries to get it to Zeigler on a slant. It’s incomplete, but they call McKelvin for defensive PI. And that’s a first down.
–The Bills are challenging that the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage. It looked as if Denney might have gotten his hand on the ball, but Hill throws a lot of wobblers, so we’ll see.
–Yep, the ball wasn’t tipped. It was just a lousy pass. The penalty stands, and the 49ers have a first down at the 35.
–Gore carries on first down. That was the first 49ers rushing attempt after eight pass plays to open this drive (including penalties).
–It’s third and 2 . . . Gore gains the first down over the left side, but he fumbles. They rule it down by contact, but it doesn’t look like Gore was touched down (it does not look definitive, either way.) But if he was not touched, the ground CAN cause a fumble. The Bills are challenging the call. That is their second and last challenge of the day.
–Referee Bill Carollo says Gore was not down by contact. It’s a fumble, and the Bills take over at their own 18 with 3:47 left in the quarter. That’s a huge play.
–It’s cold and it’s wet. It’s miserable. This final part of the game is a test of wills.
–Haralson gets a coverage sack. Great play from the secondary on that one. It’s second and 20.
–Schouman with a 17-yard catch on third and 14.
–That’s the end of the quarter. The Bills have a second and 3 from the 49ers’ 49.
–Bills face a third-and-9 from the 42. Four man rush. Losman finds Reed, covered by Strickland, for 14 yards and a first down.
–Schouman with a pass to the 15. The 49ers’ red-zone defense has been really good all season. They get another chance to show what they can do here.
–Schouman with the catch near the first down. He fumbles, but guard Derrick Dockery recovers it at the 6.
–It’s third and 1 . . . Jackson for a loss of 1. Justin Smith and Aubrayo Franklin stuff that sucker up. Franklin is having a very good game. Haralson helps finish it off. It’s fourth down, and the Bills are going to go for it.
–But first a time out.
–Here we go. It’s fourth and 2 from the SF 7 . . . Losman has a lot of time . . . McDonald finally hits him as he’s throwing. It’s incomplete and the 49ers take over with 10:00 left in the game.
–Gore with some running room, picks up 12 yards to the 20.
–Another near-miss. Hill fumbles the exchange. He falls on it for a 2-yard loss.
–Hill fumbles again as he’s stripped by Denney from behind. Bajema was assigned to block Denney off Hill’s blindside. Bajema recovers the fumble. It’s third and 22 after a loss of 10. This will be a running play, and then let Lee punt it away.
–Gore is stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
–Parrish is back to field Lee’s punt. He booms it. Parrish from the 33. But he makes Robinson and Brian Jennings miss. He returns it to the SF 40. There’s also a flag down. Personal foul on Keith Lewis. The Bills have the ball at the 25-yard line with 7:13 remaining. Let’s see if the defense can keep the Bills out of the end zone yet again.
–Sopoaga brings down Jackson for a 1-yard loss to the 19. It’s third and 4.
–Losman taken down for a sack by Roderick Green. It’s another coverage sack.
–Lindell on for a 40-yard FG attempt. He hits the left upright AGAIN. Can you believe it?!? The 49ers hold onto their 10-3 lead with 5:26 remaining. Bills fans are wondering where’s Scott Norwood when you need him?
–Third and 4, another big play . . . Hill connects with Bruce at the sideline for a first down. And the clock keeps running 3:39 and counting . . .
–A horrible call to give the ball to Jason Hill on an end-around. Why? It loses 4 yards. Why take that risk? I just don’t understand. Bills use a timeout with 2:26 left.
–Hill loses 11 yards on a sack. And that’s the two-minute warning. Pretty smart for Hill not to throw the ball away to keep the clock running. The 49ers need another big punt from Lee.
–The Niners will punt from the Buffalo 34. There’s a lot of pressure on the 49ers’ coverage unit against Parrish. He fields it off the bounce, but doesn’t get too far. Banta-Cain with a nice tackle. The Bills take over at the 19-yard line. They’re 81 yards away from sending this into OT. There’s 1:47 remaining.
–Lynch incomplete, through his hands.
–Walt Harris is not on the field. Tarell Brown is playing right cornerback. Harris probably aggravated his hamstring injury.
–Justin Smith with the sack of Losman to the 14. Loss of 5.
–Incomplete on third down.
–So here’s one play for the ballgame. It’s fourth and 15 with 1:13 remaining. . . . Lynch catches a short pass and stumbles. He gets up and Strickland brings him down.
THE 49ERS WILL WIN. That’s a very, very impressive victory . . . on the road . . . in horrible conditions.