Bills Lose Tight End Everett In Loss To Broncos

Monday, September 10th 2007, 7:32 am
By: News On 6

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) _ Jason Elam's thoughts were with injured Bills tight end Kevin Everett first, and his winning field goal second.

Before discussing the 42-yard field goal he hit as time ran out to secure Denver's 15-14 win over Buffalo on Sunday, the Broncos' veteran kicker wished Everett the best after the Bills' reserve sustained a cervical spine injury and was taken off the field in an ambulance.

``What we heard is not good, so for our whole team, our prayers go out to him,'' Elam said.

Everett's injury _ and fears that he might be paralyzed _ cast a pall over the Broncos' season-opening victory.

``He's had some sparse movement,'' Everett's agent Brian Overstreet told The Associated Press in a phone interview late Sunday, after his client had a lengthy operation at a Buffalo hospital.

``The next couple of days is going to be critical,'' said Overstreet, responding to a question about paralysis. ``Our concern is for him to come out of this healthy and, hopefully, be able to walk again.''

Everett was hurt following a helmet-to-helmet hit when he tackled Denver's Domenik Hixon during a kickoff to open the second half. Players for both teams were shaken when watching Everett being placed on a backboard with his head and body immobilized at the Broncos 30.

``It was real hard,'' Bills cornerback Terrence McGee said. ``I watched the whole thing and he never moved.''

The Bills, who also lost three defensive starters to injuries, held their own before Jay Cutler converted two fourth downs in engineering a sometimes sloppy but nevertheless productive 42-yard drive capped by Elam's field goal as time ran out.

``I made some mistakes, I know that,'' Cutler said after going 23-of-39 for a career-high 304 yards passing in only his sixth career start. ``But I'll learn from it. And we bounced back and got the win.''

For Elam, the field goal made up for two he had missed earlier in the game, including a 43-yarder with 3 minutes left.

For Buffalo, the loss was terrible blow and leaves the team scrambling to prepare for its next game at Pittsburgh with an injury-depleted defense.

Besides Everett, starting free safety Ko Simpson (broken left ankle), starting cornerback Jason Webster (broken forearm) and linebacker Coy Wire (sprained knee) are out indefinitely. Wire, a converted safety, was starting in place of Keith Ellison, who's out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain.

``To lose like that sure took the wind out of us,'' coach Dick Jauron said. ``They fought through a lot of adversity trying to steal a win. And they just couldn't hang on to it.''

Elam's kick capped a wild finish. He and the field-goal unit had 14 seconds to scramble on the field and complete the kick after Cutler _ with no time outs left _ completed an 11-yard pass to Javon Walker.

``I'm going to look back at this game down the road and this is going to be one of my favorites,'' said Elam, who has scored more points for one team than anyone else in NFL history.

What's difficult to fathom is how the Broncos didn't have this game in control much earlier, managing just three field goals and Brandon Marshall's 5-yard touchdown catch despite eight drives into Buffalo territory.

Denver out-gained the Bills in total yards, an eye-popping 470-184, first downs, 23-13, and had a six-minute edge in time of possession.

``What can I say, these are the types of games that drive you crazy,'' Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. ``We have to tie up some loose ends, but it's nice to get out with a victory.''

Travis Henry had 139 yards rushing in his Broncos debut, playing against his former team.

The Bills scored on Roscoe Parrish's 74-yard punt return and Marshawn Lynch's 23-yard run. Lynch, the Bills first-round draft pick, had 90-yards rushing, the most by a Bills rookie in a season-opener.

``There are a lot of people very emotional about this loss,'' Bills quarterback J.P. Losman said. ``What we have to do is make sure it does not slow us down one bit.''