Inside The Bills

Stats that stood out

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2016 – 10:10 pm

Here’s a look at some of the stats that stood out in Buffalo’s loss to New England.

41 – most points given up by the Bills this season
75% – New England’s red zone efficiency (3-4) against Bills No. 1 red zone defense
69% – The Patriots third down efficiency (9-13). They went 9-for-11 when Brady was still in the game.
12 – Bills penalties, a season high
7.1 – yards per carry average for Mike Gillislee
3 – number of carries for Mike Gillislee in the second half
5 – sacks by the Bills including the first of Shaq Lawson’s career


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Rex’s message to team an obvious one

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2016 – 9:56 pm

At the close of a humbling defeat at the hands of the Patriots, who performed far more consistently than the Bills, head coach Rex Ryan said his message to his team postgame was pretty easy to figure out.

“The message was obvious I think,” Ryan said. “For us to compete against a team like this we’ve got to improve a lot. Backups have to step up and know what they’re doing number one would help. And that comes down on us as coaches too, and we’ve got to make sure everybody is ready to roll and eliminate the mistakes and the things we can avoid. There are going to be some combative penalties, but some of the other ones we’ve got to do a much better job of. I thought that was in our past and clearly it’s not.”

Buffalo had a season-high 12 penalties for 84 yards. For what it’s worth New England had 10 for 116 yards.


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Belichick has respect for Gillislee’s game

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2016 – 11:45 am

Mike Gillislee will get the start for the Bills at running back with LeSean McCoy inactive for today’s game against the Patriots. While Belichick believes McCoy is “an elite back,” he holds a good deal of respect for Gillislee.

“Some of his time has been limited because of McCoy, who has had such an explosive season, but when he’s had a chance to play he’s done a good job,” said Belichick. “He had a big run against San Francisco, like a 44-yard touchdown. A strong, downhill runner, one cut guy, that’s hard to tackle. Good complementary player to McCoy.

“McCoy is exceptional, but Gillislee is a good back too. They’ve got good depth, and Jonathan Williams. I’m sure we’ll see him too.”

Gillislee enters today’s game averaging 6.2 yards per carry.


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Brady & 2 TE combo will be a test

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2016 – 9:18 am

The Bills know the Patriots did not have Tom Brady or a healthy Rob Gronkowski playing in the first meeting between the two teams. With Gronk averaging 121 yards receiving in the three games since Tom Brady returned to the lineup, the Patriots two tight end combination is going to be a tall order.

“You got two of the best tight ends in the league, you’ve got quick receivers outside that make plays in space, and you’ve got a running back who’s running with the best in the league,” said Preston Brown. “So definitely a tough challenge for us, but we’re ready for it.”

Brown referenced New England big back LeGarrette Blount, who is among the league leaders in rushing.

Brown’s teammate Stephon Gilmore warns that if too much attention is paid to Martellus Bennett and Gronkowski that the Patriots other weapons can hurt you.

“Yeah they’ve got two great tight ends now. They used to have one. So we’ve got to be on them two guys and they’ve got (Julian) Edelman, you know, work the slot. (Chris) Hogan making plays. So we’ve got to be real physical with them guys. You know, we’ve got to get to them,” Gilmore said. “That’s the main thing. We’ve got to get to them and make them make second guess and go from there.”


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Fan Friday 10-28

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2016 – 11:03 am

Big division game on Sunday. Buffalo needs a division and AFC win badly. Let’s get to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills
All week the Boston sports talk is saying how Rex thinks he won SB with 1st game vs NE. What are his thoughts on that?

Bill Pesiridis@Vasili8

CB: I think Rex would laugh first. Then he’d disagree. So the folks in the New England area know, after they shut out the Patriots in Week 4, there was zero celebration in Buffalo’s locker room. They had just evened their record at 2-2 after a disappointing 0-2 start.

As important as New England fans believe their team is, the Bills did not attach any added significance to the victory. They knew who wasn’t playing. In fact Rex even referenced that specifically after the game that Tom Brady was not available.

So if Patriots fans and talking heads on the radio want to characterize Rex as a coach that overblows victories they can, but they’d be wrong in this particular case. If anything Rex and his team took a page out of the New England playbook after that victory because all they were talking about was their upcoming game against Los Angeles in Week 5.

 

2 – @ChrisBrownBills Can Bills play a mistake free game, avoid dumb penalties?

Greg Bernhard@GregBernhard

CB: While foolish penalties were definitely a problem for the Bills in 2015, it’s not nearly as big an issue this season. Through the first seven games Buffalo ranks 18th in the league in penalties, so more than half the teams in the league have been flagged more than the Bills.

In fact Rex Ryan’s team has been flagged six fewer times than their opponents this season (49 to 55).

So I think they’re capable of avoiding dumb penalties. They did that last week when the undisciplined Dolphins were getting flagged for a lot of extra-curricular activity after the whistle.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills any news on a trade for a wr?

Marc Gump@GumpHutch

CB: The problem is at this time of year it’s a seller’s market. Teams looking to acquire a piece for their team are not dealing from a position of strength. The trade deadline is coming and they need help, like the Bills. So most other NFL clubs that are being propositioned are going to force those teams to overpay for an asset.

That being said, Bills GM Doug Whaley said in a radio interview Friday morning on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 that it’s been “rather quiet” on the trade market despite a lot of media speculation.

He did say they will work the phones and if something comes up that they think can help their situation they won’t hesitate.
4 – @ChrisBrownBills Any idea what the plan is at safety? Blanton/Williams combo?

Andrew Galley@aGalley_64

CB: I’d be surprised if Aaron Williams plays this week after his neck injury last Sunday. When he exited the game Robert Blanton was the first guy in to replace him and then he was subbed out in favor of Jonathan Meeks. Neither player really stood out in the loss to Miami.

Perhaps the defensive staff will use a rotation there based on down and distance and personnel packages like they did at the beginning of the season. Through the first two weeks of the season all four safeties rotated in to play alongside Corey Graham.

Back then it was done to steadily blend Aaron back into the scheme after he missed most of training camp with a concussion. This time around it could be to maximize the strengths of each of his replacements and minimize their weaknesses.

Of course one thing to consider is how New England goes up tempo and prevents their opponents from making personnel substitutions. So they may have to decide on one guy being the main replacement.

 

5 – @ChrisBrownBills

Not quite sure how all these IR, PUP, list work. But any chance that Sammy can come back this season?

jason plunkett@j_plunk

CB: The Bills have the opportunity to bring one player back off injured reserve to begin practicing after they have been out for six weeks and they’re eligible to activate them to play in a game after they have been out eight weeks.

Whether Sammy Watkins can be that player will be up to the team’s medical staff.

Head coach Rex Ryan did confirm this week that Watkins is out of his walking boot, and that it is an encouraging sign. Whether that enhances his chances of returning is probably too early to determine.

The first eligible date that Watkins could return to practice if deemed healthy enough to do so would be the Friday of the bye week (Nov. 11th). The first date he could dress for a game, again if he’s medically cleared, would be Nov. 27th against the Jaguars.

 

 


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Pats stay busy on trade market

Posted by Chris Brown on October 26, 2016 – 9:06 am

Trading TE A.J. Derby to Denver for a fifth-round pick wasn’t New England’s only move Tuesday. They also acquired LB Kyle Van Noy from Detroit along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

Van Noy, who has been a starter for the Lions this season is not expected to be in New England’s starting lineup Sunday against the Bills. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has made a habit of acquiring linebacker depth around the trade deadline in recent years with the acquisitions of Akeem Ayers, Jonathan Casillas and Jon Bostic the last two years.

Van Noy was an on the line strong side linebacker in the Lions base defense and an off the ball inside linebacker in the Lions nickel package.

“We tried to do what we feel is best for the football team and we’ll see how it goes with the new players that we have,” said Belichick Wednesday morning. “It kind of came up quickly. It wasn’t something that we had talked about (previously).”

Van Noy is an athletic edge linebacker with pass rush ability, cover ability and enough strength to set the edge in the run front. He was a former second-round pick.

 


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Patriots tip hat to Bills ‘D’

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2016 – 9:49 pm

The Patriots players on offense had to give the Bills credit. As hard as it was for them to admit they were outplayed by Buffalo’s defense, which pitched a shutout Sunday.

“We just got out-played,” said Julian Edelman. “We couldn’t execute. Anytime we have penalties, it just puts you behind down in the count. So it’s tough to overcome those types of things, negative plays, it’s hard to establish a rhythm. We turned the ball over, we didn’t do well on third down, we didn’t, I don’t even think we got in the red area, so I don’t know that stat. That’s what the game comes down to, is staying ahead in the count, especially against a defense like that, they played well. You got to tip your hat to the Buffalo Bills, they just out-played us and now we have to move on and start thinking about Cleveland.”

Edelman was right. New England’s offense never did reach the red zone. The closest they got was the Bills’ 18-yard line, but Jacoby Brissett fumbled on the play.

“I felt like we were locked in and ready to play and we just didn’t execute,” said DE Chris Long. “So it’s not enough to just have a good week of practice, you have to go out and execute [during the game]. For whatever reason, we didn’t execute and that’s just not good enough. The Bills did a good job of playing good football and we played bad football.”

 


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Report: Brissett to start for Patriots

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2016 – 11:00 am

In a week of uncertainty about the Patriots starting quarterback, multiple reports are now confirming that rookie Jacoby Brissett will start at quarterback for New England against the Bills today.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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With Brissett starting it’s expected that Garoppolo will be inactive. If that proves to be the case WR Julian Edelman will serve as the backup quarterback. Edelman was a college quarterback at Kent State.

Garoppolo suffered a sprained throwing shoulder two weeks ago against Miami. A lack of strength in the arm is being reported as the sticking point. Bills head coach Rex Ryan didn’t know for sure, but anticipated that Brissett would be the starting quarterback this week for New England.


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Prepped for headset issues

Posted by Chris Brown on October 2, 2016 – 8:05 am

It’s only been one game that offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn and Tyrod Taylor have communicated through the headset as coordinator and quarterback. They’ve kept communication minimal in an effort to get in and out of the huddle as efficiently as possible. Last week the operation was much better than in Week 1 or 2. But will they be prepared if perhaps the headset communication is “malfunctioning” as it has been known to do for visiting teams at Gillette Stadium?

“For sure. Yes,” said Taylor. “It’s a good thing that I wear a wristband. Each week we go into the game with the mindset that something will happen and we can go off the wristband with signals from the sidelines. We’re prepared for that.”

By having the play calls on the wristband, whether it’s Lynn on the headset or QBs coach David Lee on the sideline they can just signal a number for a specific play in the game plan that’s in a numbered list on his wristband.

Coach Lynn also reduced the communication further between him and Taylor regarding personnel groupings. That will be communicated from the sideline via signals.


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Report: Garoppolo still has pain in shoulder

Posted by Chris Brown on September 28, 2016 – 11:30 am

Reports out of New England have been mixed on the health of Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s injured throwing shoulder. Both he and Jacoby Brissett were at practice Tuesday as New England got a day head start coming off their Thursday night game last week. But according to Comcast Sports Network’s Mike Giardi, Garoppolo is still experiencing pain in his throwing shoulder.

The report certainly indicates that Garoppolo is not yet 100 percent. As for Brissett, though he had tape on his injured thumb and wrist, said he was in “tip top” shape.

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As seen above ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that one of the QBs should be available for Sunday’s game against the Bills.


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Report: Brissett & Garoppolo at practice Tuesday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2016 – 2:58 pm

According to the New England Sports Network, the Patriots two injured quarterbacks were both at practice on Tuesday.

The report said that both Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett were at practice. Coming off a Thursday night game the Patriots are getting a one day head start on their practice week. Garoppolo, who is dealing with a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder and Brissett, who sustained a thumb injury starting in place of Garoppolo last week, both were on the practice field.

Brissett had his injured thumb wrapped in tape as well as his wrist according to NESN. It said that Garoppolo was also on the practice field, but during the media viewing portion of practice neither quarterback attempted a pass.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that when seen in the locker room that Garoppolo did not have his injured shoulder in a sling of any kind.

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said the Bills probably won’t know who is starting at QB for the Patriots until kickoff.


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Pats add DL John Hughes

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2016 – 1:50 pm

The Patriots made an addition to their defensive line this week. New England signed veteran DL John Hughes.

Hughes, 27, originally entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick (87th overall) of the Cleveland Browns out of Cincinnati in the 2012 NFL Draft. He played in the 2016 season opener for Cleveland in a reserve role before being released on Sept. 20. The 6-foot-2, 320-pounder, has played in 53 NFL games with 10 starts and has 123 total tackles, 5½ sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

In addition, the Patriots announced that they have signed WR Da’Ron Brown to the practice squad. Brown, 25, originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick (233rd overall) of the Kansas City Chiefs out of Northern Illinois in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 199-pounder, spent his rookie season on the Kansas City practice squad. He was released by Kansas City on Sept. 3, 2016.


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Belichick talking up Bills run game

Posted by Chris Brown on September 27, 2016 – 8:45 am

He probably would’ve spoken highly of Buffalo’s run game anyway, but in the wake of their 208-yard rushing day in Sunday’s win over Arizona, Bill Belichick was quick to explain how challenging the Bills rushing attack is with LeSean McCoy and multi-dimensional QB in Tyrod Taylor.

“Their running game definitely gives you a lot of problems, and in addition to (Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy) the overall scheme that they employ is challenging as well,” said Belichick. “Read options schemes, zone schemes and then some blocking scheme plays, double team pullers, combination blocks. They have all that. I also thought that Gillislee gave them some good strong runs in short yardage and red area situations as well. Obviously McCoy is as good as it gets. The production that he’s had is outstanding. He’s a very difficult guy to handle. They give you a lot of different problems between not only the different players, but the different schemes that they employ.”


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Brady denied appeal, Deflategate suspension upheld

Posted by Chris Brown on July 13, 2016 – 11:14 am

Tom Brady’s appeal for an en banc hearing by the Second Circuit of the US Court of Appeals has been denied. The ruling by the Second Circuit’s 13 judges came down this morning. It all but ensures that Brady will miss the first four games of the 2016 season.

That includes New England’s Week 4 home game against the Bills, meaning that backup QB Jimmy Garappolo will be the anticipated starter against Buffalo, one of two division games during the course of Brady’s league imposed four-game Deflategate suspension (Miami is the other in Week 2).

His appeal to the Second Circuit was a long shot at best. According to the Boston Globe between 2000-2010 the Second Circuit has granted an en banc appeal to just eight of more than 27,000 cases over that 10-year span.

Brady can still petition the Supreme Court to hear his case and potentially overturn the Second Circuit panel’s 2-1 decision against him, but it’s considered ill advised by legal experts in light of the Second Circuit’s denial.

The NFL Players Association released a statement shortly after the 2nd Circuit denial and stated that they will review all of their options carefully on behalf of Tom Brady.

If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case (considered highly unlikely), according to the USA Today, Brady and the union could seek a stay that would allow him to play while the proceedings play out in court — a process that could take up to a couple of years.

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly, in an appearance on the Rich Eisen show, was hopeful that Buffalo could dethrone New England at the top of the AFC East this season.

“I hope we unseat that guy named Tom Brady sooner than later because I’ll tell you what, enough’s enough,” he said with a laugh. “You’ve already broken the records. You’re already the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. But I respect him. I like Tom, he’s a good friend of mine, but it’s time to change.”

Right now it appears that the Deflategate suspension will help in that regard.

 

 

 


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How Brady rehearing ask impacts Bills Wk 4 game

Posted by Chris Brown on May 23, 2016 – 1:10 pm

Patriots QB Tom Brady, through the NFLPA, is expected to file a petition today for a rehearing of his league-imposed four-game suspension or his role in the Deflategate scandal. Brady is going to be asking for a rehearing en banc, which means he’s asking for the entire panel of all the active judges of the Second Circuit to rehear the case, instead of just a three-judge panel, as was the case in the original hearing, which ruled against Brady 2-1.

There will be no timetable for the Second Circuit to decide whether to rehear the case. If they accept the petition and agree to rehear the case it would put an automatic stay on the NFL’s four-game suspension of Brady and that means he would almost certainly face the Bills in Week 4 at Foxborough. Rehearings take months so it would buy Brady more than enough time to play the 2016 season.

It should be noted that rehearings of such decisions are extremely rare.

If the rehearing petition is denied the four-game suspension would remain in place for the start of the regular season. At that point Brady’s only hope would be an appeal to the Supreme Court and ask for a stay of the Second Circuit decision. It’s considered a long shot for a stay to be granted by the highest court in the land.

Monday was the deadline for Brady to submit the petition.


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U.S. Appeals court reinstates Brady suspension

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2016 – 11:53 am

Per multiple reports a U.S. Appeals court has reinstated the NFL’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady for his alleged role in Deflate-gate. The ruling is not exactly a surprise as the court appeared to be leaning in favor of the league based on lines of questioning during initial proceedings.

The suspension was originally to be served by Brady for the first four games of the 2015 season for his alleged role in Deflate-gate when the majority of New England footballs used in the AFC title game against Indianapolis in January of 2015 were below the required air pressure under the rules of the game.

At this point if the suspension is in fact served in full starting with the first week of the season, the Bills would presumably not face Brady since Buffalo and New England square off in Week 4 this fall.

Most legal analysts believe this is the end of the road in the way of appeals for Brady to challenge the rulings in this case.


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Watkins: We’ve got to do more on offense

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2015 – 12:39 pm

The 20-13 final said enough for the men on Buffalo’s offense. On a day where their defense was really frustrating the Patriots offense, the Bills offensive unit had to do more when it came to finishing drives. That’s why Sammy Watkins had nothing but praise for his defensive teammates after the game.

“The defense played great. I know they got a little miscue with big plays and things like that, but to hold those guys to 20 points, they did great,” Watkins said. “That’s why it’s all on the offense. We’ve got to score points. You can’t ask for a better defensive stand and better defensive plays. We’ve got to score on offense and that’s on any team, the offense has to put up points.”

Buffalo’s offense did move the ball on New England with four of their 13 possessions covering 50 or more yards, but only one of those four drives resulted in a touchdown. When asked what’s keeping them from finding the end zone more often, Watkins chalked it up to details.

“It’s just little things. Little situations. Little first downs, catch the ball get the first down,” he said. “Catch the ball and go out of bounds. There are little things we’ve got to clean up. We’re not far off. There are little situations we’re in and we’ve got to focus a little bit more on both sides of the ball.”


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Gronk gives Bills ‘D’ credit

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2015 – 12:29 pm

They held the Patriots to more than 17 points below their scoring average (37.3) on their home field. They held Tom Brady to a 51 percent completion percentage, his lowest since his first half of work against the Bills in the season finale in 2014. And he had his lowest passer rating (72.3) since that 2014 season finale as well. In the process they held Rob Gronkowski to just two receptions for 37 yards despite being targeted twice. It left Gronk respecting Buffalo’s ‘D’ postgame.

“They’re a good team. You got to give credit to them. They’ve got a good defense,” said Gronkowski. “They’ve got a lot of good players out there and you got to give them credit. They did a lot of things right – tough, physical and ready to play. The thing is, we just came in here and got the win and wins are always big.”

Patriots WR Brandon LaFell felt the same way about Buffalo’s stifling defense.

“They [the Bills] played a really good game on defense,” he said. “We couldn’t convert on third downs, they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They were just sending more guys than we could handle. They played lights out on third down; I think we converted like three-out-of-12 third downs [4-for-14 on 3rd downs]. We could never stay out on the field and get into a rhythm and I get into some up-tempo plays because they kept stopping us,”

Gronk is right. The win was the most important thing, but the Patriots aren’t laughing at the Bills anymore like they did in the days of Donte Whitner. They can see they’re closing the gap.


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Head of officiating explains inadvertent whistle

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2015 – 1:09 am

The NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino provided an explanation for the officiating crew’s inadvertent whistle in the Bills-Patriots game Monday night.

Here was his explanation.

 

On the inadvertent whistle:

“The line judge lost track of the football and he blew his whistle inadvertently. That’s a mistake and we shouldn’t have blown the whistle. So by rule they are going to look as to where was the football when the whistle was blown and they determined that Amendola had the football when the whistle was blown. So then the team with possession gets an option: they can either take the ball at that spot or they can replay the down. So New England decided to take the ball at the spot which was more beneficial to them. And then there was a penalty on the play called against coach Ryan so that penalty by rule is also enforced from the spot where the whistle blew. So that’s how they came to that decision.”

On if he was confused as to why the whistle was blown:

“Sure. You’re always wondering when – again just by definition an inadvertent whistle is a whistle that shouldn’t have been blown – so you’re wondering why. It has happened before. This isn’t the first time an official loses track of where the football is and thinks that the play is over and blows his whistle. We do want our officials to blow their whistle when the play is over. So you’re wondering why that happened. But then once it did happen, the crew I thought did a good job of handling where they were going to put the football because again both teams are affected by the whistle blowing. Both teams stop and so we can’t assume what would have happened. So we gave the ball to the Patriots at the spot of the catch and then enforced the penalty from there.”

 


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Moment of silence for Bills-Pats pre-game

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2015 – 5:45 pm

Prior to the Monday night game between the Bills and Patriots there will be a special moment of silence observed. Here are the details.

Before the national anthem is sung there will be a moment of silence observed for 18-year old Ezra Schwartz, a Sharon, Massachusetts native who was killed on Thursday in the West Bank. Schwartz was not military, but was delivering food to soldiers. Here is more on his story.


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