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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Don't bother asking Buffalo Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes if he was impressed by how Philip Rivers spent last weekend picking apart the Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" defense.
Spikes has been a big fan of the San Diego Chargers' quarterback since he was a 13-year-old and first met Rivers at North Carolina State.
"No surprise at all, because I know what he can do," said Spikes, who was introduced to Rivers by a cousin who played for the Wolfpack. "People say he's getting old or he's slow and this and that. It don't matter. It's all about winning games. ... With a little bit of space, he can burn you."
The Chargers (1-1) are coming off a 30-21 win over the defending Super Bowl champions in which Rivers went 28 of 37 for 284 yards and three touchdowns. That certainly caught the Bills' attention for Sunday's game.
"It definitely showed a little moxie," cornerback Corey Graham said of how Rivers didn't hesitate in attacking the Seahawks' respected secondary. "They don't shy away from anybody."
The Bills (2-0), for once, are making some noise, too. They followed a season-opening 23-20 overtime win at Chicago with a 29-10 home victory over Miami.
"Those are two quality opponents they beat," Rivers said. "I know it's tough to go to Buffalo and win, but the fact that they are 2-0 certainly makes every guy see it right away."
In beating the Seahawks, the Chargers passed their first test of adversity by bouncing back a week after squandering an 11-point fourth-quarter lead in an 18-17 loss at Arizona.
"Yeah, it certainly feels better this Wednesday than it did last Wednesday to say the least," Rivers said. "That was big to not fall to 0-2. But at the same time, we still know we've got a long way to go."
Here are some other things to look out for in a meeting between two original American Football League teams:
REPLACING MATHEWS: There will be more emphasis on Rivers to produce with starting running back Ryan Mathews sidelined by a sprained right knee. Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown will get larger roles, with undrafted rookie Branden Oliver likely to suit up for the first time.
Even with Mathews, San Diego was having difficulty running, averaging a meagre 2.5 yards per carry.
"We're not going to abandon it," Rivers said. "We're going to stick with it, because when we're balanced, that's when we're at our best. But we all know we've got to run it better."
The Bills have been stout against the run. They've yet to allow more than 90 yards rushing a year after giving up 150-plus yards seven times.
NO NO-HUDDLE: Buffalo coach Doug Marrone has yet to test his no-huddle offense because the Bills have stuck to a ball-control attack while holding leads.
After averaging nearly 70 plays per game last year, the Bills have yet to top 60.
"We've had our no-huddle packages in both games. It's just a matter of picking and choosing strategically when we want to use it," Marrone said. "We'll do whatever it takes to win."
The Bills have trailed for a combined span of 4:43 this season, all in the first quarter against Chicago.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Bills are getting a big lift from their revamped special team units. Against Miami, running back C.J. Spiller scored on a 102-yard kickoff return; backup running back Anthony Dixon blocked a punt; backup linebacker Randell Johnson recovered a muffed punt; and Dan Carpenter hit five of six field-goal attempts.
And don't forget rookie punter Colton Schmidt, who has dropped seven of nine kicks inside opponents' 20 this season.
GOLDEN GATES: So much for the contention that Chargers tight end Antonio Gates is getting old.
The 34-year-old had seven catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns against Seattle. With 90 career touchdowns, Gates is tied with Isaac Bruce for 11th on the NFL list.
"I didn't know that people had written him off," Rivers said. "I think it's fair to say he's probably not exactly what he was physically six, seven years ago. But he makes up for that with his smarts."
HOMECOMING: It's homecoming week for numerous Chargers, starting with general manager Tom Telesco. He grew up in Buffalo and attended high school with Jaguars pro personnel director Chris Polian, the son of former Bills GM Bill Polian.
Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich and tight ends coach Pete Metzelaars played for the Bills. And Branden Oliver played at the University at Buffalo, where he broke a number of Green Bay Packers running back James Stark's rushing records.
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