by Scott Kindberg
September 29, 1991
Conlan Happy With His Performance So Far
He had just made a tackle early in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's game at Tampa Bay when teammate Mark Kelso inadvertently barreled into him, hitting helmet to helmet.
"I got dinged a little bit," Conlan recalled earlier this week.
His body momentarily went limp. He regained his senses quickly enough to rejoin his teammates in the huddle, but then the ringing began, drowning out the noise of 57,323 fans in Tampa Stadium.
Still that didn't stop him.
On the very next play, he cleared his head long enough to help fellow linebacker Cornelius Bennett force Reggie Cobb out of bounds, just shy of the orange pylon at the goal line. A touchdown would have given the Bucs a 14-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
"I said, 'I should probably go out,'" the Frewsburg native said. "Then I said, 'No, we're on the 1-yard line and we're only going to be out there a little longer, whether it's three more plays or one more.'"
It turned out to be the right decision.
On third down and less than a yard, Conlan, Leon Seals and Darryl Talley combined to stop Cobb short of the goal line, preventing the touchdown. The Bucs then sent on place-kicker Steve Christie, who booted a 19-yard field goal that tied the game 10-10.
The play was huge as the Bills later rallied for a 17-10 victory, their first win at Tampa Stadium in 15 years. It also helped keep their record perfect at 4-0.
"Ray (Bentley) jumped over the fullback and then I jumped, pretty much had a line on him, got him on the head and pulled him down," Conlan said of the big play. "I knew where it was going."
That was the case most of the afternoon as Conlan registered a team-high 12 tackles, including 10 unassisted. Yet he stopped short of calling it a complete game.
"As far as productivity, it was my best game," said Conlan, who had 12 tackles against Miami in the season-opener. "I made some good plays I was happy with, but, on the other hand, I made some really dumb plays. Not real bad, just some little things. It's not like I wasn't trying. They were just stupid reads. That sort of thing angers me more than anything else. I was happy, though."
He's also happy with his season thus far.
Through four games, Conlan is tied with Bennett for the team lead in tackles (31). Besides the two 12-tackle games, Conlan had one tackle against Pittsburgh and six against the New York Jets.
"The Jets game, I think, I was more technically sound as a linebacker, but I didn't have the statistics," Conlan said. "The Tampa Bay game looked good because of the big hits, which is fine. I like them as much as anybody. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't."
The Bills, who have been decimated by injuries to their defensive line, rank last in the league in run defense, but Conlan said he's "very happy" with his play through four games.
"Sometimes you get big hits, sometimes you don't," he said. "It's no big deal to me. I just want to play consistent. I know my abilities. The games I don't play well are because of dumb reads or stuff like that. I get knocked down. Everyone gets knocked down."
And some get knocked out.
But, as in Conlan's case, the good ones still find a way to make the play.