Moats hopes Favre streak a mere footnote

With the way Arthur Moats has been playing lately, the Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker should have a lot more football memories to make.

That's why he claimed his interest level in Monday night's game between the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings was just like any other fan's.

While he might think of it that way, it's not entirely accurate. In a few hours, Moats might go down in history as the player who ended Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre's incredible streak of 297 starts.

"Everyone's checking to see if he's playing or not," Moats told me by phone from the Bills' facility in Orchard Park, N.Y. "We all know it's a big deal. It's hard to play that many games in a row, and I don't know if there will be anyone to touch that record."

Moats could become the answer to a trivia question.

Moats drilled Favre in the first quarter of their Week 13 game at the Metrodome. Favre left his feet and came crashing down on the turf. His right shoulder hit first. Favre left the game and didn't return.

Favre told ESPN's Ed Werder he would not have played Sunday in the Giants game against the Vikings. The game has been delayed because of the frightening Metrodome roof collapse and the extra time might help Favre play Monday night, although head coach Leslie Frazier says the future Hall of Famer remains doubtful.

"If it happens, people will know my name," Moats said. "That's not the way I want to get my name out there, for hurting somebody. "

Moats has been a significant contributor for the Bills. The sixth-round draft choice from James Madison made his first NFL start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. He ran past Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas to record a strip sack of Jake Delhomme in the 13-6 victory.

Moats said the coaches haven't specifically told him how much they admire the progress he has made as a late-round pick from the Colonial Athletic Association, but he can tell what the Bills think of him.

"Their actions are showing that," Moats said. "I'm out there in critical situations. It feels good as a player because it means I've showed the coaches they can trust me to be in the right place and to make plays. When the game is on the line, that's when you want to be on the field."

Moats could be a part of the Bills' future. They have struggled on defense for much of the season in their transition from a Tampa 2 to a 3-4 alignment, but they have shown signs of growth in the past couple months. Four of their past seven opponents have scored 16 points or fewer in regulation.

"I definitely feel like we're jelling on defense," Moats said. "Everyone knows we put in a new defense, and all of us had to get used to that. We're starting to come together and know it's important that we finish up strong so we can take it into the offseason and next year."