Terrell Owens had little chance to celebrate an important career milestone.

Owens became only the sixth player in NFL history to catch 1,000 passes yesterday, but his Buffalo Bills had too little offense in a lopsided 31-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Owens had four catches for 39 yards and said he didn't make a big deal about joining Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, Tim Brown, and Isaac Bruce as the only players with 1,000 receptions.

"It doesn't bother me," Owens said. "I just go out and play the game. I'm blessed to be able to play this game and to play it at a productive level."

Owens reached the milestone with an 8-yard catch in the second quarter. He had a 10-yard catch from Brian Brohm, making his first start, earlier in the drive.

Owens entered the game needing two catches to reach 1,000 for his career, which began in 1996. He was held without a catch in the first quarter but took care of the milestone with three receptions in the second quarter.

He reached the milestone in 203 games. Only Harrison and Rice reached 1,000 career receptions in fewer games.

However, the Bills were held to only 178 total yards.

"I don't have any answers," Owens said. "All the guys are working hard in practice.

"We're not executing. It's been that way all year. I wish we could have made more plays. . . . It's hard to win games when you're going three-and-out."

Gonzalez has to wait. The Falcons' Tony Gonzalez began the day six catches short of 1,000, and the Atlanta-Buffalo game could have seen both Owens and Gonzalez hit the rare milestone.

However, Gonzalez made just two catches before suffering a strained right calf late in the first half, leaving him four shy. He limped off the field, obviously favoring his right leg, and did not return.

Jackson sits. St. Louis running back Steven Jackson, the NFL's second-leading rusher heading into the day, was inactive for the Rams' game against Arizona, which the Cardinals won, 31-10.

Jackson, who did not practice all week because of a sore lower back, missed a game for the first time this season.

Cowher rumors. Bill Cowher is ready to return to coaching in the NFL, according to a report on ESPN.com. The Web site cited two unnamed league sources in reporting that Cowher has been making calls to assemble a coaching staff. The report speculated about Tampa Bay courting Cowher. His name has also been mentioned in connection with Carolina.