The Buffalo Bills' 2009 season is mercifully close to an end, with our favorite team needing to win out in order to meet their yearly quota of seven wins. I, for one, am rooting for a fourth straight 7-9 season. How many times has a team finished with the same record four straight years? Not often - if ever - I would say. At least we'd have that.
This will be the tenth meeting ever between these two teams, with Atlanta holding a 5-4 advantage, including two consecutive wins. This will also be the fifth meeting to happen in Atlanta, where the Bills are 1-3. The first ever meeting between the Bills and Falcons occurred in 1973, the year O.J. Simpson ran for 2,003 yards. The Juice ran the ball 24 times for 137 yards that day, and Jim Braxton added 23 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-6 Bills win. The most recent five meetings are detailed after the jump.
Sunday, November 5, 1989: Falcons 30, Bills 28
This game was very back and forth, as eight separate lead changes will attest to. James Lofton opened the scoring by hauling in a six-yard pass from Jim Kelly. Paul McFadden hit a 54-yard field goal and Keith Jones plunged into the end zone from a yard out to give the Falcons a 10-7 lead. Keith McKeller caught an 11-yard pass from Kelly to put the Bills up 14-10, but Floyd Dixon's 26-yard touchdown catch from Chris Miller and another McFadden field goal put the Falcons back into the lead. Two touchdown runs that totaled three yards combined - one by Thurman Thomas and one by Larry Kinnebrew - sandwiched another Jones score to give the Bills a slim 28-27 lead. McFadden hit his second field goal over 50 yards, this one late in the fourth quarter, to give the Falcons the win.
Sunday, November 22, 1992: Bills 41, Falcons 14
The Bills literally ran all over the Falcons in this one, rushing for 315 yards on just 44 attempts. Thurman (13 carries, 103 yards), Carwell Gardner (8 carries, 34 yards, TD) and Kenneth Davis (20 carries, 181 yards, 2 TD) all enjoyed great days for the Bills. In fact, Buffalo was so dominant that day that they scored the first 38 points of the game, including 28 in the first quarter alone. When the Falcons did get on the board, it was via a Deion Sanders 75-yard kickoff return, which when you think about it, is pretty darn short for a kickoff. That is even before the kickoff line was moved back from the 35 yard line to the 30.
Sunday, November 12, 1995: Bills 23, Falcons 17
Craig "Ironhead" Heyward opened the scoring for the Falcons with a one-yard plow into the end zone. Kelly answered by finding Billy Brooks twice for scores - the first time for 30 yards, and the second time for 14 yards - to put the Bills out in front 14-7. Morten Anderson then showed off his leg by hitting a 50-yard field goal, only to be matched by Steve Christie. "Ironhead" pushed in another TD from a yard out, knotting the score at 17. Two more Christie field goals put the Bills ahead for good. Bryce Paup and Bruce Smith each sacked Jeff George twice.
Sunday, December 23, 2001: Falcons 33, Bills 30
Shawn Bryson had probably his best day as a pro, finishing with 130 yards on 16 carries and two scores; he also added another 31 yards on 3 catches. Larry Centers even added a 50-yard rush. The Falcons countered with 489 total yards, 422 of which came through the air. Chris Chandler picked the Bills apart while finding nine different receivers. After an Eric Moulds touchdown catch tied it in the fourth quarter, Jay Feely hit a 52-yard field goal to give the Falcons the win.
Sunday, September 25, 2005: Falcons 24, Bills 16
J.P. Losman was a pathetic 10/23 for a whopping 75 yards with an interception. Oh, and he was sacked four times. Willis McGahee was a bright spot for the Bills, rushing 27 times for 140 yards and a score. Losman was too much for Willis to overcome, however, and T.J. Duckett put the nail in the Bills' coffin with a 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to give the Falcons the win.