October 20, 1985 - Bullough Gets First Win As Head Coach, Cribbs Returns

Hank Bullough was one of the innovators in the NFL, bringing the 3-4 defense to the pros in the 1970s. In 1985, he was promoted from Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator to head coach when Kay Stephenson was fired four games into the season. After losing two more games with Bullough as the head man, the Bills finally won their first game of the 1985 season on this date.

Perhaps the most remarkable point about the win was that the Bullough-led Bills had lost to the Indianapolis Colts 49-17 in his first game as coach. This time, just two weeks later, the Bills held the Colts to just nine points in the victory.

This was the high water mark of Bullough's coaching career. He never exceeded a .333 winning percentage as head coach. In fact, Bullough holds the distinction of having the lowest winning percentage (.190) among head coaches in team history with two consecutive seasons calling the shots. Harvey Johnson, who never wanted the job in the first place, took two separate one-year interim stints at the helm and accrued a .080 winning percentage.

Bullough would be fired midway through the 1986 season and replaced with future Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy.

This game is also memorable in that it was RB Joe Cribbs' return to the NFL following the dissolution of the USFL. Cribbs was the team's leading rusher from 1980-1983 before jumping ship in a nasty fight with team owner Ralph Wilson. He was virtually the team's entire offense in 1983, but upon his return, he could not recapture the magic he once had in Buffalo. He was dealt to the San Francisco 49ers following the season.

The 1-6 Bills would only triumph once more in 1985 to equal their 2-14 record from the year before. It's the team's fewest number of wins in a 16-game season.

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