LEBANON, TN - JUNE 05: Team owner Joe Gibbs signs autographs for fans during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 5, 2010 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Each week, Buffalo Rumblings will prepare you for the Buffalo Bills' upcoming opponent by looking back into the history of the series to find a memorable game or moment. This week, we continue our memorable games against the NFC East with another obvious choice featuring the Bills and Redskins.
The 1991 Washington Redskins had both a stellar defense and a high-flying offense, and were led by Joe Gibbs, who had already won two Super Bowls for the Redskins franchise. Their quarterback was Mark Rypien, who led the NFC during the regular season in passing yards (3,564) and touchdown passes (28), and was second in the league in passer rating (97.9).
The Buffalo Bills were coming off a defeat in Super Bowl XXV, but rebounded with a 13-3 record and the second-highest scoring offense in the league, trailing only Washington. The Bills were led by Thurman Thomas, who earned the league's Most Valuable Player trophy for his excellent season, topping 2,000 yards from scrimmage and scoring 12 touchdowns.
The game began with a scoreless first quarter as the two teams fell all over each other trying to give the game away. Thomas infamously missed the first two plays while trying to locate his helmet. The Redskins botched a field goal attempt on a bad hold. Jim Kelly and Rypien exchanged interceptions.
Once the second quarter hit, Buffalo was left in the dust as Washington raced out to a 17-0 lead. A late charge by Buffalo came up short when a 15-yard unsportsman like conduct penalty on Andre Reed knocked the Bills out of field goal range.
Luckily, the Bills got the ball to start the second half, but their luck was short-lived. Kelly threw an interception on the first play of the third quarter that was returned to Buffalo's 2-yard-line. The Redskins punched it in on the next play. Buffalo scored on their next two possessions to cut the lead to 24-10 but Washington stomped the Bills down, scoring on their ensuing possession.
Kelly completed 28 of 58 passes (a Super Bowl record) for 275 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked 4 times, intercepted four times, and lost a fumble. Thomas ran for a paltry 13 yards on 10 carries and was limited to 27 yards on four receptions as the Redskins defense earned every gem on their Super Bowl rings.
Buffalo would go onto Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII in subsequent years but we'll talk about those later. isn't it odd that the schedule makers put the Philadelphia Eagles first on the schedule, then the New York Giants, Redskins, and Dallas Cowboys? The progression goes chronologically through their Super Bowl appearances.