The Buffalo Bills know how to lose to an opponent. After knocking off the New England Patriots Sunday, the Bills ended the longest active losing streak by one team over another, having fallen to the Patriots 15 consecutive times. The longest active winning streak by one team over another now belongs to, ironically, the Bills - in their series with the Cincinnati Bengals.
In November of 1988, the 11-1 Bills went into Ohio to face the 9-3 Bengals and lost the game, 35-21. In the AFC Championship game in January of 1989, the Bengals repeated their victory with a 21-10 romp over Buffalo. Since that game, Buffalo hasn't lost to Cincy.
Beginning in 1989 and lasting through last season, the Bills have won 10 straight against their Rust Belt neighbor. Last year, Ryan Fitzpatrick added his name to starting quarterbacks who have beaten Cincinnati in the streak, joining Jim Kelly (3), Doug Flutie (1), Drew Bledsoe (3), Kelly Holcomb (1), and J.P. Losman (1).
The streak has been going on so long, in fact, that Bengals guard Clint Boling and defensive end Carlos Dunlap hadn't been born when their current team last topped the Bills. Dunlap was born a month after the game, and Boling was born in May of 1989. On the Bills' side, four players weren't yet born for Cincy's last victory over Buffalo; Marcell Dareus, Aaron Williams, Chris White and Chris Hairston.
Joe Goodberry is an author at Cincy Jungle, SB Nation's Bengals blog. He also happens to be a Bengals fan living in Western New York, and provides a unique perspective on the streak.
"Even with the Bills' ineptitude over the past 10 years - and no offense, because the Bengals only have two winning years - the Bengals couldn't find a way to beat them," says Goodberry. "Even while I have enjoyed two division winning seasons and a few very competitive years, the Bills games have always left a sour taste for me. The Bills have beaten the Bengals 10 times since this streak started. Only one game has been close, and the Bills have an average margin of victory of 14.3 points in those 10 games."
While Goodberry's family is full of Bills fans, he's had to suffer through 20-plus years of losses and bad Mondays. Knowing first-hand about losing streaks, you all can probably hear the pain as he goes through the list.
"The last 10 years - my most memorable football years - have actually made for some interesting Bengals-Bills relations," recounts Goodberry. "From 2002-2007, the Bengals and Bills played each other every year; 2006 was a pre-season game. So I got to see those games first-hand. I remember the overtime game in 2003 when Travis Henry scored to win the game, then ran straight into the tunnel and into the trainer's room with broken ribs. The 2007 game in Buffalo when Donte Whitner knocked out Chad Johnson. Chad had to be taken to ECMC by helicopter. That's a crazy, scary moment that I'll remember for a long time. Then the 2010 game when the Bengals actually looked like they could pull off the elusive won against the Bills - only to have Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson tear it up and come back to win."
In his closing comments, Goodberry wanted to make sure he snuck in this little nugget:
"The Bengals against the Bills has been lopsided since the AFC Championship game in 1989. It might not be this Sunday, but eventually I'll get my Monday glory. Hopefully it will be a year when both teams need the win."
Head on over to Cincy Jungle to check out their coverage of this week's game.