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September 11, 1960 - Bills Fall In Franchise Opener

Photo Courtesy of the Ramsey Family
Photo Courtesy of the Ramsey Family
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

We've been leading up to this moment in our history series. We discussed the team's first training camp, first preseason game, and more. On this date 50 years ago, the Buffalo Bills played the first regular season game in team history.

Buster Ramsey, the Bills' first head coach, was a defensive specialist, and he molded the defense into the top ranked unit in the AFL. His offense never really got off the ground, as first-round pick HB Richie Lucas didn't play very well and starting QB Tommy O'Connel got injured in the first quarter of the first game. The offense finished dead last in the new league.

On opening day, the New York Titans hosted the Bills at the Polo Grounds in New York City, and the offense proved it was going to be a long year. After a failed exchange between O'Connell and Elbert Dubenion on a reverse, O'Connell was injured trying to recover the ball. Despite the QB's return later in the game, the Bills fell 27-3 with barely a whimper.

Buffalo scored first on a 35-yard Darrell Harper field goal, the first points in team history. They did not score again. The Bills were held to just 113 yards of total offense, including 39 passing yards. The defense allowed 20 first downs and 340 yards, including two rushing touchdowns for Al Dorow.

Here is the starting roster from the game from Sal Maiorana's Complete Illustrated History of the Buffalo Bills:

Starting Offense Starting Defense
QB Tommy O'Connell DE Chuck Rutkowski
HB Richie Lucas DT Chuck McMurty
FB Wray Carlton DT Jim Sorey
WR Elbert Dubenion DE Laverne Torczon
WR Dick Brubaker LB Dennis Remmert
TE Tom Rychiec LB Archie Matsos
LT Harold Olsen LB Bernie Buzynski
LG Phil Blazer CB Richie McCabe
C Dan McGrew CB Billy Kinard
RG Don Chelf SS Jim Wagstaff
RT Bob Sedlock FS Billy Atkins