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|