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September 26, 1965 - Bills Lose WR Dubenion For The Year

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

This date may well be remembered for the AFL premiere of Joe Namath, but the AFL's top wide receiver in 1964 saw his 1965 season cut short.

In 1964, Elbert Dubenion was selected to his first AFL All-Star game after posting one of the best seasons any receiver has ever produced. He caught just 42 passes, but gained 1,139 yards for a staggering 27.1 yards per reception and 10 touchdowns. That yards per reception figure is second in professional football history behind only Jimmy Orr's 27.6 YPR for the Steelers in 1958.

The Buffalo Bills were leading the New York Jets 13-10 in the third quarter when Jack Kemp hit Dubenion for a touchdown pass. Unfortunately, it would be the last ball "Golden Wheels" caught all year.

"My ex-roommate, Willie West, covered me on a slant that was a little behind me," Dubenion said. "I reached back and caught it for a touchdown. Willie landed on my knee. I lost a really good season. I had, I think, about 19 or 20 receptions in three games."

Dubenion was right. While Dubenion's 81.4 yards per game in 1964 was impressive (still tied for fifth in team history), he was on an even better clip through three games in 1965, going for an average of 93.7 yards (which is tops among Bills wide outs). He had 18 catches in 1964.

The 1965 Bills went on to win their second consecutive AFL title without their top wide receiver, while Namath's Jets would go 5-8-1.