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 look back at one of the most memorable games in Bills history.
For those of you too young to remember, the Tennessee Titans were once the Houston Oilers. During the 1992 season, the Oilers and Bills both had Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Warren Moon and Jim Kelly - and the two teams shared in a rivalry that sprouted during the early '90s.
The Bills and Oilers met in Week 17 of the regular season, with Houston scoring an easy 27-3 victory on their home turf. Kelly was knocked out of the game and the foreseeable playoffs with a knee ligament injury, which meant backup Frank Reich would lead the Bills in their re-match with the Oilers one week later in the Wild Card round at Rich Stadium. (Like today game, this game was not sold out.)The Bills fell behind early as Moon lit up the Bills' defense, completing 19-of-22 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone. Buffalo was down 7-3 after the two teams' first possessions, but Buffalo stuttered while Houston roared in the first 30 minutes, and they took a 28-3 lead into halftime.
Things didn't get any better for the Bills to start the second half. A Reich interception on Buffalo's first possession of the third quarter was returned for a touchdown, and Buffalo now faced a 35-3 deficit - a point spread no team had ever overcome. To add injury to insult, former league MVP Thurman Thomas had to leave the game with a hip injury, further depleting Buffalo's chance to score the points needed to win.
Immediately after Houston took their 32-point lead, the winds began to change at the stadium, both literally and figuratively. A swirling gust knocked the ball of the tee as Houston's kicker put his foot to the ball on the ensuing kickoff, and Buffalo recovered the bad kick at midfield. Buffalo would convert a fourth down en route to a Kenneth Davis touchdown and inch the score closer at 35-10.
After Marv Levy surprised the Oilers with an onside kick recovered by kicker Steve Christie, Buffalo once again marched down the field and scored a touchdown, bringing the score to 35-17. The defense held in their first chance of the second half, and Buffalo again moved the ball at will and scored a touchdown making it 35-24 and taking all the momentum. The Oilers had three yards on three plays in the third quarter, while the Bills had scored three touchdowns.
Henry Jones intercepted a tipped Moon pass on the next play from scrimmage, and three plays later, Reich found Andre Reed on fourth down for an 18-yard scoring pass to close the gap to 35-31. The Oilers didn't get their offense in gear again until the fourth quarter, when they moved the ball on the first drive. But a bad snap on a field goal attempt was recovered by Buffalo, negating another scoring opportunity.
Reich led an effective drive again, throwing his fourth touchdown pass of the day and his third to Reed to give Buffalo their first lead of the day at 38-35. Now the Oilers were in comeback mode, and managed a late field goal to tie the game at 38, their first offensive points of the second half.
Buffalo's defense stepped up again in overtime and picked off a Moon pass, returning it to the Houston 20-yard-line after a penalty. On third down, Christie booted the game-winning field goal through the uprights. The Bills won 41-38 in the greatest comeback in NFL history. The shoe Christie wore to score the winning points is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.