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Bills vs. Bengals Classic: 1988 AFC Championship Game

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 continue by looking at the last Bills loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1988 AFC Championship.

On January 8, 1989, the Bills went to their first AFC Championship game. Unlike later trips to the game, the Bills would lose this one to the host Bengals. It was the last time the Bengals defeated the Bills.

The game took place at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. The Bengals scored first on a one-yard Ickey Woods run following a Jim Kelly interception. Kelly answered with four straight completions, including a touchdown pass to Andre Reed to tie the game. After Buffalo's defense held, a promising Bills drive fell short of scoring when Scott Norwood's 43-yard kick sailed wide left. Boomer Esiason led the Bengals into Buffalo territory and then found the end zone to give them a 14-7 lead. A Norwood field goal closed the gap to 14-10 at halftime, but that's as close as it would get.

The Bills' offense struggled in the second half, failing to convert a third down and only converting two total first downs. All five second-half drives began inside their own 23-yard line. The Bengals added another Woods touchdown run to push the Bengals' lead to 21-10, and Kelly threw another pick on a fourth down attempt in the red zone. The last time the Bills lost to the Bengals, it was their offense that let them down.