20 Years Ago Today…The Comeback

20 years ago today the Bills made the greatest comeback in NFL history.  It was a cold and miserable day in Buffalo.  Just a week prior, on a Sunday night nationally-televised game, the Bills had been embarrassed by the Houston Oilers and lost both the AFC East division title and their starting quarterback Jim Kelly in the process.  Just 7 days later the Oilers came to Buffalo to finish what they started in Houston.  It looked like they were going to do it easily…

The Bills unlikely heroes that Sunday - Reich and Christie

The Bills unlikely heroes that Sunday – Reich and Christie

I profess that I didn’t see the middle of that game.  I was 11 years old at the time.  I watched what I could of the miserable first half and then went outside to help my brother rake some leaves.  I listened to the rest of the first half on my walkman but didn’t bother to turn it back on after halftime.  Kelly was out and back-up Frank Reich was in the game.  Cornelius Bennett wasn’t playing.  Thurman Thomas was playing hurt.  And the Oilers, just like the week before, were relentless in their attack of the wounded Bills.  The 28-3 halftime deficit seemed like an insurmountable mountain for the Bills to climb.

Unbeknownst to me things got even worse after halftime when Houston safety Bubba McDowell intercepted a Reich pass and returned it for a touchdown on just the first possession of the second half.  35-3.  I also missed the touchdown run by Kenneth Davis and the touchdown catch by Don Beebe that made the score 35-17.  My father finally came and retrieved back down to the “man cave” in our basement just in time to see Reich’s 1st of 3 2nd half touchdown throws to Andre Reed.  35-24.

Kelly and company celebrate the win

Kelly and company celebrate the win

I watched the rest of the game with my father in the basement.  I saw the last two touchdowns to Reed, including the one that put the Bills up 38-35 and put old Rich Stadium into a frenzy.  The greatest comeback in NFL history had been completed however the game was not over.  I watched in frustration as Warren Moon finally came back alive and drove the Oilers down to set up the game-tying 26 yard field goal from Al Del Greco.  Then frustration as Houston took the ball in overtime.  Bills cornerback Nate Odomes made quick work of the Oilers plans to spoil football history by intercepting Moon on that possession.  Then came Steve Christie.  It could be argued that a game-winning kick is the most exhilarating play in all of sports.  The anticipation, the line up, the snap, the kick, and then the sail either through or wide of the uprights.  Pats fans should know the feeling well with Adam Vinatieri’s history of clutch kicks.  It was a 26 yarder, a chip shot for the Bills’ outstanding kicker Steve Christie, but the intensity was still there.  Christie nailed the kick.  The Bills made history with the greatest comeback in NFL history, in a playoff game no less.

It wasn’t until David Ortiz hit a ball into the visitor’s bullpen in Fenway Park to win Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS that I saw such an exciting sports game.  The comeback game is still 1A to the Ortiz game’s 1B in the most exciting games that I’ve ever seen.  The Bills haven’t given their fans very many moments even remotely close to the one they did 20 years ago today in the interim.  You know what though?  That’s the beauty of being a sports fan.  It may take 20 games or it may take 20 years but someday there will be another January 3rd, 1993 for Bills fans.  There always is.  Until that day…

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

One Response to 20 Years Ago Today…The Comeback

  1. Pingback: NFL Wild Card Weekend Playoff Predictions « evonsports

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