Here at Bills Beat, we continue our “Top Five” theme, which you can click here to visit the site and view our other articles currently posted.
Heartbreaks, bad beats, disappointing losses, the Buffalo Bills have experienced them all. On the other hand, the Bills have also experienced incredible wins, monumental achievements, and towering victories. There have been many, many games in this storied franchise that’s been around since 1959. With so many games to watch and choose from it’s nearly impossible to decide which are the five best in Bills history. To best understand what it’s like to be a Bills fan it’s important to take in the losses as much as the victories. To that effect, we selected the five best Bills games across the Buffalo Bills’ history.
5. Buffalo Bills vs New York Giants – January 1991 – Giants 20 Bills 19
We’re all familiar with this one, the famous Bills’ first Super Bowl that would inspire an Ace Ventura movie. This game must be included in the top five of all Bills games because of its impact on the franchise. This was the first time the Bills made it to the Superbowl and as we know, was not the last. This game would go down in history not just for the “Wide Right” call but also as the Superbowl with the closest margin of victory for the winning team.
The Bills would go on to play in the next three consecutive Super Bowls, losing each one. I know there is no victory in defeat but as Bills fans, we should take solace that going to the Super Bowl four times in a row is likely a feat that will never be reached again. Plus, on the positive side without the run of Super Bowls, we never would have got this guy.
4. Buffalo Bills vs The New England Patriots, September 25th, 2011 – Bills 34 Patriots 31
Probably the best victory from the Buffalo Bills’ playoff drought years (2000-2017). This game was the word cathartic defined. The Buffalo Bills defeated the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots at the height of their prime. Yes, detractors can laugh and call the game “our Super Bowl” but Bills fans know, this game meant something. It was a hard-fought match where the Patriots outperformed the Bills in just about every area of the game except one. The Bills managed to intercept Tom Brady four times which ultimately was the deciding factor.
The vibrations of that thunderous celebration when Ryan Lindell knocked in that 28-yard field goal could be felt throughout the entire fanbase. The game was most notable for breaking a 15-game losing streak that the Bills had been suffering against the Patriots.
This game had similar vibes to another great Bills game, the Bills-Dolphins game on September 7, 1980. Both games involved beating a division rival who had been on a double-digit win streak against the Bills. The major difference between the two is that Tom Brady is leagues better than Dan Marino ever was (and that’s not a jab against Marino) and the score was that much closer and therefore more exciting. My apologies to the Boomer Bills fans but this is the better game.
3. Buffalo Bills vs The Kansas City Chiefs, January 23, 2022 – Chiefs 42 Bills 36
13 Seconds. Yes, it’s true, this will haunt Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills for the foreseeable future until Allen hoists the Lombardi Trophy above his head. The Bills lost this heartbreaker in overtime in what many people consider the greatest playoff game ever played. The season prior the Bills had gone further and made it to the AFC Championship but lost in a drubbing by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. This game was different: however, coming off a victory in Kansas City earlier in the season there was little doubt that the Bills could defeat the Chiefs.
It was a back-and-forth shootout that lasted all game that eventually led to the infamous “13 seconds”. The Chiefs managed to move the ball and get into field goal range to tie the game and send it to overtime. What happened next changed NFL policy forever as the Chiefs won the coin toss and proceeded to march down the field against a gassed Bills defense. Which ultimately fueled the NFL to change overtime rules so that a coin flip doesn’t determine who wins a game. All that being said as Bills fans we know better, and I think we can all acknowledge the loss was on the team and not a small metal trinket.
2. Buffalo Bills VS The San Diego Chargers, December 26th, 1965 – Bills 23 Chargers 0
In a game that took place years before I was born, the Buffalo Bills defeated the Chargers in the last AFL Championship game before the AFL-NFL Merger. Earlier in the year, the Chargers had beaten the injury-riddled Bills 34-3, so it was no surprise the Bills went into this game as six-point underdogs. What was surprising however was the shellacking the Bills laid on the Chargers, intercepting John Hadl twice and sacking him thrice. The capper was a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown from Bills legend George “Butch” Byrd that should have locked him in on the Bills’ Wall of Fame (maybe take down OJ and put his name in its place).
This game would mark the last “final football championship” victory for the Buffalo Bills and the last time the Chargers would reach a Championship game as well. The following year the Bills would lose in the first AFC Championship game to their old rival the Kansas City Chiefs (who would then go on to lose to the Green Bay Packers in Superbowl 1). For many hopefully retired by now Bills fans this was the last great victory.
1. Buffalo Bills vs Houston Oilers, January 3, 1993 – Bills 41 Oilers 38
Surprise, surprise, surprise (said no one), this is the greatest game in Buffalo Bills history. Every Bills fan should be aware of this game because according to anecdotal history every Bills fan ever was there. Without going into great detail, the Bills were without starting quarterback Jim Kelly and in his place was then backup QB Frank Reich. Reich at that time already had the record for the greatest comeback in college football history and he didn’t know it at the time, but he was about to do the same on the professional level.
After being down 28-3 at the half the Bills came back from the dead and put on one of the greatest shows on turf eventually winning the game in overtime. Steve Tasker would go on to say this game was their crowning achievement and the NFL repeatedly lists it as the greatest comeback of all time. It’s even got its own Wiki entry and self-title of “The Comeback” and will go down in history like other self-titled games like “The Catch” and “The Immaculate Reception.”
Years later the Bills would meet the Oilers again (this time they were called the Tennessee Titans) in the infamous “Music City Miracle” game. Another couple of decades after that the Bills would play against Frank Reich as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in their first playoff victory in over 25 years. The aftershocks of “The Comeback” game are still being felt today and will continue to be recognized for years to come as the greatest Buffalo Bills game ever played.
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