Print and Go Back ESPN.com: ESPN Classic [Print without images]

Friday, December 1, 2000
Updated: December 2, 9:19 AM ET
Great Bills moments


Dec. 26, 1964: Jack Kemp and Wray Carlton each scored a touchdown and Pete Gogolak booted two field goals to lead the Buffalo Bills to its first American Football League championship with a 20-7 win over the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter but then the Buffalo defense took over. The Bills shut out the Chargers the rest of the way. Gogolak kicked a 12-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 in the first quarter. The Bills scored 10 points in the second quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Carlton and a 17-yard field goal by Gogolak. Buffalo had a 13-3 lead at the half. After a scoreless third quarter, Kemp salted the game away for the Bills with a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Over 40,000 people at Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium were on hand to witness the Bills' first title.

Dec. 26, 1965: The Buffalo Bills and the San Diego Chargers squared off in a rematch of the 1964 AFL title game. This time the game took place on San Diego's home turf, but the outcome was the same. Just like the previous year, the Bills used a stifling defense to completely shut down the Chargers. After a scoreless first quarter, Jack Kemp hit Ernie Warlick for an 18-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring and give Buffalo a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. The defense also helped the offense when Butch Byrd returned an interception for a touchdown. Buffalo held a 14-0 lead at halftime. The second half was the Pete Gogolak show as he kicked three field goals to account for the rest scoring. Buffalo went on to a 23-0 win and its second straight AFL title.

Jan. 12, 1991: It ended up being a lot closer than it should have, but in the end the Bills were closing in on their first-ever Super Bowl appearance. The Bills knocked off the Dolphins, 44-34, at snowy Rich Stadium. Jim Kelly threw two touchdown passes to Andre Reed and another to 34-year-old wonder James Lofton; Thurman Thomas had a pair of five-yard touchdown runs; and Scott Norwood kicked three field goals and five extra points to account for the Buffalo scoring. Kelly had missed the last two regular season games with an injured knee, but showed no ill effects in the playoffs. The Bills jumped out to a 20-3 lead in the first quarter and the rout looked as if it was on, but Dan Marino and the Dolphins came storming back. The Dolphins pulled to within 27-17 at the half. Miami closed to within 30-27 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bills responded with a 79-yard touchdown drive, culminating with a Thomas five-yard scoring run. On the ensuing kickoff, the Bills recovered a fumble and scored a touchdown to ice the game.

Jan. 20, 1991: AFC Championship
It was a great way to head into their first-ever Super Bowl. The Buffalo Bills were simply devastating as they pounded the Los Angeles Raiders, 51-3, in the AFC Championship game. Over 80,000 people at Rich Stadium saw Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton and Andre Reed carve up the Raiders one play after another. Buffalo scored on its first two series to take a 14-3 lead and then it got worse. And while the offense scored at will, the defense was just as devastating picking off Raider quarterbacks six times. The Bills eventually opened up a 41-3 lead at the half. By then the celebrating had already started.

Sep. 6, 1992: Lofton breaks Largent's record
The Buffalo Bills posted a 40-7 laugher over the Los Angeles Rams, but for Buffalo receiver James Lofton it was a nail biter. Heading into the game, Lofton needed just 54 yards to surpass Steve Largent for all-time career receiving yardage. It looked as if Lofton's friends and family in attendance would go disappointed. Lofton only had one catch for five yards through three quarters. In the fourth quarter, the Bills threw to him nine times in a 16-play stretch to get the yardage he needed. Lofton finished with 56 yards on the game and 13,091 overall, surpassing Largent's mark of 13,089.