Google Question: Buffalo vs. Denver, Scoring Twenty Points In Seconds

October 29, 2012

Yet another reader found this site by googling a something akin to a historical question that can’t be found easily by searching through stat sheets or box scores, and in a never-ending effort to keep up with my readers, I am more than happy to oblige.

The phrase that was searched was: “Buffalo vs. Denver, 20 points in seconds”.

This game took place in Week 4 of the 1990 season.  Denver was coming off their third embarrassing Super Bowl loss in four years (but, better to have been there….), and came into the game with a 2-1 record.  Buffalo entered the season thinking that this was finally the year that they could put it all together, earn home-field advantage in the playoffs, and finally reach the Super Bowl.  The Bills also came into the game with a 2-1 record.  Buffalo didn’t exactly hit the ground running on the season, though.  They beat the Colts 26-10 (Jeff George’s NFL debut), but followed it up by getting thrashed at Miami by the tune of 30-7.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bruce Smith and Darryl Talley blew up at Head Coach Marv Levy on the sidelines when Levy benched them with seven minutes to go, down 30-0.   This was at a time when the Bills were still known as the “Bickering Bills”, and it was well-documented that they did not have the greatest team chemistry on earth.  The Bills followed up that debacle by beating the Jets in the Meadowlands on Monday Night Football by the same 30-7 score.

The game itself was on a drizzly day in Orchard Park, and Buffalo’s offense was stymied for most of the game.  Denver built a 14-3 halftime lead, and Buffalo’s lone score came on their last drive of the half when Denver was playing a prevent defense.  Denver running back Bobby Humphrey amassed almost 100 yards rushing by halftime.  You couldn’t even blame it on a single long run; it was like dying a slow painful death, six yards at a time.  Buffalo scored on a 12-yard direct snap to Don Smith on 3rd and goal from the 12 following a Denver turnover in the third quarter, but missed the extra point.  Sammy Winder scored on a three-yard run later in the third quarter to give the Broncos a 21-9 lead going into the fourth.

Buffalo’s offense was basically stuck in neutral throughout the game (they only gained 197 yards on the day).  Denver lined up for a chip-shot 24-yard field goal with about seven minutes left that would have put the game away.  Darryl Talley blocked a kick earlier in the game, so the wing payed a little more attention to him coming from the inside, and in doing so, let Nate Odomes come through from the outside and blocked the kick.  Cornelius Bennett picked the ball out of midair and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown, closing the gap to 21-16.  Three plays later, safety Leonard Smith intercepted Elway’s third down tipped pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown to give the Bills a 22-21 lead (missed extra point).  The Broncos followed that up with a bad kickoff return coupled with a holding penalty on the return.  The crowd was roaring by this point, and the referee stopped the game to quiet the crowd.

It didn’t help.

Elway fumbled the snap amidst mocking chants of “ELWAY! ELWAY!”.  Bennett recovered at the two, and Kenneth Davis took it in on the next play for a 29-21 Buffalo lead.  Buffalo completely stole the momentum and turned the game around in five plays and 77 seconds.  Denver scored on their next series to bring them within one point at 29-28 (no two-point conversions in 1990; those didn’t come about until 1994), but they failed to recover their onsides kick, and the game was literally stolen by the Bills.

This was one of those games where stat sheets and box scores lie.  Buffalo failed to gain 200 yards of offense for the game, and Denver ran for 208 yards and gained 410 yards all together.  Denver gained 28 first downs to Buffalo’s fifteen.  The only stat that didn’t go Denver’s way was their five turnovers to Buffalo’s three.  This game was the turning point of the Bills’ first Super Bowl season, and Denver ended the year 5-11 and fifth in the AFC West.

I hope I sufficiently answered the question, and thank you for reading.

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Random Thoughts About Last Weekend’s College Football Games (October 20th, 2012) *Notre Dame, West Virginia, Kansas State, Oklahoma

October 23, 2012

Notre Dame’s defense is good, but they haven’t faced their toughest test yet.

The Irish held BYU to 243 yards of total offense, including 2.6 yards per rush, and 14 points while intercepting the Cougars twice and shutting them out in the second half.  It was a fairly impressive performance, and it added to Notre Dame’s resume for the BCS. We do have to take into account here that BYU’s offense isn’t exactly the passing -and-points-frenzy that it was while Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Robbie Bosco, Steve Young, and Ty Detmer were calling the signals.  The Cougar offense is ranked in the bottom half of the country in both rushing and passing yards, and they are 89th in scoring offense.

They are undefeated at this point in the season at 7-0, have the second best defense in the country as far as points per game at 9.2, and have beaten three ranked teams (#18 Michigan, #10 Michigan State, and #17 Stanford).

It would be hard for Notre dame to do much better on defense than they have already.  They have come to play in every game they’ve had so far, and that’s all you can ask.  The only problem that I can see is that they have yet to play a team that is ranked in the top third in the country in scoring offense.

They could stand to have a more explosive offense, which is ranked 100th nationally in passing yards and 77th in scoring.  They have only two games in which they have scored more than twenty points (50 against Navy and 41 against Miami).  Both of those games were away games for Notre Dame, but they were also road games for Navy and Miami, and that always means that Notre Dame has the advantage with its national following.

Notre Dame’s last five game feature three very mediocre teams (vs. Pittsburgh, @ Boston College, vs. Wake Forest) which are book-ended by their two toughest tests of the year (@ #8 Oklahoma and @ #9 Southern Cal).

The highest ranked offenses Notre Dame has played so far are Purdue at #49, followed closely by Michigan at #54.  They have played two teams that are ranked below #100 (#100 Navy and #109 Michigan State). Oklahoma’s offense is ranked number five in the country, and Notre Dame has to play the game in Norman.  If Notre Dame wants to prove themselves, this is the game to do it.  Oklahoma may not go to the national championship this year, but their offense is one hell of a lot better than Purdue’s or Michigan’s.

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Geno Smith is not the shoe-in for the Heisman that he was two weeks ago.

Back-to-back embarrassing losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State by a combined 76 points has put a damper on his Heisman hopes.  Kansas State held West Virginia without an offensive touchdown until the middle of the fourth quarter, when KSU was up 52-7.  Smith threw his first two interceptions on the season, and it’s going to be a lot harder to gain back the momentum that the West Virginia offense had at the beginning of the season than it was to build it up in the first place.  Also, it doesn’t help that West Virginia has the #119th ranked scoring in the country.

West Virginia doesn’t exactly have a cakewalk ahead of them.  Their remaining schedule is vs. TCU, @Oklahoma State, vs. #8 Oklahoma, @Iowa State, and vs. Kansas.  Their only break is the bye week this Saturday.  The only team on that remaining schedule that hasn’t been ranked all year is Kansas.  Point-a-minute offense may not last here.

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