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Encyclopedia > The Comeback (American football)

In American football, "The Comeback" refers to the January 3, 1993 NFL playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Oilers, one of the most memorable NFL games ever played. United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ... January 3 is the 3rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... The National Football League (NFL) is the largest and most prestigious professional American football league, consisting of thirty-two teams from American cities and regions. ... City Orchard Park, New York Team colors Navy blue, light blue, Red, light Red, White, Royal, and Nickel Head Coach Dick Jauron Owner Ralph Wilson General manager Marv Levy Mascot Billy Buffalo League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1960-1969) Eastern Division (1960-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Played in Buffalo's outdoor home of Rich Stadium, the Bills, led by quarterback Frank Reich and wide receiver Andre Reed, overcame a 32-point deficit to win the game in overtime. This represents the largest comeback in NFL history. Ralph Wilson Stadium is a football stadium located in the town of Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo, New York. ... Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw. ... Frank Michael Reich (aka Frank Third Reich) (born December 4, 1961 in Freeport, New York) is a former NFL quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers, the New York Jets, and the Detroit Lions. ... Andre Reed (born January 29, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania) is a former professional American football player who played wide receiver in the NFL for 16 seasons, 15 with the Buffalo Bills (1985-1999) and one with the Washington Redskins (2000). ... Overtime is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport in order to bring the game to a decision and avoid declaring the contest a tie or draw. ...

Contents

Background

Both teams qualified for the playoffs as wild card teams. In North American professional sports leagues, the term wild card refers to a team that qualifies for the championship playoffs without winning their specific subdivision (usually called a conference or division) outright. ...


The Buffalo Bills, the American Football Conference (AFC) champions for the previous two seasons, recorded an 11-5 record during the 1992 regular season and finished in second place in the AFC Eastern Division. Buffalo's no-huddle offense led the league in rushing yards (2,436) and ranked second in the league in total offensive yards (6,114 yards). The American Football Conference (AFC) is one of the two conferences of the National Football League (NFL). ... The 1992 NFL season was the 73th regular season of the National Football League. ... The AFC East refers to the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference of the National Football League. ...


Meanwhile, the Houston Oilers finished in second place in the AFC Central Division with a 10-6 record. Houston's Run & Shoot offense led the league in passing (4,231 yards) and its defense ranked third in the league, allowing only 4,532 total yards. Overall. the team boasted nine pro bowl selections. The AFC Central was a division of the National Football Leagues American Football Conference from 1970 to 2001. ... The Run & Shoot is a type of offense in American Football. ...


The Bills and Oilers had faced each other for the final game of the regular season, with Houston defeating Buffalo, 27-3 in Houston. During that game, Bills starting quarterback Jim Kelly suffered strained ligaments in his knee, leaving backup quarterback Frank Reich to finish the game in his place. With Kelly out, Reich took the reigns starting in place of Kelly the following week in the wild card game. Buffalo hosted Houston, having a better record. Reich also started the following divisional playoff game in Pittsburgh in which Buffalo also won 24-3, then advancing to the AFC Championship game the following week versus the Miami Dolphins. James Edward Kelly (born February 14, 1960 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) was an American football quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. ... Frank Michael Reich (aka Frank Third Reich) (born December 4, 1961 in Freeport, New York) is a former NFL quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers, the New York Jets, and the Detroit Lions. ... Nickname: Motto: Benigno Numine (With the Benevolent Deity) Location in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Coordinates: , Country United States Commonwealth Pennsylvania County Allegheny Founded November 25, 1758 Incorporated April 22, 1794 (borough)   March 18, 1816 (city) Government  - Mayor Luke Ravenstahl (D) Area  - City 151. ... City Miami Gardens, Florida Other nicknames The Fins Team colors Aqua, Coral, White and Navy Head Coach Cam Cameron Owner H. Wayne Huizenga General manager Randy Mueller Mascot T.D. League/Conference affiliations American Football League (1966-1969) Eastern Division (1966-1969) National Football League (1970–present) American Football Conference...


Reich had been responsible for what was then the biggest comeback in the history of college football. In 1984, as the backup quarterback for the Maryland Terrapins, Reich replaced injured starter Stan Gelbaugh and led the Terrapins back from a first-half deficit of 31-0 to a 42-40 victory over the University of Miami. The University of Maryland, College Park (also known as UM, UMD, or UMCP) is a public university located in the city of College Park, in Prince Georges County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., in the United States. ... Stan Gelbaugh (born 1962) is a former American football quarterback. ... The University of Miami (also known as UM or just The U) is a private university founded in 1925 with its main campus in the city of Coral Gables in metropolitan Miami, Florida, in the United States. ...


Game summary

The Oilers dominate early

The misfortunes of the Bills were compounded early in the first half when starting running back Thurman Thomas went out of the game with a hip injury. Thomas was replaced by Kenneth Davis, and Buffalo was forced to use a second string backfield of Reich and Davis against Houston's third ranked defense during the season. Thurman Lee Thomas (born May 16, 1966 in Houston, Texas) is a former American football running back who spent most of his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills. ... Kenneth Earl Davis (born April 16, 1962 in Temple, Texas) is a former professional American football running back who played for the Green Bay Packers (1986-1988) and the Buffalo Bills (1989-1994) in the NFL. Before his NFL career, Davis played for Texas Christian University from 1982-1985. ...


Houston dominated the game early, as quarterback Warren Moon completed 19 of 22 passes for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half, while the Oilers held the ball for 21:12, keeping the Bills high powered offense off the field for most of the first two quarters. In the first quater Moon completed 6 of 7 passes on an 80-yard scoring drive and ended it with his first touchdown throw was to wide receiver Haywood Jeffires for 3 yards to give the Oilers a 7-0 lead. Then after Buffalo kicker Steve Christie made a 36-yard field goal, Moon led the Oilers on a second quarter scoring drive that was nearly identical to their first one, completing 6 of 7 passes on another 80-yard drive and finishing it with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Webster Slaughter. Then after forcing the Bills to a three-and-out, Moon threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Duncan. Later on with 1:15 left in the half, the Oilers drove for another touchdown, aided by an encroachment call against the Bills on fourth down and 1. Moon completed the drive with his second touchdown pass to Jeffires, this one a 27-yarder, and the Oilers went into their locker room with a 28-3 halftime lead. Harold Warren Moon (born November 18, 1956 in Los Angeles, California) is a former American football quarterback who played for the Canadian Football Leagues Edmonton Eskimos and the National Football Leagues Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs. ... Haywood Franklin Jeffires (born December 12, 1964 in Greensboro, North Carolina) is a former American football wide receiver in the NFL. Jeffires played nine seasons with the Houston Oilers, and one with the New Orleans Saints. ... Steve Christie was an NFL kicker, who as a member of the Buffalo Bills became known for his ability to kick clutch field goals, even in poor weather. ... Webster M. Slaughter was born on October 19th, 1964 in Stockton, CA where he attended Franklin High School. ... Three and out is an American Football term used to describe a game situation where the team with the ball is unable to get a first down on their possesion and is forced to punt after they run 3 plays. ... Curtis Everett Duncan (born January 26, 1965 in Detroit, Michigan) is a former American football wide receiver in the NFL. He played his entire seven year career with the Houston Oilers. ...


In the Bills locker room, Defensive Coordinator Walt Corey angrily chided the defense. "I was hollering the same things the fans were hollering at me when we left the field," Corey says. "I can't repeat the words, but the more I talked, the louder I got. The thing that bothered me was their approach. To me, they looked timid. They looked like they were going to get in the right spots, but they weren't going to make anything happen afterward. This is an attitude game. Sometimes you start playing and you're afraid to make things happen or afraid to make a mistake." Nose Tackle Jeff Wright recalled "With every word that came out of Walt's mouth, he reached a new temperature level, until he finally just exploded. He had every right to say the things that he said. We were embarrassing him, we were embarrassing ourselves, we were embarrassing Buffalo Bills fans." Jeff Wright can refer to: Jeff Wright (defensive tackle), former NFL player for the Buffalo Bills. ...


Corey dedcided to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, helping to contain the Houston passing offense. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with American football plays. ...


Meanwhile, head coach Marv Levy told his team "You've got thirty more minutes. Maybe it's the last thirty minutes of your season. When your season's over you're going to have to live with yourselves and look yourselves in the eyes. You'd damn well better have reason to feel good about yourselves, regardless of how this game turns out."[1] Marvin Daniel Levy (born August 3, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois) is currently the General Manager and Vice President of Football Operations for the Buffalo Bills. ...


Apparently, the words of Corey and Levy didn't have any immediate effect. 1:41 into the third quarter, Oilers defensive back Bubba McDowell intercepted Reich's first pass of the second half and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown. Houston now had a commanding 32-point lead, 35-3.


A Houston radio announcer was immortalized on NFL Films with the statement "The lights are on here at Rich Stadium, but you might as well turn them off...this one is over".[2] NFL Films is a Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based company devoted to producing commercials, television programs, feature films, and documentaries on the National Football League, as well as other unrelated major events and awards shows. ...


"The Comeback"

The Bills got a huge assist to start their comeback on the ensuing kickoff. The wind altered the ball just before it was kicked by Al Del Greco. As a result, it became an unintentional squib kick that the Bills recovered with great field position at midfield. Buffalo then drove 50 yards in 10 plays and scored with a 1-yard touchdown run by Davis, cutting their deficit to 35-10. Albert Louis Del Greco (born March 2, 1962, in Providence, Rhode Island) is a former American football placekicker and a current sports-radio personality in Birmingham, Alabama. ...


Christie then recovered his own onside kick and the Bills scored on the fourth play of their ensuing drive with Reich's 38-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Don Beebe, making the score 35-17 with 7:46 left in the third quarter. An onside kick is a term used in American football and Canadian football for a play on a kickoff in which the ball is kicked a shorter distance than usual in order for the team that kicked it to regain possession of the ball. ... Don Lee Beebe (born December 18, 1964 in Aurora, Illinois) is a former American football wide receiver who played for the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. He was drafted by the Bills out of Chadron State College (after transferring from Western Illinois University...


Houston was then forced to punt for the first time in the game on their next drive, and Greg Montgomery's 25-yard kick gave Buffalo the ball at their own 41-yard line. Reich started out the ensuing drive with an 18-yard completion to James Lofton. A few plays later, Reich's 41-yard touchdown pass to Beebe was called back by a false start penalty on Howard Ballard, but it didn't stop the Bills. Davis ripped off a 20-yard run, and then Reich's threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Andre Reed, trimming the lead, 35-24. In a span of 10 minutes in the third quarter, the Bills had run 18 plays, gained 176 yards, and scored 21 points, while holding the Oilers offense to 3 plays for 3 yards. Greg Montgomery (born October 29, 1964 in Morristown, New Jersey) is a former NFL punter from (1988-1997) for three teams. ... James David Lofton (Born July 5, 1956, at Fort Ord, Monterey, California) is a former American Football wide receiver who played for the Green Bay Packers (1978-1986), Los Angeles Raiders (1987-1988), the Buffalo Bills (1989-1992), Los Angeles Rams (1993) and Philadelphia Eagles (1993). ... Howard Ballard (July 30, 1903 in Toronto, Ontario - April 11, 1990) was a Canadian general manager and owner in ice hockey. ... Andre Reed (born January 29, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania) is a former professional American football player who played wide receiver in the NFL for 16 seasons, 15 with the Buffalo Bills (1985-1999) and one with the Washington Redskins (2000). ...


The situation wasn't about to get any better. On the first play of the Oilers' ensuing possession, Bills safety Henry Jones intercepted a pass from Moon and returned it 15 yards to the Houston 23-yard line. Three plays later, Buffalo faced fourth down and five on the 18-yard line. Rather than attempt a field goal, Reich connected with Reed for the touchdown. With the score, the Bills had cut their deficit from 32 points to four in a span of just 6:52. On Oilers next drive, linebacker Darryl Talley forced a fumble from Moon while sacking him. Houston recovered the fumble, but they were forced to punt, and Montgomery's 24-yard kick gave Buffalo the ball at their 48-yard line. At the end of the third quarter, Buffalo had outscored Houston 28-7 while holding Moon to 2 of 7 completions for 19 yards. Henry Jones is a fictional character in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. ... Darryl Talley (born July 10, 1960) is a former American football linebacker who played for the Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, and Minnesota Vikings. ...


This time, the Bills could not take advantage of their excellent starting field position and had to punt, and Moon's run and shoot offense began to move the ball effectively again, aided by a roughing the passer penalty on Bruce Smith that negated linebacker Carlton Bailey's interception. Depsite two sacks by Wright on the drive, Houston reached the Buffalo 14-yard line. Del Greco attempted a field goal to increase the Oilers' lead, but Montgomery fumbled the snap. Talley recovered the ball and returned it 70 yards, but officials ruled him down by contact when he made the initial recovery, giving Buffalo the ball on their own 26-yard line. After two plays, the Bills faced third down and four. With Houston's defense dropping back and expecting a pass, Reich handed the ball off to Davis, who stormed through the line and took off for a 35-yard gain. Only a diving tackle from defensive back Steve Jackson prevented Davis from taking it all the way for a touchdown. Then Reich went back to passing the ball, completing a 25-yard strike to Beebe and a pass to Reed at the Oilers 17-yard line on third down and two. With just 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Reich threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Reed. But Moon led Houston downfield on a 63-yard drive to score the tying 26-yard field goal from Del Greco to send the game into overtime. A key play on the drive was an 18-yard completion to Slaughter on fourth down and four from the Bills 34-yard line. Bruce Smith (b. ... Carlton Bailey (born December 15, 1964 in Baltimore, Maryland) is a former professional American football player who played linebacker for ten seasons for the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and Carolina Panthers. ... Within gaming there are two prominent people named Steve Jackson. ...


Houston won the coin toss and got the ball at their own 20-yard line. Moon started out the drive with two completions for 7 yards, but his 50th pass attempt of the day turned out to be his last. On third down and three, Moon threw a pass intended for Ernest Givens five yards downfield, but due to a struggle with Talley, Givens could not get his arms up to make the catch. The ball went over his head and right end the arms of defensive back Nate Odomes for an interception. After a 2-yard return, Jeffires committed a 15-yard facemask penalty while making the tackle, giving the Bills a first down on Houston's 20-yard line. After two runs by Davis, Christie kicked a 32-yard field goal to give Buffalo the win. Buffalo would win the following two AFC playoff games to advance to the 3rd of their four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Ernest Pastell Givens, Jr. ... Nate Bernard Odomes (Born in 1965) is former professional American Football defensive back who played for the Buffalo Bills (1987-1993) and the Atlanta Falcons (1996). ... The winning Super Bowl team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy. ...


Reich finished the game with 21 of 34 pass completions for 289 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 1 interception. Reed had 8 catches for 136 yards and 3 touchdowns. Davis rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown, while also catching 2 passes for 25 yards and returning a kickoff for 33. Moon recorded 36 of 50 completions for 371 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions. Givens caught 9 passes for 117 yards. Jeffires recorded 8 catches for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns.


The very next day, the Oilers fired defensive coordinator Jim Eddy and defensive backs coach Pat Thomas. [3] Eddy would be replaced by Buddy Ryan. Pat Thomas (born 1954) is an American football player. ... Buddy Ryan (born James David Ryan on February 17, 1934) is a former American football coach. ...


In commemoration of the game, Steve Christie's kicking shoe from the game has been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Steve Christie was an NFL kicker, who as a member of the Buffalo Bills became known for his ability to kick clutch field goals, even in poor weather. ... The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of the National Football League (NFL). ... Canton is a city in Stark County, Ohio, United States. ...


Scoring summary

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Oilers 7 21 7 3 0 38
Bills 3 0 28 7 3 41
  • HOU - Jeffires 3-yard pass from Moon (Del Greco kick) 7-0 HOU
  • BUF - FG Christie 36-yards 7-3 HOU
  • HOU - Slaughter 7-yard pass from Moon (Del Greco kick) 14-3 HOU
  • HOU - Duncan 26-yard pass from Moon (Del Greco kick) 21-3 HOU
  • HOU - Jeffires 27-yard pass from Moon (Del Greco kick) 28-3 HOU
  • HOU - McDowell 58-yard interception return (Del Greco kick) 35-3 HOU
  • BUF - K. Davis 1-yard run (Christie kick) 35-10 HOU
  • BUF - Beebe 38-yard pass from Reich (Christie kick) 35-17 HOU
  • BUF - Reed 26-yard pass from Reich (Christie kick) 35-24 HOU
  • BUF - Reed 18-yard pass from Reich (Christie kick) 35-31 HOU
  • BUF - Reed 17-yard pass from Reich (Christie kick) 38-35 BUF
  • HOU - FG Del Greco 26-yards 38-38 tie
  • BUF - FG Christie 32-yards 41-38 BUF

See also

  • NFL playoffs, 1992-93

The NFL playoffs following the 1992 NFL season led up to Super Bowl XXVII. // at Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota Game time: 12:30 p. ...

References

Buffalo Bills v  d  e 
FranchiseHistoryPlayersCoachesLogos and UniformsSeasons
StadiumsWar Memorial StadiumRalph Wilson Stadium
CultureBuffalo Sports CurseFight SongsRalph Wilson
Super Bowl AppearancesXXVXXVIXXVIIXXVIII
LoreThe ComebackWide RightMusic City Miracle
League Championships (2)
1964, 1965

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Comeback (American football) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1018 words)
In American football, "The Comeback" refers to the January 3, 1993 NFL playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Oilers, one of the most memorable NFL games ever played.
The Buffalo Bills, the American Football Conference (AFC) champions for the past two seasons, recorded an 11-5 record during the 1992 regular season and finished in second place in the AFC Eastern Division.
Reich was responsible for the biggest comeback in the history of college football.
Portal:American football - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1444 words)
American football, known in the United States and Canada simply as football, is a competitive team sport.
Canadian football, which also descended from rugby, is closely related to the American sport with a few key differences; the word "football" in Canada can mean American football or Canadian football depending on context.
The defense, which reached the height of its popularity in the National Football League when the Bears captured the Super Bowl XX title, is employed to varying degrees by several extant franchises, most notably the Baltimore Ravens, for whom Ryan's son Rex is defensive coordinator.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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