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Denver Broncos vs. Buffalo Bills: Blast from the past

A look at the best and worst games versus each of Denver's 2014 opponents - this week, the Buffalo Bills.

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

This is another rivalry that stretches back to the beginning of the American Football League. Buffalo and Denver were founding franchises of that league. From 1960 to 1967, the teams faced each other twice a season. The Broncos won two of the first three meetings and tied the third. Denver then split a pair of games before losing nine straight games to the Bills. The teams pretty much split their meetings between 1968 and 1989. From 1990 to 1994, the Bills had a four game winning streak versus Denver. From 1995 to 2007, the Broncos held the streak, winning five in a row. Buffalo has won the last two meetings. The Bills currently lead the series 19-15-1 and enjoy a 4-7-1 edge in Denver.

Denver vs the Buffalo Bills

Best Game: November 27, 1960

Score: Denver 38, Buffalo 38

What made this game great: This was the 11th game to be played by the Broncos. After a 3-1 start to the 1960 season, Denver stumbled its way to a 4-6-0 record when they prepared to host the 4-6-0 Buffalo Bills. Denver fell behind quickly in this contest, giving up a field goal then watching as the Bills converted an interception into a touchdown for a 10-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, a second Broncos interception led to another Buffalo touchdown and a 17-0 deficit. Denver was a able to cut the deficit to 17-7 before the end of the half. A Buffalo field goal, followed by a pick-6 (with a two point conversion) abruptly put the Broncos down 28-7 in the third quarter. Yet another interception led to another Bills touchdown and a 35-7 Buffalo lead in the third. The Bills added one more field goal to take a 38-7 lead but Denver cut into that lead with a touchdown of their own. The Broncos trailed 38-14 going into the fourth quarter. Following a failed fake field goal attempt by the Bills, the Broncos marched 65 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 17 points (38-21). Denver held the Bills to a 3-and-out on Buffalo's next drive then capped their own drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass to make it a ten-point game (38-28). Another Buffalo 3-and-out was followed by a 42-yard touchdown drive by the Broncos. Score now: 38-35. Buffalo tried to run out the clock, but Denver got the ball back with 1:12 left in the game. The Broncos marched from their own 34-yard line to the Buffalo 12-yard line. Kicker Gene Mingo hit a 19-yard field goal with four seconds left to tie the game. At the end of the game, the score stood 38-38.

Worst Game: January 12, 1992

Score: Buffalo 10, Denver 7

What made this game horrible: This was a loss that came in the AFC Championship game following the 1991 NFL season. Denver had powered its way to a 12-4-0 record, riding a powerful defense that ended the season ranked 3rd in fewest points allowed and 5th in fewest yards given up. The Broncos faced an 11-5-0 Houston Oilers team that had won the AFC Central division title in the divisional round and squeaked past them 26-24. Denver then traveled to Buffalo to take on the 13-3-0 Bills who had easily downed the Kansas City Chiefs 37-14 in the divisional round. This was a game that neither team seemed to be terribly invested in winning. The first quarter saw Buffalo have four offensive possessions. Those possessions ended in three punts and an interception. The Broncos had three possessions plus two plays in the first quarter. Those possessions ended in two punts and a missed field goal. The Bills punted twice more in the second quarter while the Broncos punted once and missed two more field goals -- both of which struck the right upright of the goalposts.The third quarter did not see any increase in offense with both teams punting a combined  four times and each quarterback throwing a pick. The damaging thing for the Broncos was the fact that John Elway threw his interception following Tyrone Braxton's interception of Jim Kelly -- and the fact that Elway's interception was a pick-6. Elway was replaced by Gary Kubiak in the fourth quarter. The Broncos offense did not improve while the Bills were able to mount a drive that ended in a field goal to take a 10-0 lead. Denver responded with an 85-yard touchdown drive that cut the Bills lead to three (10-7) with 1:38 left in the game. The Broncos successfully converted an onside kick to take possession of the ball at the Buffalo 49-yard line. Kubiak threw a 7-yard strike to Steve Sewell, who fumbled the ball. The fumble was recovered by the Bills who then were able to run all but 17 seconds off the clock. Denver was not able to score in those last seventeen seconds.

Buffalo holds a four-game advantage over the Broncos all-time, including a three-game edge in Denver.

If we look at history, we might be inclined to say that the odds are stacked against the Broncos in this game -- Buffalo holds a four-game advantage in the series and a three-game edge playing in Denver. The Bills have won the last two meetings by a 70-33 margin. Buffalo also comes into this weekend's game riding a two-game winning streak and needing a win to remain in the playoff hunt. The Broncos, on the other hand, are undefeated at home in 2014. They are also riding a two game winning streak and could lock up a playoff berth with a win and some help from other teams. Denver knows full well that its lead over both San Diego and Kansas City is not wide enough to allow them any errors. The emergence of C. J. Anderson as a runner who must be accounted for opens up many possibilities for the Broncos offense to be even stronger. The most likely outcome: Denver wins a 24-21 squeaker.


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