#BecauseItsBuffalo: Counting Down the Bills’ Most Heartbreaking Losses of the 21st Century

The Buffalo Bills’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 has been one of their most disappointing losses of the 21st century. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot

If you follow the Buffalo Bills and have a Twitter account, you’ve seen the hashtag.


The hashtag is meant to be a playful jab at Buffalo’s bad luck, but at times it’s also painful.

It’s a hashtag that defines Buffalo’s play over the 21st century. The Bills have had one winning season during this time period and zero playoff appearances. Besides the 2004-2005 season, when they finished the season 9-7, the Bills truly haven’t been in playoff contention towards the end of the regular season.

#BecauseItsBuffalo is a reminder of all the things that have gone terribly wrong for the Bills in the 21st century.

The silver lining is that someday, hopefully soon, the Buffalo Bills should turn it around.

Before we start looking forward to future victories, we need to look at the defeats. Without any further ado, here are seven, yes seven, of the Bills’ most ridiculous #BecauseItsBuffalo losses of the 21st century.

The idea of this article came to me when I was internet window shopping at my favorite store, Store716. They recently started selling this shirt: 

Just One Before I Die. Isn’t this how we all feel as Bills fans?

The shirt made me think of a quote by the late Malcolm Forbes:

Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.

If there is one thing Bills fans know, it’s defeat. The Super Bowl losses still sting. The Music City Miracle? Brutal. This century hasn’t given Bills fans any games of that magnitude, but we’ve still had our fair share of heartbreak.

7. Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals, Week 4, 2011 Season: Bengals 23, Bills 20

Buffalo was 3-0 and was actually the last undefeated team in the AFC. The Bills headed to Paul Brown Stadium to play the Bengals, led by rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.

At halftime, Buffalo led 17-3. Here we go to 4-0!

In the third quarter, Buffalo gave up 10 points, and suddenly the lead dropped to 17-13. Suddenly, I felt nervous. Buffalo was struggling to stop Cincinnati.

The Bills got on the board first in the fourth quarter with a field goal, and went up 20-13.

Buffalo had the ball with less than nine minutes remaining. It was 3rd & 1 and in truth, Buffalo should have run the ball. Instead, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Stevie Johnson for what should have been a completion. FIRST DOWN!

But the pass was called incomplete. Buffalo quickly threw the challenge flag and upon viewing the replay, I remember saying over and over again, “That was a catch.”

Upon review, the referees said that the ruling on the field would stand #BecauseItsBuffalo.

Incomplete pass. Buffalo punted and four minutes later, Dalton ran for a three-yard touchdown.

The game was tied, and Buffalo responded with only a quick series and punt.

With four seconds remaining in the game, Mike Nugent hit a 43-yard field goal to seal the win for the Bengals. Buffalo suffered their first loss of the season. After a 3-0 start, the Bills would only win three games the remainder of the season.

6. Buffalo Bills vs. Denver Broncos, Week 1, 2007 Season: Broncos 15, Bills 14

Buffalo was coming off of a 7-9 season in 2006, so when 2007 rolled around there was reason for genuine optimism. Our first opponent? The Denver Broncos.

I almost didn’t include this game because of the spinal injury that occurred to Kevin Everett. To start the second half, Kevin Everett made a special teams tackle of Domenik Hixon. The tackle knocked Everett out and he sustained a spinal injury which endangered his life and ability to walk.

I’ve seen enough sports movies in my lifetime. When someone gets hurt, the team responds, pulls through and earns the victory in their honor. The Bills held a 14-6 lead late in the third quarter when Denver struck with a five-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall. Cutler’s two-point conversion pass attempt to Javon Walker, however, fell incomplete, so Buffalo was still up 14-12.

Jason Elam had a chance to take the lead for the Broncos in the fourth quarter, but missed a 43-yard field goal with a little over three-and-a-half minutes remaining. It was his second missed field goal of the day.

The Bills were destined to win after Elam’s miss, right?

Buffalo went three-and-out and gave the ball to the Broncos. Denver faced a 3rd-and-23 during the drive, but converted when Cutler threw a 21-yard pass to Javon Walker and then scrambled for seven yards on 4th-and-2. With little time left and no timeouts, Cutler hit Walker for an 11-yard gain. Walker did not get out of bounds and there were 14 seconds left on the clock.

14, 13, 12, 11. It was a mad scramble. The Broncos offense was racing off the field.

10, 9, 8, 7. The special teams unit came onto the field frantically.

They’re going to run out of time!

6, 5, 4, 3, 2… No, they’re lined up.

With one second to go the snap went back to placeholder Todd Sauerbrun, and #BecauseItsBuffalo, he lined up a 42-yard field goal which Elam hit to end the game.

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Tags: #BecauseItsBuffalo, 21st century, Buffalo Bills, Heartbreaking Losses, Just One Before I Die

8 Responses to “#BecauseItsBuffalo: Counting Down the Bills’ Most Heartbreaking Losses of the 21st Century”

  1. Joe Marino says:

    2004 Week 1 against Jacksonville. On a 4rth and 7, last play of the game, Byron Leftwich connects with Ernest Wilford for a TD pass and the Bills loose 13-10. That one sucked bad.

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      Yep. I had a lot of trouble keeping that game off of my list. We’ve lost some devastating games in the first week of the season.

    • Jeff Schlagenhauf @we4bills says:

      And if I recall, it’s one of the plays that would not be a touchdown today. And was a questionable force out call by the officials.

  2. John says:

    Steelers game was in Buffalo not Pittsburgh

    • Ryan Talbot says:

      Correct. Both of the games say Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers not @ the Steelers. Did I write something in the games that said otherwise? If so, my apologies.

      • Ryan Talbot says:

        Ah, see where it says “Heading into Pittsburgh.” I think it originally said, “Heading into the Pittsburgh game.” When it went through the editing process, they probably assumed I meant heading into the city of Pittsburgh. Good catch John.

  3. Jeff Schlagenhauf @we4bills says:

    Nice article Ryan. But this past season by itself was a #BecauseItsBuffalo depressing scene. 6-10 vs. 10-6

    #BecauseItsBuffalo 1. Top let down Home vs. New England Bills leading 14-7 when CJ Spiller fumble inside the Patriots 5. Then Bills go up 21-7 on D Jones catch and run. And then the last 26 minutes … I can’t remember a bigger swing of emotions ever watching a Bills regular season game.

    #BecauseItsBuffalo 2. The “Chan really is incompetent” game.
    Bills take a 3rd quarter lead than puts them up 5. Gailey doesn’t go for 2, so Bills only lead by 6. Defense holds on 4th and 5 at Bills 36 with 5 minutes left. On 3rd and 7 with just over three minutes left, Fitzpatick under throws Jones for an interception. This time the defense doesn’t hold. Bills get the ball back at 20 with a minute left and our first two plays are passes of 4 and 2 yards. This is a game the Bills should have won.

    #BecauseItsBuffalo 3. St. Louis – Where to start? The holding call nullifying the Gilmore pick 6? George Wilson’s failure — twice to catch interceptions that would have put the game away? Or the fact that CJ Spiller had only 8 touches in this game.

    #BecauseItsBuffalo 4. Week 10@NE. Fitzpatrick misses Chandler for winning touchdown and then throws interception with under 30 seconds left. Truly a #BecauseItsBuffalo moment.

    #BecauseItsBuffalo 5. Indianapolis. The PI call on Gilmore that would have forced the Colts to punt was truly a #BecauseItsBuffalo moment as well.

    At least three if not four games this past season should have been won by the Bills, but weren’t. That’s why there’s hope this year. I believe this year’s team is better than last. Make a few key plays and call the right plays and the Bills may surprise this year.

    • MattDean says:

      I hear ya Jeff…though I’m not sure 2013′s team is BETTER than 2012′s. Unproven QB’s, LB’s, DB’s, WR’s, OL, new coaching, new front office…blah blah. It all provides hope to us die-hard Bills fans, a false hope (as we’ve all become accustomed to).

      Unfortunately, I fear it may be ugly. WHY you ask???


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