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

2. Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas CowboysWeek 5, 2007 Season: Cowboys 25, Bills 24

Have I mentioned that I hate Monday Night Football? The 1-3 Bills were facing off with the 4-0 Dallas Cowboys. Find me a Bills fan that says he doesn’t hate the Cowboys and I’ll show you a liar!

I’ll never forget the atmosphere at the Ralph. The stadium was loud and went absolutely nuts when George Wilson intercepted Tony Romo for a touchdown, giving Buffalo a 7-0 lead.

Each team scored 10 points in the second quarter. Buffalo’s second-quarter touchdown came on another interception return touchdown, this time by Chris Kelsay.

In all, Buffalo intercepted Romo five times and also caused him to fumble the ball once. With this many takeaways, most fans of a team would expect a victory. Not Bills fans. We know how to lose and do it in style.

Buffalo held a 24-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Cowboys kicker Nick Folk was able to connect on a 37-yard field goal with 14:47 remaining. With the score being 24-16, worrisome feelings began creeping in. Bills fans have seen Buffalo come up with new and inventive ways of losing when most of the quarter is remaining.

The worry subsided when Aaron Schobel forced Romo to fumble the ball. My confidence boosted when Buffalo drove the ball into Dallas’ redzone, but when Trent Edwards threw an interception that was returned for 70 yards by Terrence Newman, my anxiety rose again. Two plays later, John DiGiorgio intercepted Romo for the fifth and final time.

Dallas got the ball back with 3:45 remaining. Romo threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton with :20 remaining, but a two-point conversion pass attempt from Romo to Terrell Owens for the tie went incomplete.

Bills 24-Dallas 22. TWENTY SECONDS REMAINING.

Dallas lined up for an onside kick and #BecauseItsBuffalo, the Cowboys recovered the ball.

OK, that was a bit early for the hashtag, as the Bills still had the lead. Nonetheless, Romo moved the ball 12 yards and with two seconds remaining, the Cowboys lined up for a field goal.

The snap was off and Nick Folk sent the ball 53 yards threw the uprights. Game ov… WAIT! Buffalo called a timeout. Good luck kicking a 53-yard field goal again Folk.

Snap good. Kick good. The Cowboys scored nine points in 20 seconds. Game over, #BecauseItsBuffalo (This loss deserves the hashtag twice).

1. Buffalo Bills v. Pittsburgh SteelersWeek 17, 2004 Season: Steelers 29, Bills 24

The 2004 season could not have started off more poorly. The Bills lost their first four games and it looked like the team was destined for another losing season.

But over the next five games, the Bills went 3-2.

Then, almost out of nowhere, Buffalo caught fire. The Bills won their next six games in convincing fashion, outscoring their opposition 228-89 and averaging 38 points per game.

The Bills had to win their season finale, however, against the 14-1 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Going into the regular season’s final weekend, the Bills trailed the New York Jets by one game for the top AFC Wild Card spot, but were tied at 9-6 with the Denver Broncos for the second Wild Card spot.

If Buffalo won against Pittsburgh, they’d be 10-6, 3-3 in the AFC East and 6-6 in the conference. It wouldn’t have guaranteed the team a playoff spot, but they’d have been in position. For the record, the Jets lost in Week 17, which would have put the Bills in the playoffs along with the Broncos, who won and also finished 10-6.

Anyways, back to the game. The 14-1 Steelers were resting their starters.

Instead of Ben Roethlisberger, the Bills faced Tommy Maddox and Brian St. Pierre.

Jerome Bettis was out at running back. An unknown named Willie Parker started and ran for 102 yards.

Star wide receiver Plaxico Burress sat too.

On the defensive side, the Steelers gave playing time to a backup named James Harrison.

Thank you, Pittsburgh! I’ll take a victory over backups to get into the playoffs any day.

Unfortunately, a Buffalo victory wasn’t in the cards.

Buffalo had a 17-16 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Rian Lindell missed a 28-yard field goal late in the third quarter which could have extended the lead.

Eleven seconds into the fourth quarter, Jeff Reed booted a 37-yard field goal to give Pittsburgh a 19-17 lead.

The Bills got the ball back and 84 seconds later, Bledsoe was hit by Steelers defensive back Ricardo Colclough. He fumbled the ball and James Harrison scored a touchdown after returning the ball 18-yards.

Pittsburgh took the 26-17 lead before adding another Jeff Reed field goal, this time from 33 yards out with 2:23 remaining.

Pittsburgh 29-Buffalo 17. This team is killing me.

Buffalo got the ball back, and to their credit they made things interesting. Willis McGahee scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.

With 1:18 remaining, the score was now 29-24. I love this team and their resilience.

I’ve seen enough special teams plays blow up in Buffalo’s face. Just once, please let Buffalo recover the onside kick.

Say it with me now… #BecauseItsBuffalo, the kick went right to Ike Taylor.

Final Score: (Backup) Steelers 29-Bills 24

Had Buffalo won this game, they would have had a better common game record than the Jets, allowing them into the playoffs.

It’s been too long Bills fans.

Perhaps in 2013, #BecauseItsBuffalo will become a positive hashtag that Bills fans use when the team finds ways new ways to win ball games.

Let’s face the facts. Bills fans deserve a winner and we all need to see “Just One Before We Die.”

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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???

      #BecauseItsBuffalo




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