By Jon Cartwright
October 7th 1991: Kansas City Chiefs 33 – Buffalo Bills 6
The Buffalo Bills were on fire. After reaching the Superbowl the previous year with the best offense in the NFL, they were intent on doing the same again. After 5 weeks of the season the Bills had a perfect 5 – 0 record which included a 50 point demolition of the Steelers and nearly 30 points per game in the other four matches.
The Chiefs were a decent team too, with a 3 – 2 record to this point, but even though the teams met on a Monday night at Arrowhead, the Vegas odds had the Bills as favourites to win. In fact, a dominant performance on both sides of the ball would see Kansas City inflict Buffalo’s heaviest defeat of the season while stopping them reaching the end zone for the only time that year.
Future Hall-of-Famer Jim Kelly had passed for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns the previous week, but he suffered a punishing day in KC. He was sacked on 6 occasions – 4 of those times by Derrick Thomas. The Bills also gave up five fumbles on a night to forget.
After a quiet opening with only a field goal from Chiefs’ record points scorer Nick Lowery to separate the teams, Kansas City marched downfield, driven by consecutive 14-yard completions by quarterback Steve deBerg, before deBerg finished off with a short pass to Pete Holohan.
DeBerg had a 12 year career around the NFL, but his most successful spell was the four years he spent in KC. After leading the team to 11 wins and a playoff spot in 1990, this game helped towards another 10 win season and another post-season run. He passed for 67 regular-season and 2 post-season touchdowns for the Chiefs – he also managed to rush for a single touchdown, which was the crucial last score of the game to win a game against the Seattle Seahawks. He also set the franchise record for the most consecutive passes without an interception – a mark which stood for over twenty years before being beaten just last week by Alex Smith.
After trading field goals, the Chiefs went in at half time with a slim 13 – 6 lead. In the third quarter the momentum swung firmly in our favour as a Thurman Thomas fumble was recovered to give great field position, from which Christian Okoye punched home a few plays later. On the Bills’ first play after the kickoff, Jim Kelly was strip-sacked by Derrick Thomas and the ball was recovered for Kansas City by Dan Saleaumua. The ball was again given to the Nigerian Nightmare at close range, and he knocked a Buffalo defender backwards into the end zone to give himself the space to run in a second touchdown in the space of two minutes.
A clearly deflated Bills team offered little threat in the final quarter, and as the clock ran out Kansas City had held the football for 45 of the 60 minutes. We had beaten one of the very best teams in the NFL – who would go on to prove this fact by winning their next five games with an average of over 35 points – and who sadly would prove it still more by getting revenge over the Chiefs in that season’s divisional round of the playoffs.
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
The Miami Dolphins come away from Foxboro with a 20 – 10 win over the New England Patriots. Dan Marino throws two touchdown passes and future Chief Pete Stoyanovich fills in the blanks with two field goals and the extra points.
Elsewhere in the world:
Bryan Adams is still at number 1 in the singles chart, as “(Everything I Do) I Do it for You” is mid-way through its marathon 15-week run at the top.
Meanwhile, London plays host to the first ever sumo tournament to be held outside Japan!