American Football: Buffalo make play-off history

Click to follow
THE Buffalo Bills achieved the greatest comeback in NFL post- season history at Houston yesterday to beat the Oilers 41-38 in overtime and clinch a place in the second round of the AFC play-off. Buffalo will now play the Pittsburgh Steelers on 9 January.

Frank Reich, playing quarterback in place of the injured Jim Kelly, rallied the Bills from 35-3 down early in the second half, with five touchdown passes. The Oilers tied the game with a field goal 12 seconds from the end of regular play. Then, after 3min 6sec of overtime, Steve Christie kicked a 32- yard field goal to win the match.

The feat completes a remarkable double for Reich, who also engineered the biggest comeback in US college football history when Maryland recovered from 31-0 down to beat Miami 42-40 in 1984.

Previously, the best recoveries in National Football League post- season history had been in 1957 when Detroit trailed San Francisco 27-7 before rallying to win 31-27. Two sides have recovered from 21-3 deficits in play-off games: Dallas against San Francisco in 1972, and Miami against Cleveland in 1985.

On Saturday the San Diego Chargers and the Washington Redskins both scored convincing victories to advance to the second round of the play-offs.

The Chargers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 17-0 and now face the Miami Dolphins in Florida on 10 January for a place in the AFC final.

The Washington Redskins beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in an NFC first-round play-off and booked a ticket to San Francisco to play the 49ers on Saturday.