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Flutie Leads Bills Over Steelers 24-21
The Passing Game Puts Bills In Tie for First Place.
by Steve Saslow
Oct. 10, 1999
Doug Flutie and the Buffalo offense showed up in full force against the NFL's number two-ranked defense. Flutie threw three touchdown passes enroute to the 24-21 win in his best game of the year so far.
There were two big turning points of the game. Antowain Smith fumbled on the Bills first play from scrimmage to setup the Hines Ward touchdown reception giving the Steelers the early 7-0 lead. Flutie then led the team on a 69 yard drive in a whopping 14 plays to the tying touchdown. This was the first big play of the game, on 4th and 1 from the 2; Phillips showed guts by going for it and instead of running up the middle they chose a play action pass to Sam Gash for the touchdown. It was the first fourth down attempt by the Bills this year.
The Bills pretty much dominated the second quarter from there getting a pretty 60 yard drive in two plays that was the Eric Moulds show as he caught an 11 yard pass to setup his 49 yard touchdown reception, as he got wide open burning Chad Scott for the touchdown giving the Bills a lead that they would not relinquish at 14-7. They added a Steve Christie field goal later in the quarter on a pretty 12 play drive to the 29 yarder. This drive was the victim of the red zone blues as the club failed when they had a 2nd and 1 at the 11.
The two minute prevent defense failed, as Kordell Stewart, who played very well, led the Steelers to a 17 yard touchdown pass to Will Blackwell to close the gap to 17-14. On the touchdown Thomas Smith was beat but he managed to tip the pass back into the hands of Blackwell. Flutie led the offense back into position for a Christie field goal attempt just before the half that went wide right from 36 yards.
The second big turning point came during a lackluster third quarter that had the team trading punts five times. With the Bills up 17-14, and the game at an uneasy point, the Steelers started driving downfield and seemed to be taking the momentum of the game. On 2nd and 9 and the Bills 43 the Bills defense made their biggest play of the game, as Sam Rogers picked off a pass and rumbled 24 yards into Steelers territory. That was all the offense needed as they drove 38 yards for a touchdown to give them some breathing room at 24-14. That drive was capped by a beautiful play by Jay Riemersma. He started the play by making a block then sneaked off and was wide open for the touchdown pass from Flutie who was moving the other way.
The prevent defense gave up another touchdown late in the second half to pull the Steelers within three but they would never get the ball back again. The Bills were able to grind it out with Jonathan Linton running well behind a good push from the offensive line. Linton rumbled for two first downs to run the clock out and maybe start a running back controversy in Buffalo.
The Bills came as close as they have all year in putting all three units together. The offense had their best game of the year by far, and the defense continued to perform well despite lapses late in the half and late in the game to give up two of their three touchdowns. Special teams played well except for one Christie miss. The team has now won four in a row and are tied for first place in the AFC East and they need to keep their focus with the Raiders coming in to Ralph Wilson Stadium next Sunday.
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