Head coach Chuck Knox spent his second season with the Bills in 1979, improving on 1978's record by two games. The Bills were 7–6 with three games left to play, but they lost their final three games to finish with a losing record. (Even if Buffalo had won their final three games, they still would have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Miami Dolphins (who finished 10–6) for the division title.)
Buffalo's loss to Miami in Week Seven was their 20th straight loss to the Dolphins, an NFL record.
The 1979 Bills were dead-last in rushing yards in the NFL, with only total 1,621 yards on the ground. Buffalo's 268 points scored was 23rd of the league's 28 teams.
Ohio State linebacker Cousineau was drafted first overall in the 1979 NFL Draft by the Bills, who acquired the pick from the San Francisco in a trade for O.J. Simpson. Cousineau never played a game with the Bills. He instead signed with the Canadian Football League'sMontreal Alouettes where they offered double the money that the Bills originally offered. Cousineau became a star there, becoming the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player in the 1979 season. Cousineau wanted to return to the NFL, and in 1982 the Houston Oilers attempted to sign him, but the Bills (who still held Cousineau's NFL rights) matched the offer. He was then traded from the Bills to the Cleveland Browns for a first round draft choice (14th overall) in the 1983 NFL Draft. That pick was used on future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Cousineau signed a five-year contract for 2.5 million dollars, the most ever for a Cleveland Brown player at the time.