1980 Buffalo Bills season

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1980 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Chuck Knox
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field Ralph Wilson Stadium
Results
Record 11–5
Division place 1st AFC East
Playoff finish Lost AFC Divisional Playoff
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1979 1981 >

The 1980 Buffalo Bills season was the 21st season for the club, and 11th season in the National Football League. Their 11–5 record was tied for best in the AFC.

The Bills' defense allowed only 260 points in 1980, 3rd best in the league. Their 4,101 total yards surrendered were best in the NFL in 1980. Buffalo's defense was well represented on the UPI All-AFC team: nose tackle Fred Smerlas and linebacker Jim Haslett – two thirds of Buffalo's "Bermuda Triangle" with linebacker Shane Nelson – were named to the 1st team All-AFC. Defensive end Ben Williams was named to the second team.

Although Buffalo's offensive statistics were not as impressive as its defense, four offensive players were named All-AFC: left guard Reggie McKenzie, left tackle Ken Jones, wide receiver Jerry Butler and rookie running back Joe Cribbs.[1]

Cribbs rushed for 1,185 yards, and made his first Pro Bowl. Jerry Butler and Fred Smerlas also were selected to play in the annual all-star game.[2]

Breaking "The Streak"[edit]

The Bills had not beaten the Miami Dolphins in the entire decade of the 1970s, a streak of twenty straight losses, the longest in NFL history. The last time the Bills had defeated Miami was 1969.

The Bills had been outscored 565 (28.5 points per games) to 299 (14.5) during the 1970s by the Dolphins, failing to score more than ten points in over a third of the contests (7). They were shutout three times. Conversely, the Dolphins were held under twenty points just four times, and scored 45 points on the Bills twice. The domination was so thorough that the Bills only lost by one score or less five times, and Don Shula had never lost to Buffalo since taking over as Dolphins coach in 1970. The Bills only held a lead at any point in eight of the games, and only twice in the fourth quarter.[3] Joe Ferguson had lost to the Dolphins 14 straight times.

On opening day of the 1980 season, Miami visited Rich Stadium, attempting to extend the streak to 21 games. At the end of three quarters, Miami led 7–3. In the fourth quarter, running back Roosevelt Leaks scored the go-ahead touchdown to make the score 10–7. Joe Cribbs added a second touchdown to extend the lead to 17–7, and breaking the streak at 20 games.[4]

A rowdy crowd of 79,000 fans celebrated, and many stormed the field to tear down the goal posts, carrying them around the field.[5]

The rivalry continued well into the 1990s, but with different results: from 1986 to 1996—the years in which Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino played at the same time—the Bills won 14 of 22 matchups between the teams.[6]

The Bills suffered similar ineptitude against the New England Patriots in the 2000s, losing 20-of-21 games dating from Week 16 of the 2000 season to Week 16 of the 2010 season. (Only the 2003 home opener stopped the streak from breaking Miami's 20-game record.)

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

Main article: 1980 NFL Draft

North Carolina State's Jim Ritcher became an anchor of the Buffalo offensive line for the next 14 years; he was the starter for all four Buffalo Super Bowl teams, and was second-team All-Pro in 1991.

Running back Joe Cribbs was Buffalo's starting running back from 1980–1983, and again in 1985 (after returning from one year in the USFL).

Tight end Mark Brammer played for the Bills for five seasons. Greg Cater was Buffalo's starting punter from 1980–1983.[7]

= Pro Bowler [8]
Round Pick # Player Position College
1 16 Jim Ritcher Guard North Carolina State
2 29 Joe Cribbs Running back Auburn
2 37 Gene Bradley Quarterback Arkansas State
3 67 Mark Brammer Tight end Michigan State
3 71 John Schmeding Guard Boston College
4 93 Ervin Parker Linebacker South Carolina St.
5 119 Jeff Pyburn Defensive back Georgia
5 129 Keith Lee Defensive back Colorado St.
8 202 Todd Krueger Quarterback Northern Michigan
9 231 Kent Davis Defensive back Southeast Missouri St.
10 259 Greg Cater Punter Tennessee-Chattanooga
11 286 Joe Gordon Defensive tackle Grambling St.
12 316 Roger Lapham Tight end Maine

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Game Date Opponent Result Bills points Opponents Bills first downs Record Attendance
1 Sep 7 Miami Dolphins Win 17 7 22 1–0
79,598
2 Sep 14 New York Jets Win 20 10 22 2–0
65,315
3 Sep 21 at New Orleans Saints Win 35 26 26 3–0
51,154
4 Sep 28 Oakland Raiders Win 24 7 25 4–0
77,259
5 Oct 5 at San Diego Chargers Win 26 24 14 5–0
51,982
6 Oct 12 Baltimore Colts Loss 12 17 24 5–1
73,634
7 Oct 19 at Miami Dolphins Loss 14 17 18 5–2
41,636
8 Oct 26 New England Patriots Win 31 13 21 6–2
75,092
9 Nov 2 Atlanta Falcons Loss 14 30 20 6–3
57,959
10 Nov 9 at New York Jets Win 31 24 17 7–3
45,677
11 Nov 16 at Cincinnati Bengals Win 14 0 22 8–3
40,836
12 Nov 23 Pittsburgh Steelers Win 28 13 23 9–3
79,659
13 Nov 30 at Baltimore Colts Loss 24 28 24 9–4
36,184
14 Dec 7 Los Angeles Rams Win 10 7 15 10–4
77,133
15 Dec 14 at New England Patriots Loss 2 24 28 10–5
58,324
16 Dec 21 at San Francisco 49ers Win 18 13 16 11–5
37,476

[9]

Standings[edit]

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA
Buffalo Bills(3) 11 5 0 .688 4–4 8–4 320 260
New England Patriots 10 6 0 .625 6–2 9–3 441 325
Miami Dolphins 8 8 0 .500 3–5 4–8 266 305
Baltimore Colts 7 9 0 .438 5–3 6–8 355 387
New York Jets 4 12 0 .250 2–6 3–9 302 395

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1[edit]

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
1 2 3 4 Total
Dolphins 0 0 7 0 7
• Bills 0 3 0 14 17

[10]

Week 2[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Jets 3 0 0 7 10
• Bills 0 10 10 0 20

[11]

Week 3[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Bills 7 7 7 14 35
Saints 0 19 0 7 26

[12]


Week 4[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 0 7 0 7
• Bills 7 10 0 7 24

[13]


Week 5[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Bills 3 9 0 14 26
Chargers 7 10 7 0 24

[14]


Week 6[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Colts 10 7 0 0 17
Bills 0 9 0 3 12

[15]

Week 7[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 0 7 7 14
• Dolphins 7 7 3 0 17

[16]


Week 8[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 3 0 10 0 13
• Bills 0 14 0 17 31

[17]


Week 9[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Falcons 0 10 10 10 30
Bills 7 7 0 0 14

[18]


Week 10[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Bills 10 7 7 7 31
Jets 0 10 0 14 24

[19]


Week 11[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Bills 0 7 0 7 14
Bengals 0 0 0 0 0

[20]


Week 12[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 3 0 3 13
• Bills 7 7 7 7 28

[21]


Week 13[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 7 7 3 7 24
• Colts 0 14 7 7 28

[22]


Week 14[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Rams 0 0 7 0 0 7
• Bills 0 0 7 0 3 10

[23]


Week 15[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 0 2 0 2
• Patriots 7 7 7 3 24

[24]


Week 16[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Bills 6 7 5 0 18
49ers 6 0 7 0 13

[25]


Roster[edit]

Starters[edit]

[26]

Postseason[edit]

Divisional[edit]

Buffalo Bills at San Diego Chargers
1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 14 0 0 14
• Chargers 3 0 7 10 20

With 2:08 left in the game, Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts threw the 50-yard winning touchdown pass to receiver Ron Smith to defeat the Bills, 20–14.

Notable events[edit]

In Week 15, the Bills became the thirty-fourth team to score only a safety in a full game. It was the first occurrence of this since the San Diego Chargers against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last game of the 1972 season, and there have been only three since, by the 1983 Minnesota Vikings, the 1993 Cincinnati Bengals, and the 2011 Atlanta Falcons in a playoff game.

Awards and Honors[edit]

All-Pros[edit]

Main article: 1980 All-Pro Team

References[edit]