1991 Buffalo Bills season
|1991 Buffalo Bills season|
|Head coach||Marv Levy|
|General manager||Bill Polian|
|Home field||Rich Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFC East|
|Playoff finish||W AFC Divisional
W AFC Championship
L Super Bowl XXVI
The 1991 Buffalo Bills season was the 32nd season, and 22nd in the National Football League. The Buffalo Bills finished the National Football League's 1991 season with a record of 13 wins and 3 losses, and finished first in the AFC East division. The Bills qualified for their second Super Bowl appearance.
The Bills No Huddle "K-Gun" offense, after having a breakout 1990 season, once again dominated the league by gaining an NFL leading 6,525 yards and scoring 458 points, a franchise record, and second only to Washington. The leaders of the offense, quarterback Jim Kelly and running back Thurman Thomas, both had the best seasons of their careers. Kelly completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,844 yards and a league leading 33 touchdowns, with only 17 interceptions, to give him a 97.6 passer rating. Thomas rushed for 1,407 yards, caught 62 passes for 620 yards, and scored 12 touchdowns to earn him both the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award and the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. Just like Washington, Buffalo had more than one threat in their backfield. Running back Kenneth Davis emerged as a big threat off the bench, rushing for 624 yards, catching 20 passes for 118 yards, and scoring 5 touchdowns.
The Bills also had several major weapons in their passing game. Wide receiver Andre Reed led the team with 81 receptions for 1,113 yards and 10 touchdowns, and also rushed 12 times for 136 yards. On the other side of the field, veteran wide receiver James Lofton recorded 57 receptions for 1,072 yards and 8 touchdowns to earn his 8th Pro Bowl appearance and finish the year just 55 yards short of the all time receiving record held by Steve Largent (13,089 yards). Pro Bowl tight end Keith McKeller was also a big contributor with 44 receptions for 434 yards, while receiver Don Beebe had 32 catches, 414 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Once again, the Bills offensive line was led by center Kent Hull along with Pro Bowl guard Jim Ritcher.
- 1 Offseason
- 2 Personnel
- 3 Preseason
- 4 Regular season
- 5 Playoffs
- 6 Awards and records
- 7 References
- 8 External links
- 9 Video Archives
Despite few impact players in the later rounds, the Bills' first two picks had long careers in Buffalo. The first pick, safety Henry Jones, played for the next ten seasons in Buffalo, making the Pro Bowl in his second season. Defensive end Phil Hansen played his entire eleven-year career in Buffalo, joining the team's Wall of Fame in 2011.
|Round #||Pick #||Player||Position||College|
|1||26||Henry Jones||Defensive Back||Illinois|
|2||54||Phil Hansen||Defensive end||North Dakota State|
|3||82||Darryl Wren||Defensive back||Pittsburg State|
|4||138||Shawn Wilbourn||Defensive Back||Long Beach State|
|5||166||Millard Hamilton||Wide receiver||Clark University|
|6||194||Amir Rasul||Running back||Florida A&M|
|8||222||Brad Lamb||Wide receiver||Anderson|
|9||249||Mark Maddox||Linebacker||Northern Michigan|
|10||277||Tony DeLorenzo||Guard||New Mexico State|
|12||333||Stephen Clark||Tight End||Texas|
|1991 Buffalo Bills staff|
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
|1991 Buffalo Bills roster|
|July 28, 1991 Sun.||at Philadelphia Eagles||W 17–13||1–0|
- October 21, 1991 – Jim Kelly tied a Monday Night Football record by throwing for five touchdown passes in one game. He accomplished this versus the Cincinnati Bengals.
|Week||Date||Opponent||Game Site||Final Score||Record||TV Time||Attendance|
|1||September 1, 1991||Miami Dolphins||Rich Stadium||W 35–31||1–0||NBC 4:15pm||
|2||September 8, 1991||Pittsburgh Steelers||Rich Stadium||W 52–34||2–0||NBC 1:00pm||
|3||September 15, 1991||at New York Jets||The Meadowlands||W 23–20||3–0||NBC 4:15pm||
|4||September 22, 1991||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Tampa Stadium||W 17–10||4–0||NBC 4:15pm||
|5||September 29, 1991||Chicago Bears||Rich Stadium||W 35–20||5–0||CBS 1:00pm||
|6||October 7, 1991||at Kansas City Chiefs||Arrowhead Stadium||L 6–33||5–1||ABC 9:00pm||
|7||October 13, 1991||Indianapolis Colts||Rich Stadium||W 42–6||6–1||NBC 1:00pm||
|8||October 21, 1991||Cincinnati Bengals||Rich Stadium||W 35–16||7–1||ABC 9:00pm||
|10||November 3, 1991||New England Patriots||Rich Stadium||W 22–17||8–1||NBC 1:00pm||
|11||November 10, 1991||at Green Bay Packers||Milwaukee County Stadium||W 34–24||9–1||NBC 1:00pm||
|12||November 18, 1991||at Miami Dolphins||Joe Robbie Stadium||W 41–27||10–1||ABC 9:00pm||
|13||November 24, 1991||at New England Patriots||Foxboro Stadium||L 13–16||10–2||NBC 1:00pm||
|14||December 1, 1991||New York Jets||Rich Stadium||W 24–13||11–2||NBC 1:00pm||
|15||December 8, 1991||at Los Angeles Raiders||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||W 30–27||12–2||NBC 4:15pm||
|16||December 15, 1991||at Indianapolis Colts||Hoosier Dome||W 35–7||13–2||ESPN 8:15pm||
|17||December 22, 1991||Detroit Lions||Rich Stadium||L 14–17||13–3||CBS 1:00pm||
|New York Jets||8||8||0||.500||314||293|
|New England Patriots||6||10||0||.375||211||305|
AFC Divisional Playoffs
AFC Championship Game
Super Bowl XXVI
The Bills became the 8th team to go scoreless in the 1st half, while the Redskins scored 17 points in the second quarter.
The Redskins then increased their lead 24–0 just 16 seconds into the second half after linebacker Kurt Gouveia intercepted Kelly's pass on the first play of the third quarter and returned it 23 yards to the Bills' 2-yard line. One play later, Riggs scored his second touchdown of the game. The Redskins' 24–0 lead midway through the 3rd quarter is the largest shutout lead in Super Bowl history. The San Francisco 49ers had led the Cincinnati Bengals 20–0 at halftime in Super Bowl XVI.
The Bills finally got some momentum going with their next few drives. First, they drove 77 yards to the Redskins 3 yard-line, aided by a 43-yard completion from Kelly to receiver Don Beebe. Washington kept Buffalo out of the end zone, but kicker Scott Norwood kicked a 21-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 24–3. Then aided by a 29-yard pass interference penalty on Redskins cornerback Martin Mayhew in the end zone, the Bills finally scored a touchdown on their next drive with a 1-yard run by Thomas to make the score 24–10.
The two teams combined for the most points in a 3rd quarter in a Super Bowl history (24 total points: 14 for Washington and 10 for Buffalo) and the most combined in a second half (44 total points: 24 for Buffalo and 20 for Washington).
But Buffalo's hopes of a comeback faded when Washington advanced 79 yards in 11 plays on their ensuing drive, scoring on Clark's 30-yard touchdown reception to give the Redskins a 31–10 lead with 1:24 left in the third period. Then 3 plays after receiving the ensuing kickoff, Kelly fumbled the ball while being sacked by defensive back Alvoid Mays, and it was recovered by defensive end Fred Stokes. After the turnover, Washington drove to the Bills 7-yard line and increased their lead to 34–10 with Lohmiller's 25-yard field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Then on the Bills ensuing drive, Kelly was sacked for a 9-yard loss by Stokes, threw an incomplete pass, and then threw his second interception of the game to Edwards, who returned it 35 yards to Buffalo's 33-yard line. Five plays later, Lohmiller kicked his second field goal with 11:36 left in the game to increase Washington's lead to 37–10. With the game almost completely out of reach, the Bills managed to respond with a 15-play, 79-yard drive to cut the score to 37–17 on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Metzelaars. Then, after recovering an onside kick, the Bills drove 50 yards and scored another touchdown with Beebe's 4-yard reception to make the score 37–24. But the Bills' second onside kick attempt was unsuccessful and the Redskins were able to run out the clock. From there, the Bills attempted one final pass play before time expired.
Kelly, completed 28 of a Super Bowl-record 58 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns, but was sacked 4 times, intercepted four times, and lost a fumble. Thomas ran for only 13 yards on 10 carries and was limited to 27 yards on four receptions. James Lofton was the top receiver for the Bills with 7 catches for 92 yards. But Reed was limited to just 5 catches for 31 yards. Clark had seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown and Monk added seven for 113 yards. (Clark and Monk became the third pair of teammates to each have 100 yards receiving in a Super Bowl; they joined the Steelers' John Stallworth and Lynn Swann who did it in Super Bowl XIII and the Bengals' Cris Collinsworth and Dan Ross who did it in Super Bowl XVI).
Awards and records
- Led NFL in Total Yards Rushing, 2381 yards
- Led AFC in Points Scored, 458
- Led AFC in Yards Gained, 6252
- Jim Kelly, NFL Leader, Touchdown Passes, 33
- Jim Kelly, AFC Leader, Passer Rating, 97.6
- Jim Kelly, Super Bowl record, Most Passes Attempted in a Super Bowl, 58
- Thurman Thomas, NFL MVP
- Thurman Thomas, UPI AFL-AFC Player of the Year
- Thurman Thomas, NEA NFL MVP
- Thurman Thomas, PFWA NFL MVP
- Thurman Thomas, NFL Offensive Player of the Year
- Thurman Thomas, 1991 All-Pro Selection
- Thurman Thomas, NFL Combined Yards from Scrimmage Leader
- Thurman Thomas, AFC Leader, 1,407 Rushing Yards
- Thurman Thomas, AFC Leader, 12 Touchdowns
- 1991 NFL Buffalo Bills highlights: Week 4 at Tampa Bay at YouTube
- 1991 NFL Buffalo Bills highlights: Week 5 vs. Chicago; Week 12 at Miami (MNF) at YouTube
- 1991 NFL Buffalo Bills highlights: Week 8 vs. Cincinnati (MNF) at YouTube
- 1991 NFL Buffalo Bills highlights: Week 14 vs. NY Jets at YouTube