2002 Buffalo Bills season

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2002 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Gregg Williams
General manager Tom Donahoe
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field Ralph Wilson Stadium
Results
Record 8–8
Division place 4th AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify

The 2002 Buffalo Bills season was the team’s forty-third season.

The Bills acquired quarterback Drew Bledsoe from the New England Patriots on draft weekend in exchange for Buffalo's first round pick in the 2003 draft. (The Bills would regain that first round pick via a sign-and-trade of Peerless Price, coming off a breakout season, to the Atlanta Falcons for Atlanta's first round pick after the 2002 season.) Bledsoe brought instant credibility to Buffalo's inept passing game; the Bills' offense scored the 6th most points in the AFC in 2002, after having scored the fifth fewest in the entire league the previous season.

The season saw the Bills change their uniform which lasted until 2011.

Offseason[edit]

Additions Subtractions
QB Drew Bledsoe (Patriots) QB Rob Johnson (Buccaneers)
LB London Fletcher (Rams) LB Jay Foreman (Texans)
K Mike Hollis (Jaguars) LB Sam Cowart (Jets)
TE Dave Moore (Buccaneers) T John Fina (Cardinals)
DE Chidi Ahanotu (Rams) CB Ken Irvin (Saints)
LB Eddie Robinson (Titans)
T Marcus Price (Saints)
C Trey Teague (Broncos)

Draft[edit]

The Bills infamously drafted Mike Williams, an offensive tackle from Texas with the #4 overall pick of the draft, with University of Miami offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie still available. Williams spent only four seasons with the team. The Sporting News named Williams as the #4 biggest NFL draft bust from 1989–2008.[1]

2002 Buffalo Bills draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 4 Mike Williams  OT Texas
2 36 Josh Reed  WR LSU
2 61 Ryan Denney  DE BYU
3 97 Coy Wire  S Stanford
5 139 Justin Bannan  DT Colorado
6 179 Kevin Thomas  CB UNLV
7 215 Mike Pucillo  C Auburn
7 249 Rodney Wright  WR Fresno St
7 251 Jarrett Ferguson  RB Virginia Tech
7 260 Dominique Stevenson  LB Tennessee
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Undrafted free agents[edit]

2002 Undrafted Free Agents of note
Player Position College
Ahmad Brooks Cornerback Texas
Joe Burns Running back Georgia Tech
Greg Zolman Quarterback Vanderbilt

Personnel[edit]

2002 Buffalo Bills staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches
  • Defensive Coordinator – Jerry Gray
  • Defensive Line – John Levra
  • Assistant Defensive Line – O’Neill Gilbert
  • Linebackers – Miles Aldridge
  • Defensive Backs (Cornerbacks) – Pat Thomas
  • Third Down Specialist (Safeties) – Steve Jackson
  • Defensive Assistant – Chuck Lester

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams Coordinator – Danny Smith
  • Special Teams Assistant – Tommy Kaiser

Strength and conditioning

Roster[edit]

2002 Buffalo Bills final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
Active, Inactive, Practice squad

Regular season[edit]

Due to the Bills' 3-13 record the previous season, the NFL did not schedule any of their games in prime time (Sunday Night or Monday Night), and all but two of the Bills' games had 1:00 start times. However, due to the attention the Bills' free-agent acquisitions brought to the team, as well as the team being in the thick of the competitive AFC East race, several division games were aired nationally on CBS.

After a one-year absence, the NFL Primetime theme "Powersurge" returned as the Bills' theme song on the ESPN program. It was used for the show's Bills highlights for each game during the season except for the Bengals/Bills game in Week 17.

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result TV Time Attendance
1 September 8, 2002 New York Jets L 37–31 CBS 1:00pm
72,751
2 September 15, 2002 at Minnesota Vikings W 45–39 CBS 4:15pm
64,047
3 September 22, 2002 at Denver Broncos L 28–23 CBS 4:15pm
75,359
4 September 29, 2002 Chicago Bears W 33–27 FOX 1:00pm
72,780
5 October 6, 2002 Oakland Raiders L 49–31 CBS 1:00pm
73,038
6 October 13, 2002 at Houston Texans W 31–24 CBS 1:00pm
70,120
7 October 20, 2002 at Miami Dolphins W 23–10 CBS 1:00pm
73,180
8 October 27, 2002 Detroit Lions W 24–17 FOX 1:00pm
72,710
9 November 3, 2002 New England Patriots L 38–7 CBS 1:00pm
73,448
10 Bye
11 November 17, 2002 at Kansas City Chiefs L 17–16 CBS 1:00pm
77,951
12 November 24, 2002 at New York Jets L 31–13 CBS 1:00pm
78,745
13 December 1, 2002 Miami Dolphins W 38–21 CBS 1:00pm
73,287
14 December 8, 2002 at New England Patriots L 27–17 CBS 1:00pm
68,436
15 December 15, 2002 San Diego Chargers W 20–13 CBS 1:00pm
61,838
16 December 22, 2002 at Green Bay Packers L 10–0 CBS 1:00pm
64,106
17 December 29, 2002 Cincinnati Bengals W 27–9 CBS 1:00pm
47,850

Standings[edit]

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(4) New York Jets 9 7 0 .563 4–2 6–6 359 336 W2
New England Patriots 9 7 0 .563 4–2 6–6 381 346 W1
Miami Dolphins 9 7 0 .563 2–4 7–5 378 301 L2
Buffalo Bills 8 8 0 .500 2–4 5–7 379 397 W1

Game Summaries[edit]

Week 1: vs. New York Jets[edit]

1 2 3 4OT Total
Jets 0 17 3 116 37
Bills 3 14 7 70 31

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Drew Bledsoe debuted as Bills quarterback against the team that knocked him out of the 2001 season. While Bledsoe was preparing for his first start as a Bill, the most famous quarterback in Bills history - Jim Kelly - was being honored as a stretch of road outside Ralph Wilson Stadium was renamed Jim Kelly Boulevard in his honor.

The Bills, who were 3-13 the previous year, looked like a new team early in the game. Drew Bledsoe led the Bills to a 10–0 lead in the second quarter after Travis Henry ran in for a 5 yard touchdown run. But the next play after Henry's touchdown set off a Jets rally that tied the score at 17 at the half. Chad Morton returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown for the Jets' first score of the game. The Jets snatched a Bledsoe interception on the next drive to set up a 1 yard touchdown pass from Vinny Testaverde to tight end Anthony Becht, and the Jets were up 14-10. Henry answered with his second touchdown of the day, a 3 yard touchdown run, on the ensuing drive to make it 17-14 Bills. A 34 yard field goal by Jets kicker John Hall tied the score at halftime.

In the third quarter, Travis Henry ran in for his third touchdown of the day on a 2 yard run to make the score 24-20 Bills. In the fourth quarter, Drew Bledsoe avoided a potential sack and threw a 52 yard bomb to Eric Moulds, but it was all for naught as new Bills kicker Mike Hollis missed a 50 yard field goal with 6:22 remaining. On the ensuing drive, a Pierson Prioleau interception was taken away after another new Bills acquisition, linebacker Eddie Robinson, committed pass interference on the play. The Jets took a 31–24 lead on the very next play with Vinny Testaverde finding Wayne Chrebet for an 18 yard touchdown, with the ensuing two point conversion giving the Jets a one touchdown lead late in the fourth. The Bills were forced to punt on the ensuing drive, but the Jets helped out with a roughing the kicker penalty keeping the drive going. Bledsoe led the Bills down field, where they faced a 4th and 9 with 34 seconds left. Bledsoe pump-faked, then made a 29-yard touchdown throw to Eric Moulds to force overtime.

But special teams cost the Bills yet another game. The Jets won the ensuing coin toss and elected to receive. Chad Morton retrieved the kick, cut right to avoid the first wave of Bills defenders, then outran Mike Hollis across the field 96 yards for the game-winning score and a 37–31 final for the Jets. The one-play overtime period broke the then-record for shortest overtime in NFL history, lasting only 14 seconds (The 2011 Steelers-Broncos Wild Card game currently holds the record counting the playoffs at 11 seconds).

Travis Henry ran for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns on 31 carries, while Eric Moulds caught 8 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.

[2]

Week 2: at Minnesota Vikings[edit]

1 2 3 4OT Total
Bills 6 7 10 166 45
Vikings 3 10 13 130 39

at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Date: September 15, 2002
  • Game time: 3:15 p.m. CST (4:15 p.m. EST)
  • TV: CBS
  • Announcers: Gus Johnson and Brent Jones

Drew Bledsoe threw for 463 yards in Buffalo's second straight overtime game, which was another shootout against the Minnesota Vikings. The game lead tied or changed 12 times as the game went on.

After the Bills gained a 6-3 lead in the first half after two Mike Hollis field goals, the game picked up in the second quarter. Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper scored the game's first touchdown on a 2 yard run to make it 10-6 Vikings. However, Drew Bledsoe found rookie wide receiver Josh Reed for his first career touchdown, a 9 yard play that tied the score at 13-13 at the half.

Early in the second half, a huge 61 yard punt return by D'Wayne Bates set up a two-yard Randy Moss touchdown catch from Daunte Culpepper in the third quarter, but this was immediately answered with a 90-yard Charlie Rogers kick return touchdown. Late in the third quarter, a 29-yard Bates touchdown from Culpepper put the Vikings up 26–23, but Doug Brien missed the PAT. Early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings got the ball deep in their own territory. On the first play of the drive, Culpepper was sacked and forced to fumble by Aaron Schobel. After one player missed the ball, lineman Ron Edwards dove on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown to make the score 30-26 Bills with 14 minutes to go. After a 5 yard Derrick Alexander touchdown catch for the Vikings allowed them to regain the lead 32-30 with 7:27 to go, Brien missed another extra point. The Bills responded by driving to the Vikings' 1 yard line on the ensuing drive. In a crucial play, Travis Henry fumbled on 1st and Goal, but Drew Bledsoe saved a turnover by diving on the ball and recovering it. Two plays later, Bledsoe found Peerless Price for a 3 yard touchdown to make it 36-32 Bills with 3:08 to go. The Vikings drove to the Bills' 10 with less than a minute remaining, and an effortless one-handed catch by Moss brought the ball to the 2 yard line. Two plays later, Mo Williams ran in for a 2 yard touchdown with 26 seconds remaining, and the Bills needed a field goal in the final moments of regulation down 39-36. Bledsoe completed a pass to Peerless Price for 13 yards, then the Bills survived a scare when Josh Reed bobbled and fought with a Vikings defender for a pass, but the pass was ruled complete due to simultaneous possession. That set up a 54-yard Mike Hollis field goal attempt on the final play of regulation. Hollis' kick was a 50-50 shot upon it leaving his foot, but the ball bounced off the crossbar and through the uprights to tie the score at 39 and force overtime.

Mike Hollis missed another long FG try in the extra quarter, this one from 44 yards, but the Bills defense forced a Vikings punt. Two plays later, Bledsoe found Price at the Minnesota 30-yard line for a 48-yard touchdown and a 45–39 Bills win. There was a penalty on the play, but it was against the Vikings for defensive holding.

Drew Bledsoe was 35 of 49 for 463 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. He became only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw a touchdown in overtime in three games; coincidentally, he'd beaten the Vikings in 1994 on a touchdown in overtime while quarterbacking the Patriots. Peerless Price was the leading receiver with 13 catches for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Josh Reed had his first career 100-yard day with 8 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Though the Bills defense allowed 39 points and 448 yards of total offense themselves, it wasn't all bad as Aaron Schobel had 2.5 sacks.

[3]

Week 3: at Denver Broncos[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 7 3 13 23
Broncos 7 7 7 7 28

at Invesco Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

In Denver the following week, the Bills fell behind in the first quarter when Travis Henry fumbled, with Broncos lineman Chester McGlockton returning the loose ball 24 yards for a touchdown. Clinton Portis followed this with a rushing touchdown to make it a 14-0 game, but Henry answered with a 1 yard touchdown to make the score 14-7 Broncos at the half. In the third quarter, the Broncos scored again with Brian Griese finding tight end Dwayne Carswell for a 1 yard touchdown pass to make it 21-10. Drew Bledsoe found Josh Reed for a 4 yard touchdown, with a failed two-point conversion making the score 21-16 with 7:35 to go. Griese found Rod Smith for a 26 yard touchdown with 2:39 remaining to make the score 28-16. The Bills drove downfield with Bledsoe finding Eric Moulds for a 2 yard touchdown with 1:12 left to make it 28-23 Broncos, but the Broncos recovered the ensuing onside kick and the game then ended.

Drew Bledsoe was 27 of 41 for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Eric Moulds caught 9 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.

[4]

Week 4: vs. Chicago Bears[edit]

1 2 3 4OT Total
Bears 7 7 3 100 27
Bills 7 10 3 76 33

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: September 29, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: FOX

The Bills opened this game with a Peerless Price 2 yard touchdown catch from Drew Bledsoe. The Bears responded when safety Mike Brown recovered a fumble by Travis Henry and ran it back 62 yards for a tying score. The Bills opened a 17–7 lead in the second with Bledsoe finding Eric Moulds for a 4 yard touchdown pass. However, Bears quarterback Jim Miller found David Terrell for a five-yard touchdown to make it 17-14 at the half.

An exchange of field goals left the two teams tied at 20 by the fourth quarter, then Drew Bledsoe and Jim Miller traded touchdowns. Bledsoe threw a 1 yard touchdown to tight end Dave Moore for Buffalo with 8:55 to go, followed by Miller finding John Davis on a three-yard touchdown catch for Chicago with 2:46 remaining to tie the score at 27-27. Bledsoe got the Bills in field goal range for Mike Hollis, but his 39-yard field goal try as time expired was blocked by James Williams and the game went to overtime. In overtime, Bledsoe finished it barely two minutes in when he found Travis Henry on a screen pass, who then went upfield for a game-winning 26 yard touchdown and a 33–27 Buffalo win.

Drew Bledsoe was 28 of 36 for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns, with no interceptions. Eric Moulds caught 8 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. The overtime period was a surprise given that Buffalo outgained Chicago 410-240.

[5]

Week 5: vs. Oakland Raiders[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 7 14 7 21 49
Bills 0 21 10 0 31

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: October 6, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS

The Bills engaged in another shootout with the red-hot Raiders, who came into the game at 3-0 while averaging 37.3 points per game. Late in the first quarter, the Raiders opened the scoring with Rich Gannon finding slot receiver Jerry Porter for a 29 yard touchdown. The second quarter featured five touchdowns between the two teams. In the second quarter, Drew Bledsoe hit Peerless Price on a 2 yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7. However less than two minutes later, Gannon ran in for a 1 yard touchdown. And less than two minutes after that, Bledsoe threw his second touchdown of the game to tight end Dave Moore from 2 yards out to tie the score at 14-14. On the ensuing drive, Raiders running back Charlie Garner ran for a 36 yard touchdown for the Raiders to regain the lead, 21-14. But with 40 seconds to go in the half, Larry Centers ran in for a 5 yard touchdown to answer. The score was tied 21-21 at halftime.

In the third quarter, a Mike Hollis field goal gave the Bills the lead, but the Raiders answered with Zack Crockett running in for a 1 yard touchdown to make it 28-24. Travis Henry ran in for a 2 yard touchdown to give the Bills the lead 31-28 heading into the final quarter. However, the Raiders took over in the final quarter. Rich Gannon threw a 69 yard touchdown pass to Charlie Garner to make the score 35-31. The Bills drove into Raiders territory on the ensuing possession, but then rookie cornerback Phillip Buchanon intercepted an errant Drew Bledsoe pass and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders finished the scoring with Gannon finding legendary receiver Jerry Rice for a 20 yard score to make it 49-31.

The two teams combined for a whopping 974 yards of total offense, with the Raiders outgaining the Bills 495-479. Peerless Price caught 7 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown, while Eric Moulds caught 8 passes for 112 yards. While Drew Bledsoe threw for 417 yards, he also threw 3 interceptions against 2 touchdowns.

[6]

Week 6: at Houston Texans[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 3 7 7 14 31
Texans 3 14 0 7 24

at Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas

  • Date: October 13, 2002
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST (1:00 p.m. EST)
  • TV: CBS
  • Announcers: Don Criqui , Steve Tasker

The Bills' next game against the expansion Texans was expected to be easier, as the Texans had only scored 10.5 points per game throughout their first four games. However, they took over in the second quarter. Rookie quarterback David Carr found fellow rookie Jabar Gaffney for a 26 yard touchdown to make the score 10-3, then Carr ran in for a 17 yard rushing touchdown to make it 17-3 Texans. The Bills would narrow the score with Travis Henry running in for a 1 yard touchdown to make the score 17-10 Texans at the half.

In the third quarter, Travis Henry ran in for his second touchdown of the day on a 23 yard touchdown run in order to tie the score at 17-17. With 14:10 remaining, the Texans regained the lead on a halfback option pass when running back James Allen found tight end Billy Miller for a 5 yard score. Finally, after this the Bills took over. Drew Bledsoe found Eric Moulds for a 23 yard touchdown with just over 10 minutes to go to tie the score, then with 3:55 to go he hit Peerless Price for a 26 yard touchdown. The Texans drove to the Bills' 12 yard line with 39 seconds remaining, but three consecutive incomplete passes finally clinched the game for the Bills.

Drew Bledsoe was 19 of 33 for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns. Travis Henry gained 159 yards on 28 carries with 2 touchdowns, while Peerless Price caught 8 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. The Bills' defense registered 5 sacks on the league's worst offensive line.

[7]

Week 7: at Miami Dolphins[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 3 14 3 3 23
Dolphins 7 3 0 0 10

at Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida

  • Date: October 20, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS

After 6 consecutive weeks where the Bills' defense failed to hold their opponents to under 20 points, they finally did so against their hated rivals the Dolphins. Much of this defensive performance was thanks to an awful performance by Dolphins quarterback Ray Lucas, starting in place of the injured Jay Fiedler.

The Dolphins' first drive ended with a touchdown when Ray Lucas found rookie tight end Randy McMichael for a 4 yard touchdown. However, after this it was all Bills. In the second quarter, Drew Bledsoe found Eric Moulds deep down the left sideline for a 70 yard touchdown pass to give the Bills their first lead of the day at 10-7. Later in the quarter with the score tied at 10, Lucas threw a pass directly to Nate Clements, and Clements took his present 29 yards to the end zone to make it 17-10 Bills at the half. With 56 seconds remaining in the game, Lucas threw his fourth interception of the game, this one to Eddie Robinson to clinch the game for the Bills.

Nate Clements set a new franchise record with 3 interceptions in this contest, including the aforementioned touchdown. On offense, Travis Henry had another 100-yard day with 132 yards on 22 carries.

[8]

Week 8: vs. Detroit Lions[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 0 14 0 3 17
Bills 7 7 10 0 24

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: October 27, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: FOX

The Bills opened the scoring against the woeful Detroit Lions with Travis Henry running in for a 5 yard touchdown to make the score 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. However, in the second quarter, the Lions struck back. Rookie quarterback Joey Harrington threw a pass for receiver Bill Schroeder in the end zone, and the ball bounced off his hands and into the hands of Az-Zahir Hakim for a 23 yard touchdown to tie the score. The Bills fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Lions capitalized with running back James Stewart running in for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 14-7. Drew Bledsoe found Peerless Price on the ensuing drive for a 59 yard touchdown to ensure that the game would be tied 14-14 at halftime. In the third quarter Henry ran in for his second touchdown of the day, but it was the defense that came up big late as linebackers London Fletcher and Eddie Robinson stopped Stewart on a 4th and 1 with under two minutes to go.

Eric Moulds caught 9 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, while Peerless Price caught 4 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.

With this win, the Bills were 5-3 and tied for first place in the division with the Dolphins.

[9]

Week 9: vs. New England Patriots[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 7 10 14 7 38
Bills 0 7 0 0 7

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: November 3, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS

After three straight wins, the Bills' next game against the Patriots - which was also Drew Bledsoe's first game against his former team - was a disaster. The Patriots marched down the field on their opening possession with Tom Brady finding tight end Christian Fauria for a 5 yard touchdown to make it 7-0. In the second quarter, Brady found former Bill Antowain Smith for a 13 yard touchdown. With just 10 seconds remaining in the half, the Bills scored for the only time in the game when Bledsoe found Peerless Price for a one yard score to make it 17-7 at the half. The Bills had opportunities to make it closer, but Mike Hollis missed two field goals, including one from a mere 25 yards. In the third quarter, Patriots running back Kevin Faulk ran in for a 45 yard touchdown, then Smith scored two more touchdowns in the half.

Peerless Price was the sole key offensive player for the Bills, catching 9 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.

[10]

Week 10: Bye Week[edit]

Week 11: at Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 13 3 0 16
Chiefs 7 3 0 7 17

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Date: November 17, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS

After a week off, the Bills traveled to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs, who were also known at the time for putting offense ahead of defense. That said, the teams only combined for 33 points in this game.

In the first quarter, Priest Holmes ran in for a 4 yard touchdown for the Chiefs to make it 7-0. The Bills scored a touchdown at the end of the half, when Drew Bledsoe found Eric Moulds for a 7 yard score to make it 13-10 heading into the locker room. However with 4:53 to go in the game, Trent Green ran in for a 9 yard touchdown to make it 17-16 Chiefs after the Chiefs were aided by two Bills penalties on the drive. On the ensuing drive, Bledsoe went long for Peerless Price, but his pass was intercepted by Eric Warfield and the Bills never got the ball back.

Travis Henry ran for 126 yards on 24 carries. However, the Bills committed 13 penalties for 139 yards in the game.

Week 12: at New York Jets[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 3 0 10 0 13
Jets 3 14 7 7 31

at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

  • Date: November 24, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS

The Bills turned in another poor performance in their rematch against the Jets. In the second quarter of this game, two Jets running backs scored. LaMont Jordan ran in for a 1 yard touchdown, and Curtis Martin ran in for a 9 yard score to make it 17-3 Jets at the half. In the third quarter, Chad Pennington found Laveranues Coles for an 11 yard touchdown to make the score 24-3 Jets. Travis Henry scored the Bills' only touchdown of the game 5 minutes later, but in the fourth quarter Pennington ran in for a 1 yard touchdown for the Jets.

The Bills committed 3 turnovers, with Drew Bledsoe throwing 2 interceptions, while the Jets committed none.

[11]

Week 13: vs. Miami Dolphins[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Dolphins 14 0 7 0 21
Bills 3 14 14 7 38

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Having lost three consecutive games, the Bills were in a must-win situation at home against the division-leading Dolphins. A loss would put them 3 games behind the division lead with 4 games to go.

The game was played on an icy field as the two teams faced snow and 15 mph winds throughout the contest, though they particularly struck in the second half. It was Dolphins running back Ricky Williams' first game played in such conditions, as he grew up in San Diego, went to school at Texas, and played his first three seasons in New Orleans with no games scheduled in cold-weather conditions. Unfortunately for the Bills, he was right in his own element.

The Bills' first drive went nowhere as Drew Bledsoe was sacked twice, first by Adewale Ogunleye and then by Jason Taylor. All the Dolphins needed on their first drive was one play as Ricky Williams took off for a 45 yard touchdown run. Later in the quarter, Ray Lucas found tight end Jed Weaver for a 1 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Dolphins. In the second quarter however, the Bills struck back. Drew Bledsoe ran in for a 2 yard touchdown to make it 14-10. On the next drive, Lucas was sacked by Aaron Schobel and Ron Edwards and forced to fumble, and fellow lineman Chidi Ahanotu returned the ball 17 yards into Dolphins territory. On the next drive, Bledsoe found Peerless Price for a 20 yard touchdown to make the score 17-14 at the half.

In the third quarter, linebacker Keith Newman ended Ray Lucas's day when he hammered him to the turf while sacking him (though the ensuing fumble was recovered by the Dolphins). However, the Dolphins still had Ricky Williams, and on the Dolphins' next drive he outran the Bills through the snow for a 55 yard touchdown and the Dolphins regained the lead, 21-17. However it only took three plays for the Bills to answer. Drew Bledsoe found Peerless Price on a curl route, and after Dolphins corner Arturo Freeman missed him he was gone for a 73 yard touchdown. The next Dolphins possession featured the Bills capitalizing on a baffling Dolphins mistake. While being dragged down by London Fletcher, Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael attempted to stretch for a first down even though he was five yards short of the market, and the Bills capitalized with Kendrick Office forcing the ball loose and Antoine Winfield recovering for the Bills. On the very next play Bledsoe went long, and the ball bounced off Dolphins corner Sam Madison's hands with Eric Moulds catching the pass off the tip one-handed for a 57 yard touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Travis Henry ran in for a 1 yard touchdown to complete the scoring.

For the Bills, Drew Bledsoe was 15 of 27 for 306 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with a rushing touchdown. Travis Henry gained 151 yards on 35 carries with a touchdown as well. Eric Moulds caught 5 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, and while Peerless Price only caught 2 passes, they were for 93 yards and both were for touchdowns.

Although Ricky Williams ran for 228 yards and 2 touchdowns, the Dolphins' passing game was atrocious with the Dolphins only gaining 30 net yards passing. They also committed three turnovers while the Bills committed none.

Once in danger of falling out of the playoff race with a loss, the Bills were now just 1 game behind the division lead with 4 games remaining.


Week 14: at New England Patriots[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 0 10 7 17
Patriots 17 3 0 7 27

at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

The Bills then traveled to take on the Patriots in Drew Bledsoe's first game in Foxborough since his departure from the Patriots. However, even though the score appeared much closer than their previous matchup, the Patriots hammered the Bills again. In the first quarter, Tom Brady found receiver David Patten for a 10 yard touchdown to make the score 10-0 Patriots. On the very next play from scrimmage, Bledsoe was picked off by lineman Richard Seymour, and two plays after that, the Patriots cashed in with Brady finding veteran tight end Donald Hayes for a 9 yard touchdown pass. Less than 12 minutes into the game, the Patriots led 17-0. The Patriots nearly made the score even worse on a trick play where Tom Brady appeared to catch a touchdown pass from running back Kevin Faulk, but an illegal shift penalty on Brady forced the Patriots to settle for a field goal to make the score 20-0 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Bills fought back and managed to make it a game heading into the fourth quarter. A 12 yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe to Eric Moulds made it 20-10 heading into the final quarter. However, a 4 yard touchdown by former Bills running back Antowain Smith made the score 27-10 Patriots with 10 minutes remaining. Despite the similar outcome to the first matchup against the Patriots, the Bills at least had one play of note in this contest. Late in the game the Bills drove to the Pats' 4 yard line when Bledsoe threw a fade to the end zone, and Eric Moulds made an unbelievable one-handed catch over Patriots corner Ty Law for a touchdown. As incredible as Moulds's catch was however, it hardly mattered for the game's outcome as the Bills were still down two scores with 1:05 left.

While the Bills outgained the Patriots 390-275, they committed 5 turnovers while the Patriots committed none. Drew Bledsoe threw four interceptions, and the Bills defense failed to sack Tom Brady.

[12]

Week 15: vs. San Diego Chargers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Chargers 3 7 0 3 13
Bills 7 6 0 7 20

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: December 15, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS

Now at 6-7, the Bills needed a win at home against the Chargers, who were two games ahead of them in the AFC wild card race, to avoid elimination.

In the first quarter, Travis Henry ran in for a 4 yard touchdown to give the Bills their first lead of the game, 7-3. The second quarter featured LaDainian Tomlinson running in for a 2 yard touchdown for the Chargers. The Bills led at the end of three quarters, 13-10. In the fourth quarter, Chargers quarterback Drew Brees was knocked out of the game. As a result, Doug Flutie came into the game for the Chargers, making this his first game in Buffalo since his departure from the Bills after the 2000 season. Although Flutie struggled against his old team completing just 3 of 11 passes, his first drive ended with another former Bill, Steve Christie, nailing a 53 yard field goal to tie the score at 13-13 with 5:45 left. With 52 seconds remaining in the game, Henry ran in for his second touchdown of the game with a 26 yard run, and the Bills led 20-13. A short kick by Mike Hollis gave the Chargers a short field to start off with at midfield. However, the Bills made sure a Flutie miracle wouldn't happen against his old club, as his Hail Mary pass as time expired was knocked away by Antoine Winfield.

Although Drew Bledsoe struggled mightily completing just 11 of 33 pass attempts, Travis Henry led the way with 144 yards on 22 carries with 2 touchdowns.

[13]

Week 16: at Green Bay Packers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 0 0 0 0
Packers 0 3 0 7 10

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Date: December 22, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS

The Bills next traveled to iconic Lambeau Field to take on the Packers. The odds were stacked against the Bills, as the temperature at kickoff was 27 degrees and the Packers at the time had never lost at Lambeau when the temperature was below 35 degrees at kickoff.

The score of the game was just 3-0 at halftime as both teams struggled to move the ball. The Bills finally got a drive going on the opening drive of the second half for 15 plays and nearly 10 minutes, but it ended without points as Mike Hollis whiffed on a 33 yard field goal. With 9 minutes remaining, Drew Bledsoe lost a fumble after Packers defensive end Vonnie Holliday sacked him, and the Packers scored the game's lone touchdown when Brett Favre found Donald Driver for an 11 yard touchdown pass. The Bills' last chance ended with 1:13 to go when Holliday yet again sacked Bledsoe and forced him to fumble, with fellow lineman Cleditus Hunt recovering for the Packers.

Although the Bills' defense played well by only allowing 10 points and 223 yards of offense, the Bills gained only 185 yards and turned the ball over a whopping 6 times. Vonnie Holliday had a career game by sacking Bledsoe 5 times.

This loss eliminated the Bills from playoff contention.

[14]

Week 17: vs. Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 3 0 6 9
Bills 6 14 7 0 27

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: December 29, 2002
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • TV: CBS

Although the Bills failed to make the playoffs, they ended the season on a positive note against the hapless Bengals at home. In the second quarter, Drew Bledsoe ran in for a 6 yard touchdown to give the Bills a 13-0 lead. Later in the half, Bledsoe found Eric Moulds for a 2 yard touchdown pass, and the Bills led 20-3 at halftime. A third quarter touchdown by fullback Larry Centers from 4 yards out made the score 27-3 heading into the final period.

Drew Bledsoe was 23 of 31 with 231 yards and a touchdown, while running for another.

Regardless of the Bills winning, the game's result was more notable to the Bengals. With the loss, the Bengals clinched the #1 pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Also notable for them was that on the morning of this game, their former stadium, Riverfront Stadium, was imploded.

With this win, the Bills finished 8-8, a 5 game improvement over their woeful 2001 season.

[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 10-Pack: 10 biggest first-round draft busts of the last 20 years
  2. ^ "New York Jets at Buffalo Bills - September 8, 2002". Pro Football Reference. September 8, 2002. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings - September 15, 2002". Pro Football Reference. September 15, 2002. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Denver Broncos - September 22, 2002". Pro Football Reference. September 22, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Chicago Bears at Buffalo Bills - September 29, 2002". Pro Football Reference. September 29, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills - October 6, 2002". Pro Football Reference. October 6, 2002. Retrieved August 27, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans - October 13, 2002". Pro Football Reference. October 13, 2002. Retrieved August 27, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins - October 20, 2002". October 20, 2002. Retrieved August 27, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills - October 20, 2002". October 27, 2002. Retrieved August 27, 2017. 
  10. ^ "New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills - November 3, 2002". November 3, 2002. Retrieved August 27, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Buffalo Bills at New York Jets - November 24, 2002". November 24, 2002. Retrieved August 27, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots - December 8, 2002". November 24, 2002. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  13. ^ "San Diego Chargers at Buffalo Bills- December 15, 2002". December 15, 2002. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Buffalo Bills at Green Bay Packers - December 22, 2002". December 22, 2002. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills- December 29, 2002". December 29, 2002. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 

External links[edit]