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Top 50 Moments: Bengals Beat Bills for First Playoff Win in Franchise History

Posted Oct 6, 2017

It took four tries, but the AFC Central Division Champion Bengals finally won a playoff game on Jan. 3, 1982 in their first-ever postseason home contest when they held off a rallying Bills Wild Card team, taking the first step toward Super Bowl XVI.

It took four tries, but the AFC Central Division Champion Bengals finally won a playoff game on Jan. 3, 1982 in their first-ever postseason home contest when they held off a rallying Bills Wild Card team, taking the first step toward Super Bowl XVI.

Cincinnati, which failed to produce a postseason win in its first three playoff appearances in 1970, ’73 and ’75, lost leads of 14-0 and 21-14 before eventually winning with what was a solid performance by the entire team.

The offense didn’t yield a turnover while the defense intercepted two Buffalo passes, and the special teams played soundly the entire game.

QB Ken Anderson, who was the NFL’s top-rated quarterback and its consensus MVP in the regular season, connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to WR Cris Collinsworth with 10:39 remaining in the fourth quarter to break a tie and take a 28-21 lead.

The Bills were again poised to tie the game and set up an overtime period after driving 50 yards to the Bengals’ 20 with just over three minutes left. But a costly delay-of-game penalty on fourth down led to giving the ball back to Cincinnati, and Buffalo was unable to mount another serious threat.

Anderson completed 14 of 21 passes for 192 yards and directed a 305-yard attack, and TE Dan Ross recorded a game-high six receptions for 71 yards.

The Bills held Bengals FB Pete Johnson, who had a career-high 1077 rushing yards in the regular season, to just 45 yards on 17 carries. But HB Charles Alexander, Johnson’s blocker for the majority of the regular season, responded for Cincinnati with a season-high 72 yards, with two touchdown runs.

Both Bengals’ trips to the Super Bowl included playoff wins over the Bills. In the 1988 AFC title game at Riverfront, the Bengals were told two hours before the game their no huddle offense was illegal and they still racked up 175 yards on 50 rushes and two Ickey Shuffles in a 21-10 victory.

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