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This Day in Bills History, Sept. 16: A statement by Simpson

Sept. 16, 1973 - The season opener of the NFL's 1973 season might have been come with a large sign that read, "O.J. Simpson is ready to rumble."

Simpson was coming off the NFL rushing championship in 1972, but there was still a feeling that he hadn't quite lived up to his potential since arriving in the pro ranks in 1969 after a spectacular college career at Southern California. That feeling disappeared on this particular afternoon in Foxboro, Mass.

Simpson ran around and through the New England Patriots in a 31-13 Buffalo win. When the damage was totaled, Simpson had run for 250 yards, setting an NFL record. He scored two touchdowns, the first of which came on an 80-yard run in which he was just too good for the defense.

In fact, Simpson got so much attention that fellow runner Larry Watkins ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns on his own. The team ran for 360 yards that day.

And who was the starting quarterback? Dennis Shaw. He went 7 for 9 through the air. Coach Lou Saban was no fool; he knew who should have the football, and it wasn't Shaw. By the way, rookie quarterback Joe Ferguson made his Bills debut in that game.

The game was also the NFL Game of the Week. Watch it again on YouTube.

Budd Bailey is a retired sports reporter and editor at The Buffalo News. He is also the author of "Today in Buffalo Sports History." Learn more about the book here.

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