Bills vs. Broncos: 36 games all-time.
Bills record: 19-16-1 (.542).
First game: This was the Bills second-ever game and first-ever home game. The Bills managed more total offense than the Broncos — 279 total yards to 264 — but were handicapped by turnovers, six of them, all interceptions, five thrown by Tommy O’Connell and one by Bob Brodhead. Broncos' Goose Gonsoulin had four interceptions in that game. He is one of just 13 players with four picks in a game since 1960; the last: DeAngelo Hall on Oct. 24, 2010.
Longest Bills winning streak: 9 games, from Oct. 28, 1962 to Oct 8, 1967.
Longest Bills losing streak: 5 games, from Sept. 3, 1995 to Sept 9, 2007.
Most points for: 45, in a 45-38 victory Oct 28, 1962.
Most points against: 38, twice — strangely they lost neither — in the same 45-38 victory and in a 38-38 tie on Nov. 27, 1960.
Biggest win: 26 points, in a 40-14 victory on Dec. 24, 2011.
Biggest loss: 30 points, in a 37-7 loss Oct 23, 1984.
All-time Bills leaders against the Broncos
Passing leaders: Jack Kemp leads with 127 pass completions, 1,959 passing yards, 14 touchdown passes, while Kyle Orton heads the way with a 74.8 quarterback rating and a 66.7 completion percentage (requiring at least 50 attempts).
Rushing leaders: Cookie Gilchrist leads the way with 551 rushing yards — just 27 more than Wray Carlton, who had 10 more attempts—and 4.96 yards-per carry (minimum 50 attempts). Carlton’s seven rushing touchdowns stands as a franchise best against Denver.
Did you know? The Bills held Cookie Gilchrist to 113 rushing yards on 33 carries in two games in 1965, when he was with the Broncos, averaging just 3.42 yards-per-carry with no touchdowns. The Bills were 2-0 against the Broncos that season.
Receiving leaders: Elbert Dubenion leads in just about everything. He tops the list with 47 receptions. His 972 total receiving yards are also a team best and 153 more than second place Andre Reed (478) and third place Glenn Bass (341) combined. Dubenion’s five touchdown catches represent the most receiving touchdowns against the Broncos and his 20.68 yards-per-catch is tops among players with at least ten catches.
Special teams leaders: Pete Gogolak has the most field goals made against Denver with seven, his 14 extra-points are also most. Goglak’s 31 points, however, are 26 shy of team leader Cookie Gilchrist—nine touchdowns and a field goal. Steve Christie was a perfect six-for-six in field goal attempts against the Broncos, the only kicker with a perfect field goal percentage and multiple attempts. Leodis McKelvin and Roscoe Parrish have each returned a punt for a touchdown and the Bills have never taken a kickoff back.
Defensive leaders: Bruce Smith has the most sacks against the Broncos, with 7.5, equaling the combined total of second place Phil Hansen (4.0) and Cornelius Bennett (3.5). Butch Byrd had five picks in nine games, most total interceptions, but perhaps more impressive is Booker Edgerson and Mark Kelso, who each had four interceptions in four games. Overall, the Bills have returned nine interceptions for touchdowns against the Broncos.
Bills single-game records against the Broncos
Passing leaders: Kyle Orton had 38 completions for 355 yards on Dec. 7, 2014. Jack Kemp had three touchdown passes both on Nov. 9, 1963 and Sept. 28, 1969. On Oct 28, 1962, Warren Rabb had a 140.6 quarterback rating, going 9-for-16 with 262 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Rushing leaders: O.J. Simpson’s 138 yards rushing on Nov. 5, 1975, represent a head-to-head best. Buffalo’s hallmark backs, Simpson, Gilchrist, and Thomas, each had two games against the Broncos with at least 100 yards rushing. Six different Bills have rushed for two touchdowns in a game, but only Cookie Gilchrist has done so twice, on Nov. 28, 1962 and Sept. 20, 1964. On Sept. 15, 1962, Cookie rushed for 131 yards on just 15 carries, a stout 8.73 yards-per-attempt.
Receiving leaders: On Sept 18, 1989, Andre Reed had 13 catches for 157 yards—just one more yard than Billy Joe had on just six catches, on Oct. 24, 1965. Elbert Dubenion and Keith Lincoln each had games with two touchdown catches, with Dubenion’s perhaps being the most impressive receiving game overall, as he had 112 yards on just three catches, 37.33 yards-per-catch, with two touchdowns.
Defense/special teams leaders: Here is a bit of a surprise, a Bills’ sack record not held by Bruce Smith; rather, Chris Kelsay, who tallied 3.0 sacks on Dec. 24, 2011, besting the former record, of 2.0, something that only Bruce Smith, of course, did twice against Denver. The single-game interception record is three, accomplished twice, most recently by Mark Kelso, on Dec. 12, 1992, and by Charley Warner on Sept. 19, 1965—1965, of course, being the year that Warner had a receiving touchdown, two kick return touchdowns, and an interception returned for a touchdown, something no player has done since.
Sunday’s game: I like the Bills to not only cover the 3.0 spread, but also win outright at +150. My record calling the Bills this season: calling the winning team (2-0), calling the spread (1-1).
On this date: in 1989, the Bills won an overtime thrilled over the Houston Oilers, 47-41, despite at total time of possession of just 25:31 to the Oilers’ 43:11. Jim Kelly went 17-for-29 with 363 yards, five touchdowns and one interception—a 128.2 rating. Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed each caught a pair of touchdown passes, Reed’s second was a 28-yard game winner in OT.
Bonus OTD: in 1990, the Bills beat the Jets handedly, 30-7. Thurman Thomas rushed for 40 more yards than Jim Kelly had passing—214 to 174. Turman’s 214 yards rushing represented the most yards on the ground by a Bills player since O.J. Simpson’s record 273-yard day on Nov. 25, 1976, no Buffalo back has rushed for more yards than Thomas since.