Oct. 25, 1981 – No one knew it at the time, but the game between the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills this season had a huge impact on the playoff picture in the AFC that season.
This was a tough defensive struggle between two good teams. Steve Watson got the Broncos off to a good start when he caught a 36-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. But that was all the scoring that Denver did in the game. The Broncos were held to 10 first downs, and suffered from seven sacks.
Meanwhile, Nick Mike-Mayer kept chipping away. He had a 41-yard field goal later in the second quarter and a 46-yarder in the third. That set up the game-winner, a 36-yarder in the final quarter.
Joe Ferguson threw for 223 yards in the game, while Joe Cribbs ran for 123 tough yards – his longest run was only 13 yards.
Both teams finished 10-6 at the end of the year, and the Bills won the tiebreaker for the final playoff spot – because of that win back in October.
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.