Big Picture: Maybe Ralph Wilson was on to something. It wasn't a Super Bowl, but it sure felt like one by the time it ended Sunday night. Doug Flutie scrambled into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown with 1:10 to play, leading the San Diego Chargers to a remarkable 27-24 victory over the Bills in Qualcomm Stadium. The improving Bills fell to 1-5 on the season.
Player of the Game: Rob Johnson and Flutie. After all the buildup, it's only fitting that the two bitter rivals share it. Johnson played perhaps his best and most courageous game ever in a losing cause, throwing for 310 yards and scrambling for another 67 against a relentless Chargers pass rush. Groggy from a hit at the sidelines, he still led the Bills to a go-ahead TD with 1:30 to play. Flutie was almost as good, throwing for 254 yards without an interception and only one sack.
Hit of the Day: This might be a first - a kicker gets the nod! The Chargers' Wade Richey laid out Nate Clements on a kickoff return in front of the San Diego bench in the fourth quarter. And Richey seized the moment by barking in Clements' face after he staggered to his feet.
Unsung Hero: Rodney Harrison. The Chargers strong safety led his team in tackles, played hurt and was a defensive force from start to finish.
Tit for Tat: Marcellus Wiley went into an excessive sack dance after taking down Johnson early in the game. After the Bills scored their first touchdown later in the first half, Peerless Price got in Wiley's face and mimicked the sack dance, presumably to let him know his former teammates didn't appreciate his antics.
Best Sign: "San Diego Loves Ralph Wilson," by a large margin. "Go Chargers. Flutie Fan From Buffalo" was a distant second.
Quote of the Day: Wiley on Flutie: "The way the man moves, he's Michael Jackson in a helmet."
Zebra Report: The Bills challenged two calls on plays at the goal line and lost both challenges. The first came after Price was tripped near the goal after a 46-yard reception. Replays showed he came up just short. In the third period, Bryce Fisher hit Flutie at the goal line, and it appeared the Bills might have a safety. Replays were inconclusive - for some reason we never saw an angle from directly along the goal line - and the original call stood.
Counting the House: A crowd of 63,698 showed up for Ralph Bowl I. It was well short of a sellout, but Chargers fans were loud and they were a definite factor. Twice in the first half, Johnson was forced to call timeout because of the noise. Bills fans did their part, too. They filled up at least half a dozen sections of the upper deck and made themselves heard.
Jersey Day: The crowd probably set a record for most different jerseys for a single player. Fans wore Flutie's No. 7 Buffalo jersey and his No. 7 San Diego jersey. Two of his supporters stood side-by-side along the rail before the game - one wearing a No. 22 jersey from his B.C. Lions days, the other clad in a No. 20 shirt from the Calgary Stampeders. Transplanted Canadians, perhaps? No sign of his No. 2 from Toronto, though.
I Love S.D.: Johnson's 310 yards was the second-most of his NFL career. He had 321 a year ago against the Chargers in Buffalo. Incidentally, that game also ended 27-24, with the Bills winning in overtime.
Coming Attractions: The Bills host the Indianapolis on Sunday at 1 p.m., determined, no doubt, to hold the Colts under 555 yards of total offense (which is what they gained in the last meeting).