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This Day in Buffalo Sports History; Dec. 22, 1996 -- Playoffs wrapped up

If you've been paying attention during this century, playoff appearances by the Buffalo Bills are worth celebrating. Therefore, the party was on when the Bills wrapped up a postseason spot here.

The Bills defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-9, in Rich Stadium before 68,571. That meant the Bills would start the postseason at home the following week.

"It is kind of a new beginning," wide receiver Steve Tasker said to The News' Vic Carucci of the Bills' eighth playoff appearance in the last nine seasons. "Now, we get a chance to wipe the slate clean. We're 10-6, and up until this week, we looked like we were stumbling into the playoffs if we got in."

This one was all field goals in the first three quarters, as the Chiefs took a 9-6 lead. Then Buffalo responded with touchdown passes from Jim Kelly to Tony Cline and Quinn Early. Kelly was great that day, going 20 for 29 for 279 yards. Not bad for a guy who came down with the flu the night before the game.

"Jim was hurting pretty bad," said Tasker, who caught four passes for a game-high 87 yards. "I walked down the tunnel with him before the game, and he looked like the air had been let out of him."

-- Budd Bailey

Sports Ink blog at buffalonews.com/blogs