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This Day in Bills History, Sept. 25: A 20-6 lead evaporates into a loss

Sept. 25, 1966 – The best type of football game from a fan’s perspective is one where a seemingly certain loss dramatically turns into a most unexpected win.

Such was the case in War Memorial Stadium, where the Bills and Houston Oilers met. Let’s set up the last-minute thrill.

Buffalo jumped out to a 20-6 lead at halftime. Bobby Burnett and Wray Carlton scored touchdowns while Booth Lusteg kicked a pair of field goals. But George Blands passed Houston back into the game. He hit Ode Burrell with a TD strike to cut the lead to seven, and then threw 62 yards to Charley Frazier for another score.

The Oilers had good field position in the final minutes due to a poor punt. Blanda got the ball into Bills’ territory and threw a third-down pass to Bob McLeod. Haygood Clarke jumped in front of McLeod, and took off with the ball. Ron McDole threw a block on Blanda, and Clarke went the distance (66 yards) for the winning score with 27 seconds left.

It was Blanda’s fifth interception of the day, and the Bills were back at .500 at 2-2 after losing their first two starts.

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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