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This Day in Bills History, Sept. 30: Three of a kind wins

Sept. 30, 1973 – Most people associated the opening of Rich Stadium with the preseason game against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 17, 1973. But it's the regular season games that count in the standings and deserved to be noted, too.

The Bills started the 1973 season on the road for the first two weeks, beating New England and losing in San Diego. Finally, they got to play for real in their new playpen. The end zones weren't used that much on that particular day.

A sellout crowd watched John Leypoldt kick a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter, and that was all the scoring in the first 45 minutes of play. Leypoldt added two more three-pointers in the fourth quarter, which was enough to keep the Bills ahead when Al Woodall hit Jerome Barkum with a 34-yard scoring pass. That's the way it ended – Bills 9, Jets 7.

That year will always be associated with O.J. Simpson, and he was merely very good. The halfback ran for 123 yards on 24 carries. Larry Watkins ran for 78 more yards as Buffalo ran for 208 yards.

Quarterback Joe Ferguson's biggest job that season at times seemed to be handing the ball off to Simpson. He was 7 for 17 for 74 yards with one interception in the game.

By the way, Joe Namath missed that game for the Jets because of a separated shoulder. It was the third of four seasons in which "Broadway Joe" did not play in most of New York's games.

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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