Bills vs. Bengals: 28 games all-time.
Bills record: 16-12 (.571).
First game: On Sept. 22, 1968, the Cincinnati Bengals bested the Bills in their first ever head-to-head matchup, 34-23. Their defense was much better than 34 points allowed might indicate, as they allowed just 201 yards of total offense —nearly 40 percent of which came on an 80-yard touchdown run by Warren MvVea. Bengals quarterback John Stofa was just 8-for-18 with only 68 yards passing, no touchdowns, and one interception, a passer rating 31.7. Had he instead spiked the ball for each of his attempts his rating would have jumped to 39.6. The Bills also struggled at quarterback that day. Dan Darragh, Kay Stephenson, and running back Gary McDermott, all threw passes—Darragh and Stephenson each threw pick-sixes in the third quarter, which would be enough to bury the Bills.
Stats Wizard: the Bills had both a safety and a kick returned for a touchdown in this game. It is one of just two games in franchise history in which the Bills had a safety and a special-team touchdown, a feat they also managed on Oct. 31, 1971. Naturally, they managed to lose both.
Playoffs: 0-2, losing the divisional round game on Jan. 3, 1982, 28-21, and the AFC Championship on Jan. 8, 1989, 21-10.
Longest Bills winning streak: 10 games, from Nov. 26, 1989 to Nov. 21, 2010, spanning 7,665 days.
Longest Bills losing streak: 4 games, from Dec. 16, 1984 to Nov 27, 1988, spanning 1,442 days, ending with the start of their ten-game winning streak.
Most points for: 51 points, in a 51-24 victory on Sept. 9, 1979.
Most points against: 52, in a 52-21 loss on Dec. 16, 1984.
Biggest win: 27 points, in the 51-24 victory on Sept. 9, 1979.
Biggest loss: 31 points, in the 52-21 loss on Dec. 16, 1984.
All-time Bills leaders against the Bengals
Passing leaders: Joe Ferguson leads with 104 pass completions, but Jim Kelly had 60 more passing yards—despite three fewer games—topping the list with 1,207 yards. Kelly also had a 64.46 completion percentage and a 100.1 passer rating, tops among Bills quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts.
Rushing leaders: O.J. Simpson had 371 rushing yards, 37 more than Thurman Thomas and on 14 fewer rushes, and bests all Bills with 6.18 yards-per-attempt (minimum 25 rushing attempts). The rushing touchdown leader? Not O.J., Thurman, or Shady…but how about Roland Hooks with five.
Receiving leaders: Eric Moulds had 39 catches, 15 more than second place Andrew Reed, and 516 yards receiving, 71 more than second place Lee Evans. Evans, however, leads the way with 21.19 yards-per-catch. That pair, Mr. Why So Srs—more on this below—Stevie Johnson, are all tied for the lead in touchdown receptions with three.
Special teams leaders: Ryan Lindell was 16-for-18 in field goals and 20-20 in extra-points made, his 68 total points also ranks most against Cincinnati. Lindell’s 88.9 field goal made percentage is technically bested by Steve Christie at 100 percent, but Christie was just 5-for-5. Max Anderson and Terrence McGee each have returned kicks for touchdowns against the Bengals, but no Bills player has ever taken a punt to the house.
Defensive leaders: Bruce Smith tops the Bills vs Bengals sack list, as he does most sack lists, with 4.0. Five different Bills have two interceptions. They are: Stephon Gilmore, George Wilson, Kurt Schulz, Mario Clark, and Dwight Harrison and four have returned interceptions for a touchdown—strangely with no repeats—Terrence McGee, Bryan Scott, Takeo Spikes, and Isiah Robinson.
Bills single-game records against the Bengals
Passing leaders: Joe Dufek — with his first mention at The Buffalo News since Aug. 1, 2002 — had 30 completions in the aforementioned “biggest loss” on Dec. 16, 1984. Jim Kelly’s 18 better served him much better on Nov. 21, 1991, leading to 392 yards passing and five touchdown passes. Kelly, in a different game, two years prior on Nov. 26, 1989, went 10-for-15 with 123 passing yards and three touchdowns, good for a shining 131.4 passer rating.
Rushing leaders: On Nov. 17, 1975, O.J. Simpson rushed for 197 yards on 17 carries, 11.59 yards-per-touch. Roland Hooks again defies the odds leading the way in rushing touchdowns in a single-game against the Bengals with four, on Sept. 9, 1976.
Stats Wizard: In that game, Hooks had 66.7 percent of his rushing touchdowns for the season and 33.3 percent of his career rushing scores. He would again rush for a touchdown against Cincinnati on Nov. 16, 1980, in all 41.7 percent of his rushing touchdowns came against the Bengals. Of his four-touchdown game on Sept. 9, 1976, that is a feat that O.J. Simpson and Thurman Thomas never accomplished, yet is still shy of the Bills overall single-game record, belonging to the great, and hopefully one day Hall of Famer, Cookie Gilchrist, who did so on Dec. 8, 1963. Cookie’s five rushing scores are tied for an NFL single-game record, along with Jim Brown, James Steward, and Clinton Portis.
Receiving leaders: James Lofton is the only Bills player with over 200 yards receiving in a game against the Bengals, with 220 yards on Oct. 21, 1991. Eric Moulds pulled in six catches for 196 yards — 32.67 yards-per-catch on Dec. 6, 1998. And Stevie Johnson, who is tied for most career touchdown catches against Cincinnati, had all three of his receiving scores in a single game on Nov. 21, 2010.
Stats Wizard: Stevie’s first touchdown in that game did not come until the second quarter, a 28-yard catch, but the Bills were still down 31-21. His second, an 11-yard reception in the fourth quarter, gave the Bills a 35-31 lead, and his final, a 32-yard catch put them ahead 42-31. The Bills ended up winning 49-31, a game in which they had as little as a 0.80% chance of winning. Johnson, by the way, is the last Bills player to score three times in the second-half. Only one Bills player has ever score four times in the second-half, to bring everything full circle, it was, of course, Roland Hooks on Sept. 9, 1979, which is tied for most second-half touchdowns in a game—something Jim Brown somehow managed to do twice.
Defense/special teams leaders: Pat Williams had 3.0 sacks in a game on Dec. 6, 1998. Among the five Bills with two total interceptions, all but George Wilson had theirs in a single game. Steve Christie and Ryan Lindell (twice) each had games with four field goals and Tom Dempsey—the man who once kicked the longest field goal in history, a 63-yard game winner for the Saints as time expired on Nov. 8, 1970 — had six extra-points made on Sept 9, 1979. And again, Max Anderson and Terrence McGee each have returned kicks for touchdowns and Terrence McGee, Bryan Scott, Takeo Spikes, and Isiah Robinson all returned interceptions for six.
Stats Wizard: Terrance McGee, who is the only Bills player to both return an interception and a kick for touchdowns against the Bengals managed to do so in the same game, on Dec. 24, 2005. His kickoff return, a 99-yard return in the third quarter, gave the Bills a 20-17 lead and his interception return, a 46-yard pick-six, sealed the deal, giving Buffalo a 37-27 lead with just 0:35 remaining in the game. McGee is in a class of his own, as he is the only player in history to return both a kickoff and an interception for a touchdown in the same game. Two players have returned an interception and a punt in the same game: Deion Sanders on Sept. 21, 1998 and the Bills’ own Butch Byrd on Sept 18, 1966, a game in which the Bills had a franchise single-game record 58 points.
Sunday’s game: Bills are getting 3.0 on the road and are +145 underdogs. Give me them both. Bills for the win. My record calling the Bills this season: calling the winning team (3-1), calling the spread (3-1).
On this date: in 1974, the Bills beat the Packers 27-7. Star running back O.J. Simpson was outshone by fullback Jim Braxton, who rushed for three touchdowns to The Juice’s zero. In fact, that season, O.J. had only three total rushing touchdowns, in a year that sandwiched two years of leading the league in rushing scores.
Many of the stats in this article made possible by the Pro Football Reference Play Index.