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This Day in Bills History, Oct. 28: Flutie vs. Johnson

Oct. 28, 2001 – There were all sorts of angles when the Bills played the Chargers on this day, and most of them centered on the quarterbacks. Buffalo had decided to keep Rob Johnson instead of Doug Flutie after the 2000 season. Now Flutie was back in Buffalo to face his old teammates in a San Diego Chargers' uniform.

The game turned out to be a classic. The Bills scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:30 left to take a 24-20 lead. But Flutie ran 13 yards for a score after that to give the Chargers the lead. When the Chargers blocked a last-gasp field goal attempt, they had the 27-24 win.

"Near the end of the game, I was thinking that this is what we had in mind when we went out and got these two guys for the Bills," said Chargers Assistant General Manager A.J. Smith, the former Bills pro scout. "It went haywire, of course, because of circumstance. But this was two very good quarterbacks out there going at it."

Johnson completed 24 of 37 passes for 310 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He rushed for a team-high 67 yards on 11 scrambles. Flutie completed 21 of 33 passes for 254 yards with one touchdown pass to go along with his decisive TD run.

Johnson had a 1-7 record as a starter and was gone from Buffalo after that season. By the way, Flutie's backup quarterback in the game was Drew Brees. We'd hear more about him in the years to come.

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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