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Mark Gaughan's Big Play: First half was like '77 in Seattle

I can think of only one uglier first half ever in Buffalo Bills football history.

That was in the middle of the 1977 season. The Bills were 1-5 and got steamrolled by the Seattle Seahawks. Jim Zorn passed for 296 yards in the first half and led Seattle to a 42-3 lead at intermission. The Seahawks went up, 49-3, before winning the game, 56-17. O.J. Simpson was lost to a season-ending knee injury and never played another snap for Buffalo.

The halftime score Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers was almost the same, 40-7. The final score was 54-24.

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We'll call the play of the game the fourth of Nathan Peterman's five interceptions.

The Bills were not dead, even after three first-quarter interceptions. They were on the ropes, trailing 17-7, just 2:11 into the second quarter. The next pickoff put a fork in the Buffalo carcass.

Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward jumped a quick-out pass to the right sideline for Deonte Thompson at the Buffalo 15. Peterman did not get enough steam on the throw because he got hit by Joey Bosa as he released the ball. The ball was on the inside of the receiver, not the outside, and Hayward was playing for the pickoff all the way. It looked like he would have been in the path of the pass, even if Peterman was not hit.

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Four plays later, the Chargers were in the end zone and had a 24-7 lead. Peterman got the chance to throw one more interception, but the outcome was effectively decided.

There is no joy in Billsville.

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