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This Day in Bills History, Nov. 20: Back to the playoffs

Nov. 20, 1988 – The Buffalo Bills hadn’t been in the playoffs since 1981. When they wrapped up a spot in the postseason, their fans were pretty happy about it.

That’s what people remember about this game.

The Bills took a 10-1 record into the contest at Rich Stadium. Buffalo was certain to win the AFC East title by that point; it was just a matter of time. A win against the Jets at Rich Stadium would do it.

It wasn’t easy. All of the scoring in regulation time was done by field goals on a 43-degree day. Pat Leahy of the Jets and Scott Norwood each had two of them. Then Fred Smerlas blocked another field-goal attempt by Leahy with 25 seconds left in regulation time.

It was on to overtime, and Norwood kicked a 30-yard field goal to win it. And the fans poured on to the field to celebrate with their heroes.

"What do they call it – pandemonium?" linebacker Darryl Talley asked later. "This was fan-demonium. It was so much fun."

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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