Kelly leads fourth-quarter comeback past Raiders


The last time the Bills beat the Raiders on the road, they weren’t in Oakland. The Los Angeles Raiders led 27-14 going into the fourth quarter, but Jim Kelly threw the ball 52 times in the game for 347 yards and a pair of touchdowns and then Scott Norwood hit a 42-yard field goal in overtime to give the Bills a 30-27 overtime victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This increased the Bills’ winning streak to four over the Raiders. Now, let’s throw it back to December 8, 1991.

From the get-go, the game was in the hands of the Los Angeles Raiders. They scored first, and held a 14-lead going into the fourth quarter. Scott Norwood had a nightmarish day, missing two field goal attempts and a crucial fourth-quarter extra point. He would rescue himself after Jim Kelly rescued his team with a 13-point fourth-quarter output, and then putting his team into position for a Norwood game winner from 42 yards out to help propel the Bills to first place in the AFC.

After the teams traded punts, the Raiders struck first with a 19-yard Jeff Jaeger field goal to give themselves a 3-0 lead in front of over 85,000 at the LA Coliseum. The long ball struck the Bills defense, as Jay Schroeder connected with Tim Brown for a 78-yard touchdown pass on their next possession. The Bills did not take long to answer.

Al Edwards caught the ensuing kickoff at the nine-yard line, hesitated a little bit, then burst down the right sideline for a 91-yard touchdown and Norwood made this extra point, making it 10-7 as the first quarter ended.

The fireworks would not stop, as Nick Bell scored the first touchdown of the second quarter on a 12-yard rush to give the Raiders their double-digit lead back at 17-7.

Kelly and his offense were able to cut the lead back down to three with under two minutes to play in the half. #12 hit Keith McKeller for a nine-yard score to make it 17-14 after Norwood’s extra point. McKeller had a team-high 10 receptions on the day, accumulating 57 yards.

The Raiders would be able to get a late field goal after driving to the Buffalo 11 in the final minute, after two big passes from Schroeder to Mervyn Fernandez for 16 yards and Brown for 28, setting up Jaeger for a 28-yard field goal to make it a 20-14 halftime lead for LA.

After the Bills punted on their first possession of the second half, the Raiders extend their lead back to double digits with Marcus Allen pounding it in from one yard out to make it 27-14 Raiders through three quarters.

But back came the resilient Bills. After Norwood missed field goals on their last two possessions, the Bills came up empty a third time after Kelly had his pass intercepted by Ronnie Lott. The fourth time was the charm for Buffalo, as Kenneth Davis was able to score from a yard out with just over four minutes to play to cut the lead to 27-20. However, the snakebitten Norwood shanked the extra point to keep the score at just that, a point that would be crucial later in the game.

After the Raiders practically gave the ball back to the Bills by running the ball three times, the Bills made them pay. Kelly took the ball and drove them down the field 64 yards, and then hit James Lofton over the middle for a nine-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute left. This time, Norwood drilled the point after to tie the game and force the extra session.

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In overtime, the Raiders got the ball first but could not score as Mark Kelso got an interception on a deep pass by Schroeder. After the Bills took over at their own 36, it would only take four plays to get to the Raider 25 yard line, and then it was Norwood stepping up with his only field goal made of the game, a strike from 42 yards out to give the Bills a 30-27 victory.

This pushed the Bills to 12-2 on the season and clinched home-field advantage for the team in the playoffs, while the Raiders fell to 9-5. The defense finished 27th in yards last season, but the offense finished first in the league and this was another classic example of the offense picking up the defense.

Marv Levy’s club would defeat the Chiefs and Broncos in the playoffs at home, before losing to the Washington Redskins 27-14 in Super Bowl XXVI.

For highlights of this game, click here