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Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints: Rivalry History

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When you consider the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints have been around as long as they have, it’s shocking they’ve only faced each other 11 times. It’s also shocking just how one-sided this series has been, and not in our favor. Ranging from our first meeting in 1973 to our most recent matchup in 2017, the Saints have the lead, winning seven games to our four. And it didn’t start out particularly well.

Saints Stifle Simpson (November 4, 1973)

The Buffalo Bills marched into Tulane Stadium on that day to take on the original Manning, Archie, and his Saints. They wouldn’t come out with a win, or even a point for that matter. The Saints defense made Bills QB Joe Ferguson’s offense look awful. O.J. Simpson put up one of the most uninspiring stat lines of his career. Buffalo failed to move the ball and, despite pitching a shutout in the second half, would still lose 13-0.

11/04/7309/21/8010/30/83
Buf 0-13 NOBuf 35-26 NONO 21-27 Buf
12/10/8912/20/9212/27/98
NO 22-19 BufBuf 20-16 NOBuf 45-33 NO

Close Calls

December 10, 1989

Another memorable game from this series was a close one. A three-point loss to the Saints in December 1989 dropped the Bills to 8-6, having needed a win to clinch the AFC Eastern title. A quick start from New Orleans would put Buffalo on the back foot. Then, the Bills would get back in it with a huge Jim Kelly touchdown pass to James Lofton, followed by two Scott Norwood field goals. The Saints defense was dominant, but Buffalo found a away to take the lead. A third quarter touchdown reception by Pete Metzelaars gave us the lead. However, New Orleans wouldn’t be denied and followed that up with a game-tying field goal. The fourth quarter was a bloody defensive battle. There were no scoring plays until Morten Anderson kicked the game-winner through the uprights, allowing his team to narrowly survive this matchup against one of the AFC’s best.

December 27, 1998

The last time the Buffalo Bills beat the New Orleans Saints was all the way back in 1998, as Rob Johnson and the remnants of the franchise’s glory days crushed Billy Joe Tolliver’s Saints. Surging out to an early lead, Buffalo cruised to four-straight unanswered touchdowns. By the early second quarter, the game was decidedly over. Still, there was time on the clock and teams don’t like to quit, no matter the score. New Orleans put up two late touchdowns before the half expired, but failed to impress when they came back out of the tunnel. Buffalo outscored them 17-7 up until the final few minutes, where garbage time allowed for a few more points to make the few remaining home fans feel like they got some of their money’s worth. Buffalo had six different players find the endzone on the day.

Tough Buffalo Times

09/09/0110/02/0509/27/09
NO 24-6 BufBuf 7-19 NONO 27-7 Buf
10/27/1311/12/1711/25/21
Buf 17-35 NONO 47-10 BufTBD

It’s been a long time since that last win, and New Orleans has beaten us soundly every time since then. These losses have been so bad, in fact, that they never lost by less than 12 points. (Four of those five consecutive Saint wins were by 18 or more.) The most recent loss stings the most, as it nearly derailed the entire 2017 drought-breaking season. The Saints shredded the best we had to offer for a final score of 47-10. But the score is misleading… it was never even as close as that.

November 12, 2017

(Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The previously 0-2 Saints had found their rhythm, winning their previous six games coming into this chilly afternoon in Western New York. The Buffalo Bills were undefeated at home so far that season; a streak that they were also looking to maintain. It started off well, with the opening drive getting down the field for three points, before it all went so horribly wrong. Perhaps if they’d have known, the players might have called in sick that day.

By halftime it was only 17-3, but with only a few minutes left in the game the score had ballooned to 47-3, as New Orleans dominated the home team on the ground, rushing for six touchdowns. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara both ran for over 100 yards, and the game was over long before the final whistle blew. In quite probably the true worst loss of the McDermott era, New Orleans had scored 47 unanswered points. Nathan Peterman would eventually come in and finally get Buffalo in the end zone on a short pass to the legendary Nick O’Leary. Sean McDermott’s prowess as a defensive coordinator and head coach were in question, and the franchise keys were handed to Peterman for all of one game. (Far too long, some would say.) Things worked out for the better, but this team went through a lot to get there.

Present Day

Coming off a short week, the Buffalo Bills prepare to visit the New Orleans Saints for a Thanksgiving throwdown on Thursday night. We need to start a series winning streak of our own, and there’s no time like the present to get the ball rolling. Stay tuned for a detailed look at our previous Turkey Day excursions in the next couple days!!

If you like the series, check out last week’s comprehensive article on the rivalry between the Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts here. And don’t forget to check back next week, as the Bills play host to the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football!