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1981 Buffalo Bills season
Head Coach Chuck Knox
Home Field
Results
Record 10–6
Place 3rd AFC East
Playoff Finish Lost Division Round
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1980 1982

The 1981 Buffalo Bills season was the 22nd season for the club and its 12th in the National Football League.

OffseasonEdit

NFL DraftEdit

Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team

Regular seasonEdit

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 6, 1981 New York Jets W 31–0
79,754
2 September 13, 1981 at Baltimore Colts W 35–3
44,950
3 September 17, 1981 Philadelphia Eagles L 20–14
78,331
4 September 27, 1981 at Cincinnati Bengals L 27–24
46,418
5 October 4, 1981 Baltimore Colts W 23–17
77,811
6 October 12, 1981 Miami Dolphins W 31–21
78,576
7 October 18, 1981 at New York Jets L 33–14
54,607
8 October 25, 1981 Denver Broncos W 9–7
77,757
9 November 1, 1981 Cleveland Browns W 22–13
78,266
10 November 9, 1981 at Dallas Cowboys L 27–14
62,583
11 November 15, 1981 at St. Louis Cardinals L 24–0
46,214
12 November 22, 1981 New England Patriots W 20–17
71,593
13 November 29, 1981 Washington Redskins W 21–14
59,624
14 December 6, 1981 San Diego Chargers W 28–27
51,488
15 December 13, 1981 at New England Patriots W 19–10
42,549
16 December 19, 1981 at Miami Dolphins L 16–6
72,596

Standings Edit

AFC East
TeamWLTPCTPFPA
Miami Dolphins 1141.719345275
New York Jets 1051.656355287
Buffalo Bills 1060.625311276
Baltimore Colts 2140.125259533
New England Patriots 2140.125322370

RosterEdit

PlayoffsEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
Wildcard December 27, 1981 at New York Jets W 31–27
57,050
Divisional January 3, 1982 at Cincinnati Bengals L 28–21
55,420

AFC Wild CardEdit

Buffalo Bills 31, New York Jets 27
1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 17 7 0 7

31

Jets 0 10 3 14

27

at Shea Stadium, Flushing, Queens, New York

The Bills traveled to Shea Stadium, where the Jets were playing in their first playoff game since the 1970 merger. In a cold rain the Jets got off to a poor start as Bruce Harper fumbled the opening kickoff at his 25 and Charles Romes ran back the fumble for a touchdown. The Bills raced to a 24–0 lead in the second quarter as Frank Lewis caught two Joe Ferguson passes for touchdowns; the first was a pass from the Bills 40 yard line caught by Lewis at the Jets 32 and run in, then Joe Cribbs caught a 50-yarder, setting up Lewis' second catch; later Rufus Bess picked off Richard Todd and ran back 49 yards, setting up a field goal. But in the second the Jets began clawing back as Mickey Shuler caught a 30-yard touchdown in traffic (it was Shuler's first catch of the entire 1981 season) from Todd and following a Greg Buttle interception of Ferguson Pat Leahy booted a 26-yard field goal. A 19-yarder from Leahy was the only score in the third, then early in the fourth Ferguson was picked off by Donald Dykes, but Todd was intercepted by Bill Simpson. Following the Simpson pick Ferguson was intercepted again, by Jerry Holmes, but the Bills defense forced a mediocre punt by Chuck Ramsey caught at the 50. Three plays later Joe Cribbs caught a toss-sweep and ran in a 45-yard touchdown for Buffalo. But the Jets refused to give in; Todd tossed a 30-yard score to Bobby Jones and later Kevin Long ran in a 1-yard score. The Jets got the ball back in the final minutes, but a sack by Fred Smerlas led to a last-ditch Todd drive to the endzone; after completions to Gaffney and Scott Dierking Todd fired from the Bills 11 for the endzone but was picked off by Bill Simpson, ending a 31–27 Bills playoff win, only the third in the team's history and first since winning back-to-back AFL titles in the 1964 and '65 seasons.

Awards and honorsEdit

ReferencesEdit

AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Seattle Washington Tampa Bay
1981 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XVI

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