In Week 3, the Buffalo Bills will take the field against the San Diego Chargers. It’ll be Buffalo’s second home game of the season, and possibly their most difficult match-up to date this season.
The Bills have to slow down Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and an underrated wide receiver corps on Sunday if they hope to move to 3-0. The Chargers are coming off of a big upset win over the Seattle Seahawks where Rivers threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, the Chargers held Marshawn Lynch to six carries for 36 yards.
While the two teams aren’t exactly rivals, they did face off in some pretty important games in the 1960’s. We’ll discuss those games later. For now, here’s the regular season history of the Buffalo Bills vs San Diego Chargers.
Head-to-Head Regular Season Match-ups: 33
Bills Record: 10-21-2
Winning Percentage: .333
Points Scored: 555
Points Allowed: 792
The Bills have struggled against the Chargers in the regular season. However, when looking back at their head-to-head match-ups, I found that Buffalo is 3-1 at home against San Diego since 2000. All four home games since 2000 were close, so don’t be surprised if this week’s game also goes down to the wire.
In terms of streaks, Buffalo’s longest winning streak over the Chargers was three consecutive games (including playoffs). Their longest losing streak was seven consecutive games from 1967-1979.
Head-to-Head Playoff Match-ups: 3
Bills Record: 2-1
Winning Percentage: .667
Points Scored: 57
Points Allowed: 27
The sample size is small in terms of playoff match-ups, but Buffalo’s two wins against the Chargers in the postseason were important ones. In 1964, the two played in the AFL Championship Game. Buffalo was considered the underdog, but won the game 20-7. The Chargers scored first in the game before the Bills scored 20 uncontested points. Buffalo’s defense was stout as the Bills won their first AFL Championship.
The following season, the two met again in the AFL Championship Game. The Bills held a better regular season record, but just like the previous season, the Chargers were favored coming into the game. The outcome of the game was also pretty similar from the previous year. The Bills won the game 23-0, Ernie Warlick scored the only offensive touchdown of the game. Butch Byrd was responsible for a defensive touchdown and Pete Gogolak added three field goals.
Their last playoff match-up was in 1980. The Bills lost in the divisional round 20-14. Buffalo led 14-3 at halftime in this matchup, but Dan Fouts tossed two second half touchdown passes and Rolf Benirschke added a field goal for the Chargers.
Summary and Prediction
The 2014 season is the 50th anniversary of Buffalo’s first AFL Championship. I’m a bit surprised that the Bills aren’t honoring this team on Sunday, considering they’re playing against the Chargers.
The Chargers looked great last week against the Seahawks and if they’re firing on all cylinders, it could be a long day for the Bills. That said, Buffalo has also played inspired football and looked terrific at home. While I expect both defenses to make a few big plays, the game should have a fair amount of scoring.
If Buffalo wants to move to 3-0, they need to turn the majority of their red zone scores to touchdowns, not field goals. Much like their last four home match-ups with the Chargers, I expect this game to be close. The Bills pull out a close 27-24 victory with a last second Dan Carpenter field goal.