After a brief moment last week, when we were able to look back on a victory, now we head back to the doldrums of defeat. I'm talking about the last time the San Diego Chargers played the Buffalo Bills. In 2008, the Chargers were coming off a shellacking of the (Brady-less) New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, were back at .500, and hoped to head east to build a winning record. The Bills had jumped out to an early lead in the AFC East, sitting at 4-1 and had everyone talking about how they might actually be good again.
This was a weird game. The biggest reason this was a weird game was because hardly anyone saw it. A few minutes into the first quarter, there was a massive power-outage at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and the power remained out until part of the way through the second half. Time had to be kept on the field by the officials, meaning no play clocks or game clocks. This resulted in delay of game penalties for both sides.Both quarterbacks were incredibly efficient on the day. Philip Rivers completed 22 of 29 passing attempts, while Trent Edwards (remember him?) completed 25 of 30 passes. The big difference on the day was turnovers. Rivers was sacked twice and lost fumbles both times, and also threw an interception in the end zone late in the 4th quarter. The Bills, for their part, played mistake-free football.
The Chargers took brief leads of 7-3 and 14-13, but lost them both times soon thereafter. The play of the game happened with just over 6 minutes to go in the 4th, when the Chargers drove to the Buffalo 9 yard line, down 20-14. On first and goal, Rivers threw a pass that was picked off by linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who then returned it to the Buffalo 31. The ensuing drive by the Bills got them within field goal range, and Ryan Lindell gave them a two-score lead with a little more than 3 minutes to go in the game. That would end the scoring, as the Bills held on to win 23-14.
Today's Buffalo Bills are somewhat similar to 2008's version. They started off extremely well with big wins over the Raiders and Patriots and looked to have played themselves into the playoff picture. Five straight losses later, they've got the same 5-7 record as the Chargers and, like the Chargers, will probably be on the outside looking in. San Diego has actually won a game recently, albeit over the hapless Jaguars, and looks to continue that rebound at home. Current losing streak aside, Buffalo is not quite as inept as Jacksonville, and will likely give the Chargers a fight come Sunday.