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Oilers Top Bills as Ageless Blanda Shines

Sept. 28, 1963 - Ageless George Blanda, tearing Buffalo’s secondary to shreds with precision passing in the first half, led the Houston Oilers to a 31-20 victory over the Bills tonight in War Memorial Stadium. A hopeful crowd of 32,340 turned into an angry, booing, and thoroughly disgusted group as they watched the Bills absorb their third defeat in four starts and drop deeper into the AFL’s Eastern Division cellar. The Bills started strong, striking for 10 points in the first 7½ minutes and were in front, 17-7, late in the first quarter. Then Blanda, 36 years old, took charge. He threw three touchdown passes to the Oilers’ great flanker, Charley Hennigan, and the Bills were on their way down again. Their hopes for a second-half comeback after trailing 28-20 had to ride with rookie quarterback Daryle Lamonica as Jack Kemp injured his finger and was on the sidelines for the last two quarters. The youngster from Notre Dame moved the Bills along the ground to open the second half, but the drive stalled at the Houston 14 and Mack Yoho missed on a 22-yard field-goal attempt. Buffalo threatened only once again. For the night, Blanda was 18 for 25 with 242 yards gained. In addition, he punted three times for a 43-yard average and kicked a 28-yard field goal. “These guys went along with me through the two losing games,” Blanda said afterward. “No one had a critical word. I was about due to make a contribution to the club. As I’ve said before, with guys like Charley Hennigan, Bob McLeod, and Will Dewveall going out and getting the passes, my job is easy.” The game was like a daydream for Oiler Coach Pop Ivy and a nightmare for the Bills’ Lou Saban. “We are still the champs, and the other clubs will have a tough time with us from now on,” Ivy said. “Perhaps after two defeats, our guys have realized they can’t survive on last year’s record. Blanda got better protection than he did in the last two games, and it paid off.” Saban sat in stunned silence in the Bills’ headquarters. Like a youngster who has just seen his prized balloon disintegrate, Saban could only mutter: “Maybe we are just not good enough.”


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