Fantasy Football News

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Whatifsports.com's Game Rewind of the Day: Houston Oilers get another shot against Bills' in 1992 Wild Card Match-up

To help pass the time, each day I will be taking a game from the past and replaying it using Whatifsports.com's NFL Sim Matchup to generate a new end result.

I will play the game three different times, and share the results of the final, series-clinching game to show everyone the outcome of the matchup. This is obviously just something fun for me to do to pass the long, boring days of spring while still getting my football fix (the AFL and NFL draft in April is not enough to do me justice).

We all know the 1992 AFC Wild Card game between the Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills, in Buffalo, as the greatest comeback in NFL history. Houston, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon (36/50, 371 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs in game), went in to half-time with a 28-3 lead thanks to all four of Moon's passing touchdowns, which went to Haywood Jeffries (2), Webster Slaughter (1) and Curtis Duncan (1).
Coming out in to the third quarter, Houston's defense stepped up as well as defensive back Bubba McDowell picked off Buffalo quarterback Frank Reich and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown. The INT was Reich's only mistake of the game as he then threw three third quarter touchdown passes (two to Andre Reed, one to Don Beebe), and running back Kenneth Davis added a one-yard touchdown run.

Down just four, 35-31, at the end of the third quarter, Buffalo then went on to complete a comeback with Reich's fourth touchdown pass, which just so happened to be Andre Reed's third touchdown catch of the game. Houston managed to tie the game back up at 38, with a field goal from Al Del Greco, but heading in to overtime Buffalo had full possession of the game's momentum.

To cap off the greatest comeback in NFL postseason history, a game in which Buffalo had 35 unanswered points after trailing by 32, Reich set up kicker Steve Christie with a game-ending 32-yard field goal, which he drilled through the uprights.

Here is Moon's shot at redemption.

And he wasted no time taking advantage of this second chance, sending his Oilers to the next round of the playoffs thanks to his 256 yards passing and two touchdowns. Just like the original matchup, the Oilers got off to a quick lead, leading 13-0 lead at the half. Moon's squad scored 13 more points in the second half as they knocked off the Bills 26-7.
On Buffalo's side of things, Frank Reich failed to really get anything going, throwing for just 168 yards and a touchdown on 18 for 32 passing. Kenneth Davis managed 91 yards rushing on 14 attempts, but failed to get in to the end zone, ending Buffalo's playoff run.

This outcome, of course, changes the course of history. After the comeback on that fateful day (January 3, 1993), Buffalo went on to manhandle its AFC counterparts en route to a Super Bowl appearance, defeating Pittsburgh 24-3 and Miami 29-10. The dominance was short-lived, however, as they fell to the NFC Champion Cowboys in the Super Bowl, 52-17.

Because of the change of history, I went on and simulated a Houston/Pittsburgh Divisional matchup, and Moon had another spectacular game with 238 yards and two touchdowns. Lorenzo White's 139 yards rushing paced a 30-13 upset of Pittsburgh.

Next up? Miami.

Yet again Houston came up big, although this wasn't quite as bad. The final score, 23-16, and the fact that Moon threw two INTs shows me that Houston had a little bit of trouble against Miami's defense. But, nonetheless, White ran for another 111 yards and a touchdown as Al Del Greco's three fourth quarter field goals paced the Houston comeback, who are now Super Bowl bound, facing the NFC champion Cowboys.

Much ado about nothing. In the end, the same outcome took place, Dallas had little trouble putting the Oilers away, with a 24-9 victory. It was Emmitt Smith's 124 yards and one touchdown that put the game out of reach in the third quarter. Nice try, Houston, but even on paper you weren't eligible to capture a Super Bowl championship in '92.

(Note on Photos: No copyright infringement intended)

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