The Cincinnati Bengals will travel east to take on the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. This weekend’s game will mark the third meeting between the two teams in the playoffs. Cincinnati currently holds a 2-0 advantage over Buffalo in the postseason, with wins coming in the 1982 divisional round and the 1989 AFC Championship. Take a look into the brief history the Bengals and the Bills have had in the postseason.
Bengals vs. Bills Playoff History: 1982 Divisional Round
The 1982 divisional round would be historic for Cincinnati as the Bengals took down the Bills, 28-21, to win their first postseason game ever. Cincinnati came into the game with a 12-4 record and they finished the season in first place in the AFC Central division. The Bills, on the other hand, finished the year with a 10-6 record. Buffalo finished third in the AFC East and they would defeat the Jets, 31-27, to advance to the divisional round to take on the Bengals.
Cincinnati got off to an early 14-0 lead after Charles Alexander ran it in for a four-yard touchdown and a one-yard touchdown run by Pete Johnson. Buffalo was able to answer back and tie it up at 14 all in the third quarter. Joe Cribbs scored two rushing touchdowns to give the Bills momentum in the second half. The Bengals were able to respond with another touchdown run by Alexander to give Cincinnati a 21-14 advantage.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the fourth quarter as the Bills drove down the field and tied the game at 21 all. Jerry Butler hauled in a 21-yard pass from Joe Ferguson to deadlock the game in the final quarter. Cincinnati would be able to take the lead back after Ken Anderson would throw 16-yard pass to Cris Collinsworth to put the Bengals up 28-21 with five minutes left to play. Cincinnati’s defense would rise to the occasion and send Cincinnati to the AFC Conference Championship to take on the San Diego Chargers.
Bengals vs. Bills Playoff History: 1989 AFC Championship
There was controversy before the 1989 AFC Championship game between the Bengals and Bills in 1989. Bills head coach, Mark Levry, criticized the strategy as against the rules, as it was done with intent to deceive.
The Bengals defense would rise to the occasion by forcing three interceptions on the day. Cincinnati’s defense would allow just 45 rushing yards and 136 passing yards. The Bills had no answers on the day against the Bengals defense as Thurman Thomas was held to just six yards on four carries and Jim Kelly threw for only 161 yards and a touchdown. Kelly also threw three interceptions that turned the game on it’s head for Buffalo. Cincinnati’s defense also only allowed the Bills to convert 10 first downs throughout the game.
Buffalo would start their first drive in prime field position, but they would end up turning it over as Lewis Billups picked off Kelly’s pass. The Bengals offense weren’t able to convert as they turned the ball over themselves. However, Cincinnati would take a 7-0 lead after Eric Thomas 26-yard interception return would set up Ickey Woods for a one-yard touchdown run. The Bills would answer on their next offensive possession as Kelly found Andre Reed in the endzone to tie the game at 7-7.
The Bengals would retake the lead on a 11-play, 74-yard drive as Boomer Esiason found James Brooks in the endzone to put the score at 14-7. Buffalo would cut into Cincinnati’s lead before the half as Scott Norwood would nail a 39-yard field goal to put the score at 14-10 Cincinnati going into the half.
Cincinnati would take over the game in the second half as the Bengals defense would shutout the Bills offense. On the first play in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati would extend their lead with a one-yard touchdown run by Woods. With the 21-10 win, Cincinnati would go on to the Super Bowl, where they would ultimately lose to the San Francisco 49ers.