The NFL season finally is set to begin! The Colts kick off the season by traveling to Buffalo to take on their former division rival in the Bills.
Since these two played in the same division until 2002, there is obviously plenty of history between the teams. In fact, the Bills actually lead the overall series by a slim margin of 35-31-1.
In honor of the first game of the season, this week's Throwback Thursday looks at the last time the Colts visited Buffalo to open the season. Twenty five years ago yesterday (so September 9, 1990) was the last time Indianapolis went to Buffalo to kick off the season.
At the time, this was certainly a tale of two different franchises. The Colts had improved near the end of the 1980s with the help of Ron Meyer and Eric Dickerson.
However, in 1990, both Meyer and Dickerson were nearing the end of their time in Indianapolis, while new quarterback Jeff George was just getting started. In fact, this game against the Bills would be the first game in which George saw game action.
Of course, in the late 80s and through the early and mid-90s, the Bills were the cream of the crop in the AFC. During that time, the Bills reached an unprecedented four straight Super Bowls. Of course, the Bills infamously lost all four. Still, this was a time where the Bills ruled the AFC East and the AFC in general.
But on to the actual game.
In the first quarter, the Bills opened up the scoring as Scott Norwood connected on a 29-yard field goal. The Colts would follow suit, as Dean Biasucci hit a 24 yard kick, leaving the game tied at the end of the first quarter.
In the second, the Bills started to open up the game. Jim Kelly found Butch Rolle for a three yard score, and Norwood added two more field goals. Suddenly, the Colts trailed 16-3 at the half.
After a poor start, Colts quarterback Jack Trudeau was subbed out in favor of George. Trudeau finished the game 6 of 11 for a mere 38 yards and an interception. It was time to see what the rookie could do.
The only score of the third quarter belonged to George and the Colts, as the rookie found Stanley Morgan for a 25 yard score. Just like that, the Colts were only down by one score heading into the final frame.
That's as close as the Colts would get, though, as Norwood added his fourth field goal to extend the lead. Late in the fourth, Thurman Thomas would put the game away with a six yard touchdown run.
Buffalo would win by the final score of 26-10.
At the time, I would wager that the performance of George was something to be encouraged by for Colts fans. The rookie finished 13 of 24 for 160 yards and a touchdown. Not a bad performance for a rookie playing against the defending AFC Champs.
Still, statistically, the Colts were dominated. The Bills outgained the Colts 100 to 58 on the ground, and 283 to 198 through the air. The Colts turned the ball over twice, while Buffalo only lost the handle once.
I mentioned that these two teams were going difference directions in their history in 1990, and that's visible in the rest of the season.
The Colts would finish 7-9 and third in the AFC East, and would be blown out in Indianapolis, 31-7, by these same Bills later in the season.
Buffalo, on the other hand, would finish 13-3, with losses to the Dolphins, Oilers, and Redskins. In the playoffs, the Bills won a 44-33 shootout over Dan Marino and the Dolphins, blew away the Raiders 51-3, and of course lost the Super Bowl on the infamous "Wide Right" kick.
The Colts would continue to limp through the early 1990s until the magical 1995 season. The Bills would proceed to reach the Super Bowl the three seasons following the 1990 campaign as well.
Also worth noting that Buffalo's Offensive Coordinator in 1990 was none other than Ted Marchibroda, and the GM (of course) was Bill Polian.
This Sunday sees a rivalry renewed as the Colts open the season in Buffalo for the first time since this game in 1990.