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Saints vs. Bills Series History

A look back at the series history between the New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills.
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Thanksgiving Day wraps up with the New Orleans Saints hosting the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night in the Ceasars Superdome.

New Orleans has lost three straight to fall to 5-5. It’s their longest losing streak since dropping the first three games of the 2016 season. Buffalo comes in with a 6-4 record and has dropped two of their last three contests.

This is just the 12th meeting between the Saints and Bills. New Orleans holds a 7-4 advantage in the series. However, they are just 3-3 against them at home and 1-3 versus Buffalo in the Superdome. The Saints have won the last five matchups against the Bills.

First Ever Meeting

The New Orleans defense surrounds Buffalo RB O.J. Simpson (32) during a 1973 contest. Credit: nosaintshistory.com

The New Orleans defense surrounds Buffalo RB O.J. Simpson (32) during a 1973 contest. Credit: nosaintshistory.com

The first time the Saints and Bills met was on November 4, 1973, in Tulane Stadium. New Orleans fought to a 13-0 halftime lead. There would be no more scoring in the second half. The Saints had just 281 yards of offense, but held the Bills to just 190 total yards in the win.

Saints WR Bob Newland had the only touchdown of the game, catching a 9-yard score from QB Archie Manning in the second quarter. Manning was sacked four times, but completed 16 of 33 attempts for 188 yards without an interception. It was the New Orleans defense that was the difference in this game.

Buffalo RB O. J. Simpson became the first player to run for over 2,000 yards in 1973, setting an NFL record with 2,0003 yards on the ground. The Saints were one of only three teams to hold Simpson under 100 yards that year. He had just 79 yards on 20 carries.

First Meeting in the Superdome

Credit: eBay 

Credit: eBay 

These teams wouldn't meet again until week three of the 1980 season, on September 21, 1980, in the Louisiana Superdome. The Saints hung tough for two quarters and even held a 19-14 halftime lead.

Ultimately, New Orleans had no answer for the Buffalo offense. The Bills rolled up 410 yards of total offense, including 295 yards passing and 3 touchdowns from QB Joe Ferguson. Saints QB Archie Manning threw for 285 yards, but the team was only able to muster 38 yards on the ground.

Buffalo scored 21 second half points to take control of the game. The Saints scored a late touchdown to make it respectable, but fell 35-26 on their way to a disastrous 1-15 season.

Battle of Contenders

Saints QB John Fourcade is pressured as he throws against the Bills in 1989. Credit: USA TODAY 

Saints QB John Fourcade is pressured as he throws against the Bills in 1989. Credit: USA TODAY 

Through the late-1980's and early 1990s, Buffalo and New Orleans were among the strongest teams in their respective conferences.

The Bills made six straight playoff appearances from 1988 to 1993 and four straight trips to the Super Bowl. Between 1987 and 1992, the Saints had five winning seasons and made four trips to the playoffs. These teams met twice during that span, with each squad taking a victory.

On December 10, 1989, these teams met for just the second time in Buffalo. The Saints jumped to an early 13-0 first quarter lead in snowy conditions on touchdown passes from QB John Fourcade to TE John Tice and RB Dalton Hilliard.

Buffalo stormed back in the second quarter with two field goals and a touchdown pass from Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly to Hall of Fame WR James Lofton. New Orleans answered with a field goal from their own future Hall of Famer, K Morten Andersen, to hold a 16-12 halftime lead.

Weather conditions played a major factor, especially in the second half, but the Dome-dwelling Saints outgained the explosive Bills in total yardage, 436-279.

Fourcade overcame the snow to throw for 302 yards, the only 300-yard outing of his four-year career. Hilliard had 97 yards rushing and 152 yards from scrimmage, while wideouts Eric Martin and Brett Perriman combined for 196 yards on 8 receptions.

The Saints defense sacked Kelly twice and intercepted him three times while holding Hall of Fame RB Thurman Thomas to less than 100 total yards. Dome Patrol linebackers Pat Swilling (1 interception) and Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson (1 sack) each had standout performances in the snow.

Buffalo took a third quarter lead on another Kelly touchdown strike, but New Orleans tied the game at 19 with another Andersen field goal. A 22-yard fourth quarter field goal from Andersen provided the winning margin in a 22-19 New Orleans victory.

The next meeting between the Saints and Bills wouldn't be until December 20, 1992, in the Superdome, during the next-to-last game of the regular season.

Buffalo again had one of the league's most dangerous offenses, but this would be a defensive battle between the Dome Patrol and the Bills athletic playmakers.

Morten Andersen answered an early Buffalo field goal with two first quarter three pointers of his own. Saints QB Bobby Hebert hit WR Torrance Small with a 20-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter a 13-3 halftime lead.

Neither quarterback had much success, with Hebert and Jim Kelly each being held under 190 passing yards. Buffalo's defense shut down the Saints running game, holding them to just 48 yards on 21 carries. The Bills had much better success on the ground. They gashed the Saints for 181 yards rushing, led by 115 from RB Thurman Thomas.

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The Bills held New Orleans to just one field goal in the second half. Two second half touchdown runs by Thomas helped them pull away for a 20-16 victory.

The Saints finished second in the NFC West with a 12-4 record in 1992, but would lose a Wild-Card playoff game to Philadelphia at home. Buffalo, meanwhile, went on to lose their third consecutive Super Bowl.

The Bills would defeat the Saints, 45-33, during the 1998 regular season finale in the Superdome the next time these teams met. It was the last time Buffalo has recorded a victory in this series.

The 2000s

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) prior to the snap against the Buffalo Bills in 2013. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) prior to the snap against the Buffalo Bills in 2013. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY

The Saints own a 5-0 record over the Bills since the turn of the century. New Orleans intercepted 3 passes, got 97 yards rushing from RB Rickey Williams, and scored 24 second half points in a 24-6 win at Buffalo in 2001.

During a 2005 season wrecked by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans won only three of 16 games. One of those victories was a week four contest against the Bills.

In a ‘‘home'' game played in San Antonio because of storm damage to the city, New Orleans gutted out a 19-7 victory behind 130 yards rushing from RB Deuce McAllister and 129 yards receiving from WR Donte Stallworth.

Saints coach Sean Payton is 3-0 against the Bills since he took over the franchise in 2006.

Payton's Saints first faced the Bills in Buffalo during their Super Bowl championship season of 2009. After holding a narrow 10-7 halftime lead, the Saints erupted for 17 fourth quarter points in a 27-7 win. They were led by 126 rushing yards and two scores from RB Pierre Thomas.

The last time these teams faced off in the Superdome was on October 27, 2013. Buffalo grabbed a 10-7 second quarter lead, but couldn't contain the explosive New Orleans offense. The Saints defense also recorded four sacks, forced three turnovers, and held the Bills to less than 300 total yards.

New Orleans QB Drew Brees threw for 335 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-17 victory. Brees found WR Kenny Stills for 129 yards and two of those scores while spreading the ball around to 10 different receivers.

Surprisingly, this was the only victory New Orleans has ever recorded over Buffalo at the Superdome.

Last Meeting

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs through Buffalo Bills defenders. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs through Buffalo Bills defenders. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints last played the Bills on November 12, 2017, in Buffalo. After an early Buffalo field goal, New Orleans dominated the Bills in front of their home crowd. The Saints defense stifled the Bills, holding them to just 10 first downs and 298 total yards.

New Orleans didn't need any aerial heroics from Brees this time, although he did connect with WR Michael Thomas nine times for 117 of his 184 passing yards. Instead, Brees simply had to watch as the New Orleans ground game bludgeoned the Bills defense.

The Saints racked up 32 first downs and an incredible 298 rushing yards on the afternoon. RB Mark Ingram had 131 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 carries. Ingram was complemented by rookie RB Alvin Kamara, who added 106 yards on the ground and two scores. The Saints rolled up 30 second half points in a resounding 47-10 victory. 

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