September 29, 1968: New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Historical Game of the Week
By Ken Crippen
- Professional Football Researchers Association
Published: December 9th, 2008
September 29, 1968
New York Jets 35
Buffalo Bills 37
On September 29, 1968, the Buffalo Bills took on the New York Jets. The Bills had yet to win a game at that point, while the Jets were undefeated.
The Bills led 10-7 in the second quarter when the Jets recovered a Dan Darrah fumble deep in Buffalo territory. On the next play, Joe Namath attempted a pass to Curley Johnson, but it was intercepted by Tom Janik. “I was covering Curley Johnson all the way,” recalled Janik. “The ball was perfectly thrown. I hesitated for a split second, then stepped inside my man. All I saw was daylight.” Janik returned the interception 100 yards for a touchdown and the Bills were on top 17-7.
The defense again stepped up. On Namath’s next pass attempt, he was intercepted by Butch Byrd, who also returned it for a touchdown. However, the Bills were called offsides and the score was taken off the board.
A one-yard run by Emerson Boozer and a 55-yard pass from Namath to Don Maynard put the Jets on top 21-20 at the half.
In an exciting fourth quarter, Butch Byrd and Booker Edgerson intercepted Namath passes a minute apart; both being returned for touchdowns. The Bills were on top 37-28. With slightly over one minute left in the game, the Jets were on the Buffalo ten-yard line. Namath dropped back to pass and hit George Sauer in the endzone to close the gap. Time ran out before the Jets could score again and Buffalo took the 37-35 victory.
Buffalo would tie the Miami Dolphins a few weeks later, but would not win another game that disappointing 1968 season. Only two years removed from playing in the AFL Championship game, the Bills dropped hard. The Jets, however, would go on to beat the Raiders 27-23 in the 1968 AFL Championship game and on Namath’s bold prediction, they upset the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III.