The first sentence of Chuck Pollock’s game story (the first link in the above list) sums it up nicely: “The scoreboard read 40-7 ... but it wasn’t that close.”
While the Bills were busy fumbling and bumbling their way to five turnovers and a stat line a high school team would mock, Chicago – aided by three drive starts on the Buffalo side of midfield – merely scored on each of its first five possessions to put the game out of reach before halftime.
How dominant a performance was it? After Brian Moorman bobbled a low snap, blowing up a fake punt at midfield on their opening drive, the Bills never crossed the 50 again until the two-minute warning. Not for long, though. On the next play, J.P. Losman threw the second of his three interceptions, and the Bears headed into the locker room with a comfortable 27-0 lead.
Buffalo finally managed to get inside the Chicago 30 on its first drive of the second half, but defensive end Alex Brown stepped in front of a screen pass meant for Willis McGahee, and the Bears were cruising. Two more Robbie Gould field goals and a gift-wrapped touchdown courtesy of Terrence McGee’s fumbled kickoff return made the score 40-0 before Losman found Lee Evans for a 5-yard touchdown, breaking the shutout with just 1:06 remaining in the game.
“It was a disappointment playing a really good football team and not to have them battle until the end. That’s what we wanted to do,” Bills coach Dick Jauron said the next day. “We wanted to play a sound game and once again, when you lose the turnover battle five to one, the games can get out of hand like it did yesterday, particularly against a good football team. They deserved the victory. They outplayed us. They made the plays and we did not.”
The Bills defense barely slowed down the Bears’ rushing attack. Thomas Jones averaged over 5 yards per carry on his way to a 110-yard afternoon, and Cedric Benson bulled through the line for two short touchdowns.
Rex Grossman finished 15-for-27 for 182 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to backup Brian Griese at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The No. 3 scoring defense in the league stuffed the run early and often, holding McGahee to 50 yards on 14 carries before the Bills were forced into catch-up mode. Losman had a miserable day, going 14-for-27 for 115 yards with three sacks and three interceptions, and added a fumble for good measure.
The Bears improved to 5-0, on their way to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl appearance. Buffalo fell to 2-3, and would finish the season with the first of Jauron’s three consecutive 7-9 records.
This time, Travis Henry’s game ended much better than it began.
For the second consecutive game, the opposing defense returned a first-quarter fumble by the young Bills running back for a touchdown. But while Buffalo ended up losing the previous game, dropping a 28-23 decision in Denver, Henry atoned for Bears safety Mike Brown’s 62-yard score by catching a 26-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe 1:58 into overtime.
The scoring throw was one of four on the day for Bledsoe, who finished the game 28-for-36 for 328 yards. It also marked Bledsoe’s fourth career overtime game-winner, breaking the NFL record he had previously shared with Terry Bradshaw. Afterward, Bledsoe jokingly downplayed the accomplishment, saying, “I guess I just don’t do enough in regulation. I need to get more done in regulation so I don’t have to keep dealing with this.”