At halftime of the first game of the Gregg Williams era, the Bills were seemingly doing everything right, holding Ricky Williams to just five rushing yards and clinging to a 6-0 lead at the break. The second half was a different story, though, as Bills quarterback Rob Johnson discovered a new favorite receiver. Unfortunately for Buffalo, it was Saints safety Sammy Knight, who tied a New Orleans franchise record with a three-interception game.
The Bills lost not only their home opener, but Pro Bowl linebacker Sam Cowart, who ruptured his Achilles tendon in the first half and never played another down for the team.
Like the 2001 game, the Bills took an early lead, but the Saints roared back to secure a double-digit win. First-year starter J.P. Losman was harassed into a miserable 7-for-15, 75-yard performance and eventually benched for backup Kelly Holcomb, who didn’t fare any better.
For me, the lasting image of this game was Terrence McGee’s scintillating kickoff return on the final play of the first half, one which came oh-so-close to giving the Bills the lead back at the break. But with time long expired, McGee tripped over fallen teammate Mark Campbell at the Saints 5, and the score remained 13-7 as the teams headed to the locker room ... and I slumped into my seat in the Alamodome’s upper deck, after briefly considering going over the railing in front of me. It was that kind of day.