Work in Sports
Bills down Chargers 27-24 on 46-yard FG in overtime
Updated: Monday October 16, 2000 12:46 PM
Flutie was forced into the game in overtime after Johnson separated his right shoulder on Neil Smith's hit at the end of the Bills' first possession of overtime. Johnson will miss 2-4 weeks.
On the Bills' next possession, set up by Henry Jones' interception at the Buffalo 41, Flutie swiftly moved the Bills to the winning score.
"You don't want to let your teammates down. You want to go in and give them the best opportunity to win -- don't make mistakes and make the couple of plays that you can," said Flutie, making his second straight appearance for Johnson, who hurt his elbow in last weekend's 22-13 loss at Miami.
"I just went in the last handful of plays and tried to execute to secure that, to take advantage of the opportunity the rest of the team had given us."
The Bills also got a break on the winning field goal with 6:34 remaining. Christie's first attempt bounced off the right goalpost. But it didn't count because the play had been called dead when Buffalo center Jerry Ostroski false-started.
Christie's second attmempt just sneaked over the bar.
It was a sloppy, dramatic and intense see-saw battle between two teams desperate for a victory.
The Chargers (0-7) squandered a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and are off to their worst start since opening the 1975 season 0-11.
The Bills (3-3), coming off three losses to AFC East rivals, avoided losing four straight for the first time since 1985.
"We're totally stoked, very happy we got a win. We rallied," said Johnson. "We hadn't played well all game, but when it was on the line, we made the plays and we got it into overtime."
Oddly, it was the Chargers who intended to use two quarterbacks, only to watch their experiment failed miserably.
Chargers coach Mike Riley lived up to his word and pulled starter Jim Harbaugh despite a solid first quarter.
Enter Moses Moreno and enter chaos.
Moreno, who missed the last three games with a right shoulder injury, fumbled the snap on his first play from scrimmage. Then, on the Chargers' next drive, Moreno fumbled when sacked by Sam Cowart.
Both turnovers led to touchdowns as the Bills went ahead 14-3 and Moreno was done.
"Bad decision by me," said Riley, admitting he considered leaving in Harbaugh, who had just hit six straight passes to set up John Carney's field goal. "It was unfortunate. I would never have expected that. I still have a lot of confidence in [Moreno]. I just felt we couldn't let it go on any longer."
Said Harbaugh: "I figured I would get in at some point. I didn't know it was going to be that quick."
Harbaugh, coming off a three-interception performance in last weekend's 21-7 loss against Denver, finished 21-for-33 for 287 yards, with two interceptions and two touchdowns.
Curtis Conway had seven catches for 143 yards and a touchdown, while Jeff Graham finished with nine catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. Jermaine Fazande, on a 2-yard dive, also scored for San Diego.
Johnson, sacked four times, finished 29-for-47 for a career-high 321 yards and one interception. He has now failed to finish three of his last six starts.
Eric Moulds had a career-high 11 catches for 170 yards, his third 100-yard-plus game this season. Sammy Morris rushed for a TD and the Bills also got a rare score from an offensive lineman as Ostroski pounced on Jonathan Linton's fumble as it rolled into the end zone.
After falling behind 24-14, the Bills got back into the game in the fourth quarter.
Johnson, shrugging off boos from the sellout crowd, drew the Bills close with a 99-yard drive capped with an 11-yard screen pass to Shawn Bryson two minutes into the fourth quarter.
The Bills forced overtime when Johnson marched the team 69 yards to set up Christie's 29-yarder with seven seconds left.
"This was a situation where this could've been a big loss for us, but I think this game showed what kind of character we have as a team," Moulds said.
Notes: The Chargers lost defensive lineman Michael Mohring with a right knee sprain. Mohring, who will undergo an MRI on Monday, was hurt covering a kickoff late in the first quarter. ... The loss was San Diego's first in its last seven trips to the Buffalo-area, going back to 1964, when the Chargers lost the AFL championship game at Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium.