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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Roland on the spot

   November 22, 1981 -- It qualifies as one of the most dramatic finishes in Bills' history.

   The 6-5 Bills had fallen behind the 2-9 Patriots, 17-13, in the final seconds. Matt Cavanaugh had hit Don Hasselback with a 2-yard touchdown pass just after the two-minute warning. The game looked over. Then Joe Ferguson hit Roland Hooks with a long pass to get the ball to the New England 36.

   OK, there was a heartbeat, but a faint one. Then Ferguson threw a long pass toward the end zone ... which was deflected by the Patriots' Mike Hawkins ... into the waiting arms of Hooks for a game-winning touchdown.

   Bills win, 20-17. Fandemonium, as someone once said. (OK, I should give credit to Van Miller.)

   Hooks finished with six receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 13 times for 45 yards. Nick Mike-Mayer had two field goals for Buffalo.

   The Bills, buoyed by the win, won their next three games to move to 10-5, and they made the playoffs for the second straight year.

   So remember, never leave a game too early.

-- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.