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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Ousted Destroyers

     July 26, 2002 -- The Buffalo Destroyers' exit from the Arena Football League's playoffs was as quiet as their performance down the stretch of the regular season.

     The Destroyers lost their first-round playoff game against the Predators in Orlando, 32-27. Buffalo lost its last five games to finish with a 6-9 record overall, including the playoffs.

     The Destroyers held Orlando off the scoreboard for the final quarter in the high-scoring game, but couldn't score themselves. A couple of turnovers proved costly.

     Buffalo had one last chance at the end, needing a 45-yard touchdown on the game's last play. Quarterback Jeff Loots was hit as he stepped out of the pocket and fumbled. Orlando recovered as time expired.

     Predators' quarterback Jay Gruden threw for four touchdown passes. He is the younger brother of former Tampa Bay (NFL) coach Jon Gruden.

     That was it for the postseason record of the Buffalo franchise -- 0-2. The Destroyers missed the playoffs in 2003 and then moved to Columbus, Ohio.

--- Budd Bailey

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