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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Down but not out

   September 21, 1997 -- When it comes to comebacks, everyone thinks of the Bills' historic win against the Houston Oilers in a 1993 playoff game at Rich Stadium. That facility hosted a rally almost as dramatic just a few years later.

   The Bills trailed the Indianapolis Colts, 26-0, with six minutes left in the second quarter. Buffalo's hopes for a victory that fall afternoon against a team that was 0-3 appeared less than bleak.

   "Orchard Park High School kids could have beaten us in the first half," defensive end Phil Hansen said to Vic Carucci of The News. "I don't even have an answer for the way we looked in the first half. It was not a team that deserved or demanded respect."

   Somehow, some way, the Bills came all the way back. They beat the Colts, 37-35.

   Buffalo started the rally late in the first half with 10 quick points, including a touchdown pass from Todd Collins to Lonnie Johnson. In the second half, Antowain Smith ran for three touchdowns, while Collins threw another scoring pass to Quinn Early. Marvin Harrison caught a TD pass for the Colts with 14 seconds left, but the two-point conversion failed and the Bills had a victory.

   "When you're up, 26-0," said Colts' quarterback Paul Justin, "you have to put the damn thing away."

 --- Budd Bailey

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