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  • Budd Bailey

Buffalo Bills: November 26, 1964 – Giving thanks for a win

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

(Editor’s Note: Reedy Press has published “The Buffalo Bills: An Illustrated Timeline of a Storied Franchise.” The book was written by Greg Tranter and Budd Bailey; click here for more information. The authors wrote some potential chapters to the book that were not used, and didn’t want to put them to waste. Therefore, they thought people would like to read about those events from the team’s past on this site. It will give you a taste of what the text of the coffee-table book is like.)

The Bills have had a variety of great comeback wins over the years. This one became overlooked after a while, because the same two teams played in the American Football League title game a few weeks later. But the game was one for the memory books too.

The San Diego Chargers took a 24-14 lead on the Bills on a 53-yard option pass from Keith Lincoln to Lance Alworth. The score came with seven seconds gone in the fourth quarter. About eight minutes later, a goal-line stand stopped Buffalo’s attempt to narrow the margin. The Bills’ hopes looked quite dead. Yet that’s when the fun began.

Linebacker Mike Stratton started the rally by tackling Chargers quarterback John Hadl for a safety immediately following the change of possession. From there, Charley Warner returned the ensuing free kick to the San Diego 18. Daryle Lamonica soon added a touchdown to cut the lead to 24-22. Daryle’s first attempt at a two-point conversion failed, but a holding penalty on the Chargers gave Lamonica another chance. He tied the game with a one-yard sneak.

Soon after that, Stratton intercepted a tipped pass by Hadl, and the Bills marched down the field again. With three seconds left, Pete Gogolak kicked a 33-yard field goal to give Buffalo a 27-24 win. “I was shaking like a leaf on the sidelines. But everything was OK once I got in there,” Gogolak said postgame.

After the game, Bills’ owner Ralph Wilson hosted a Thanksgiving party for the team. The turkey must have tasted particularly good.

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