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On This Date in Sports November 17, 1975

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

It’s the arm of Ken Anderson against the legs of O.J. Simpson as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Buffalo Bills in a memorable Monday Night game at Riverfront Stadium. The Bengals could not stop the juice, as Simpson rushed for 197 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns. However, Ken Anderson had one the best games of his career completing 30 of 46 passes for 447 yards with two scores as the Bengals beat the Bills 33-24.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills of the 1970’s both were solid teams that had little luck, as the Bills with O.J. Simpson setting rushing records could never beat the Miami Dolphins, losing all 20 meetings during the decade, which led to them making just one lone playoff appearance in an era in which there was just one wild card spot. The Bengals had a similar fate in their battles against the Pittsburgh Steelers, making the playoffs three times under the leadership of Coach Paul Brown.

O.J. Simpson again showed why he was the best running back in the NFL in 1975 as he led the league in rushing while establishing a new record with 23 touchdowns. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Ken Anderson was leading the league in passing for the second straight season with 3,169 yards. When they played on Monday Night Football it was a battle of contrast as the Bills looked to control the game on the ground, while Bengals looked to kill you with a passing game helped by offensive assistant coach Bill Walsh. The Bengals drew first blood when Lenvil Elliott caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Anderson, missing the extra point. The Bills answered with a 28-yard field goal by John Leypoldt. In the second quarter, Stan Fritts scored a one-yard plunge to give Cincinnati a 13-3 lead. The Bills answered back with a 2-yard run by O.J. Simpson before Ken Anderson again torched the Bills secondary with a 20-yard pass to Charlie Joiner to give the Bengals a 20-10 lead at the half. Simpson scored early in the third quarter to keep Buffalo in the game, while Dave Green’s 28-yard field goal was all the Bengals could manage. The Bengals looked to put the game away in the fourth quarter as Fritts added a second short yardage score to make it 30-17. The Bills would creep back into the game with a 10-yard touchdown pass by Joe Fergusson to J.D. Hill. However, Anderson was just too strong for the Bills to stop as he drove the Bengals down to the goal line and set up Green for an 18-yard field goal to seal the 33-24 win.

The Lou Saban led Buffalo Bills after getting the AFC Wild Card spot in 1974, posted a somewhat disappointing record of 8-6 in 1975. The loss of defensive backs Robert James and Doug Jones played a role, as Buffalo became the first team to allow over 3,000 passing yards in a season. The Bengals meanwhile finished 11-3 and captured the Wild Card spot. Two of the Bengals three losses came against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Bengals would not get a rematch with Pittsburgh as they lost in the playoffs to the Oakland Raiders 31-28. The 1975 season would mark the end of an era in Cincinnati, as Owner-Coach Paul Brown retired from coaching following the season. Bill Johnson would get the head coaching job over Bill Walsh, who left the Bengals in anger to become offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers.