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Given Second Chance, Bills Get Their Kicks : AFC: Kelly, Thomas put Buffalo in position to beat Cleveland, 22-19, on Christie's field goal.

October 03, 1995|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — It took Steve Christie four tries, but he finally got it right.

After missing a chip-shot field goal, an extra point and his first try at the winning kick, Christie made a 33-yard field goal with five seconds to play Monday night that gave the Buffalo Bills a 22-19 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Christie needed--and got--two chances at the winning kick because the Browns' Pepper Johnson called timeout moments before Christie pulled the first one wide to the left.

The next one was good.

"The thing that impressed me the most was the way that, no matter how many things went wrong, our team never caved," Coach Marv Levy said. "It was a very atypical day for Steve Christie. He's very dependable, but he just had one of those days. But he made the one that counted."

Christie was merely grateful for the outcome.

"The key is, we won," he said. "I was really fortunate to have the opportunity to come back and hit it. Obviously, I hadn't done a very good job."

Two familiar names, Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, combined to set up the winning kick. Starting from the Bills' 26 with 3:38 to go, Kelly connected with Russell Copeland on a 20-yard pass that got the ball near midfield, and Thomas carried four times for 33 yards.

Kelly was 27 for 34 for 256 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Andre Reed caught nine of them for 97 yards, including a 41-yard scoring reception with 6:30 to play.

Buffalo (3-1) ran up 406 yards of offense and could have put the game away earlier, but several costly mistakes kept the Browns (3-2) in it:

--Christie pulled a 22-yard field goal attempt wide to the left early in the fourth quarter, only the third miss of his career from inside 30 yards.

--Christie blew an extra-point try after Reed's touchdown reception.

--Kelly had the ball knocked out of his hand deep in his own territory late in the third quarter, setting up the third of Matt Stover's four field goals.

Stover's fourth field goal, a 38-yarder, tied it 19-19 with 3:49 to play. One play earlier, Vinny Testaverde aimed a 20-yard pass at Andre Rison that was deflected away at the last second by safety Greg Evans.

Testaverde was 18 of 34 for 224 yards.

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