Bills wide right, Giants super Norwood's FG try fails in 20-19 Buffalo defeat

January 28, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

TAMPA, Fla. -- It came down to a 47-yard field-goal attempt with eight seconds left.

Scott Norwood of the Buffalo Bills was wide right with the attempt, enabling the New York Giants to hang on for a 20-19 victory over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium.

Norwood had a chance to duplicate Jim O'Brien's game-winning field goal in Super Bowl V for the Baltimore Colts, but he just missed.

The Giants parlayed a tough defense, the running of Most Valuable Player Ottis Anderson and the gutty play of backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler into a victory.

It was an emotional scene in the Giants' locker room after the game.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who presented the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the Giants, said: "We've been saying all week that the 25th anniversary Super Bowl is very special. You can't do it better than this in the future. I'm sure of that."

"I could cry very easily," said owner Wellington Mara as he fought back the tears.

Coach Bill Parcells said, "I realized a long time ago that God's playing in some of these games. He was on our side today. I think we played as well as we could. I'm very proud of my guys. This is one of the greatest victories I've ever had as a coach."

The Giants started the second half with the longest drive in Super Bowl history, a 14-play drive that lasted 9 minutes, 29 seconds.

Hostetler completed four third-down plays in the drive that was climaxed by Ottis Anderson's 1-yard touchdown plunge that put the Giants ahead 17-12.

On the Bills' opening drive of the third period, they got one first down, but an offensive pass interference penalty on Andre Reed put the Bills into a second-and-18 situation.

Kelly threw an incomplete pass on second down and was sacked on third down, leaving the Bill 0-for-6 on third downs in the game.

After Rick Tuten shanked a 20-yard punt, the Giants took over on their 32 and marched to the Buffalo 35, where they faced a fourth-and-2 play.

Spurning a punt or a 52-yard field-goal attempt, Giant coach Bill Parcells, who likes to gamble on fourth down, went for it.

But Anderson was stuffed on the play by Bruce Smith, who wasn't blocked on the play.

The Bills took over and scored on four plays to take a 19-17 lead. Thurman Thomas ran 31 yards for the touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter when he bounced off Myron Guyton for the touchdown.

The Giants then came back with Matt Bahr's 21-yard goal with 7:20 left to take a 20-19 that turned out to be the difference.

Buffalo had one last shot when it took over on its 10-yard line with 2:16 left.

They got into position for Norwood to try a 47-yard field goal with eight seconds left, but it was wide right.

The first half lived up to the pregame expectations that it would be a close game.

The difference as the Bills took a 12-10 halftime lead was a safety with 8:27 left in the second quarter.

Defensive lineman Bruce Smith was credited with the safety, but it was set up when Hostetler tripped over the foot of Ottis Anderson in the end zone while he was dropping back to pass.

Except for that play, it was a virtual draw in the first half as the Bills ran 34 plays to 35 for the Giants while the Giants had an 11-10 lead in first downs and the Bills held a 218-185 margin in total yardage. The Giants had a 17:56 to 12:04 edge in time of possession.

There were no interruptions during the first half for updates on the Persian Gulf War, although ABC-TV showed a planned update at the end of the first quarter.

The network also gave a halftime war update instead of showing the gala Disney halftime show featuring Up with People and New Kids On the Block. The halftime show was shown on the Disney cable channel. The fans also participated in the halftime show with a card show.

The Giants scored first on a 28-yard field goal by Matt Bahr after the Giants put together one of their typical 11-play, 58-yard drives that took 6:15. The Giants, who failed to score a touchdown while upsetting the San Francisco 49ers, 15-13, last Sunday, had a first down on the Buffalo 15, but then bogged down.

After Anderson ran for 3 yards on first down, Hostetler was stopped for a 1-yard scramble on second down.

On third down, Hostetler threw an incomplete pass to Mark Ingram, and the Giants then settled for the field goal.

Buffalo, which failed to get a first down on its first possession with its no huddle offense, got a 61-yard gain on a Kelly pass to James Lofton that Perry Williams tipped right into Lofton's arms.

That gave the Bills a first down on the Giants' 8-yard line, but Kelly threw incomplete passes on first and third downs and Thomas gained only 3 yards on second down so the Bills settled for a 23-yard field goal by Scott Norwood to tie the game, 3-3.

On the Giants' next drive, they moved the ball 34 yards before Hostetler missed a third-down pass to David Meggett.

The Bills then almost took control of the game, jumping to a 12-3 lead before the Giants came back to score in the final minute of the first half to cut the deficit to 12-10.

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