This year, Buffalo takes an 11-game win streak into the Tecmo Bowl with a healthy and helmeted Thurman Thomas carrying the team across a playoff field of worthy contenders to sunny Phoenix, Arizona. There, they'll meet the Philadelphia Eagles, winners of 12 games and the all-around best team out of the very competitive NFC. We've already done the breakdowns and examined the minutia of this match-up, so let's head to balmy Phoenix and the Sun Devil Stadium, where Coach Marv Levy is ripping off the sleeves of his new Bills sweater with disguised anger.
Thanks to the unstoppable system of tubes called the internet, video footage of the game has already leaked to YouTube. If you're the visual type, you may want to watch highlights there. Otherwise, enjoy this supplementary text, nerd.
The Tecmo Bowl
A rocketing kick off the ankle of Roger Ruzek has Buffalo pinned at their own 4-yard line. The Bills, undeterred from this predicament thanks to their own potent offensive weaponry, get started with the Thurminator right away, as he takes the rock 8 yards up the middle for some breathing room. The Eagles 'D' hunkers down from this point on, forcing the Bills into their first 3-and-out since the second quarter in Week 11.
Philadelphia heads off their first drive of the Tecmo Bowl with delicious field position at the Buffalo 41-yard line. With Herschel Walker enjoying his team's Championship run from the comforts of his own hospital bed hooked up to a breathing machine, Keith Byars and Heath Sherman double-team to grind out some yardage. Randall Cunningham tries to switch things up by using his arm, though without a ball attached to throw he's forced to resort to his legs. Cunningham uses his bursting power to blow past some Buffalo defenders to get to the 10-yard line. And, apparently being too early in the game for the Bills to play strategy, Cunningham takes the exact same designed run play untouched into the end zone.
Philadelphia leads 7-0
Kenneth Davis gives his team considerably better field position at their own 40, while Thurman proceeds to cut the field in half with a 34-yard scamper on first down. It's all Carwell Gardner up in here from this point, with two short, belabored runs mixed with an under-thrown Kelly pass leading to Buffalo suddenly needing a big pick-up on 3rd down in a drive that surely saw them coming away with at least 6. Unfortunately, the Eagles defense have their acute sights set on their prey, and feast on a pitch play to Thurman that force Buffalo to send out Steve Christie for the chip shot.
Philadelphia leads 7-3
Cunningham tries to keep the Bills guessing on their second drive by throwing a game of "500" to his receivers. Without adding "dead or alive" kept them from laying out for his lame ducks, however, and when he tries to go on the run and is blitzed, Philadelphia suddenly sees any momentum they had being taken from them, dead or alive.
Cunningham, unconcerned with his own pay thanks to his latest Dodge Caravan endorsement, shoots an errant dart right into the diving hands of Safety Henry Jones on first down.
With time suddenly becoming a factor in the first half, Kelly goes to the air on first down. His pass over the middle to Andre Reed proves to be a bit too saucy for the receiver to handle, so he goes back to the ground with Thurman. The Eagles, still not satiated with their last gnashing of Thomas, drop him for a loss of 1. They follow this up with a blitz of Kelly, putting the ball back in the hands of the inferior half of their team.
Philadelphia tries to get a quick drive going with under 30 seconds to play, but the potent punt from Chris Mohr has them pinned a bit too far back. By the time Pat Beach is hauling in his obligatory one reception per game, the Mighty Bomb jacks are already synchronized huffing on the NFL shield.
Halftime - Eagles 7, Bills 3
Thanks to the exalting ministry of a one Mr. Cunningham during halftime, the Eagles are graced with a second chance to start the second half, where the drive gets ripping early with a 21-yard run from the preacher man to midfield. From there, Cunningham keeps his completion streak going by heaving up a ball to Calvin Williams, who leaps, pulls it down, and runs past the weary Buffalo secondary for Philadelphia's second score.
Philadelphia leads 14-3
Philadelphia leads 14-6
Christie follows up his near-miss from 20 yards out with a kick off his big toe that has Vai Sikahema skirting midfield. Sherman tries his best to eat up some yardage and time, but when he eats up the yards behind him Cunningham is forced to sear the air with another of his lobs. Though his completion streak remains in tact, it falls into the forearms of the opposing Mark Kelso all the way at the Buffalo 3-yard line.
With the sun setting fast in Phoenix, the Bills get started on their march to a 12th consecutive win and a Tecmo Bowl Championship with a Carwell Gardner bumble for 2 yards. Things turn around quickly, however, when Thomas takes a sure loss 18 yards out to the 23-yard line, followed up by James Lofton diving for a catch in coverage to help Kelly complete his first pass of the game. Two plays later, Thomas takes another dangerous pitch play 29 yards to the Philadelphia 26, though all his fancy footwork is, at this point, only serving to eat up precious time. The Eagles' defense, as they have all day, stand their ground after giving some away, keeping Buffalo from converting on three straight plays to force another Christie appearance. Knowing they'd need a field goal either way, Bills fans aren't too enraged with this somewhat disappointing turn of events. Unfortunately, their bad vibes stemming from the Scott Norwood experience are enough to create a strong Arizona crosswind that pushes Christie's 40-yard kick wide right. Somewhere, Norwood's fifth bottle of wine suddenly takes on a sweet, succulent flavor.
With a first recognized world football championship in their sights, the Eagles opt to make things interesting by calling a pass in the flat that is inevitably intercepted by Nate Odomes at Philadelphia's own 29-yard line.
Kelly keeps his chemistry with Lofton alive with a throw on first down that finds the charismatic receiver wide open on the sideline. Buffalo scores their first touchdown, though time appears to not be on their side in more ways than one, with the option for 2-point conversions in the Tecmo Bowl still being debated somewhere on a message board in the Midwest.
Philadelphia leads 14-13
Final Score: Eagles 14, Bills 13
Yes, somehow this was a game featuring the two best teams from a 28-team field in this year's Tecmo Bowl season. Whether they were both out of gas from dominating their respective conferences during the regular season, or they were just there to prolong the party from the night before, both teams put on a rather pathetic showing in the game of the year. Thurman Thomas was the most skilled player on the field, though even he committed a very costly mistake that remains one of the many turning points in this close-fought contest to give the Championship away. That Buffalo couldn't pull out a win after three Cunningham interceptions and a fumble says a lot about the legs of this team, which appeared infallible after a dominant 11-game win streak. The MVP of this game is a rare collective one, given out to the Philadelphia defense for not only saving their offense's ass, but also exposing Buffalo's greatest weakness: their chew-spitting, gun-toting, uncomfortable with the limelight quarterback, who only completed two passes--both coming after about three and a half quarters. Congratulations, Philadelphia, you've got your first football championship. Now go home before anyone notices.
The season may be over, but our head writer, Butt Douglas, will be defending his own 1-2 record at the next Madison, WI tournament: Tecmo IX: Marino Royale. If you're not signed up, you can still go and cheer him and the rest of the 200+ competitors on and keep the exciting Tecmo momentum going!