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1978 Buffalo Bills season

1978 Buffalo Bills season
Head coach Chuck Knox
Owner Ralph Wilson
Home field Rich Stadium
Record 5–11
Division place 4th AFC East
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season      Next season
< 1977      1979 >

The 1978 Buffalo Bills season was the 19th season for the club and its ninth in the National Football League. The Bills were coming off a season in which they only won three games, making 1978 a slight improvement.

Head coach Chuck Knox began his first season with the team, having coached the Los Angeles Rams for the previous five seasons.[1] It was also Buffalo's first season after the departure of star running back O.J. Simpson, who had left for San Francisco in the offseason.

The Bills offense acquired a pair of weapons for quarterback Joe Ferguson: wide receiver Frank Lewis, who had spent the previous 7 seasons in Pittsburgh, and rookie running back Terry Miller, who ended the season with over 1,000 yards.[2]

The 1978 Bills' run defense allowed an NFL record 3,228 rushing yards; the 677 rushing attempts the Bills faced in 1978 is also an NFL record.[3] Oddly, the Bills were first in the league in yards allowed on pass defense, giving up only 1,960 yards through the air.[4]


NFL Draft

Main article: 1978 NFL Draft

Running back Terry Miller had finished second in Heisman Trophy voting in 1977, but made little impact with Buffalo, as he left after the 1980 season. Tenth round pick Will Grant became the starting center in the 1980 season, and remained the starter until 1985.

Round Pick # Player Position College
1 5 Terry Miller Running back Oklahoma State
2 33 Dee Hardison Defensive end North Carolina
2 38 Scott Hutchinson Defensive end Florida
3 59 Dennis Johnson Running back Mississippi State
3 65 Danny Fulton Wide receiver Nebraska-Omaha
4 89 Lucius Sanford Linebacker Georgia Tech
5 114 Ken Spaeth Tight end Nebraska
6 145 Eric Smith Tackle Southern Mississippi
7 171 Mario Celotto Linebacker USC
7 183 Steve Powell Running back N.E. Missouri State
10 255 Will Grant Center Kentucky
11 282 Jerry Blanton Linebacker Kentucky
12 309 Richard Crump Running back N.E. Oklahoma A&M

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 3, 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers L 28–17
2 September 10, 1978 New York Jets L 21–20
3 September 17, 1978 at Miami Dolphins L 31–24
4 September 24, 1978 Baltimore Colts W 24–17
5 October 1, 1978 Kansas City Chiefs W 28–13
6 October 8, 1978 at New York Jets L 45–14
7 October 15, 1978 at Houston Oilers L 17–10
8 October 22, 1978 Cincinnati Bengals W 5–0
9 October 29, 1978 at Cleveland Browns L 41–20
10 November 5, 1978 New England Patriots L 14–10
11 November 12, 1978 Miami Dolphins L 25–24
12 November 19, 1978 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 31–10
13 November 26, 1978 New York Giants W 41–17
14 December 3, 1978 at Kansas City Chiefs L 14–10
15 December 10, 1978 at New England Patriots L 26–24
16 December 17, 1978 at Baltimore Colts W 21–14



Player stats


Note: Comp = Completions; ATT = Attempts; TD = Touchdowns; INT = Interceptions

Player Games Comp Att Yards TD INT Rating
Joe Ferguson 16 175 330 2136 16 15 70.5

Special Teams

Note: FGA = Field Goals Attempted; FGM = Field Goals Made; FG% = Field Goal Percentage; XPA = Extra Points Attempted; XPM = Extra Points Made; XP% = Extra Points Percentage

Player Games FGA FGM FG % XPA XPM XP %
Tom Dempsey 16 13 10 76.9% 38 36 94.7%

Awards and honors


Main article: 1978 All-Pro Team

External links

  • 1978 Buffalo Bills

Video Archives

  • YouTube
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  • Bills on Pro Football Reference
  • Bills on
  • Bills Stats on

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