Joe Ferguson threw four touchdown passes, each to a different receiver, to lead the Buffalo Bills to their second straight rout, a 35-3 victory today against overmatched Baltimore. The Colts played the second half without injured quarterback Bert Jones..
The Bills have yet to yield a touchdown this season, having beaten the New York Jets, 31-0, last week. Today, Ferguson completed 16 of 28 passes for 261 yards, with scoring passes of 33, 6, 54 and 3 yards, as the Bills amassed 430 yards.
"We may be surprising some people, but we aren't surprising ourselves," said halfback Joe Cribbs. "We know how good we are and what we're capable of doing."
Jones' throwing arm was injured when he was hit, and intercepted, in the second quarter. He tried to continue playing, but his arm got progressively worse and he gave way to Greg Landry. Jones, who has a history of debilitating shoulder injuries, completed only five of 11 passes for 30 yards; Landry was seven of 17 for 90 yards.
This injury apparently affected a nerve in Jones' right forearm. "I hit something or something hit it, I don't know," he said. "I was getting sacked at the time. After that play I started losing control in my thumb and forefinger. I couldn't control the ball."
The extent of his injury won't be known until a more complete examination is made Monday.
While the Bill defenders were sacking Jones and Landry five times, Buffalo's line kept the Colts away from Ferguson. And with plenty of time to throw, he was devastating.
"We didn't do anything good today," said Baltimore Coach Mike McCormack, whose offense gained only 147 yards. "We got beaten badly at the line of scrimmage all day long."
"We mix things up so well that it's extremely hard for any defense to settle in against us," said Buffalo guard Conrad Dobler.
The first time the Bills had the ball Ferguson drove them 70 yards in nine plays, getting the touchdown on a 33-yard pass down the middle to Cribbs. Their other two touchdowns that half came on a 54-yard Ferguson-to-Jerry Butler pass-run and on a five-yard pass to tight end Mark Brammer.
The play to Butler typified the excitement the Bills can produce. Butler ran a deep out pattern, catching Ferguson's pass 25 yards down field in front of Baltimore defenders Larry Brazile and Nesby Glasgow.
After catching the ball, Butler turned to his right, then cut back left. As Brazile closed in, Butler spun around, leaving Brazile to clutch air. Butler then high-stepped through Glasgow's tackle and sprinted the last 25 yards to the end zone.
Baltimore's only score came on a 22-yard field goal by Mike Wood in the second quarter. The Bills led at the half, 21-3, and never were threatened.
The field goal was the direct result of just about the only mistake the Bills made all game. Cribbs fumbled at his 38 and Barry Krauss recovered the ball, but the Bills still wouldn't let the Colts cross their goal line after they drove to the five. The Bills also stopped the Colts four times at the two-yard line in the fourth period.
"No way we wanted to give up the seven. I don't care how far ahead we were," said linebacker Shane Nelson. "When you don't let teams score, that builds confidence and pride. We don't want anybody ever scoring on us."
The first four times Landry went back to pass, he threw three incompletions -- one into the Colts' bench, one over the Bills' bench and one three feet short of his receiver -- and was sacked once.
The first person to catch a pass from Landry, unfortunately for the Colts, was wearing a Buffalo uniform. Cornerback Charles Romes returned the interception 35 yards to the Baltimore four and set up Ferguson's fourth touchdown pass, a three-yarder to backup tight end Buster Barnett.
Ferguson played only part of one series in the fourth quarter before Matt Robinson replaced him. Robinson kept the ball on the ground, but the Bills still scored again. Roland Hooks ran 19 yards to the four and on the next play went around right end for the final touchdown.
"I really don't have any profound statements to make," Buffalo Coach Chuck Knox said. "Things just went our way."