September 23, 1979 – Jerry Butler And His Incredible Receiving Day For The Buffalo Bills


The Buffalo Bills are one of the great franchises in the National Football League. The team got it’s start in the old American Football League as a founding member in 1960 and over the years has had good years and bad years. They have also played in great games, had great players, and great individual and team performances. One of the most incredible receiving performances in team history was the day that receiver Jerry Butler put together on September 23, 1979 in a game against the division rival New York Jets.

The game took place at Rich Stadium in Buffalo and at the time both teams had identical 1-2 records on the year. After three field goals in the first quarter, the Bills would enjoy a slim 6-3 lead going into period number two. Tom Newton would score two touchdowns right away, the first a 51 yard run to paydirt and the second a one yard plunge. Receiver Jerry Butler would haul in a five yard touchdown pass from Buffalo quarterback Joe Ferguson and after a failed extra point attempt, the Bills would be down 17-12. The Jets would come right back though and quarterback Richard Todd would hook up with Wesley Walker from 37 yards out to add another touchdown. Jerry Butler would then get his second touchdown of the day on a 75 yard touchdown reception from Ferguson, making the halftime score Jets 24, Bills 19.

Butler, having two touchdown receptions already in the game, didn’t slow down once halftime was over as he almost immediately hauled in a 74 yard touchdown pass for Ferguson that gave his team the lead. Still in the third quarter, Ferguson would hook up with Butler on one more scoring play, his fourth TD reception of the day, this one from nine yards out. Defensive lineman Fred Smerlas would return a fumble for a touchdown and when the third quarter was over the Bills would lead the Jets 40-24. Both teams would add touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the Bills missing another extra point and the final score would be Buffalo 46, New York 31.

Jerry Butler’s career was solid, but he was not one of the stars of the league. He played for seven seasons in the NFL, all of them with the Buffalo Bills.

On this day though he had an incredible performance. His final stats for the day were ten receptions for 255 yards and four touchdowns. Those are numbers that any wide receiver would be very proud to call their own.

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