Andre Reed Hall of Fame Induction: Remembering “The Comeback”

After several years of being snubbed by the National Football League’s Hall of Fame voters, all-time Buffalo Bills great, Andre Reed, will finally be enshrined in Canton this weekend. Reed will be joining his teammates Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas, as well as his head coach Marv Levy and the late Ralph Wilson Jr.. Reed was a cornerstone player of the early-90’s Bills teams that went to four consecutive Super Bowls, and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is long overdue.

Reed ranks towards the top in nearly every receiving category, with 951 receptions (10th all-time), 13,198 yards (13th all-time) and 87 touchdowns (11th all-time). Andre Reed and Jerry Rice are the only two wide receivers in NFL history to record at least 50 catches in 13 separate seasons. The former fourth-round draft pick out of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania was selected to seven consecutive Pro Bowls, and was named to two All-Pro teams in his career.

Being a 23-year old that was born in 1991, Reed’s 7th professional season, I don’t have many distinct memories of watching Andre Reed play live. My dad brought me to several games, but being five or six years old at the time didn’t allow me to fully appreciate just how good those guys were, so most of my knowledge surrounding the 90’s Buffalo Bills comes from stories that my dad shared with me, YouTube highlights, or being lucky enough to catch full-game re-runs on NFL Network.

Andre Reed was the prototypical “West Coast” wide receiver, as he was quick and fearless when going over the middle. He was capable of catching a five-or-seven yard pass and turning it into a big gain with his elusiveness and run-after-catch ability.

Andre Reed was snubbed by Hall of Fame voters several times, but his incredible career is finally being recognized.
Andre Reed was snubbed by Hall of Fame voters several times, but his incredible career is finally being recognized.

With Reed being inducted this weekend, I decided to watch the 1992 Wildcard game against the Houston Oilers, a game in which he stepped up when he was needed most, as the Bills were without Jim Kelly and Cornelius Bennett, while Thurman Thomas had to leave early with an injury.

Now, the game is known simply as “The Comeback,” after the Bills were able to overcome a 35-3 deficit en route to an overtime victory. Warren Moon got off to an incredible start, completing 19-of-22 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns in the first half, and it seemed like the Bills would be knocked out of the playoffs. Andre Reed thought otherwise.

Following a Kenneth Davis rushing touchdown in the middle of the third quarter, Frank Reich connected with Don Beebe to bring the score to 35-17. Reed then took over, finishing the game with eight catches for 136 yards and three touchdowns.

Let’s take a look at the touchdowns that helped the Bills make the biggest comeback in NFL history.

The first touchdown came on a flag route that Reed ran perfectly. Lining up in the slot, Reed caught the cornerback sinking into zone coverage and turned up-field essentially uncovered.

Reich connected with Reed for the second time on a 4th-and-5 from 18-yards out. Reed ran a streak from the slot, getting outside of his defender before turning inside to make a great catch.

In the fourth quarter, Reed found the endzone for the third time, hauling in a 17-yard pass on a go route that gave the Bills a 38-35 lead.

After Reed’s score, the Bills had the momentum to secure an overtime victory.

Andre Reed’s enshrinement will be a bittersweet moment for Buffalo Bills’ fans, as he’ll be the sixth member of the early 90’s team to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, it’ll also be the last Bills player to make it into Canton for a long time.

The Comeback game exemplified the type of player that Andre Reed was, as he stepped up and took control of the game when the Bills needed him most. When you look at his body of work– from career statistics, to his longevity, to his postseason statistics, etc.– there’s absolutely no question that the decorated 16-year veteran is worthy of being enshrined with the greatest football players of all time.

What are your favorite memories of Andre Reed or the Comeback game? Let us know in the comment section!