How a Texans win this weekend could erase 27-year-old heartbreak

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the first time since an epic playoff collapse, a team from Houston will meet the Buffalo Bills in the NFL playoffs, and one Oilers player hopes a Texans win will help erase the pain of the past.

Highlights from the 1993 playoff game are something any Houston sports fan hates to watch. It's not only the fans who struggle with what happened, but it's also the players.

"It stings even to think about it even in this moment," said Spencer Tillman.

Tillman played special teams and running back for the Oilers 27 years ago. He was a part of the team that lost to the Bills in the playoffs after the Oilers led 35-3.

"We were so talented that our kicker was a scratch golfer," Tillman recalled.

Following the loss, Tillman said it wasn't easy living in Houston.

"I remember going to the boat show just to get it out of my head, and three or four people walked up to me saying, 'You've got some nerve showing up.' I remember it like it was yesterday, and they were absolutely right," Tillman recalled. "I felt bad about it. I had to get it out of my system."

Now, nearly three decades later, Tillman is about to see Houston play Buffalo in the playoffs.

The Texans will host the Wild Card game against the Bills on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 3:35 p.m. The game will air on ABC13. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien was asked about the last time the cities met in the playoffs.

He said it was years ago, and not on the players' minds. Tillman said he's not surprised it's being discussed.

"I don't think Bill O'Brien or anybody should be frustrated to field those kinds of questions," Tillman said.

In addition to Tillman, ABC13 spoke with former Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones about the comeback game. He said although it's been addressed by the media and fans, don't expect the players to be talking about it.

"I don't think it bothers them at all," Jones explained. "That was 1993. We're about to be 2020, man."

Tillman believes players, though, could use it as motivation to help Houston fans erase some of the pain of the defeat.

"When the Texans win, I think they can now embrace the fact the slate can be laid to rest," Tillman said.

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