Before he set records for the Bills, QB Jim Kelly was lighting up the scoreboard in the fledgling USFL.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Houston quarterback Jim Kelly threw for a United States Football League record 574 yards and connected for five touchdowns on Feb. 24 to lead the Gamblers to a dramatic 34-33 victory over the Los Angeles Express in the 1985 opener for both clubs.
Kelly, the USFL's most valuable player as a rookie in 1984, threw three touchdown passes in the final 10 minutes to rally Houston from a 33-13 deficit in the game played before a crowd of 18,828 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
His last scoring toss, a 39-yarder to Ricky Sanders that was Sanders' third TD reception of the day, came with 1:18 remaining.
Toni Fritsch then converted the PAT to give the Gamblers the victory.
Kelly completed 35 of 54 throws as his passing yardage topped the former USFL mark of 444 yards by Bobby Hebert of Michigan the year before. It was also 20 yards more than the National Football League mark established by Norm Van Brocklin in 1951, but was 12 yards shy of the pro football record of 586 by Sam Etchenverry with Montreal of the Canadian Football League in 1954.