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Order the book, The United States Football League, 1982–1986.

Houston 34 at Los Angeles 33

1985 Week 1 - Sunday, February 24, 1985
Attendance: 18,828


LOS ANGELES(AP) All the pre-game hype and hoopla was directed at the rookie quarterback with the million-dollar contract, a Heisman Trophy winner with virtually no preparation. While Doug Flutie was struggling in his professional debut, the United States Football Leagues resident star passer was picking up where he left off last season.

Jim Kelly, the USFLs Most Valuable Player in 1984 when he threw for 44 touchdowns, began the 85 campaign in style yesterday with five scoring tosses and an American professional record 574 yards passing in leading the Houston Gamblers to a stunning 34-33 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Express before a crowd of 18,828. The Gamblers trailed 33-13 in the final quarter.

Ive been in comebacks before but never anything like that, said Kelly. Pulling out that was the best feeling I ever had in my life.

Kelly completed 35 of 54 passes and threw for three touchdowns in the last 10 minutes. He hit Ricky Sanders with a 39-yard TD pass with 1:18 remaining and Toni Fritschs conversion was decisive.

Kellys 574 yards passing surpassed Norm Van Brocklins 554 set with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League in 1951. Kelly was 12 yards shy of the pro record of 586 by Sam Etchverry of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 1954.


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