“I loved it,” Bills coach Perry Fewell said. “It was a Buffalo day.”
“Yeah, that’s the thing. You’ve got to get caught up in the moment,” Owens said, about his spontaneous celebration. “But once all that stuff settles down, it’s back to freezing.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) threw three touchdown passes despite near whiteout conditions in the first half as the Bills (6-10) head into an uncertain offseason after missing the playoffs for a 10th straight year. Fred Jackson(notes) had a career-best 212 yards rushing, the seventh-highest rushing total in team history, to reach 1,000 yards for the first time. Jackson also scored on an 11-yard catch.
Ever the competitor, Manning failed to see the fun for the flakes.
Overlooking the wintry scene, and that he only played three series, the quarterback lamented how the Colts ended their season with two straight duds following last week’s 29-15 loss to the New York Jets.
“It’s not much fun to stand on the sideline as you see the score going the other way,” said Manning, who was 14 for 18 for 95 yards and an interception before giving way to rookie backup Curtis Painter(notes).
At least Manning and the Colts (14-2) can look forward to playing a meaningful game when they open the playoffs in two weeks as the AFC’s top seed.
“The regular season is over,” Manning said. “We’re not thinking about it or talking about it.”
Manning did take care of some unfinished business. Manning completed seven passes to Dallas Clark(notes), allowing him to become the NFL’s second tight end to have a 100-catch season, joining Tony Gonzalez(notes). Reggie Wayne(notes) had five catches to reach 100 for the second time in his career.
Manning also finished with an even 4,500 yards passing, 57 short of matching his 2004 career-high.
The Colts squandered a chance to become the sixth NFL team to win 15 games in one season. Indianapolis also had a franchise-best 11-game road win streak snapped.
Coach Jim Caldwell said he kept Manning and the offensive starters in a little longer than expected, wanting to give them a chance to be sharp after the first drive ended with an interception.
As for what he took out of the game, Caldwell smiled and said he doesn’t intend to even review the game film.
There wouldn’t be much to see, considering about 6 inches of snow fell during the game.
After trading touchdowns in the first quarter, the Bills went ahead for good when Fitzpatrick hit Lee Evans(notes) for a 21-yard score. Evans caught the ball at the 1, then slid backward into the end zone, leaving a 2-yard skid mark in the snow.
Owens scored on the next series, two plays after Painter fumbled.
The Bills offense generated 403 yards—the most since putting up 438 in a 33-20 win over Tampa Bay in Week 2. Their defense got two interceptions from rookie Cary Harris(notes), and limited the Colts backups to 65 yards and four first downs over their final nine possessions.
The fans, some of them shirtless, who were brave enough to attend got into the wintry spirit by cheering a stadium employee as he shoveled away snow to expose an outline of the end zone.
The Bills got into the act before the game began, some players using their feet to spell out the word “Bills.”
“It was a great atmosphere,” Evans said. “It’s great to win, but it’s always better in conditions like that.”
The Bills already started their offseason overhaul after promoting national scout Buddy Nix to general manager Thursday. Fewell, a candidate for the job, went 3-4 after Dick Jauron was fired in November.
Fewell said he’s scheduled to be interviewed for the job this week.
ESPN reported that the Bills met with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon declined comment on the report during the game.
NOTES: Bills PK Ryan Lindell hit three field goals, including a 36-yarder, giving him 1,005 career points, and 735 in seven seasons with Buffalo. … Donald Brown(notes) scored on a 1-yard plunge for the Colts. … The Bills won their season finale for the first time since a 27-9 win over Cincinnati to close the 2002 season. … The Bills also ended a six-game losing streak against Indianapolis.