Seen and Herd: Week 17 | Indianapolis Colts Vs. Buffalo Bills

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IJanuary 6, 2010

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 03: Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Indianapolis Colts at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Jackson ran for 212 yards in a 30-7 Buffalo win.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

At last I've finished unpacking, paid for my parking pass, and activated my meal card for my last undergraduate semester. Very surreal that I did all that for the last time today.

Mother nature snowed down on us seemingly the entire trip back, and once again I understood how awful weathermen can be. And he still kept his job.

So I've yanked back my sleeves to write the final installment of this year's Seen and Herd. All good things do come and end after all.

The Buffalo Snow Bowl

You caught me, I'm trying to hype Sunday's game probably a little more than I should—practice squad guys lined the field like a preseason game in winter, and the game meant zilch to either squad.

Still, the atmosphere must have faded many of you back to when you bundled up, wore your Jim Kelly jersey on the outside, and played a pick-up game in the local park as a kid. I was instantly reminded.

The players—grown men with ever-growing egos, who grumble about four million dollars when they think they deserve six—looked like they were having fun again. This is just a game, remember.

Whataya' know, the reflection on childhood affected the Bills' play on the field. Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed three touchdown passes, to Fred Jackson, Lee Evans, and Terrell Owens, and Jackson ran for a whopping, career-best 212 yards. Maybe adults take things too seriously.

Evans, on his TD grab raised his arm in the air with the ball as he slid four yards into the end zone, a favorite pastime for kids in the snow. Pretty cool moment. The Bills lead 24-7 at the half.

The plows did their best zamboni impression during halftime, as the snow subsided in the third and fourth quarters.

That first half to me, is what Bills fans should look forward to in the future. Also the Bills brass might want to slip it in as a bonus bargaining chip to free agents and draft picks. True, you're not grilling hot dogs past September around here, but who wouldn't want to be a part of a game like that?

Miami's got sunshine and, sometimes, sweltering heat, but Buffalo can give you frigid games like that—contests you'll never forget.

Maybe I'm nuts. But one, maybe two games a season in that weather's got to be a blast.

Hopefully the next time we see a Buffalo blizzard during a Bills game, it's significance will be tied to the post-season, not draft position.

Fred Jackson's day, season

What a player. Humble, assertive, hardworking, versatile. And he played Division III ball? Ran in semi-pro indoor leagues? NFL Europa? And Curtis Enis was the fifth overall pick in '98 out of Penn State.

So much for Division I college being the best place to evaluate talent.

Jackson fought all season and finally hit the 1,000 milestone running—he finished with 1,062 on the year. He didn't get there by loading up on carries Larry Johnson-style either. He toted the stone 236 times for a 4.5 yards per carry average.

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He hauled in 46 passes for 371 yards with two scores, returned kickoffs, and threw a touchdown pass to Evans against the Titans.

His 2,516 total yards ranks him fourth in total yards in NFL history. Pretty darn good for someone who was overlooked by the top two collegiate divisions.

His 33 carry, 212 yard showing against the Colts capped off his season like champagne on New Year's Eve. A workmen-like game in the snow, behind a battered and practice squad-caliber offensive line against the AFC's finest at home—Jackson's season epitomized in one afternoon.

Defense ends strong

Everyone's pointing the absence of Peyton Manning, save three drives in this game. However, for a run defense that's parted like the Red Sea on frequent occasions in '09, they kicked off '10 by limiting the Colts to 25 yards on the white turf.

That's gotta stand for something. Kyle Williams recorded his fourth sack, reminding us of the resolute way in which he plays the game.

Cary Harris picked off two Colts passes, the first and second of his career—Buffalo ended the season atop the AFC in interceptions with 28—respectable for a 6-10 team backed by a youthful secondary.

The Bills front office can spend the summer months at rest regarding their defensive backfield. The players on the current roster created a pass-deflecting force field this season. Their strength will only grow with time.

What's Ahead

A long off-season, loaded with action.

The Bills anointed Buddy Nix as their GM, who'll initiate the turnaround. We get the bittersweet enjoyment to begin the coaching sweepstakes, while others embark on a journey to the Super Bowl.

Then, the Combine, then the draft. So much speculation, so many rumors, lots of time to sort everything out.

Are we going to see a shiny, new Buffalo Bills team at the dawn of the decade? I'm just aching for a fresh start.


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