Some random thoughts about the Bills 30-7 victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Buffaloís season and decade finale Sunday, while attempting to type with my gloves on in the frigid press box at the Ralph:
How can you not feel good for Fred Jackson? Here is a guy who rose from the oblivion of Division III, paid his dues in the football minors before earning a roster spot with the Bills and making the most of his NFL opportunities once they arose. Jackson finished with 212 yards on 33 carries while frolicking in the snow against the Colts. The versatile Coe College product (yes, the same alma mater as Marv Levy, who recommended Jacksonís signing) finished with 1,062 yards rushing and became the first player in league history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 kickoff return yards in the same season. Jacksonís proof that the NFL personnel evaluators, despite research more thorough than Sherlock Holmes, still havenít found a way to measure heart and desire. Jackson clearly has been a diamond amid the ashes of this Bills season, the team MVP.
Been covering this team for more than a quarter of a century and Iíve never seen worst white-outs at a Bills home game than I witnessed Sunday at the Ralph.
Iím always astounded to see bare-chested fans watching games in sub-zero wind chills. I donít care how liquored-up you are, that canít be comfortable. And I wonder how they must feel the morning after when theyíre being treated for frost-bite.
I thought Perry Fewell did a decent job with what he had to work with during his seven-game audition, which resulted in a 3-4 record. The Bills were competitive in all but one of the games he coached Ė the 31-3 loss to Atlanta the week before. And I liked the fact his players didnít run for the bus and instead put in an all-out effort against the Colts ďJVíí team in the season finale Sunday. I think Fewell will be a head coach in the NFL again someday. I just donít believe the timing is right for him to take over the Bills at this time. I think it would be a tough sell to Buffalo fans who have suffered through a miserable decade and are clamoring for dramatic changes. That said, I wouldnít mind seeing Fewell back as the Bills defensive coordinator.
Well, if that indeed was the final glimpse of Terrell Owens in a Bills uniform, it was a memorable one. That 41-yard touchdown reception in the snow and the high-fives T.O. administered to many of the zanies who stayed till the end was a nice farewell. Interestingly, T.O. didnít totally rule out a return to Buffalo next season, citing the hiring of new general manager Buddy Nix, who coached the diva receiver in college. I donít see it happening. Then again, I never saw Owens coming here in the first place.
At least the diehards who braved todayís blizzard conditions got to see Peyton Manning for three series. The dropoff from the legendary Colts quarterback to backup Curtis Painter is like going from the top of Mt. Everest to the bottom of Death Valley. Manning completed 14-of-18 for 95 yards and one pick in a game that amounted to nothing more than a playoff tune-up exhibition for him. Painter, meanwhile, completed 4-of-17 for 39 yards, a pick and a 15.1 pass efficiency rating. He also lost a fumble. Hey, on the positive side, his rating was better than last week, when he posted an 11.2 rating.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a decent outing, throwing three touchdown passes and no picks for the Bills. But letís keep things in perspective. He didnít have to contend with Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis breathing down his neck. Imagine how miserable life would have been for Fitz if he and his offensive line had to face the Colts sackmeisters?
It was so cold at the Ralph, I kept waiting for the Zamboni to come out to clear the field during timeouts.
With Jamon Meredith starting at left tackle, the Bills fielded their ninth different offensive line combo this season.
ESPN reported that Bill Cowher had interviewed with Buffalo. As much as I would love to see it happen, Iím still having a problem believing the former Pittsburgh Steelers coach is truly interested in coaching the Bills.
A nationally recognized sports columnist and best-selling author, Scott Pitoniak is pursuing new challenges after 35 years in the newspaper business. He hopes one day to write the great American novel and hit a baseball over the wall at Yankee Stadium. In the meantime, he runs his own website Ė ScottPitoniak.com Ė and blogs about sports and lifeís other adventures.
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