ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — As Terrell Owens did jumping jacks to keep warm, and Peyton Manning spent most of the afternoon on a heated bench, the Buffalo Bills came up with a win in a snow-filled season finale.
Despite near whiteout conditions in the first half, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes – including a 41-yarder to Owens – in leading the Bills to a 30-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Fred Jackson had 212 yards rushing, the seventh-highest rushing total in team history, to reach 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, and also scored on an 11-yard catch.
And give Mother Nature credit for providing a snow-globe effect to create a picturesque backdrop to what was a meaningless game for both teams.
The Colts (14-2) rested numerous starters, then benched many more, including Manning, in the second quarter. They have a two-week break before opening the playoffs as the AFC's top-seeded team. Starting defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis were among numerous regulars who didn't play.
Coming off a 29-17 loss at home to the New York Jets last weekend, 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.
Manning lasted three series and went 14 of 18 for 95 yards and an interception, while helping two teammates hit personal milestones. With seven receptions, Dallas Clark became the NFL's second tight end to have a 100-catch season, joining Tony Gonzalez. Reggie Wayne had five catches to reach 100 for the second time in his career.
Rookie backup Curtis Painter struggled in the slick conditions in his second appearance of the season. Painter went 4 of 17 for 39 yards with an interception and also lost a fumble. Mike Hart scored the Colts' lone touchdown on a 1-yard plunge.
Otherwise, weather dominated. A frigid wind blowing off Lake Erie dropped temperatures to near 0, and a persistent snow fell to blanket the field.
The fans, some of them shirtless, who were brave enough to attend got into the wintry spirit. They cheered as Owens celebrated his score by doing jumping jacks on the sideline. They even cheered the 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 mark out the word "Bills."
Buffalo (6-10), in the midst of a coaching search, enters an uncertain offseason after missing the playoffs for a 10th straight year.
After trading touchdowns in the first quarter, the Bills went ahead for good when Fitzpatrick hit Lee Evans 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.
Owens finished with four catches for 65 yards, giving him 14,951 for his career, to move ahead of Tim Brown for third place on the NFL list.
The Bills already started their offseason overhaul after promoting national scout Buddy Nix to general manager Buddy Nix on Thursday. Interim head coach Perry Fewell, is a candidate for the job, and went 3-4 after Dick Jauron was fired in November.
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.