Every step in the Buffalo Bills' flurry-filled outing against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday was treacherous. As Dion Dawkins put it, "The ground is basically moving."
Players dealt with added resistance, plowed through inches of snow, and had to be mindful not to slip on the slick surface. The well-practiced footwork was thrown out the window as both teams scrambled to simply stay upright.
"Honestly, we were all asking each other, 'What cleats do you have on? Are you getting traction?' " center Eric Wood said. " 'Shady's moving fast. What's he got on?' Oh, he's a better athlete. That's out of the question. Up front, we had three different types of cleats on between the five of us, and none of them worked at all."
The wear and tear of snaps added up quickly, especially for the veteran players. The additional eight and a half minutes of overtime play didn't help.
"I just felt more tired, more fatigued after the game," guard Richie Incognito said. "It's kind of like running on the beach in sand."
Luckily for Buffalo, the team escaped with minimal injury, only losing quarterback Nathan Peterman to a concussion and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a knee injury. And the Bills did not have the same fate as Indianapolis, which had to travel home and then play Thursday night against Denver.
As for the remaining Bills, they felt back to normal by Wednesday. The players didn't alter their usual recovery process, but Incognito said the time off on Monday and Tuesday was a big help.
Coach Sean McDermott is mindful of the weather effects on players' bodies. On Monday, he said he works with the strength and conditioning staff to put together practice plans that keep the players as fresh as possible.
Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander is one of the outliers in the locker room. He said he feels better because of the snow. The accumulation on the field slowed the pace of play down, meaning he took softer hits. When he fell, he was falling onto snow instead of rigid turf.
As a California native, Alexander said he doesn't want to see a repeat of Sunday's arctic-esque terrain despite the positives he listed. There's a chance he'll never see a game like that again in his career, but the Bills will likely face a different weather challenge this week against Miami — freezing rain. The Weather Channel projects temperatures in the mid-30s and a 50 percent chance of precipitation in Orchard Park.
If the forecast drops a few degrees, Buffalo would be staring at another snow game.
"I actually hope it snows just like that this week because it was the funnest game I've played in," Dawkins said.
The Buffalo winter could give the Bills an obvious advantage against a warm-weather team such as Miami, though the Dolphins have had some success in late-season games in Buffalo in the past.
"You can tell the guys that don't want to play on it," cornerback E.J. Gaines said. "It's good for us when they've got to come up here and play in that environment. ... We'll see who did more squats."