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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Finished for good

     December 28, 1996 -- Call it The Last Roundup. The Bills lost a home playoff game to Jacksonville, 30-27. It turned out that it was the last time that Jim Kelly and Kent Hull would ever suit up in a Buffalo uniform, and the last time Thurman Thomas had a 1,000-yard season.

     The fans at Rich Stadium could have guessed that times were changing. Kelly left the field feeling groggy, not certain what stadium he was in as he was carted to the locker room. Thomas was reduced to standing on the sidelines because of a bad ankle. Hull, whose retirement was anticipated, was left misty-eyed in the final moments.

     The Jaguars won a thriller in which the teams traded the lead frequently. Mike Hollis provided the winning margin with a 45-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

     Thomas finished with two touchdowns but only 50 yards rushing on 14 carries. Kelly was 21 of 32 for 239 yards. Jeff Burris had the other touchdown on a 38-yard interception return.

     A major villain that day was running back Natrone Means of the Jaguars. He ran 31 times for 175 yards and a touchdown.

     The Bills finished the season with four losses in five games, including the playoff defeat.

--- Budd Bailey

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