MISSOULA — One more guaranteed game.

That's what the Buffalo Bills get — one more guaranteed game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

That's music to the ears of any Bills fan, or Bills player for that matter, considering Buffalo rode into this season on a 17-year playoff drought. 

Even though Sunday's game will be the 17th game of the Bills' 2018 season, it'll be just the sixth for former Montana football standout Colt Anderson.

"For me, any time I can get on the field is a blessing," Anderson told 406mtsports.com on Thursday. "What I've gone through, you can't take any game, any moment, any play for granted. I've had plays where it's ended my season and this year it almost ended my season. Any time I can get out there is a blessing. It is another game, but this one's a special one."

Anderson, a Butte native, broke his left arm in Buffalo's Week 4 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. 

To make matters worse, the injury that came on the opening kickoff broke the same arm Anderson fractured last season. 

"Just talking with the doctors, it's probably the reason it broke this year was because I have the plate in there still," Anderson said. "So just the leverage and the impact it just broke at that vulnerable spot right at the edge of that plate."

Anderson said he now has another plate in his arm on the opposite side with a half dozen more screws.

"There's no good timing, but I felt like I was starting to get back in the rhythm of things and trying to get rolling again," Anderson said. "Breaking my arm on a kickoff when I was trying to make the tackle was frustrating. First couple weeks were tough but ultimately I decided early on in my rehab I was going to do everything in my power to come back and try to get on the field."

He added: "Unfortunately, injuries are part of this game. ... You know what you're signing up for. It's gotta be one of the most physical sports where we're literally throwing our bodies around. We know what we're signing up for, but it is frustrating when you get hurt, you can't say you're not frustrated.

"It is a frustrating time of your life. You start second guessing why you're doing it and if you want to do it again, but ultimately, this is the pinnacle and you want to play for as long as you can. For me, I've approached the NFL as a one-day contract and I'm trying to make the team every day. When you get hurt, there's another bump in the road and it's another obstacle that you've gotta get over but it's frustrating, but it's something you sign up for."

Anderson spent 12 weeks on the injured reserve list before being activated on Dec. 28 — three days before Buffalo's regular-season finale against Miami. 

Anderson didn't record any stats in the Bills' 22-16 victory over the Dolphins, but he was on the field for 67 percent of Buffalo's special teams plays. 

"Our strength coach and trainers out here did a great job of getting me ready and I was lucky to come back last week," Anderson said.


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Buffalo's win — paired with Cincinnati's win over Baltimore — elevated the Bills to the AFC's No. 6 seed for the playoffs. Meaning that for the first time since the 1999 season, Buffalo was heading to the postseason. 

When the Bills returned to Buffalo, they received a hero's welcome at the airport. 

"We landed here in Buffalo at 1 in the morning. It's maybe zero degrees but the wind's blowing and we get off the plane and sure enough there's 500 to 1,000 people waiting for us, cheering us on," Anderson said. "They're as passionate as they come. It's pretty funny, you get closer and you start to see there's little kids with their parents cheering and smacking the fence, congratulating us. It's pretty cool to be a part of this and a part of the Bills Mafia."

Anderson has been with the Bills since 2016. He signed with Buffalo in April 2016 after leaving Indianapolis through free agency. 

He said he was familiar with Buffalo's history — not having made the playoffs for over a decade and losing four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s — but he didn't understand what football meant to the upstate New York community until he was a Bill himself. 

"It wasn't until I got here that I really, truly appreciated the fan base and what it means to be a part of the Bills family. It's one of a kind," Anderson said. "They're diehards and I'm lucky to be a part of it."

He's a part of it for at least one more game. 

And Anderson's ready for that.

"There's a little more energy when you're playing in the playoffs," he said. "... These playoff games, there's a lot more riding on the game and it seems the game's a little faster, guys are hitting a little harder. I'm excited to go out and help the team as much as I can."

Amie Just covers Griz football for the Missoulian, among other things. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.


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