ORLANDO – It wasn't a dream, Bills fans. The 17-year playoff drought is over.
Buffalo's 22-16 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday improved the team to 9-7, but it wasn't until the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens about 30 minutes later that the Bills' postseason ticket was punched. A crowd numbering in the hundreds greeted the Bills' charter flight when it touched down about 1 a.m. Monday morning back in Western New York.
While the shine – or the buzz – likely hasn't worn off just yet for fans, the team has another game to get ready for. That comes at 1 p.m. Sunday against Jacksonville.
"Go back to work. You can celebrate this one for a little while, but we worked all offseason to get to this point and definitely can’t just celebrate getting here now," tight end Charles Clay said. "Everything starts over right now. So it’s the start of a new season, get back to work and get ready.”
Here is a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling for the Bills after Sunday's win.
• QB Tyrod Taylor: He was the Bills' best offensive player when he had to be. Taylor completed 19 of 27 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed six times for 35 yards. According to the analytics website Pro Football Focus, Taylor completed all 10 of his pass attempts between the numbers, for 115 yards.
• DE Jerry Hughes: The stat sheet shows just two tackles, one of which went for a loss, but Hughes' impact went beyond that. PFF credited him with seven quarterback hurries. That's as many as he's had in the past games combined. Hughes also gave this quote about Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, his former college teammate, and it's a real gem: "Oh, he’s getting Edible Arrangements. If he wants some Budweiser, he’s getting that. Whatever he wants, I’m going to be his Secret Santa for the rest of this week."
• CB E.J. Gaines: The Bills' defense plays at a different level when Gaines is in the lineup. He finished with eight tackles, two passes defensed and a forced fumble Sunday.
• FB Patrick DiMarco: Catch. The. Ball. The Bills have failed twice in the last three weeks of the season to secure an onside kick that would wrap up a victory. DiMarco had that chance Sunday, but the ball bounced off him and led to a Miami recovery, giving the Dolphins a chance at a victory that would have redefined painful.
• WR Kelvin Benjamin: After having five catches for 70 yards in Week 16, it looked like Benjamin was ready to play a bigger role in the Bills' offense. He was targeted just three times Sunday, though, finishing with two catches for 27 yards.
• LB Deon Lacey: Penalties on special teams were a problem Sunday, and none were bigger than Lacey's illegal block. It erased a 14-yard punt return by Brandon Tate.