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[BN] Blitz newsletter: All the twists and turns that led to the end of The Drought

The Bills took their fans on an emotional roller coaster in 2017. The journey back to the playoffs from a 17-season exile inspired hope, doubt, despair and joy, vacillating as the weeks went by and sometimes all within a single game day.

Nick Veronica details the wild ride from Sean McDermott's hiring last January to the Bengals' comeback last Sunday, measuring all of the ups and downs from an unforgettable season on the fan-o-meter.

Jerry Sullivan: Doug Marrone is Public Enemy No. 1 in Buffalo this week; 'Bad Bortles' gives the Bills their best chance; Kyle Williams was moved by a text from Kent Hull's son.

Throwback Thursday: Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the greatest comeback in NFL history. Read Jerry Sullivan's column from the 20-year commemorative edition.

Marv Levy's Message: Our staff is compiling reactions to the Bills' ending of their playoff drought. Look for more in a special playoff section in Friday's News. From the Hall of Fame coach: “Like all those other great Buffalo Bills fans I am cheering for the team I will always revere."

'Thank You Buffalo & Good Luck': That message from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will appear on two billboards in Western New York over the next five days after Bills fans have donated more than $200,000 to the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation. Read more about the foundation's work here. Bills fans have also donated more than $20,000 to the Western Pennsylvania Youth Athletic Association in honor of the Bengals receiver who caught the winning touchdown, Tyler Boyd.


Mark Gaughan's X's and O's: "The matchup of the Jacksonville Jaguars' defense vs. the Buffalo Bills' offense is a mismatch on the order of 51-3." Related: Diagramming the danger Jacksonville CB Jaylen Ramsey poses in zone coverage.

Deep Thoughts: Vic Carruci notes, however, that "For all of the Jags' gaudy defensive numbers, though, here's one that has no doubt grabbed the Bills' attention during video review this week: they've allowed 12 pass plays of 40-plus yards."

Meet Marcus Murphy: LeSean McCoy is day-to-day with his ankle injury, which means the unheralded backup running back could be crucial to the Bills success.

Scouting Report: The Jaguars are not playing their best football heading into the postseason, Jay Skurski writes. But McCoy's injured ankle could really hamper the Bills' offense.

What They Said: Transcripts from media day at One Bills Drive and Doug Marrone's scrum with reporters in Jacksonville.

Playoff Experience: The Bills actually have more than the Jaguars. Pro Bowl safety Micah Hyde went to the postseason all four years he played with the Packers and is encouraging his new teammates to "put in a little more effort" this week.

Tre'Davious Tracker: The rookie CB was named second-team All-Pro by Pro Football Focus.

Down In JacksonvilleJaguars owner Shad Khan donated 1,000 tickets to refugees who've settled in Northwest Florida and displaced citizens from Puerto Rico, LT Cam Robinson was limited in practice due to an abdomen injury, and they'll be serving teal beer at Sundays game.

Too Much Hype? "We can’t possibly be so psychologically pathetic that having a football team make the playoffs for the first time in 18 seasons becomes the most important thing in town," News columnist Rod Watson writes.

Tickets Available: Thousands of tickets for Sunday's game were still for sale on the secondary market as of Wednesday morning.

View From VegasThe Bills are the longest shot of the 12 teams in the playoffs and their Super Bowl odds are worse now than what they were before the season to win it all.

Daily Drive Podcast: Can the Bills win without a healthy McCoy?

Trivia: The Bills needed to beat the San Francisco 49ers on the final day of the 1980 regular season to make the playoffs and clinch the AFC East. They did by an 18-13 score. Who scored the two touchdowns for the Bills and who was the 49ers' quarterback on that day?

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