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[BN] Blitz newsletter: Disappointing end to an encouraging season

"Well, it was fun while it lasted, a giddy, magical lead-up to a playoff game, a week for donating to Andy Dalton's foundation and connecting with the guys from the drought," is how Jerry Sullivan opens his epitaph on this Bills' season.

"There's no cause for tears. They went as far as anyone could have imagined, sneaking into the playoffs for the first time in 18 years and lifting the spirits of far-flung Bills Nation. But predictably, their offensive shortcomings caught up with them in a grisly 10-3 wild-card loss to the Jaguars at EverBank Field."

Game story: By Vic Carucci: "They deserve credit, for sure. They were nobody's pick to make the playoffs. They were on everybody's list to be one of the NFL's prime tankers. ... Nevertheless, the end of the 2017-18 season did play out just like the beginning ... and the middle ... and most of the games the Bills have played in recent memory."

Tim Graham: "Sad as that is, the Bills have made incredible strides with a team many would consider among their least-talented in the 18 years since they last reached the tournament. Now coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane can focus fully on 2018 and go about constructing the team they've visualized while not needing to tinker so much with what they inherited."

Bucky Gleason: "Tyrod Taylor had been inching toward his defining moment since he arrived in Buffalo three years ago, a time in which he would prove one way or another whether he was the long-term answer for the Bills. What we learned Sunday was that he reached the point of no return."

#BillsMafia takeover: Fans flooded the tailgate lots in Jacksonville, with folding tables in tow, and created an Orchard Park atmosphere outside EverBank Field before the game. Related: Bill Cowher jumps through a table on CBS pregame show to predict a Bills victory.

Hopes dashed: Back home, Bills fans are once again looking to next year.

Watch: Fans greet Bills at airport upon return.


Photo galleries: Game action from the sidelines and smiles in the tailgate lots.

Quarterly report: 1st / 2nd / 3rd / 4th

Analysis: "The Bills did most of the damage to themselves with a horrible offensive showing that resulted in their lowest postseason point total since a 31-7 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1966 American Football League championship game," Carucci writes.

Shady shakes off injury: LeSean McCoy gained 119 total yards on a gimpy ankle. "He's a warrior," teammate Richie Incognito said.

Kyle Williams on his future: "It'll be a joint effort by me and the organization and my family. We've got plenty of time."

10 plays that shaped the game: Mark Gaughan breaks down the crucial moments from a close loss.

Matchup winners: Lorenzo Alexander and the Bills' defensive line shut down Leonard Fournette.

Report card: Failing grade for the passing game.

What the national media are saying: Former NHL star and current NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick went so far as to call it the “worst playoff game in NFL history.

Juicy story: O.J. Simpson watched the game from a Bills Backers bar in Las Vegas, posing for pictures while wearing a LeSean McCoy jersey.

Looking ahead: The Bills will hold back-to-back picks in the first round of this year's draft.

Watch: Our team's final takeaway.

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