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The NFL’s longest postseason drought is over

December 31, 2017

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They are going to party like it is 1999 in Buffalo on Sunday night.

That was the last time that the Bills made it to the playoffs, but the drought has come to an end thanks to some help from the Cincinnati Bengals. Shortly after the Bills held on for a 22-16 victory over the Dolphins in Miami, Andy Dalton found Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard touchdown that put the Bengals up 31-27 over the Ravens. Baltimore’s final drive didn’t change that score, which means the Bills are in the playoffs as an AFC Wild Card team.

It looked like that would be the result for most of the day as the Bengals led by as many as 14 points in the second half while the Bills were up 19 points on the Dolphins. Miami rallied to close within a score while the Ravens were moving into the lead in Baltimore, but the Bills held on and the Bengals did them a solid without anything on the line for themselves.

Had the Bills lost, speculation about Tyrod Taylor‘s future with the team would have fired up to another level. He’ll be in Buffalo for at least one more game, however, and memories of his benching for a disastrous loss to the Chargers will be muddled by the way a twisty first season turned out for coach Sean McDermott. Taylor was 19-of-27 for 204 yards and a touchdown and added 35 yards on the ground on the way to Sunday’s win.

The bigger question will now be whether or not running back LeSean McCoy will be able to play next weekend. X-rays on his ankle were negative, but McCoy looked like he was in a lot of pain when he was carted off the field in the third quarter.

The answer to that question will affect spirits in Buffalo as the week goes on. Sunday night will be for ringing in 2018 with a joyful noise, though, and it’s one that hasn’t been heard in Buffalo for a very long time.