NFL Nation: Donte Whitener
|Doug Benc/Getty Images|
|The Buffalo Bills earned a hard-fought victory in Jacksonville on Sunday.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The Buffalo Bills, drenched in sweat and drained from a brutally oppressive afternoon, slogged off the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium field Saunaday afternoon.
They were exhausted. Safety Donte Whitner was wiped out, and that's no figure of speech. He required five bags of intravenous fluids to recover. Left tackle Jason Peters, who missed every offseason workout because of a contract dispute, was paying the price.
Fans back in Western New York had a tough time catching their breath, too. They'd just watched their team stage its biggest character performance in recent memory.
The Bills pulled out a victory that might be remembered as their coming-of-age moment. They scored 10 fourth-quarter points in a strangling Florida heat to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-16.
Sometimes significance takes a few days, maybe even weeks or months, to be understood. The Bills knew the meaning of this victory immediately -- and it went beyond being 2-0.
"When we came off the field," said Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay, "I saw [Bills chief operating officer] Russ Brandon, and I told him 'Last year we don't win that game.'
"Really the last couple years we don't win those close games that come down the last five minutes."
If you're a Bills fan, the beauty of Sunday's victory is that it further established them as genuinely formidable and was untethered to anything else going on around the AFC East.
1:00 PM ET Miami Buffalo 1:00 PM ET Minnesota Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET Indianapolis Kansas City 1:00 PM ET Tampa Bay St. Louis 1:00 PM ET Cleveland New York 1:00 PM ET Dallas Washington 1:00 PM ET New Orleans Carolina 1:00 PM ET Tennessee Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET Denver Houston 4:05 PM ET New York Detroit 4:05 PM ET Arizona Seattle 4:25 PM ET Pittsburgh Green Bay 4:25 PM ET Oakland San Diego 4:25 PM ET New England Baltimore 8:30 PM ET Chicago Philadelphia