NFL Nation: 2013 Week 15 BUF at JAC Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills

December, 15, 2013

A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 27-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars:

What it means: This game meant little in the standings for either team, but after their 27-6 loss in Tampa last weekend, the Bills couldn't afford to come out with the same performance. They didn't, which is a positive sign for Doug Marrone's group. It's a win that takes some pressure off a young team, but plenty of questions remain. The Bills are now 2-6 away from Ralph Wilson Stadium this season (including the game in Toronto).

Manuel rebounds: Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel -- and the entire offense -- was awful in the first quarter. Manuel had a 6.0 passer rating in the first quarter, the seventh worst in the NFL this season. But then something clicked. The Bills were able to put together two long touchdown drives in the second quarter, injecting some confidence into the young signal-caller. Even when he was rattled by a third-quarter strip-sack that led to a Jaguars touchdown, Manuel came back and led the Bills on another touchdown drive. There's little time left this season, but the Bills need to see more of that.

Bills eliminated: Minutes before the Bills sealed their win in Jacksonville, the Dolphins defeated the Patriots in Miami, officially eliminating the Bills from playoff contention. This will be the 14th consecutive January that the Bills will remain out of the postseason, the longest active drought in the NFL.

Stock watch: Rising: running game. The Bills finished just shy of 200 yards rushing, which in addition to Manuel's bounce-back effort powered the offense through much of the game. It wasn't all pretty -- Fred Jackson couldn't gain a first down on three consecutive runs in the fourth quarter, giving the Jaguars one last chance -- but the ground game is still the strength of this Bills offense.

What's next: The Bills, now eliminated, have two more games to play. They'll host the streaking Dolphins, who are now 8-6, at Ralph Wilson Stadium next Sunday. They'll then head back on the road for their finale against the Patriots.

Rapid Reaction: Jacksonville Jaguars

December, 15, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 27-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills:

What it means: What could have been a gut-it-out victory because of the loss of four starters turned into another loss at EverBank Field in front of 60,085 fans. The Jaguars turned it over four times, including once when Denard Robinson fumbled the ball at the Buffalo 1-yard line, and it bounced out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. The Jaguars had won three games in a row and were coming off their first victory at EverBank Field in more than a year.

Stock watch: It’s harder to be much higher than Jordan Todman, who ran for 109 yards and had 44 yards receiving. The first-year player was making his first start because Maurice Jones-Drew was inactive with a hamstring injury. Todman also had a pair of big plays, a 33-yard run on a drive that ended with a field goal, and a 30-yard catch-and-run to convert a third down and continue a drive that ended with a touchdown. Quarterback Chad Henne did not have one of his better games. He threw two interceptions, including one in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, and threw several other passes that were nearly intercepted. He made some plays with his feet and had to deal with heavy pressure, but he wasn’t able to overcome his mistakes.

Banged-up offensive line: The offensive line was hit hard by injuries. Starting left guard Will Rackley was added to the injury report on Saturday with a concussion and did not play. His replacement, Mike Brewster, suffered a left ankle injury in the first half and did not return. Jacques McClendon finished the game at left guard, which left the Jaguars with just one other healthy offensive lineman (Sam Young).

In a rush: One of the things that had keyed the Jaguars’ turnaround in the second half of the season was better rush defense. They went from allowing 162 yards per game in the first eight games to holding the next five opponents under 100 yards. That changed on Sunday, when the Bills battered the Jaguars for 198 yards on the ground. Fred Jackson rushed for 80 yards, C.J. Spiller 67, and quarterback EJ Manuel 37.

What’s next: The Jaguars play their final home game of the season against Tennessee at 1 p.m. on Sunday.




Sunday, 2/2