Even Mother Nature knew that the game between the Jaguars and Bills was supposed to be sloppy, so she added some rain to make it that much worse. Despite the less than ideal conditions, the Bills were able to grind out a 34-18 victory and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Buffalo ran the ball 46 times and scored on five consecutive drives to pull away from the Jaguars and secure the win.
Jacksonville falls to 2-10, which is tied for the worst record in the league and becomes one of only three teams officially eliminated from the playoffs. After a week of improvement from the offense, quarterback Chad Henne couldn’t keep the mojo going and was largely ineffective. After a Paul Posluszny interception set up a go-ahead touchdown drive it looked like maybe the Jaguars were in business, but their inability to slow down the Bills eventually cost them a chance to win this one.
Jacksonville — Three Performances of Note
Shorts coming up Big
He would eventually have to leave the game with an injury, but Cecil Shorts continues to be a bright spot for Jacksonville. Shorts (+2.3) was in on 36 passing plays and was targeted on 11 of them, catching seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. It was his fourth consecutive game with a touchdown. He essentially caught a pass every five times he ran a route, and has emerged as the Jaguars No. 1 receiver. Henne is obviously very confident in Shorts, and has good reason to be, his passer rating when throwing his way was 114.6. If Justin Blackmon can live up to the hype on the other side, this could be a legit duo.
When Buffalo was going through a transition on defense they decided that middle linebacker, Paul Posluszny no longer fit their scheme and he left via free agency to join the Jacksonville Jaguars. Posluszny (+1.5) is now the leader of the Jaguars’ defense and early on it looked like he might lead them to victory, but after the nice interception mentioned above, it was all downhill. The Bills ran the ball right at the Posluszny-led defense all day, finishing with 232 rushing yards and a 5.0 yards per carry average. Posluszny finished with just three stops in the run game, a low total considering the Bills ran it 46 times. He will have to wait for another day to show the Bills they made a mistake in letting him leave.
It was a rough afternoon for Jaguars left guard Mike Brewster. Going up against two of the better defensive tackles in the league, he struggled in both the pass and run game. Brewster allowed three hurries and allowed inside penetration most of the game, not giving Henne any room to step into his throws. Lined up over Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams for most of the day proved to be a major mismatch. Williams penetrated the backfield and thwarted many running attempts, which could be part of the reason that the Jaguars decided to pass so frequently.
Buffalo — Three Performances of Note
Super Williams Brothers
Along with the already mentioned strong day from Kyle Williams (+4.3) was another big day from defensive end Mario Williams (+5.8). Mario’s strip sack late in the first half proved to be a major turning point in the game, but he was disruptive most of the day. Finishing with four hurries, a sack, a forced fumble, and a batted pass, Williams is becoming the player the Bills were hoping for. He has a sack in three consecutive games, totaling five during that span.
Gilmore Wins Top 10 Battle
In a battle between Top 10 draft choices from last April’s draft, Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore shut down Jaguars wide receiver, Justin Blackmon. Gilmore was the 10th overall pick and he shadowed Blackmon, the fifth pick, for most of the game. Gilmore held Blackmon to just one reception for 9 yards and was thrown at only three times when covering the Jaguars’ top pick. Overall, Gilmore had six passes thrown his way and allowed only two completions totaling 18 yards. Called for a questionable pass interference penalty late in the game (which hurt his overall grade), Gilmore finished +0.5 in pass coverage.
Thunder & Lightning
The announcers alluded to it during the telecast and it couldn’t be truer, running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have different running styles that complement each other perfectly. Jackson wears defenses down with his one cut slashing style, and then Spiller comes in and explodes past defenders. Jackson did the bulk of the work with 109 yards on 25 carries, which helped fatigue a defense that couldn’t keep up with Spiller on his big 44-yard run. Spiller was on the field for only 25 plays but he made them count; Jackson, meanwhile, played 45 snaps and grinded it out. Both seemed very comfortable with their roles.
–– Jason Babin played 41 of the 66 snaps in his first game with Jacksonville, on three of those snaps he dropped into coverage. Something he never did in Philadelphia
–– George Wilson and Da’Norris Searcy continue to split snaps at safety, with Wilson’s snaps seemingly decreasing. Wilson played 41 snaps, Searcy 36, the closest to a 50/50 split they have been all season.
– Rashad Jennings led the Jaguars in rushing attempts with eight, despite getting knocked out of the game one minute into the second quarter.
PFF Game Ball
Mario Williams made a game-changing play and was disruptive most of the game; he gets the award this week.
Follow John on Twitter: @PFF_Castellane