BUF-JAX Grades: Jags down Bills after surrendering large lead
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Jaguars’ 34-31 win over the Bills.
– There were points in this game when it seemed Telvin Smith (+3.2) was one of E.J. Manuel’s favorite targets. Smith broke up one pass in addition to his pick-six, surrendering only three completions on six targets with only 20 yards coming on those three completions. Smith added to his work in coverage with a batted pass and three run stops, a mark bettered by only three other 4-3 outside linebackers this week.
– This was a game of highs and lows for quarterback Blake Bortles (-0.3), who helped lead the Jaguars to their first victory at Wembley Stadium after so very nearly driving the final nail into the coffin earlier in the fourth quarter. Bortles was terrific throwing 10 or more yards in the air outside the left numbers (four-of-five for 96 yards, one touchdown, +2.8 passing grade) but struggled elsewhere, completing less than 40 percent of his targeted passes to the rest of the field.
– Questions will be asked as to why he wasn’t given any carries down at the Bills’ goal line, but that coaching decision takes nothing away from the best rushing grade (+2.7) of T.J. Yeldon’s career. Yeldon carried 20 times, collecting 78 of his 115 yards after contact, forcing a career-high six missed tackles from Buffalo defenders to take his season total to 18, which places him inside the top 10 in the league (alongside fellow rookies Melvin Gordon (22) and Todd Gurley (18)).
WR Allen Robinson (+4.0)
CB Aaron Colvin (+3.3)
WLB Telvin Smith (+3.2)
C Stefen Wisniewski (+2.4)
DT Roy Miller (+2.4)
– This was a clear case of “what might have been” for the Buffalo Bills, who came up short without starting QB Tyrod Taylor. His backup, E.J. Manuel (-9.2), turned in a performance that killed the Bills’ chances of victory. A series of poor reads led to two interceptions—one returned for a touchdown. Manuel came up with a couple of big plays down the field, but ultimately his passing between the numbers (10-of-17 for 78 yards, two interceptions, -7.7 passing grade) consigned Buffalo to consecutive defeats.
– After earning his first negative coverage grade of the season at home to the Bengals a week ago, rookie sensation Ronald Darby (+3.1) rediscovered his early season form with another stellar display against the Jaguars. Targeted eight times by Blake Bortles, Darby got his hands to more passes than the receivers he was covering, breaking up three passes (taking his season total to eight) while allowing only two grabs for 40 yards.
– Pass protection was no excuse for Manuel in this game, as his offensive line surrendered pressure on only 12 of his 49 dropbacks and all five linemen earning positive grades in pass protection. On the left side, Richie Incognito (+4.4) continued his impressive return to the league, earning his highest game grade since Week 8 of the 2012 season, as he surrendered only one pressure in pass protection while collecting his seventh straight positive run block grade of the season.
DT Marcell Dareus (+4.4)
LG Richie Incognito (+4.4)
CB Ronald Darby (+3.1)
TE Matthew Mulligan (+2.7)
LT Cordy Glenn (+2.5)