JAX-BUF grades: Robey-Coleman, Incognito impress in Bills' win over Jaguars
Buffalo Bills 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 21
Here are the highest-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Bills’ 28-21 victory at home over the Jaguars.
Quarterback grade: Blake Bortles, 79.8
We’ve seen a lot of the bad Blake Bortles this year, but there are still flashes of the player whose trajectory looked so good in 2015. Now, this should be tempered by the fact the team is getting more conservative with him, committing to the running game more to alleviate pressure on the QB. In Week 12, though, he was a guy who didn’t force the ball, and was able to make plays with his arm and his legs. Was it a perfect performance? No. Is the rebuild still ongoing? Most definitely. But today was a step in the right direction.
Top offensive grades:
QB Blake Bortles, 79.8
RB Chris Ivory, 76.7
RG A.J. Cann, 76.3
LT Kelvin Beachum, 75.8
RB T.J. Yeldon, 74.1
You get the feeling things would have been very different if Chris Ivory was able to last more than 15 snaps. He was running decisively and maximizing yardage during contact before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. Behind a line that held up well (QB pressures surrendered on just eight dropbacks) this was an encouraging effort, but the Jaguars’ inability to score late highlights how far this unit still has to go.
Top defensive grades:
LB Telvin Smith, 81.6
LB Paul Posluszny, 81.3
DE Tyson Alualu, 78.0
CB Aaron Colvin, 74.8
LB Myles Jack, 72.4
It was a pretty good 25 minutes for the team, but as has been a problem this season, the Jaguars’ defense was unable to maintain a high level of play. The linebackers were extremely active—as they had to be. The defensive interior, in particular, really struggled to get off blocks at the line of scrimmage to make plays. For all the investment, one would expect big moments, whether it be early draft picks (Dante Fowler and Jalen Ramsey) or high-priced free agents (Malik Jackson), but the team hasn’t seen them on defense.
Quarterback grade: Tyrod Taylor, 74.0
For a lot of the game, it really wasn’t very pretty for Taylor. He was responsible for three sacks where he simply either held onto the ball too long or left a clean pocket. That kind of mismanagement helped keep or get the Bills off the field, and against better teams, wouldn’t go unpunished. But you can play subpar and still walk away a winner, and the game-winning drive Taylor led is why he is worth the money he is paid. A beautiful deep completion to WR Sammy Watkins, and then a scramble for a TD that involved avoiding a sack, ultimately were crucial in lead the Bills’ to victory.
Top offensive grades:
LG Richie Incognito, 86.5
C Ryan Groy, 82.2
TE Charles Clay, 80.9
FB Jerome Felton, 78.1
QB Tyrod Taylor, 74.0
It may seem odd not to see LeSean McCoy among the top-five highest-graded offensive players for the Bills after he rushed for 101 yards on 18 carries, but when you remember 75 of his yards came on one run (he should really send a thank you card to Jaguars S Tashaun Gipson there), you realize he was largely kept in check and was unable to take advantage when left one-on-one with the Bills’ linebackers. There was some good blocking in this game, and it was normally the excellent Richie Incognito catching the eye with an impressive effort.
Top defensive grades:
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, 85.4
DT Leger Douzable, 82.4
DT Marcell Dareus, 80.7
LB Preston Brown, 80.6
CB Ronald Darby, 74.6
We’ve come to expect big things from a Rex Ryan defense, but for whatever reason, this unit just isn’t producing in such a fashion. It doesn’t mean they’re bad, but they didn’t make life hard enough for Jaguars QB Blake Bortles. The team would have hoped for more from first-round rookie Shaq Lawson, but he was largely quiet on his 21 snaps, recording just two hurries. The better news was the play of the secondary, where the Bills were responsible for seven of Bortles incompletions (two batted passes, two pass breakups, one force out, two times they cut off a route, and one close coverage that made the pass uncatchable). That’s a good days work for a unit that has been beleaguered this year.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Richie Incognito, LG, Bills
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