by Richard David Smith III
Last Sunday, at about 4:45 PM outside of EverBank Field, in a nearly empty parking lot following the Bills vs. Jaguars game, annoying ESPN anchorman Chris Berman’s voice could be heard blaring out of the back of a Buffalo Bills emblazoned mini-van.
“Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills,” shouted Berman in the sample (that was part of some awful Buffalo Bills song) as a Bills jersey-wearing fan happily loaded up the last of his tailgating gear, nary a Jaguars fan in sight.
The Bills indeed circled the wagons – well, at least the onsite food trucks, anyway – coming back from an early 10-3 deficit to spank the Big Cats 27-20 beneath overcast skies in front of a “tickets distributed” crowd of 60,085.
“There may have been that many eyeballs,” said Ralf Ingwersen of WAOC in St.Augustine, referring to the actual on-hand attendance.
The Jaguars put forth a valiant effort on the afternoon considering they had a lot of key players inactive for the entire game. Jones-Drew, Cyprien, Rackley, Cecil Shorts III, Reisner, and Deaderick were all declared out before kickoff. Down 20-10 at halftime, the Jaguars battled back to make the score 20-20 in the fourth quarter, and they blew a couple more golden opportunities to score in this game as well. Early in the third quarter, Denard X. Robinson – in what was a textbook example of poor ball security – fumbled the ball away as he was running towards the goal-line, leading to a Bills touch-back. Then there was the first-and-goal debacle with under five minutes to go in the game with a chance to tie it at 27. RB Jordan Todman (who displayed flashes of greatness in the preseason) got the start in place of Jones-Drew and filled in admirably all game with his first 100 yard game of his career (109 yards) to go along with 44 receiving yards, but MJD was sorely missed when, on the Texans one yard line, Gus Bradley admitted that he coached away from giving Todman an MJD-style carry up the gut, instead running to the outside on a costly play that lost 4 yards. The next two plays from the five yard line were bad throws by Henne with the fourth down throw resulting in yet another devastating red zone turnover. It was not to be. The Jaguars winning streak had come to a sad end and they are now also mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
“In the locker room, our hearts are broken right now, but our spirit is not,” said Coach Gus Bradley in the post game press conference.
“We let one get away today,” wrote defensive back Will Blackmon via Twitter.
From the very beginning of the game, the Jaguars offensive line looked absolutely over-matched by the Bills defensive line. It looked as if the Bills were playing at a faster speed than the Jaguars. Loosing LG Brewster (who was already subbing for an injured Rackley) to an ankle fracture certainly didn’t help the Jaguars plight, but he Bills had by far the most impressive defensive line I’ve seen all year in person and apparently my eyes were not deceiving me – Buffalo’s defense leads the NFL with 44.0 sacks entering last Sunday’s game and, after tallying 5 sacks on Henne, are now tied for first in Bills franchise history with the team’s 1992 defense (featuring a little dude named Bruce Smith). In other words, here’s wishing offensive tackle Luke Tobias Joekel a full and speedy recovery before the start of next season!
*Jaguars QB #8 Mark Brunell was inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars at halftime to a thunderous applause. National and local journalists were interested in the fan reaction to the ceremony after Brunell angered many fans when he suggested on ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show that all indications were that the Jaguars would be headed to London in the next few years.
*Paul Posluszny (who was drafted by the Bills in 2007) had another superb game with 13 tackles and is clearly the Jaguars defensive MVP this season.
*Marcedes Lewis (who could be the team’s offensive MVP if he wanted to be) caught his 3rd TD in as many games.
*Todman had a fantastic first start of his NFL career and spoke after the game about how MJD took him under his wing and showed him support, bringing back memories of when Fred Taylor showed MJD the ropes at the beginning of his career.
Next Up: The Jaguars will be looking to get back on track in their last home game of the season versus the Tennessee Titans. The Jaguars won the first match-up between the two teams in Tennessee, 29-27. However, the Jags had no answer for underrated QB Ryan Fitzpatrick when he came into the game for an injured Jake Locker in the second half of that contest. This time, Fitzpatrick will be the starter and is more prepared for the game.
Look for Jackson Deville to be sporting his Santa hat as he will surely be getting into his Christmas shenanigans this Sunday – so take your kids out to the game for a little holiday cheer!
Jaguars vs. Bills Recap
by Richard David Smith III