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Jaguars' defense makes Bills' Evans disappear

Two catches for 19 measly, meaningless yards.

If the Jacksonville Jaguars' intent was to take away Buffalo Bills wide receiver Lee Evans, they succeeded in grand fashion.

Evans, who hadn't gone without a catch since the sixth game of his rookie season, was shut out Sunday until a 12-yard reception with 44 seconds remaining. He added a 7-yard grab on the same garbage-time drive on Buffalo's last possession.

Evans has now caught a pass in 53 consecutive games, but that's a rather hollow statistic considering he was nonexistent for the majority of Sunday's 36-14 loss.

"It's tough," Evans said. "It wasn't working today. Offensively we really weren't clicking, and that's basically what it comes down to. We had some opportunities that we didn't take advantage of. When you do it in a big game like this, this is what happened."

The Jaguars made it clear from the outset that if someone was going to beat them it wouldn't be Evans. Playing Cover 2 most of the day, the Jaguars often rolled a safety over the top to help whatever cornerback was covering Evans.

The scheme worked beautifully as quarterback J.P. Losman was forced to throw short passes.

"They did a good job of not giving up big plays," Evans said. "They stayed pretty deep and when we checked down they did a good job of rallying to the ball. You take your hats off to them for doing a good job. All that said, we still had opportunities to do some things and we didn't take advantage of them."

Evans didn't have many opportunities to do much of anything. Unofficially, he had seven passes thrown in his direction. Three of them came in the first half, including one forced throw over the middle by Losman that was intercepted by Jaguars safety Sammy Knight, who saw Losman staring down Evans and stepped into the passing lane for the turnover.

Evans didn't see the ball once in the third quarter and it was well into the final stanza before another pass came his way.

On one rare occasion in the fourth quarter Evans broke free from double coverage on a long route near the sideline, but Losman's pass was badly overthrown.

"Their game plan was to pretty much make us dink and dunk our way down the field," said receiver Josh Reed. "We like to get some big plays, but they did a good job of taking those away from us."

Teams often try taking Evans out of games. Although he leads the Bills with 41 catches, this was the fifth time this season he was limited to two receptions or less in a game.

Late in the game, it seemed like the Bills were determined to keep Evans' streak of consecutive games with a catch alive by sending him on a shallow crossing route on his 12-yard grab.

That's just one way to negate double coverage, so perhaps the Bills might consider using that play more so their best receiver is not invisible, as he was Sunday.

"We tried to do some things, but unfortunately not much worked today," Evans said. "We just have to go back, regroup and learn from our mistakes."

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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