Bills report card: Jackson, Spiller get rolling after slow start - The Buffalo News
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Bills report card: Jackson, Spiller get rolling after slow start

» Grading the Bills


The Jaguars held five straight opponents to less than 97 yards rushing. The Bills rolled up 198 yards at EverBank Field. Running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller had only 17 yards combined in the first quarter but finished with 147. EJ Manuel ran eight times (not counting kneeldowns) for 39 yards and a touchdown.


Manuel had a sloppy start. He misfired badly on his first four passes, including a bad interception to linebacker Geno Hayes on a screen, and fumbled on an aborted play. But he completed 17 of his remaining 20 attempts for 193 yards and TD tosses to Robert Woods and Frank Summers. The Bills gave up four sacks. For the third straight game, Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham combined for zero catches.


The NFL’s worst run offense without its best player, Maurice Jones-Drew, trampled Buffalo for 159 yards on the ground. Jordan Todman, with a previous career game of 31 yards, gained 53 yards on two of his 25 carries. It was the ninth game this year Buffalo had yielded at least 120 rushing yards, but only the fourth time an opponent averaged at least 5.0 yards a carry.


Takeaways got the Bills back to an above-average grade here. The Jaguars exploded for several big pass plays. The Jaguars converted six third downs of 7 yards or longer, including a third-and-12 two plays before a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Aaron Williams had an interception and a forced fumble. Stephon Gilmore sealed the game with an end-zone interception with 3:15 to play. Five Bills each notched a sack.


Dan Carpenter had a rare miss, but it was from 54 yards out. He made his attempts from 42 and 40 yards. Carpenter recorded four touchbacks, and Jacksonville’s lone return got only to the 10-yard line. Brian Moorman had a fine 42.5-yard net average. With the game still in the balance at the two-minute warning, Moorman clocked a 5-second hangtime on a 53-yard punt.


Doug Marrone wanted accountability from his players and staff. Looks like he got it this week. The Bills won for only the second time in seven games and snapped a two-game losing streak. A week after committing 11 penalties for 114 yards, the Bills had seven for 67 yards, and none of them were too costly. The game was strategized and managed well.

» Grading the Jaguars


Todman is listed third on the Jaguars’ depth chart, yet without their top receiver and left guard, he looked sensational Sunday afternoon. Todman ran for 109 yards, and rookie Denard Robinson tacked on another 28 yards. They combined for four carries of at least 16 yards. Chad Henne, not exactly a Randall Cunningham clone, picked up 22 yards on four scrambles.


Henne was OK, effectively spreading the ball around to seven targets. Four Jaguars had at least 40 receiving yards. But the offense had too many breakdowns here. Within Henne’s first four pass plays he threw an interception and got sacked twice. Three of Jacksonville’s four turnovers came on pass plays.


The Jaguars have been stuffing teams lately and had some success forcing Spiller to the outside. Six of Spiller’s 13 carries were for 2 yards or less. Three of his attempts didn’t make it back to the line of scrimmage. But Spiller also had four runs of at least 11 yards. On one series, Jackson ran three straight times for 36 yards. Once established, the Bills’ run game opened up play-action passes for Manuel.


Jacksonville had four sacks, including one from old friend Paul Posluszny, but only five quarterback hits. The Jaguars managed to break up just one pass, the gift interception to Hayes. Jacksonville helped remove Stevie Johnson, Goodwin and Graham from the box score, but penalties on two deep passes targeting Goodwin resulted in 46 penalty yards and helped the Bills score 10 points.


Josh Scobee kicked a 55-yard, line-drive field goal to make it a one-score game in the third quarter. He also converted a 32-yard field goal in the first quarter. Bryan Anger netted 44 yards on three punts and sent one 47 yards to Buffalo’s 11-yard line. Rookie speedster Ace Sanders averaged just 3.3 yards on three punt returns.


Even without their top two offensive weapons, Jones-Drew and leading receiver Cecil Shorts, and two other starters, coach Gus Bradley had a game plan that should have worked. But the Jaguars were too generous with the ball. Robinson’s goal-line fumble wiped out seven poi nts, and Mike Brown’s fumble right before halftime denied them a field-goal try.


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