Matchup winners: Bills D-line, Alexander were stellar - The Buffalo News

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Matchup winners: Bills D-line, Alexander were stellar

Bills D-line vs. Jags O-line

It was one of the finest performances of the season by the Buffalo Bills' defensive line. Leonard Fournette was held to 51 yards on 21 carries, a mere 2.7-yard average.

The Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive line is massive. A big worry was whether it would bully the Bills between the tackles (as the New Orleans Saints did in midseason). But the Jags' front is unathletic. It did not handle the Bills' defensive quickness well. Kyle Williams was outstanding, even though he made just one tackle. Jerry Hughes, Eddie Yarbrough and Ryan Davis set the edge well.

The Bills did not miss Marcell Dareus (who did a good job clogging the middle for the Jacksonville defense). Adolphus Washington and Cedric Thornton were stout enough. Yes, Blake Bortles scrambled for 88 yards. But it's hard to stop everything. Mission accomplished by the front four, which gave the Buffalo offense chance after chance.

Lorenzo Alexander vs. Jags' scheme

The Bills' 34-year-old linebacker is signed for one more year and showed why he deserves to be back in 2018. He was all over the field, with 10 tackles and a sack.

He had one tackle for loss on Fournette in the fourth quarter for minus 2 yards. He set the edge on two other fourth-quarter TFLs of the Jaguars' back. Alexander smelled out a screen pass to force an incompletion in the third quarter. He wiped out fullback Tommy Bohanon in the hole to force a second-quarter no gain. He hit Fournette's legs on a third-quarter no gain.

Alexander has not been great rushing the passer this season. But he showed he still has some speed off the edge by bursting past the Jags' best OL, Jeremy Parnell, for a 7-yard sack in the second quarter. Alexander did a little bit of everything.

Bills OTs vs. Jaguars DEs

Let's not underestimate the difficult challenge faced by Bills tackles Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills. The Jaguars ranked second in the NFL in sacks with 55. Defensive end Calais Campbell ranked second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks. Defensive end Yannkick Ngakoue tied for eighth with 12 sacks. Neither Campbell nor Ngakoue managed a sack. Both Jaguars' sacks came up the middle, when Malik Jackson beat Eric Wood inside and Myles Jack got a second-effort blitz sack up the middle.

Campbell was outstanding, with six tackles and an unofficial four hurries (one each vs. Dawkins and Mills). But he did not wreck the game. Neither did Ngakoue, who had just one tackle. Tyrod Taylor had time to throw most of the game. The Jaguars were averaging 3.4 sacks a game. The fact the Bills managed a meager 133 net passing yards was not the fault of the young tackles.

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