Vic Carucci's Take Five: Bills come out flat when they needed to come up big - The Buffalo News

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Vic Carucci's Take Five: Bills come out flat when they needed to come up big

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 10-3 wild-card playoff loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars worked out:

1. Ride that emotional wave that began in Miami all the way through Jacksonville. Nope.

The Bills actually seemed to come into this game pretty flat. They had good support from a vocal turnout of thousands of fans in the crowd of 69,442. Yet, they couldn't get a whole lot going, especially on offense.

They weren't playing a superior team by any stretch. They were evenly matched, and had there been a bit more drive in their performance, they could have possibly used it to their advantage.

This was one of those stale, ugly games that just sort of sat there for the taking. And it was the Jaguars who essentially needed only one touchdown to take it.

2. Force Blake Bortles into mistakes. Close, but no.

He desperately seemed to want to give the game away, heaving up throws that were off the mark. He nearly had two interceptions, but cornerback Tre'Davious White and safety Colt Anderson dropped them. Even Bortles' screen passes were widely off target.

Bortles finished with only 87 passing yards, and that shouldn't give the Jags or their fans a whole lot of confidence entering next Sunday's divisional-round game at Pittsburgh.

3. Take advantage of the Jaguars' tendency to allow big plays through the air. Nope.

The Bills' offense was pathetic. They got very little accomplished through the air. Tyrod Taylor likely played his final game as a Bill, and it will be remembered for poor decisions and inaccurate throws. He often seemed lost, which the way he has played through most of his time in a Buffalo uniform.

His supporting cast didn't offer a whole lot of help. His line didn't stand much of a chance against the Jaguars' dominant defensive front. His receivers didn't do a ton to gain separation, and rookie Zay Jones had one drop.

In the end, Bills' offense created usual heavy burden for defense

4. With or without LeSean McCoy, find a way to exploit the NFL's 21st-ranked run defense. Semi-check here.

The Bills rushed for 130 yards and averaged a respectable 4.1 yards per carry against the NFL's 21st-ranked run defense during the regular season.

McCoy, who coach Sean McDermott told the team's pregame radio show was "80 percent" recovered from the ankle injury he suffered against the Miami Dolphins last week, finished with 75 yards on 19 carries. He also caught six passes for 44 yards.

But the Bills didn't have enough success on the ground to help open things up for their passing game, which was simply inept.

5. Make the most of a huge edge in special teams. Not at all.

The Bills' special teams hurt itself with penalties and didn't deliver any big plays.

Stephen Hauschka provided the extent of the Bills' scoring with a 30-yard field goal and Colton Schmidt was solid punting.

But the Bills never did anything noteworthy to make the difference in a game that was close from start to finish.

LeSean McCoy focused on here and now after gutting through ankle injury

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