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Quarterly Report: Bills win the battle at quarterback


Theme: Jump on them early. Could the Bills get a quick knockout against a reeling Jaguars team on a six-game losing streak? Buffalo did its best, taking a 14-0 lead.

Big gainer: The 75-yard TD pass to Robert Foster was the Bills’ longest play of the season and longest Bills touchdown since an 84-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor to Marquise Goodwin on Sept. 15, 2016.

Zebra report: The Bills got 12 bonus yards on a 32-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin. Replays showed his knee was down after making the catch 20 yards downfield. . . . Video review overturned the fumble call on Isaiah McKenzie’s punt return with 3:53 left. His knee clearly was down.

Slow starters: The Jaguars have just 30 first-quarter points all season, the fewest in the NFL.

Lineup developments: Demoted from the starting lineup two weeks ago, Vlad Ducasse was inactive for the first time this season. The addition of Deonte Thompson pushed Ray-Ray McCloud to the inactive list. Ex-Bill Marcell Dareus was out for the Jaguars. He hadn’t practiced on Wednesday or Thursday. Taking his spot was Abry Jones, who made his 28th career start.


Theme: Ground and pound. The Jaguars ran 14 times for 136 yards in the quarter. Leonard Fournette had 83 of his 95 yards at halftime.

Quotable: “We were just out of our gaps, missing tackles,” said Bills safety Jordan Poyer. “I came scot-free on a blitz and he was able to sidestep me, which was a bad missed tackle by me.”

Matchup watch: The Jaguars didn’t match up Jalen Ramsey on a particular wideout, and the Bills didn’t throw his way much. Ramsey had an interception late in the half wiped out. He had made illegal contact on Robert Foster before the pass was thrown.

Predictable: On a third-and-3 situation from from the 5, you knew the Jaguars weren’t going to let Blake Bortles throw. Fournette ran up the middle 5 yards for a TD.

Key penalty: Two nice completions for first downs by Josh Allen were wiped out by penalties. A hold by John Miller on Calais Campbell erased a 7-yard pass to Logan Thomas. A dubious illegal use of hands call on center Russell Bodine wiped out a 16-yard throw to Isaiah McKenzie.

Bills lull: The Bills have been outscored in the second quarter, 117-36.


Theme: Hockey Night at New Era Field. With 2:49 left in the quarter, the Bills lost Shaq Lawson and the Jaguars lost Leonard Fournette to disqualifications for fighting. What a trade-off for the Bills. It was like Rob Ray taking Mario Lemieux off the ice with equal, five-minute majors.

Quotable: “To not have him there, that’s big for us,” said Jags quarterback Blake Bortles. “Obviously, with what we were able to do in the run game in the first half and then there in the second, we weren’t able to do that stuff.”

Matchup watch: The Jaguars entered the game ranked ninth in the NFL in third-down conversions at 43.7 percent conversions. The Bills’ defense was 12th, holding foes to 38 percent conversions. Jacksonville was just 1 of 7 on third downs in the second half and 5 of 13 for the game (38 percent).

Zebra report: Eddie Yarbrough was flagged for being the 12th man on the field on a Jags’ punt, giving Jacksonville a first down. Yarbrough had been in the medical tent, heard the punt team called to the field and raced out to fill his position.


Theme: Josh Allen outplays Blake Bortles. Allen produced 259 yards passing and rushing. Bortles produced 166. But there was no comparison in terms of the throws they were asked to execute. The Jags barely let Bortles throw downfield.

Key misfire: With 5:07 left and down by 21-14, the Jaguars let Bortles throw from his own 2-yard line. His slant pass for James O’Shaughnessy was a tad behind, although the tight end got both hands on it. The ball caromed into the arms of Jordan Poyer, and the Bills got an insurance field goal.

Key injury: The Jaguars’ lost their best offensive lineman, guard Andrew Norwell, to what looked like a serious an ankle injury with 14:47 left.

Matchup watch: Jerry Hughes and Kyle Williams dominated the Jags’ offensive line in the fourth quarter. Jacksonville is down three O-line starters from the start of the season and is on its fourth left tackle.

Zebra report: Referee Walt Coleman’s crew was over-officious, with 23 penalties accepted in the game. In one 31-play stretch from late in the third quarter to midway through the fourth, there were 15 penalties called.

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