Things are moving quickly in the negotiations between NFL owners and the NFLPA. I hate to distract you from breaking news on inching ever-closer to a football season. Personally, I think most teams are going to be rusty with the shortened camp, missing workouts, etc. But, I'll take a season either way.
Back to the Bills game last year. Tied 13-13 at halftime, it was anyone's game. The Jaguars' resiliency was already tested being down 10-0 with a couple of turnovers early. But, they rose to the challenge to tie the game. As we would see, they would step up in the second half. Often in the franchise's history, the Jaguars would play down to the competition, losing to truly worse teams. The Bills were certainly the worse team and thankfully, the Jaguars closed the deal.
- Deji Karim immediately returns the kickoff 51 yards to the Buffalo 39. The man was flying through the wedge beautifully. A pass to Marcedes Lewis crossing the middle for 11 puts the ball at the Buffalo 27. On the next play, David Garrard would hit Marcedes Lewis for 27 yards on a "jump-ball" that Lewis just plucks out of the air, being so big and tall compared to puny defensive backs, and extends the ball as he's falling into the end zone. Garrard read the seam route by Lewis being wide open in the middle of Cover 2, and he hit it perfectly. In just 3 plays after the big kick return, 20-13 Jaguars.
- A weak, one first down drive by the Bills' offense that was stalled with a few bad penalties, escorts the ball back to the Jaguar offense. A couple Jones-Drew runs gets it to a 3rd and 1 where he's stopped short. A gutsy (or dumb?) call to go for it on 4th and 1 at their own 45 backfires as David Garrard fumbles the QB sneak and it's a turnover on downs. You don't want to give that kind of game-changing momentum to an 0-4 team down 7.
- Immediately the Bill offense comes alive and rallies around the turnover. Fred Jackson runs for 31 yards breaking tackles all over the field. A horse-collar penalty puts the ball at 1st and goal from the 6 yard line. On a 3rd and goal, Fitzpatrick throws a gorgeous fade to Steve Johnson over the confused Rashean Mathis to tie the game 20-20. It was a simple 1-on-1 defense and Mathis got beat.
- Deji Karim returns another kickoff for a huge gain to the Jaguar 46 yard line. This good field position is a luxury for an offense not built on big plays. A couple passes to Mike Sims-Walker nets a couple first downs. Karim gets in the mix on offense with a nice 12 yard run with Brock Bolen (my favorite guy in training camp) throwing some nice Greg Jones-esque blocks. A great pass to Sims-Walker down the sideline on a gorgeous corner route where he shakes the safety puts the ball at the Buffalo 5 yard line.A pass to Jones-Drew for a touchdown is nullified by a questionable holding call on Marcedes Lewis, but a bubble screen to Mike Thomas for 10 sets up a 3rd and goal from the 8. A nice short angle route by Jones-Drew where he beats linebacker Paul Posluzny fair and square makes for an easy touchdown. 27-20 Jaguars. At this point, David Garrard has completed 10 straight passes.
- A 3 and out by the Bills offense the next drive as Fitzpatrick gets sandwiched by Derrick Harvey (you've gotta be kidding me) and Aaron Kampman (of course) for a sack and loss of 8. Watching the film, Kampman was double teamed by a tight end as well as a running back, and he just bull rushes both right into Fitzpatrick's face.
- Jones-Drew runs for 17 yards, but gets a little shaken up on the play. Deji Karim comes in and does well. Runs of 11 yards, 5 yards, and 4 yards, gets the Jaguars in field goal range. Scobee would hit from 34 yards to put the Jaguars up 30-20.
- A fake punt run by Brian Moorman (anyone who watches film on the Bills special teams unit would expect that they've run it a few times in the past with Moorman's speed) is sniffed out by Montell Owens and he tackles Moorman short of the first down and injures him on the play.
- A couple short drives by the Jaguar offense nets Scobee field goals of 40 yards and 46 yards, respectively, putting the team up 36-20.
- A garbage touchdown with little time left on a slant to Steve Johnson is a moral victory, but the 2 point conversion is batted down by Mincey at the line and the game is over. 36-26 Jaguars
Final stats: David Garrard: 16-20 for 178 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
Maurice Jones-Drew: 19 carries for 84 yards Deji Karim: 15 carries for 70 yards
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 20-30 for 220 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions
Fred Jackson & C.J. Spiller: 17 carries for 104 yards
A very efficient day from David Garrard, coupled with a solid running game between Jones-Drew and Karim in his first action of the season. It's still worrisome to give up 200 yards, 3 tds, and no interceptions to a pedestrian QB like Fitzpatrick. It seems the Jaguar defense likes to give sub-par QBs their chance to create a highlight reel against them. The Bills didn't commit to the run, foolishly, as they had a little over a 6.0 yards per carry average. The Jaguars just kept putting the foot on the gas and kept scoring points, not to mention Scobee going 5/5 on field goals in the game.