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Bills Lose Wildcard Game 10-3
Offensive struggles as the season comes to an end.
by Steve Saslow
Wildcard Playoffs
Bills   3
Jaguars  10
Gameday Grades
The Skinny:
The Bills playoff drought is over but the playoff win drought continues as they lost to the Jaguars in a predictable defensive struggle 10-3. The Bills only got deep into Jacksonville territory once and decided to throw on 1st and goal from the 2 instead of run it. The pass resulted in a pass interference penalty forcing the Bills to settle for a field goal. The Jaguars then tied it with a field goal in the closing seconds of the first half. Jacksonville took control of the game when Blake Bortels found tight end Ben Koyack for a one yard touchdown on 4th and goal to give them the lead they would not relinquish. Tyrod Taylor got hurt on the final drive and Nathan Peterman threw the game clinching interception in Jacksonville territory.

The Turning Point:
The Only TD: When the Jags converted a fourth down pass for a touchdown, it was the only TD of the game and the seven point lead was pretty much insurmountable in this game.

The Big Drive:
Then 15 play, 86 yard drive for a TD: The only touchdown of the game took 8:52 off of the 3rd quarter clock and they needed only one third down conversion, a 6 yard run by Leonard Fournette. He also had a 16 yard run on the drive and Bortles found Mercedes Lewis for a 16 yard gain on the drive. Fournette had a 12 yard catch on the drive.

Stat I Did Like:
Fournette's Rushing Yards: They held him to 57 on 21 carries.

Stat I Didn't Like:
Bortles' Rushing Yards: He had 88 on just 10 carries.

Scene Setters:
- The Bills wore white jerseys with blue pants for this wildcard battle.
- Bills fans traveled to Jacksonville in droves and they made their presence felt on flights all over the country. There were even about a hundred fans who lined the fence to greet the Bills as they landed at Jacksonville airport.
- The local media were all at the big Bills party Saturday night in Jacksonville where hundreds of Bills fans gathered. There are some incredible videos that the local media guys tweeted out.
- Lot X was the lot Bills fans were meeting in prior to the game. It was forced to open two hours early because of the crowd.
- McCoy not being on the inactive list was the big news from the list. The inactives were Matt Milano, Shareece Wright, John Miller, Khari Lee, Brandon Reilly, Malachi Dupree, and Conor McDermott.

Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article:
LT Dion Dawkins vs. RDE Calais Campbell: Winner: Dawkins. Campbell did get a big tackle of Taylor as he headed for the end zone but he didn't get much pressure.
C Eric Wood vs. DT Marcell Dareus: Winner: Wood. Dareus had four tackles, once for a loss, but wasn't too much of a factor.
DE Jerry Hughes vs. LT Cam Robinson: Winner: Robinson. Hughes was in the backfield a couple of times but didn't make much of a difference.
LB Preston Brown vs. RB Leonard Fournette: Winner: Brown. Fournette was kept in check with just 2.7 yards per carry.

Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out:
1. Can Shady Play And Be Productive: Success! Shady played very well despite battling a severe ankle sprain.
2. Get Tyrod Moving: Failure! He did run 7 times for 27 yards but they didn't move him arond outside the pocket a lot.
3. Take The Crowd Out Of The Game: Success! The boring game with poor offensive play kept the crowd out of the game.

My Take:
It was a very successful first season for Sean McDermott as the team exceeded expectations and made the playoffs. Watching Taylor dazed and hurt leaving the field reminded me of Jim Kelly's last game when he was carted off with a head injury during a Wildcard loss to the Jaguars. I believe we have seen the last of Taylor in a Bills uniform and leaves the way Kelly did just without the same success.

What's Ahead:
The Bills offseason begins a week late after their wildcard loss. There is a lot to build on after ending the drought.

  • Lorenzo Alexander - He had 10 tackles and a sack.
  • LeSean McCoy - He gutted it out with his ankle injury and had 119 total yards of offense.

  • Goats
  • Tyrod Taylor - He threw for a paltry 134 yards on 37 attempts. A bad swan song for his time in Buffalo.
  • Nick O'Leary - He had a big drop and only caught two of six passes thrown his way.

  • Player Of The Week
  • Lorenzo Alexander - Solid effort for the wiley veteran.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook
    Jaguars Wildcard Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage

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