The Skinny: Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes but it was the running game that led the Bills to a 34-18 win at very wet and somewhat windy Ralph Wilson Stadium. As the calendar turns to December the Bills finally turned to a ground game that rumbled for 232 yards as they ran the ball 46 times. Fred Jackson had 109 yards and took the majority of the carries because he was having his best day of the year. C.J. Spiller added a 44 yard touchdown run and 77 yards on the ground. Fitzpatrick only threw 17 passes but threw for touchdowns to Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson. He also dove in for the first score of the game.
The Turning Point:
Easley Kick Return: Things were looking glum after the Jaguars took a 10-7 lead. Media on twitter were already wondering if the Bills were about to hit a new low. Then Marcus Easley touched the ball for the first time in his NFL career. He returned the ensuing kickoff 55 yards and then had 15 yards added on a late hit. The Bills would score a touchdown four plays later and never looked back.
The Big Drive:
Opening 2nd Half Drive: The Bills took total control of the game when they went 61 yards in 8 plays in 3:54 to Fitzpatrick's 13 yard touchdown pass to Johnson on a 2nd and goal pass. Brad Smith had a 38 yard kickoff return to start them with good field position. Jackson had a 15 yard run and Smith ran the next play for 17 yards out of the wildcat. The drive was helped by a roughing the passer penalty on Jason Babin.
Stat I Did Like:
232 Rushing Yards: They ran the ball 46 times today to 17 passes and got the win.
Stat I Didn't Like:
Penalties: 100 yards on nine penalties. The zebras weren't letting the teams play though as the Jags were called for eight penalties.
Quick Slants: - The Bills held a moment of silence before the game in honor of former TE Ernie Warlick who died last week. - The Bills entered this game allowing 16.4 yards per punt return almost three yards more than any other team in the league. They brought that average down by allowing just 21 yards on two returns for a 10.5 yard average. - DE Jason Babin was claimed off of waivers this week by the Jaguars. The Bills put in a claim for him as well. He started five days after joining the team. - The official attendance was 53,971 but the actual fans in the seats were much less. - The sparse crowd soundly booed former Bill LB Paul Posluszny when he made his first tackle of the game.
Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article: RB C.J. Spiller vs. LB Paul Posluszny: Winner: Spiller. He did it with a huge assist from Jackson who actually took the lion share of the carries. Poz did have an interception but the Bills rushing stats is all you really need to know about this matchup. DB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Justin Blackmon: Winner: Gilmore. He really shutout Blackmon all game long allowing him to catch just one pass for nine yards. DE Mario Williams vs. RT Cameron Bradfield: Winner: Williams. His sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery was a huge momentum changer in this game. WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Rashean Mathis: Winner: Mathis. Johnson did have the touchdown catch but he was held in check before his injury by Mathis and others.
Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out: 1. The Mularkey Matchup: Success! Gailey had to beat Mularkey he has so much more talent at his disposal and that isn't saying much. 2. Don't Let Babin Be A Factor: Success! He was a factor in a negative fashion for Jacksonville with a bad roughing penalty and no sacks. 3. Give Spiller The Ball!: Success! Jackson got it more but he was making more plays. Spiller did have a nice 44 yard TD run.
The Bills had to defeat the Jaguars in this game. They would have hit a new low if they would have lost to their former coach who quit on them and happens to run a two win team. They rallied around their beleaguered coach and played a physical game which they controlled and dominated as the game went on. Too bad the team has been so bad all year I wonder if anyone really noticed.
The Bills remain home in Orchard Park next Sunday for a matchup with the St. Louis Rams who are coming off an emotional win in overtime against the 49ers.
Fred Jackson - Ran like the Jackson of old with his 100 yard day.
Mario Williams - He came up with a game changing play on defense.
C.J. Spiller - He may have played second fiddle to Jackson but he had a big game clinching run and decent numbers himself.