Bills vs. Jaguars: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Buffalo

Joshua Cornwall@jcstatsContributor IDecember 15, 2013

The season is beginning to become a long one for rookie EJ Manuel.
The season is beginning to become a long one for rookie EJ Manuel.Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills escaped North Florida with a one-score victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as EJ Manuel rebounded from a tough start to lead his team to their fifth win. 

Final Score:

Bills: 27

Jaguars: 20


Buffalo Bills Grades
Positional UnitFirst HalfGame
Pass OffenseCB-
Rush OffenseCA-
Pass DefenseB+B-
Rush DefenseBC-
Special TeamsB-C
Buffalo Bills Week 15

Game Analysis for the Buffalo Bills

Pass Offense: The disastrous first quarter has long been forgotten after Manuel tore through the Jaguars over the final three quarters. After starting the game 2-for-7 with an interception, Manuel completed 15 of his final 17 passes for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns. There was plenty of worry about how the rookie would respond after back-to-back losses, and for now, Manuel is off the schneid.

Rush Offense: Buffalo committed to the run game in the second half and the results were dramatic. No one had 100 yards individually, but the unit finished with 198 yards on the ground at 4.5 yards per carry. The Bills struggle mightily on offense when they can’t gouge out tough runs—the offensive line played much better this week to aid that effort.

Pass Defense: Third-and-long has been a problem for this unit all season long and Sunday’s game was no different. The Jaguars converted on 3rd-and-7 or longer five times on the day. Stephon Gilmore had some costly errors as the Jaguars looked to tie the game late, but he made a great tiptoe interception in the back of the end zone to seal the game.

Rush Defense: Good first half and terrible second half. Kiko Alonso has all but disappeared in the run game over the last few games and he made several errors against the Jaguars. Alonso bites on the fake too often and gets sucked in the middle of the line, which makes the middle of the field extremely vulnerable.

Special Teams: Nothing outstanding and nothing terrible. Danny Crossman may be coaching for his job as the penalties continue to pile up.

Coaching: I do not agree with the play-calling sequence on the Bills' last drive with a chance to put the game away, but they made some noticeable in-game adjustments to sneak by a hot Jaguars squad.

Robert Woods, not Stevie Johnson, was the best receiver in a game with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Robert Woods, not Stevie Johnson, was the best receiver in a game with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


First-Half Analysis for the Buffalo Bills

Pass Offense: Horrid to start, but EJ Manuel got better as the game progressed. Last week’s debacle at Tampa Bay looked to hang over Manuel’s head in the first quarter like some personal rain cloud. He consistently overthrew his receivers, including one of the ugliest passes of the year on an intercepted screen pass. The Bills’ fifth drive of the game finally produced results and saw Manuel look a bit more comfortable in the pocket. Stevie Johnson is playing despite the death of his mother on Saturday, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.

Rush Offense: Buffalo needed to get the run game going early on, but the results have been mixed. Manuel, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller all have runs of more than 10 yards, but their other attempts have been bottled up for the most part. The Bills finally made a commitment to the run game on their second touchdown drive and were able to gash the Jags’ undersized line—capped off by Manuel’s second rushing score of the year.

Pass Defense: There have been plenty of complaints about the secondary in 2013, but a full, healthy unit is finally showing what it is capable of doing on a weekly basis. One week after holding Mike Glennon to 90 yards, they have forced Chad Henne into some bad throws in the first half. Aaron Williams’ pick on the Jags’ first drive was a perfect read, but Henne later picked on Williams, who was matched up against the quicker Ace Sanders.

Rush Defense: After allowing an 80-yard touchdown run to Bobby Rainey last week, Buffalo’s run defense is giving up only 3.5 yards per carry on nearly 40 carries since. The Bills have plenty of speed on the outside of their front seven to matchup with Jordan Todman’s outside rushing style.

Special Teams: Hard to fault Dan Carpenter for missing a 54-yarder in the first quarter, but he made his other two attempts to give Buffalo a halftime lead. Coverage has been outstanding, but penalties on good returns continue to plague Danny Crossman’s unit.

Coaching: After the first quarter, the coaching staff was well on their way to earning a second straight “F” grade. However, the offensive coaching staff turned it around in the second quarter with some adjustments for Manuel. The screen game was a disaster on the first two drives and Manuel never looked comfortable working that close to the line of scrimmage. Buffalo opened up the offense on its final three drives and ended up with 17 points because of it.


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