Bills vs. Jaguars: Takeaways from Buffalo's 27-20 Win over Jacksonville
The Week 14 matchup of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills pitted two teams seemingly heading in opposite directions. The Jaguars entered this game winner of four of their past five games while the Bills were on the losing end in four of their last five.
This didn't matter on Sunday, as Buffalo was able to hold on to a lead late for a 27-20 victory. EJ Manuel bounced back with three total touchdowns, and the defense forced turnovers when needed to secure a victory on the road.
These are the five biggest takeaways from the Bills' win over the Jaguars.
Buffalo Bills Showed Resiliency
The one thing that has been missing in the losing streak from this team has been resiliency late in games. Earlier this season, the team showed a "never give up" attitude that helped propel them toward wins over Carolina and Baltimore.
As the season progressed, this confidence late in games has disappeared, especially in road games. In Week 15, Buffalo took the Jaguars' best shots but didn't lose confidence.
When Jacksonville came back and tied it at 20 in the fourth quarter, this team usually would have thrown in the towel. However, the offense drove the length of the field on their next drive and scored a touchdown. This score ended up being the deciding factor.
This is what Buffalo needs to be successful in the NFL and has been missing in recent weeks. This type of attitude is only built through winning, and that is what Buffalo needs to do over the final two weeks.
Bills Defense Struggled Once Again Stopping the Run
This has been an issue for weeks now, and the Bills had the perfect opportunity to correct it when news broke that Maurice Jones-Drew would be inactive for the game. The Bills would be going up against backup running back Jordan Todman, who had only 18 carries this season.
Unfortunately, Todman ran right through the Bills defense to the tune of 25 carries for 109 yards. He added an additional 44 yards through the air and tormented Buffalo the entire game.
The story of this defense seems to be that they play well for the majority of the game but give up a handful of big plays that change the game. The Bills struggled again in this department against Jacksonville, giving up two long runs to Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson.
Unlike past weeks, these plays didn't decide the game for Buffalo, and they were able to overcome them. The Bills do a great job of forcing turnovers and putting pressure on the quarterback, but they have to limit these big plays if they hope to be a dominant defense.
EJ Manuel Got More Involved in the Rushing Game
After the game against Tampa Bay, coach Doug Marrone said they would look to scale back the offense for EJ Manuel, but there was no indication what this exactly meant. If the game against Jacksonville was any indication, it means they will look for Manuel to run the ball more.
For the first time since Week 4, Manuel had double-digit rushing attempts in a game. He finished with 10 rushing attempts for 37 yards and one touchdown.
Adding the threat of Manuel running the ball opened up a number of different aspects for this offense. On read options, Jaguars defenders couldn't crash on the running back and had to respect the fact that Manuel may tuck it and run.
When he dropped back in the pocket to throw, defenders had to keep an eye on the pocket to defend the possibility that Manuel could scramble for yards if the play broke down.
Manuel's mobility was one of the reasons he was drafted so high, which adds a whole new dimension to the offense. It opened up the passing game as well as the running game. It also seemed to settle Manuel down because he knew he didn't have to force throws and could run if necessary.
Aaron Williams Continued Strong Play at Safety
During the offseason, the Buffalo Bills decided to move Aaron Williams from cornerback to safety. The third-year player out of Texas has had a career year and played very well in his new role.
He already has career highs in tackles, passes defended and interceptions and had another great game against Jacksonville. It didn't take long for him to make an impact. On the third play of the game, he intercepted Chad Henne by jumping a pass intended for Marcedes Lewis.
The biggest play of the game for Williams came in the third quarter when he was able to run down Denard Robinson at the goal line and force a fumble. The ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
At this point in the game, Buffalo was up 20-10, and if Robinson had scored on the 24-yard run, it could have swung momentum back in Jacksonville's favor.
If Buffalo is able to re-sign Jairus Byrd to a new contract this offseason, this defense could have one of the better safety tandems in the NFL with Aaron Williams.