On the positive side, they came out and played extremely hard on both sides of the ball. This is a different team under interim head coach Perry Fewell. WR Terrell Owens had his biggest day as a Bill (catching a 98-yard pass for a TD will do that for you) and the defense held RB Maurice Jones-Drew in check enough to draw praise from the Jags tailback.
Unfortunately, the negative side holds a lot more weight.
First off, they lost the game in the fourth quarter again. Obviously the team didn’t go into complete self-destruct mode when they were down like the Tennessee Titans game the previous week, which I think is a testament to Fewell. However, they still are having serious issues closing out games in the fourth.
Second, the injury situation continues to get worse, especially on the offensive line. I’m glad I was unable to watch the game for at least a few minutes when guard Eric Wood went down. That’s a horrible injury, and I wish Wood a quick and full recovery. Not just as a football player, but also as a fellow human being, because that’s just bad. Hopefully it won’t hinder his development.
Also lost for the season was guard Seth McKinney. The Bills are down to five active roster linemen, one who is injured (Demetrius Bell). Hello, free agents.
Also expect to see Christian Gaddis activated from the practice squad.
Another negative was the penalties, especially two key ones that erased touchdowns. The first on a TD run by Fred Jackson sounded ticky-tack, but as a football player, it’s your job to avoid putting yourself in that kind of situation as much as possible. A rookie mistake by Shawn Nelson, who will be a fine player, but still hurts.
The second penalty, a hands-to-the-face by Jonathan Scott, also really hurt. If the Bills had those two touchdowns, they would have won that game. However, they did commit those penalties (at least the Scott one), so they paid the price.
In Fewell’s postgame comments, it sounds like players were going to be getting an earful from him, which is another big difference between Jauron and Fewell. Maybe the players need to read my article on discipline (look back in the archive for Coach J’s Board Talk—Discipline Edition.)
The Jaguars did earn that win, however. They stayed in it, played tough, and made the most of their chances at the end, unlike the Bills. Lots to learn for this young team. On to Miami next week.