Buffalo Bills beat Jaguars: 5 reasons to be encouraged, 4 reasons to worry

Buffalo Bills beat Jaguars: 5 reasons to be encouraged, 4 reasons to worry
Jalen Ramsey on Josh Allen: He did enough to win, and thats what matters
Turns out that wasnt a great design idea, after the Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars had a brawl on the field.

After a crazy play in which Donte Moncrief appeared to catch a touchdown (it was reversed on replay review because he was down at the 1-yard line), and Bills cornerback Levi Wallace and Moncrief refused to let go of the ball on the simultaneous reception, there was a fight.

Bills outside linebacker Shaq Lawson and Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette threw punches at each other, which is an easy ejection. Then they were led to the same tunnel.

Key misfire: With 5:07 left and down by 21-14, the Jaguars let Bortles throw from his own 2-yard line. His slant pass for James OShaughnessy was a tad behind, although the tight end got both hands on it. The ball caromed into the arms of Jordan Poyer, and the Bills got an insurance field goal.

Video: Jaguars vs. Bills Week 12 Highlights | NFL 2018

Bills Today: Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes wreak havoc in Week 12 win

Lawson was led off the Bills sideline to the tunnel and Fournette was led to the tunnel at the same time. Lawson and Fournette were shouting at each other as they got near each other, still heated from the exchange of punches.

Theme: Hockey Night at New Era Field. With 2:49 left in the quarter, the Bills lost Shaq Lawson and the Jaguars lost Leonard Fournette to disqualifications for fighting. What a trade-off for the Bills. It was like Rob Ray taking Mario Lemieux off the ice with equal, five-minute majors.

With team personnel around each player they had to be separated as they went up the tunnel. Presumably there had to be security between the two locker rooms to make sure nobody went and confronted the other in the locker room.

Zebra report: The Bills got 12 bonus yards on a 32-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin. Replays showed his knee was down after making the catch 20 yards downfield. . . . Video review overturned the fumble call on Isaiah McKenzies punt return with 3:53 left. His knee clearly was down.

Jay Skurskis observations: Big brawl shifts momentum to Bills in win

Usually the NFL treats ejections as suspensions, and its rare that an extra suspension is added on after a player is ejected. The NFL will certainly look at this case, including the words exchanged up the tunnel.

Key penalty: Two nice completions for first downs by Josh Allen were wiped out by penalties. A hold by John Miller on Calais Campbell erased a 7-yard pass to Logan Thomas. A dubious illegal use of hands call on center Russell Bodine wiped out a 16-yard throw to Isaiah McKenzie.

Joe B: 7 observations from Bills – Jaguars

The play itself was overturned. There was the humorous scene of Moncrief and Wallace both refusing to let go of the ball for what seemed like a couple minutes as the two teams brawled around them on the ground.

4. Bills cornerback Lafayette Pitts suffered a head injury covering a punt in the first quarter and was knocked out for the rest of the game. That left the team with just three relatively healthy cornerbacks – rookie nickel Taron Johnson is dealing with an ongoing shoulder issue and was questionable for the game — and forced star TreDavious White into a new job as gunner on special teams. The Bills also shifted safety Rafael Bush to cornerback, which hes done several times this season, to make up for being shorthanded at the position.

Then the Jaguars had a touchdown taken off the board, though Moncrief was given credit for the catch. Without Fournette the Jaguars couldnt punch in the touchdown, a penalty took a touchdown off the board, then the Jaguars missed a short field goal.

Too bad the Jaguars havent shown more fight on the field as Fournette did throwing punches at Lawson or jawing at him in the tunnel afterward.

I dont know what the history is. Im not going to pretend like I know, but here was something there, he said. I feel like Fournette was going after Shaq the whole game, just talking junk to Shaq. I know Shaq, hes not quiet. Im surprised we cant hear him right now. Hes not a quiet guy. But thats my teammate, and I understand the circumstances he was in. … As a man, you have to defend yourself.

Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

Buffalo fans have had the privilege of watching Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks for the better part of the last decade.

5. Starting tight end Charles Clay missed his second consecutive game because of a hamstring injury. Jason Croom started in his place. Croom finished with two catches for 15 yards. He missed a chance to make a big play down the right sideline late in the second quarter when a Josh Allen pass sailed through his hands. That prevented the Bills from getting into field-goal range.

Williams and Hughes combined for nine tackles and five quarterback hits in the 24-21 victory. The two combined for a sack on Blake Bortles early in the fourth quarter, a play that forced a Jacksonville punt.

Final Thoughts:  – As Josh Allen returned to the lineup, many weren't sure what to expect. Would they be getting the same, stagnant offense that was seen just ahead of the injury to Allen, or would he get back to being more like the confident player that was willing to use his arm and make special plays within reason that the Bills thought he could develop into? The answer, for the most part, was the latter. With that one throw down the field to Robert Foster, Bills fans were treated to a play — and a player — that can do something so extraordinary that can turn him into the best player on the field at any given time. From that moment, Bills fans were given their first big flash from Allen — a player that flashed big plays like that all the time while at Wyoming. And with that flash play came emotional investment from fans hoping that the flicker of light plays become more of the norm, and that all the small stuff he must conquer become more consistent as the Bills march forward. Most of all, the important part of the game was to show what one player at the most important position in the sport can do to change the complexion of the matchup. Without Josh Allen, it's likely a much different approach by the Jaguars and the Bills become a lot easier to defend. However, because Josh Allen has that type of arm, because he showed the ability from the pocket and the willingness to hang tough in the pocket, and because he has the mobility to burn you on the ground if you fall asleep and give him a big running lane, defenses can't hone in on any one thing if Allen is operating at full capacity. This game against the Jaguars was the biggest bit of foreshadowing of what he could become, considering that his afternoon could have been even bigger than it was. For the first time in a long time this season, Bills fans are feeling good about the state of their young quarterback and the situation moving forward. It's now on Allen and the Bills to foster his development through these final five games to continue to bring these positive plays out from him, while keeping him playing within himself and not doing too much. From there, they can attack the offseason with Allen and figure out how to get him to take the next step after that. However, you have to crawl before you walk, and for the first time, we've seen Allen start to crawl with some velocity. It makes for an incredibly compelling end to the season, and one that will garner a lot of attention from the fans as the plans for the future are starting to look a little more attainable — and all with the help of their rookie quarterback. Imagine that.

5 weirdest things about the Bills ugly 24-21 win over the Jaguars

The 35-year-old Williams finished the game with the stronger stat line, totaling seven tackles and 1.5 sacks. The interior defender, however, feels as though his chemistry with his defensive line neighbor propelled him to a strong outing.

4) Run defense worrisome for much of the first half – The troubling part, even though the Bills did eventually wake up and start to dominate in the closing stages of the game, was that they needed to wake up in the first place. The Bills have been superb for much of the season on that side of the ball with a few exceptions, and for a long stretch of the game, it seemed like the Jaguars had found the formula to keep the Bills lunging at their ground game. It's not as though Jacksonville caught them by surprise, either. Blake Bortles has been horrendous for much of the season — to the point where the Jaguars take the ball out of his hands unless it's entirely necessary to throw the ball — so there were no false illusions of what they were trying to accomplish. Against a fully healthy defense, the Jaguars were doing whatever they wanted to with Leonard Fournette as their runner. The young linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano were getting covered up, the defensive tackles weren't winning at the point of attack, and the Jaguars found success even when the Bills knew what was coming. Considering how much the Bills have invested into their defense right up the middle, it was especially concerning to see them get as dominated as they had been for a considerable amount of the game. To their credit, they got it turned around following the brawl and thwarted the Jaguars for the most part the rest of the way. However, would it have been the same for the Bills had the super-impressive Fournette been available to the Jaguars? One might argue that the Jaguars would have taken the lead right on the first-and-goal opportunity from the one-yard line. I suppose we may never know, but the Bills got it turned around after a really bad beginning to the game, and they deserve some respect for making those adjustments mid-game.

We had known through the week that there were going to be some spacing issues, and if we can get one on ones, or two on twos in a lot of space, thats where he and I are really good, Williams said. We were able to take advantage of it there. Its always good playing next to a guy like that.

Chemistry is something that Williams and Hughes have had the opportunity to develop over the years, as theyve been teammates since Hughes arrived in the 2013 season. Playing with a player of Williams caliber is something that Hughes takes pride in.

Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars first half open thread

Weve been playing with each other for so long now, so whenever Kyles on my side, I have a feel for him, Hughes said. I know where hes at, I know how he gets off on the ball. So, whenever we start to do those twists, its just fun, because its just two guys working off each other.

6) McKenzie, Foster providing a huge boost to the offense – In the interim of adding to the offense, the Bills are in the process of finding out who can play right now and perhaps into the future. Over the last two weeks, both wide receivers Robert Foster and Isaiah McKenzie provided a huge response to a challenge given to young players to show the coaching staff and front office what they can do. Foster came close to gaining 100 yards for the second straight week, while registering yet another big play as he did against the Jets. His reception on the 75-yard touchdown pass was an excellent throw, but his adjustment to the ball and the confidence to bring the pass in calmly while darting into the end zone to finish the play, that goes a long way for the front office when they are deciding what they need to do on the offensive side of the ball. On top of it, McKenzie has turned himself into a specialty play weapon that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has designed several plays for and is working into the offense more every week. McKenzie's abilities as a returner especially shine through as well, making him into a gadget player that the Bills hadn't previously had. You cannot overstate McKenzie's impact on the team, because in just two games, he has completely supplanted rookie sixth-round pick Ray-Ray McCloud on the depth chart, has taken all his reps on offense, and took the role on special teams they originally drafted McCloud to have. He might have had some fumbling issues in Denver which led to his release, but McKenzie has been a terrific addition to the Bills and one that the front office deserves credit for.

Levi Wallace wasnt exactly a household name in the lead up to the 2018 draft. The walk-on turned starter at Alabama was looked at as a jack of all trades, master of none; a reliable defender who didnt really excel at one thing in particular.

Share Share Buffalo Bills inactives, Week 12: Vladimir Ducasse deactivated tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports When the Buffalo Bills released their inactive list for todays game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it contained a host of names that have become regulars on the healthy scratch list. However, former starting left guard Vladimir Ducasse had not been one of them…until now.

Its only fitting that Wallaces NFL opportunity came as a walk on, of sorts. The cornerback signed with the Bills after going undrafted and spent the first nine weeks of the 2018 season on Buffalos practice squad. In need of a steady player who could lineup opposite TreDavious White, the Bills promoted Wallace to their active roster ahead of their Week 10 contest with the Jets.

The veteran tight end has not practiced all week due to a hamstring injury. He missed the teams game against the New York Jets prior to the bye, but he still is not healthy enough to play. Jason Croom and Logan Thomas will handle duties at the position today. The Bills used offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles as a sixth lineman on multiple snaps against the Jets, so I would expect that to continue with Clay out again.

Top 3 things we learned from Bills-Jaguars

Wallace not only got the start at cornerback just days after being promoted, but he played on 100 percent of Buffalos defensive snaps, as well, the only defender to do so.

The rookie started at cornerback for the Bills again in Week 12, totaling five tackles. After the 24-21 win over the Jags, safety Micah Hyde praised his teammate, stating that hes carried his momentum from the practice squad over into the starting lineup.

With Deonte Thompson joining the squad over the bye week, the Bills are back to seven receivers, and the rookie is the odd man out this week. Isaiah McKenzie, who joined the Bills from the Denver Broncos practice squad prior to the teams last game, had success in the utility role that the team envisioned for McCloud, leaving the Clemson product a healthy scratch this week.

Boys a playmaker, man, Hyde said. Hes another stud, another young stud that we have. Hes played a lot of good football in his day. People may say hes a rookie free agent coming in, but we know what type of stuff hes able to do. 

The veteran quarterback has yet to clear concussion protocol, so he will sit another game. With Josh Allen returning to start and Nathan Peterman having been released, the Bills turn to Matt Barkley as the backup. Barkley gave the best performance of the season at quarterback for Buffalo in his only start, completing 60% of his passes for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Hes done it all year for us, ever since he got here. Hes been making plays on scout team. Were excited for what he brings to the table.

“I have to lead this team through this tough challenge of this adversity, and we have to continue to go out there and play with the same type of emotion, the same type of enthusiasm with each other,” Marrone said. “And if we keep doing that and working away, we will find a way to win.”

Less than 10 minutes into his second game in a Buffalo uniform, Isaiah McKenzie accomplished a lifelong goal.

Sean McDermott loved Bills reaction to brawl vs. Jaguars

He took a handoff on an end around and strolled into the end zone from six yards out, scoring the first touchdown of his professional career.

He went 15-17 in two seasons in Buffalo before opting out of his contract after a 9-7 finish in 2014. The opt-out option, including a $4 million payout, kicked in because of an ownership change once Terry and Kim Pegula bought the Bills after Ralph Wilson died.

That felt great, McKenzie said. Ive been (in the end zone) in preseason, but this is the regular season. To help this team win and get in the end zone, it felt great.

The 22-year-old was inconsistent going 75 of 139 for 832 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions in five-plus appearances. Allen still leads the team with three touchdown runs, though he was knocked for being too quick to scramble out of the pocket.

Though McKenzies only been with the Bills for three weeks, hes already made quite an impact. He totaled 121 yards on nine touches in his debut, a 41-10 rout of the Jets. The second-year wideout carried this momentum over into Week 12, picking up 75 yards on nine total touches in Buffalos win over the Jags.

Im very comfortable, McKenzie said. Im working every day. Im learning new things, still learning the offense and things like that. Just doing my job the best way I can.

Rookie quarterback Josh Allen had the opportunity to play with McKenzie for the first time on Sunday. Allen, who found the wideout twice throughout the contest, feels as though McKenzie has already carved out a spot for himself in the Bills lineup.

Thats what Isaiah brings to the table, Allen said. Hes extremely quick and gets zero to 100 as quick as you can.

NFL Week 12 round-up: The Buffalo Bills beat Jacksonville Jaguars

Being cut by the Broncos and the highs and lows hes been through, to see him fit a role and hes excelling in it so its good to see that.


Posted in Buffalo