Jaguars defense shines in wild-card win over Bills


Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills were attempting to storm back in the AFC Wild Card game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, when the quarterback was knocked out cold with less than two minutes left in the game, trailing 10-3.

Buffalo - who suffered the longest barren spell without post-season action across all four major sports in the U.S. before this season - had not featured in the play-offs since losing 22-16 at this stage in 1999, and had not reached the Divisional Round since 1995. That proud nostalgia didnt translate to the scoreboard, however, as Buffalo became just the second playoff team in the past five seasons to be held to three points or fewer. They weren't even supposed to finish with a.500 record.

Bills fans were a big, blue part of the crowd, breaking out their Jim Kelly jerseys and the striped Zubaz trousers of the teams 1990s heyday. They played efficiently on offense. Granted, they throttled the Steelers, 30-9, there October 8, but Bortles had only 95 passing yards.

Hauschka's make came with 1:49 left in the second quarter, but the Bills had to feel like an opportunity had been missed.

Bills: making 18th overall playoff appearance (14th since the merger), 14-15 in postseason play (12-13 since the merger). They limited the Jaguars to just 230 offensive yards and 10 points.

After an incompletion in the end zone on third down, Vonn Bell sacked Newton on a safety blitz, ensuring the Saints (12-5) swept all three meetings with Carolina (11-6) this season, in addition to winning their first play-off game in four seasons.

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye right breaks up a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Deonte Thompson in the first half
Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye right breaks up a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Deonte Thompson in the first half

Getting the ball to start the second half, the offense moved the ball a bit. All but one of their drives ended in punts. Before departing, Taylor completed 17 of 37 passes for 134 yards and a second-quarter interception that was clearly the fault of tight end Logan Thomas, who allowed the pass to bounce off his chest.

"The GM, if he walks to me, or the head coach, and tries to shake my hand, (I'll) act like I'm going to shake their hand and then be like, get out of here", Dareus told NFL Media prior to Sunday's playoff game at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. His early misfires must have rattled Nathaniel Hackett, because the young offensive coordinators play-calling was questionable for the rest of the half.

But the veteran quarterback responded in style, slicing open the Panthers pass defence for 377 yards and two touchdowns, the first time since 2011 he has had a multiple-score postseason outing. Whilst not much was expected of him, largely due to the caliber of the defense and the enormously unconvincing nature of his play in previous games, nobody would've thought quite so much could go wrong in such a short space of time. He rushed for 75 yards on 19 carries and caught six passes for 44 yards receiving.

The Jaguars will stick around in the playoffs for at least one more week.

The Bills offense looked plain out pathetic this game.

While Buffalo's playoff loss is disappointing, Bills fans shouldn't dwell on it for too long. Wyoming's Josh Allen could also find himself taken in the first round depending on how needy teams are to fill holes at the position. If coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane can lead a supposed "rebuilding" team into the playoffs, imagine what they can do with a team that they truly put their stamp on.

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