5 things to know after Bills win 27-20 at Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)
EJ Manuel showed some resiliency.
After last week's debacle at Tampa Bay. And after Sunday's slow start at Jacksonville.
Manuel misfired on five of his first seven passes against the Jaguars. He also fumbled on a backward pass and threw an interception. He made it look like last week's four-interception performance was going to carry over.
Then he found his rhythm - with his arm and his legs.
The rookie threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading the Bills to a 27-20 victory over the banged-up Jaguars on Sunday.
''It happens in football,'' he said. ''Sometimes you're going to start slow. Other times you'll start fast.''
Manuel bounced back from the worst game of his young career with his best. He also notched his first win in five road starts.
The former Florida State star didn't do anything spectacular, just dinking and dunking the Jaguars for 193 yards passing. He also ran for 37 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Still, it was his first three-TD game in the NFL.
''I think that's a part of the maturation as an offense, especially us young guys and the skilled positions,'' Manuel said.
Manuel completed 17 of 24 passes. Robert Woods caught five of them for 82 yards, including a 7-yard score. Scott Chandler added five receptions for 54 yards.
The Bills (5-9) turned the tide twice, once at the end of the first half and again in the fourth quarter.
Buffalo scored 10 points in the final 2:14 before halftime, taking a 20-10 lead into the locker room. The Jaguars (4-10) rallied to tie it in the fourth, evening the score on Chad Henne's 13-yard TD pass to Marcedes Lewis.
Manuel answered, though, capping an 89-yard drive with a 1-yard TD pass to fullback Frank Summers. With it, Manuel set the franchise's rookie record for touchdown passes with 11.
''He learns from snap to snap,'' Bills coach Doug Marrone said. ''You're seeing a quarterback that's involved in a process that's getting better and better. We've seen times when he's played very, very well.''
The Jaguars were in position to tie things up late, but a series of miscues proved costly. They finished with four turnovers.
''It was a game of missed opportunities,'' coach Gus Bradley said. ''We didn't play like we're capable of playing, whether it was a fumble, interception, things like that. In the locker room, our hearts are broken right now because of this, but I felt like our spirit is not.''
Aside from Manuel's big game and Jacksonville's key mistakes, here are five things to know about the Bills and Jaguars:
JOHNSON'S CALL: Buffalo receiver Stevie Johnson played with a heavy heart. Johnson's mother died unexpectedly Saturday at her Northern California home. Rhonda Lewis was 48. Johnson and the Bills had already arrived in Jacksonville when he heard the devastating news. He sat down with coach Doug Marrone, who gave him the option of leaving or staying for Sunday's game. Johnson decided to stay with his teammates. He caught one pass for 4 yards, and garnered praise from his team for how he handled a difficult situation.
SACK RECORD: The Bills sacked Chad Henne five times, bringing their NFL-leading total to 49 this season. It's one shy of the franchise record set in 1964. The Bills have four players with at least eight sacks - the first time they've done that since sacks became official stats in 1982. Mario Williams leads the way with 12, followed by Jerry Hughes (9), Kyle Williams (8) and Marcell Dareus (8). The last NFL team to have four guys with at least eight sacks was Baltimore in 2006.
COSTLY MISTAKES: Of Jacksonville's four turnovers, two of them came near the goal line. Henne threw an interception on a third-and-goal play with 3:15 remaining. Equally troubling for Jacksonville was Denard Robinson's fumble at the goal line in the third. Aaron Williams knocked the ball loose, and it rolled through the end zone for a touchback.
RUNNING WILD: Buffalo finished with 198 yards rushing, ending Jacksonville's streak of holding teams under the century mark at five games. Fred Jackson had 80 yards on the ground, and backfield mate C.J. Spiller added 67.
MISSING STARS: The Jaguars clearly missed leading rusher Jones-Drew and leading receiver Shorts. Jacksonville opted not to give backup Jordan Todman a between-the-tackles carry on first-and-goal at the 1 late in the game. Instead, the Jags ran Todman wide and he lost 4 yards. Mike Brown filled in for Shorts and fumbled twice, losing one.
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