Watkins' return gives Bills a spark in 28-21 win over Jags
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Sammy Watkins isn't suggesting he's feeling like his dynamic self again after the Bills receiver returned to the field for the first time in nine weeks.
What's encouraging is Watkins didn't experience any familiar discomfort in the surgically repaired left foot that forced him to the sidelines in the first place. And with the extra time off, Watkins also believes he's over whatever fears he previously had of aggravating the injury.
''Right now I'm feeling great,'' he said, following Buffalo's 28-21 win over Jacksonville on Sunday. ''I think, now I kind of got over that hump - the mental hurdle.''
The Bills (6-5) won their second straight to stay in the playoff picture in a game Buffalo and Jacksonville traded the lead five times in the second half. Watkins played a role in helping the Bills overcome a second-half deficit for the second straight week, following a 16-12 win at Cincinnati last week.
After being limited to two catches for 18 yards in the first half, Watkins reminded everyone how good he can be with one play in the third quarter. Bursting up the right sideline, Watkins had a step on cornerback Jalen Ramsey in making a 62-yard catch in stride on a drive quarterback Tyrod Taylor capped with a 7-yard touchdown run.
''I know it's a limited role, but he's such a difference maker,'' coach Rex Ryan said. ''And hopefully, he can play a little more and more, because we certainly need him.''
Watkins' return came at a time the offense is losing players to injuries.
Starting receiver Robert Woods (sprained left knee) did not play, and recently signed backup Percy Harvin was sidelined with migraine headaches. Then backup receiver Walter Powell did not return Sunday after being carted off in the third quarter with an injury to his left ankle.
LeSean McCoy had 103 yards rushing and scored twice, including a career-high 75-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Taylor finished 12 of 18 for 166 yards passing, including a 16-yard go-ahead touchdown to Justin Hunter in the fourth quarter.
The Jaguars (2-9) lost for the sixth straight game - their longest skid since opening the 2014 season at 0-6. And they did so by blowing a fourth-quarter lead for the third time this season.
''I think we've had a little bit of Murphy's Law - if it can go wrong, it will go wrong, and at the most inopportune time,'' Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said. ''But it's up to us to make a play rather than leave it up to luck or a bounce or a call.''
ON THE RUN: McCoy's two touchdowns came on consecutive touches spanning halftime. He scored on a 7-yard run with 20 seconds left in the first half to cut Jacksonville's lead to 7-6. The extra point kick was missed.
McCoy has scored two or more touchdowns in three games this season, the most by a Bills player since running back Willis McGahee did that five times in 2004.
JAGS' BIG OPENING: Running back Chris Ivory opened the scoring on a 2-yard run , and the Jaguars snapped the NFL's longest active drought by scoring on their opening possession for the first time in 25 games. The streak began in Week 3 of the 2015 season, and featured the Jaguars combining for three field goals, punting 18 times and turning the ball over three times.
SACK ATTACK: The Jaguars' Malik Jackson had two of Jacksonville's five sacks - their second-best total of the season. Rookie defensive end Yannick Ngakoue also had a sack to increase his team-leading total to six, one short of matching the franchise rookie record set by Tony Brackens in 1995.
Marcell Dareus had both of Buffalo's sacks, upping the team's total to 33, 12 more than the Bills had last season.
INJURIES: Jaguars coach Gus Bradley provided no updates on his players who were injured on Sunday. RB Ivory (hamstring), WR Rashad Greene Sr. (Achilles tendon), FS Peyton Thompson (ankle) and WR Allen Hurns (hamstring), who was hurt while diving into the end zone on his touchdown catch.
Bills CB Ronald Darby (concussion) and Powell (left ankle) were injured. Ryan also announced that Dareus was held out in the fourth quarter after experiencing an abdominal strain.
FOURTH DOWN: The Jaguars' final possession ended when Bortles hit receiver Marqise Lee on a crossing pattern over the middle on fourth-and-9 at Buffalo's 45. Lee was stopped for a 4-yard gain and the Bills ran out the final 3:25. Coach Bradley elected to gamble even after the Jaguars were backed up 5 yards after drawing a delay-of-game penalty.
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