The Buffalo Bills knew they were in for a war against the tenacious Jacksonville Jaguars defense, but what really worried them about the Jags was that they've been hurt by running backs with a power style in recent years like Jay Ajayi and Mark Ingram. The Bills weren't sure if they could handle the brute force of a Blake Bortles power run and ultimately their worst fears came to fruition.
Buffalo got the first good opportunity to score in the game. On 1st and goal from the 1 yard line, offensive "director" Rick Dennison dialed up a play that cast Kelvin Benjamin in a new mini-series titled "Kelvin Benjamin, P.I." and boy did he nail the part. His pass interference pushed the Bills back to the 11 yard line. The offense was unable to get the ball in the end zone and had to settle for three points.
It's amazing to me that Rick Dennison, who is probably the biggest Mike Tolbert fan in the world, didn't use the running back for the one play he is most suited for. It's almost like Dennison is a sadistic man who refuses to put players in a position that maximizes their skill sets.
Old Ricky boy didn't just stop there though. He put an additional burden on the defense with his inane play calling. With just 1:02 remaining in the half, he opted to call three straight pass plays which allowed the Jaguars to retain two of their three timeouts. Jacksonville used those timeouts to extend the half long enough to get into field goal range. Their field goal was successful which tied the game at 3 - 3 at half.
10 Wings/Potato skins (got fancy with the potato skins for the playoffs)
17 years of emotional pain slowly fading away
12 times I've pinched myself at this point wondering if watching the Bills in the playoffs is actually real.
The second half featured much of the same as the first half. Both offenses were sputtering. By the end of the game there would 17 punts and only 13 points between the two teams.
On their second possession of the half, the Jaguars seized the lead when "Riverboat Doug" Marrone opted to go for it on 4th and goal from the 1 yard line. It was a shocking call based on his ultra-conservative decision making history. The gamble paid off when it resulted in a touchdown to tight end Ben Koyack to give Jacksonville a 10 - 3 lead.
The Bills only hope on offense at this point was Shady McCoy. "Shady" has become an ironic nickname since he has been the only bright spot on the Buffalo offense most of the season. He compiled 119 all-purpose yards on the day, and it would have been 39 yards higher had Deonte Thompson not gotten a holding penalty on a catch by McCoy with under 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
That wasn't the only frustrating thing to happen in the fourth quarter to Buffalo. On 2nd and 15, after fumbling a snap, Blake Bortles was able to scramble for 19 yards and a first down causing one of the Bills coaches to slam down his clipboard while I simultaneously decided it was time to slam my beer down my own throat. If I was going to watch a Blake Bortles running clinic, I was going to need some Jack Daniels.
With 1:27 left in the game, Tyrod Taylor was thrown into the ground and his head smacked down hard causing him to exit the field to enter the concussion protocol. Nathan Peterman replaced him on 4th and 3 and was able to move the sticks. However, on Peterman's third pass, he threw an interception to Jalen Ramsey sealing the Bills fate. The Jaguars ran out the clock for a 10 - 3 victory.
1 Jack and Coke
18 Wings/Potato skins
1 playoff-less streak I'm glad is over
1 hell of a fun season to watch