First quarter: Off the mark
EJ Manuel came off the team bus misfiring for the Buffalo Bills.
The rookie quarterback threw incomplete on his first five throws of the game. There were some bad passes among them. Manuel had T.J. Graham open on a third-down hitch route but threw the ball into the dirt to force a punt on the first drive.
On the second drive, he threw a simple receiver screen for Stevie Johnson over the receiver’s head. Then he threw an interception on a screen pass. Jacksonville had it smelled out and Manuel threw it right to Geno Hayes, who returned it 28 yards to the Buffalo 33.
Key plays: The first quarter ended 3-3. Buffalo got a 42-yard field goal from Dan Carpenter. Josh Scobee kicked a 32-yard field goal for the Jaguars. Carpenter also missed short on a 54-yard try.
Grab bag: Bills safety Aaron Williams showed good hands in grabbing an interception on a sideline pass for tight end Marcedes Lewis on the Jags’ first possession.
Early pressure: The Bills had two sacks in the first six plays. Kyle Williams burst up the middle on a three-man rush to take down Chad Henne. It was Williams’ eighth sack of the season. Two plays later, Marcell Dareus burst up the middle for his eighth sack of the season.
Second quarter: Ground control
The Bills got their running game rolling in taking command of the game in the second quarter.
Buffalo rushed for 70 yards on a 72-yard march to a go-ahead touchdown. The drive was capped by an 8-yard quarterback draw up the middle by EJ Manuel, which put the Bills ahead, 17-10. Fred Jackson was the workhorse, rushing for 40 yards. His big run was a 19-yarder off left tackle to the Jaguars’ 12.
“I saw a safety jump in the hole,” Jackson said. “I knew if I got outside of him I had a chance to get a big run. We pulled Kraig Urbik and I was able to read his block, get inside of him, make the safety miss and get on the corner on the sideline.”
Urbik had a good block on Manuel’s TD run, too. The Bills had 140 rushing yards in the first half.
“It was something we felt we could do this week,” Jackson said. “If we could get our running game going early, we could get the play-action game going.”
Key plays: Manuel hit Robert Woods on a 7-yard TD pass to cap a 94-yard march to tie the game, 10-10. It was Buffalo’s longest scoring drive of the year. Jacksonville got a 12-yard TD pass from Chad Henne to Ace Sanders.
Third quarter: Plenty of leg
The Jaguars were playing the percentages when they sent Josh Scobee out for a 55-yard field goal try in the third quarter.
Scobee, a 10-year veteran, was 3 of 4 on kicks of 50-plus yards this year and 22 of 35 on 50-plus kicks for his career, a 64-percent success rate. He drilled the kick to pull the Jaguars within 20-13 with 4:43 left in the quarter. It tied for the second longest field goal in Scobee’s career and was his 22nd successful kick of more than 50 yards. His career long is 59 yards.
Key turnover I: Earlier in the quarter, the Jaguars were about to pull within 20-17 when Denard Robinson burst 24 yards off right guard toward the end zone. But Buffalo’s Aaron Williams stripped the ball out of his hands at the 1, and it rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
“I’ve got to make sure I protect the ball,” Robinson said.
Key turnover II: The Bills were driving at the Jaguars’ 35 late in the quarter. On a third-and-5 play, Jacksonville sent safety Winston Guy on a late blitz. EJ Manuel didn’t see him, got hit from behind and fumbled. The Jaguars recovered at their own 45.
Fourth quarter: Woods on fire
Rookie receiver Robert Woods made two big catches in an 80-yard scoring drive that put Buffalo ahead, 27-20.
EJ Manuel hit Woods for a 20-yard gain to the Buffalo 40 to get the march going. On a second-and-12 play from the Jaguars 36, he found Woods again on a play-action pass. Woods ran a deep in-cut and got good separation. Manuel made a sharp throw to get the Bills to the Jaguars’ 18. Four plays later Manuel hit Frank Summers on a 1-yard TD pass.
“We ran it earlier in the game, but there was a little bit of pressure and he couldn’t go to it,” Woods said of Manuel. “We came back to it. The corner bailed back, I sat in the window and the ball was there.”
Key plays: The Bills made a defensive stand with just over 3 minutes to go. Jim Leonhard stopped Jordan Todman for a 4-yard loss back to the Buffalo 5. Two plays later Stephon Gilmore intercepted a Henne pass in the back of the end zone.
Clutch: Brian Moorman had a hang time of 5.01 seconds on a 53-yard punt with 2 minutes left to help the Bills seal the win.