ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – The Jaguars' dominance Sunday lasted for nearly a half.
The game lasted through the second half – and that was when the Buffalo Bills rallied to give the Jaguars a sixth loss in as many games.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw two second-half touchdown passes, but big plays keyed a second-half Buffalo rally in the Bills' 28-21 victory over the Jaguars in front of 67,849 at New Era Field Sunday afternoon.
The loss dropped the Jaguars to 2-9, ensuring a sixth consecutive losing season. Buffalo moved to 6-5.
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor capped a back-and-forth second half with a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Justin Hunter with 10:46 remaining. An ensuing two-point run by running back LeSean McCoy gave Buffalo a 28-21 lead.
The Jaguars took possession twice after that, but got no closer than the Buffalo 40. Wide receiver Marqise Lee was stopped after a four-yard gain from the Buffalo 49 to end the Jaguars' best threat with just over 3:30 remaining. Buffalo ran out the clock after that.
Explosive plays were key for Buffalo. McCoy scored on a 75-yard touchdown run to start the second half, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins' 62-yard third-quarter reception set up a seven-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tyrod Taylor. A 43-yard punt return set up the Bills' first-half touchdown.
Those big plays helped offset an otherwise strong game for the Jaguars' defense. The unit registered five sacks and held Buffalo to 63 first-half yards.
The Bills, after trailing by one at halftime, took a 13-7 lead on McCoy's 75-yard run on the first play of the second half. The Jaguars retook the lead on the ensuing drive – an 11-play, 65-yarder that Bortles capped with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Lee. It was Lee's second touchdown reception of the season and his second in as many weeks.
Jason Myers' point after made it 14-13, Jaguars, with 9:26 remaining in second quarter.
Watkins beat Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Buffalo's next possession to set up Taylor's seven-yard touchdown run. That made it 20-14, Bills, with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter.
The Jaguars' offense drove 65 yards on the ensuing possession. A 24-yard pass from Bortles to wide receiver Allen Robinson gave the Jaguars a first down at the Bills 12 on the final play of the third quarter and wide receiver Allen Hurns' eight-yard touchdown reception from Bortles gave the Jaguars a 21-20 lead with 14:45 remaining.
Bortles completed 13 of 26 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 81 yards on eight carries, and helped set up the Jaguars' first touchdown.
Taylor completed 12 of 18 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
The Jaguars dominated the first half, outgaining the Bills 120-63 and holding the Bills scoreless until 20 seconds remained.
The Jaguars took control early by breaking a significant streak.
Chris Ivory's two-yard touchdown run capped an 11-play, 75-yard Jaguars drive on the game's first possession. It was the Jaguars' first opening-drive touchdown since Week 2 of the 2015 season, a span of 24 games. The Jaguars rushed for 64 yards on the drive, with Bortles converting 3rd-and-6 from the Bills 49 with a 27-yard scramble.
The Jaguars' offense squandered numerous first-half opportunities, punting twice from inside Bills territory and missing another chance when Hurns dropped a long pass from Blake Bortles that would have given the Jaguars a first down deep in Bills territory.
Ivory helped spark the Jaguars' offense early, but left with a first-half hamstring injury. Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon also left the game with a lingering ankle issue.
A 43-yard punt return by Brandon Tate gave the Bills a first down at the Jaguars 27 with 1:24 remaining in the first half. McCoy scored on a seven-yard with 20 seconds remaining in the half to make it 7-6, Jaguars.
PLAYER OF THE GAME …
Blake Bortles, quarterback. The third-year veteran turned in one of his better performances of the season, throwing for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He also was key in the running game, setting up the Jaguars' lone first-half touchdown with a 27-yard run.
The Jaguars finished with 301 total yards. The Jaguars registered 120 yards and nine first downs in the first half.
The Bills finished with 304 total yards. The Jaguars held the Bills to 63 first-half yards and six first downs.
The Jaguars' special teams allowed a long punt return that set up a score for a fourth consecutive game. Tate's 43-yarder gave the Bills momentum and got the Bills back in the game after the Jaguars' defense controlled the game early.
INJURY UPDATES …
Hurns left in the fourth quarter after sustaining a hamstring injury on his touchdown. He did not return.
Ivory and wide receiver Rashad Greene (Achilles) both left the game near the end of the first quarter. Defensive back Peyton Thompson (ankle) left the game in the second quarter and did not return.
Defensive tackle Abry Jones missed Sunday with an ankle injury. He was among seven Jaguars players deactivated an hour and a half before kickoff. The others: tight end Julius Thomas (back), defensive end Jared Odrick (shoulder), defensive end Chris Smith (eye), linebacker Dan Skuta (back), quarterback Brandon Allen and offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi. Thomas, Odrick, Smith and Skuta had been ruled out Friday.
*Rookie Yannick Ngakoue registered his sixth sack of the season in the first quarter. He is one away from the Jaguars rookie sacks record of seven set by Tony Brackens in 1996.
*Sen'Derrick Marks started at defensive tackle alongside Malik Jackson. That meant the Jaguars played Sunday without a true nose tackle, with Marks and Jackson both typically playing the team's three-technique tackle spot. Jackson registered two sacks.
*Tyson Alualu started for the fifth time this season for Odrick at strong-side end.
*Alex Ellis and Ben Koyack started at tight end for the Jaguars. With Thomas out, Koyack, Neal Sterling and Alex Ellis were the team's healthy players at the position. Ellis was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday. …
*Safety Johnathan Cyprien's first-quarter sack was the second of his career.