JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays in the Jaguars' 9-6 win to the Buffalo Bills in a 2021 Week 9 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday …
1. Big first down on fourth down. The Jaguars took a 3-0 lead on the game's first drive, a possession keyed by two big plays for first downs. The first came in bizarre fashion, with Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White called for unsportsmanlike conduct to give the Jaguars a first down after a four-yard pass from rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence to wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. on 3rd-and-16 from the Jaguas 30. The penalty came when officials reversed an initial unsportsmanlike call on Jaguars wide receiver Tavon Austin. The Jaguars four plays later converted 4th-and-2 when Lawrence threw short to wide receiver Jamal Agnew, who turned the play into a 23-yard gain to the Bills 20. Jaguars kicker Matthew Wright's 39-yard field goal three plays later gave the Jaguars a 3-0 lead with 8:49 remaining in the first quarter.
2. Scramble drill. The Bills gained a measure of control late in the first quarter and second quarter in unspectacular but efficient fashion. The Bills tied it 3-3 with a 24-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Bass with 3:54 remaining in the first quarter and took the lead with Bass' 41-yard field goal with 10:59 remaining in the second quarter. Bills quarterback Josh Allen keyed both drives with third-down scrambles – scrambling 15 and 12 yards on third down on the first field-goal drive and scrambling 22 yards on 3rd-and-31 to set up Bass' go-ahead field goal on the ensuing play.
3. Fu-u-u-umble! The Jaguars missed a chance to take a halftime lead – and to take control of the game's momentum. With quarterback Trevor Lawrence temporarily out with an ankle injury, backup quarterback C.J. Beathard drove the Jaguars from their 26 to the Bills 35. Beathard from there threw a perfect deep pass that Agnew dropped in the end zone – and the Jaguars missed a chance to lead by a touchdown. A roughing-the-passer penalty on Bills middle linebacker Tremaine Edmonds gave the Jaguars 1st-and-10 at the 20. But bunning back Carlos Hyde, starting for injured James Robinson, was stripped of the ball on the ensuing play by linebacker Jerry Hughes – and Hughes recovered to end the threat and keep the score 6-6 at halftime.
3(a). Missed opportunity(ies). The Jaguars missed another opportunity to take the lead in the third quarter. This came on a drive after the Jaguars registered their third takeaway of the season – an interception by safety Rudy Ford off Bills quarterback Josh Allen that stopped a Bills drive at the Jaguars 19. "It felt amazing," Ford said of his first career interception. The Jaguars drove into Bills territory, with Wright missing from 42 yards on a play negated by a false start penalty on offensive lineman KC McDermott. Wright then missed from 47, but Bills running back Taiwan Jones was called for running into the kicker. Wright then missed from 42 yards to keep the score 6-6 with 5:41 remaining in the third quarter.
4. P-i-ick! … Jaguars defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen was remarkable Sunday – and that had nothing to do with playing his namesake, Bills quarterback Josh Allen. The Jaguars' Allen, the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, had eight tackles, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry, a sack and a fumble recovery – and his interception late in the third quarter off the Bills' Allen was the game's key play. The Jaguars' Allen on the play broke on a short pass to Bills running back Devin Singletary from Allen – who was pressured on the play by linebacker Myles Jack – and intercepted at the Bills 41 and returned it to the Bills 30. Wright converted from 21 yards to cap the ensuing drive and give the Jaguars a 9-6 lead with 12:10 remaining in the fourth quarter. "Got to make those plays when my number is called," Allen said. "For me, I visualize everything. I like to speak greatness into my head, so when it happens, I'm not surprised. I know I work my butt off. We all worked our butts off in practice to get right for this week, and I feel like I had a great week of preparation. I feel like I was in a great mindset and got to go out there and play." The Jaguars' Allen, who downplayed all week the Josh Allen-versus-Josh Allen angle, pointed to the name on the back of his jersey following this game-defining play. Well, played.
5. Smoooooooot. While Allen's performance stood out, equally important in the second half was the relentless pressure of veteran defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot, who broke through Sunday with two critical plays. First, he forced Bills quarterback Josh Allen to fumble after a one-yard loss, with the Jaguars' Allen recovering at the Jaguars 37 with Jacksonville leading 9-6 with 5:41 remaining. Smoot on the ensuing possession on 3rd-and-7 from the Jaguars 39 sacked Allen for a nine-yard loss; Allen threw incomplete on the ensuing play to end the Bills' final chance. "I was just focusing more than anything on just getting off on the ball," Smoot said. "That's what I worked on a lot this offseason, just my techniques and how I get off and everything, knowing I was going to have a lot more opportunities on the edge. So, I just focused on getting off the ball and just being able to get that first step."
The Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Buffalo Bills at TIAA Bank Field for Week 9 of the NFL Regular Season.