ORCHARD PARK. N.Y. – This one was as strange as it was disappointing.
For the Jaguars, it also was yet another loss in what has become a season-defining, two-month losing streak.
Running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns before a second-half ejection, but a strong Jaguars running performance and a first-half rally wasn't nearly enough in a 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field Sunday afternoon.
Rookie quarterback Josh Allen's 14-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Bills a 21-14 lead after the Jaguars had rallied from a 14-point first-quarter deficit with two second-quarter touchdown runs by Fournette.
The Bills secured the victory with a 22-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka with 3:09 remaining. Bills safety Jordan Poyer intercepted a deflected pass from quarterback Blake Bortles off the hands of tight end James O'Shaughnessy at the Jaguars 21 to set up the score.
A 13-yard pass from Bortles to wide receiver Dede Westbrook with 1:20 remaining cut the score to the final margin, before a Jaguars onside kick was recovered by Buffalo.
Fournette was ejected with Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson following a fight after a reception by Jaguars wide receiver Donte Moncrief that originally was ruled a touchdown before being reversed following a replay review.
The play and the ensuing fight seemed to change the game's momentum. The Jaguars not only failed to score on the drive after reaching Buffalo's 1, but the Jaguars were backed up before missing a field goal. Allen's 14-yard run capped a three-play, 68-yard drive and gave the Bills the lead on the ensuing possession.
Fournette's performance on 18 carries was part of a huge day running for the Jaguars, who finished the game with a season-high 226 yards rushing as a team. Backup running back Carlos Hyde added 33 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Westbrook's 43-yard end-around run in the first half set up one of Fournette's touchdowns in the half.
Bortles completed 12 of 23 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Bortles also threw a costly interception at the end of the first half, throwing behind open wide receiver Keelan Cole and leading to a tipped ball interception by linebacker Matt Milano to end a possession at the Bills 37.
Allen, making his sixth career start and his first since a Week 6 elbow injury, completed eight of 19 passes for 160 yards. His 75-yard pass to wide receiver Robert Foster gave the Bills a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter. Allen also rushed 11 times for 101 yards.
Fournette's two second-quarter touchdown runs to overcome the first-half deficit marked the first time this season the Jaguars had rallied to tie a game when trailing by 10 or more points.
The Jaguars (3-8) lost a seventh consecutive game. The Bills are 4-7.
Step by step:
*Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie's six-yard run gave Buffalo a 7-0 lead with 5:02 remaining in the first quarter, capping a five-play drive that began on the Bills 25; Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had the drive's key play – a 33-yard reception on a pass from Allen. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey was in coverage on the play and was called for a facemask penalty that gave Buffalo a first down at the Jaguars 22. The Bills extended the lead to 14-0 on the ensuing series on Allen's 75-yard pass to Foster, who was well behind Jaguars strong safety Barry Church on a deep route to easily score with 2:39 remaining in the quarter.
*Fournette's five-yard run with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter cut the Bills' lead to 14-7, capping an 11-play, 74-yard drive; Fournette rushed six times for 35 yards on the drive and Hyde rushed four times for 32 yards. A one-yard run by Fournette with 5:30 remaining in the second quarter tied it 14-14, capping a six-play, 79-yard drive. The Jaguars had 158 rushing yards at that point.
*The Jaguars missed a major opportunity in the third quarter, reaching the Bills 1 on a 29-yard pass from Bortles to Moncrief. The play initially was ruled a touchdown, but Moncrief was ruled down at the 1 after a review. The Jaguars then lost 22 yards on penalties and sacks, with kicker Josh Lambo missing a 42-yard field goal to end the possession. The Bills immediately drove for the go-ahead touchdown, with Allen capping a three-play, 62-yard drive with a 14-yard run for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead with 14:52 remaining.
Notable: Fournette's two first-half rushing touchdowns gave him 13 for his career, the second most in franchise history through 18 games behind Fred Taylor (14). … Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus missed Sunday's game with a back injury. Abry Jones started in his place at nose tackle with Malik Jackson starting at three-technique tackle; Jones had started at nose tackle the previous week against Pittsburgh with Dareus starting at three-technique tackle. Jackson, a Pro Bowl selection last season, started the first nine games at three-technique before the Jaguars opted to start Dareus/Jones last week. … Jaguars nose tackle Eli Ankou was active Sunday for the first time this season. … Right guard A.J. Cann started Sunday after entering the weekend questionable with a hamstring injury; Cann started against Pittsburgh after being questionable with the same injury, but did not finish the game. … Jaguars inactives Sunday: Dareus, rookie wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. (quadriceps), rookie cornerback Quenton Meeks (knee), linebacker Lerentee McCray (hamstring), offensive lineman Josh Walker (foot/ankle), running back Dave Williams and offensive lineman Corey Robinson. …
Injury report: Jaguars long snapper Matt Overton sustained a first-half shoulder injury and returned … Left guard Andrew Norwell sustained a fourth-quarter ankle injury and was replaced by Chris Reed.
What's next: The Jaguars are scheduled to play the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday, December 2 at 1 p.m.