They spotted the Bills a 10-0 lead, which has become somewhat standard operating procedure for the Jaguars on the road this year. Right away, they were playing catch-up, which isn't what a team that prides itself on its running game wants to do.
"We came out playing slow. That's something we've been trying to get rid of," cornerback Rashean Mathis said.
By the time the Jaguars found their growl, the Bills were in control. Bills quarterback J.P. Losman overcame early bobbles to find a nice pitch-and-catch groove with wide receiver Lee Evans, and the lead Losman and the Bills offense provided was perfect for head coach Dick Jauron's trademark keep-everything-in-front-of-you defensive strategy.
"They had a great game plan. They dropped everybody into pass-coverage and let their pass-rush take over. They dropped deep and still had a pretty good pass-rush," quarterback David Garrard said.
It was a strategy the Bills couldn't have employed had they fallen behind. By the time the Jaguars understood as much, it was too late.
"Something needs to happen early in games, especially against a team we feel we should beat. We've got to light a fire in our bellies when we're playing a team we feel we should beat," Garrard said of head coach Jack Del Rio's postgame message.
Say this about the Jaguars: They overcame their slow start to tie the game with 28 seconds left to play. They showed great grit and determination to rally at crunch time, but that's when Losman stole the show at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday.
Tied 24-24 with 22 seconds to play and the ball at the Bills 40-yard line, Losman began the most significant scoring drive of his young career. He completed a pass for six, then threw a frozen rope to wide receiver Roscoe Parrish, who was covered expertly by Scott Starks. Losman put the ball in the only spot Parrish could make the catch: To Parrish's outside in the two-foot space between Parrish and the sideline.
Parrish caught it clean and got his feet down in bounds and, after a middle-of-the-field kneel-down, Rian Lindell split the uprights with the game-winner from 42 yards out.
Garrard may have come of age in the 62-yard, game-tying drive he led in the final three minutes of the game, but Garrard was upstaged by Losman.
"I didn't feel as comfortable as I normally do," Garrard said. "This was one we definitely needed to get. I did not perform to my best to get the win. It's going to be a bad taste in my mouth."
Garrard was at his worst on third down. He converted only one of 11 third-down attempts. He was, however, great on fourth down; two of two, including a 16-yard scramble on fourth-and-13 in the Jaguars' dramatic game-tying drive.
"I just knew I could pick up some yards. I knew I would be determined to get to the first-down marker," Garrard said.
In gaining the final five yards to the seven-yard line, Garrard broke a couple of would-be tackles at the 12. It was one of those plays, had the Jaguars won in overtime, that would've taken a special place in Jaguars history. It's the kind of play that can often kick-start a late-season run.
Maybe it would've, had the Jaguars started a little faster or hung on in the end.