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O-Zone Late Night: Bills 24, Jaguars 21

ORCHARD PARK. N.Y. – This was tough on many levels.

The Jaguars’ 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday wasn’t just the team’s seventh consecutive loss, it came with the passing offense struggling mightily yet again as quarterback Blake Bortles was ineffective much of the game.

But the passing offense didn’t feel like the toughest part of this one.

The Jaguars rallied from a fourteen-point first-half deficit and had a chance to take control of the game late in the third quarter. But a pass from Bortles to wide receiver Donte Moncrief originally ruled a touchdown was reversed, and the Jaguars lost momentum after that.

And they lost it in a big, ugly way.

Not only was running back Leonard Fournette ejected along with Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson for fighting immediately following Moncrief’s reception, the Jaguars lost 23 yards on the ensuing series after having possession at the Bills 1. A penalty nullified a touchdown by wide receiver Dede Westbrook. Kicker Josh Lambo then missed a field goal from 42 yards.

The Bills scored three – three – plays later, aided by two 15-yard penalties against the Jaguars. Just like that, the Jaguars went from taking control of the game to losing control of yet another game.

Yes, this was tough on a lot of levels. But the loss of composure and accompanying lack of momentum Sunday will resonate for long while.

Let’s get to it …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

What a game changer it is to be able to get big plays in the running game rather than the running game be a hindrance. It's a big difference.

The Jaguars running game the last two weeks has functioned closer to what the team imagined entering the season. Not coincidentally, they’re the second and third games back for Fournette after missing six of the first eight games with a hamstring injury. Fournette ran effectively in the first half Sunday, and Carlos Hyde was the complementary back the team envisioned when it traded for him midseason. The running game can take time to get continuity and the Jaguars appear to be finding it at long last. Is it a big difference for this team when the running game works as planned? It sure doesn’t hurt.

Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436

It's been a couple of weeks so … 3-13???

Maybe.

Todd from Jacksonville

Looks like the so-called experts are still drinking the loolaud.

The what?

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

This team has the worst two-minute offense in football.

It’s not good.

Reese from Manchester

Enough already. Bench Bortles. He doesn't even use his legs anymore to extend plays, which used to be his saving grace. This season is a total kick in the pants.

This was a topic last week among Jaguars media and observers. It will be more of a topic next week. Bortles’ first interception Sunday cost the Jaguars a scoring opportunity at the end of the first half. The offense’s inability to pass in the first half eventually allowed the Bills to shut down what had been an effective running game in the first half. That’s not all Bortles, but he’s a big part of it. Head Coach Doug Marrone on Sunday said he didn’t consider a quarterback change. It’s unlikely to be the last time he is asked the question. I don’t have a real feel for the answer moving forward, but is it a possibility? I would say it must be considered.

Craig from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

I hate to say it, but there is no confidence in Bortles by the coaching staff ... worst quarterback in the history of the Jags?

Bortles quarterbacked the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. He hasn’t been bad his entire career. He struggled a lot Sunday – maybe as much as I remember him struggling in a while. A long while.

SadJag from Duval

Why did the team take a delay-of-game penalty on their first punt? Were they attempting to give the Bills better field position?

This was the much-ballyhooed, wildly-anticipated, oft-controversial First Email of the Game. It also was a legitimate question.

John from Brentwood, UK

What the hell was Fournette thinking? What has happened to discipline?

Fournette said after the game he came off the sideline and got involved in the multiplayer fight to come to the defense of Hyde. In that sort of situation, it’s usually a lot of players at fault – and that was no doubt the case Sunday. Fournette apologized afterward, but you can’t do what he did Sunday. It almost certainly cost the Jaguars a touchdown on the series. An argument could be made it cost the Jaguars the game.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

This season will be considered a successful if Blake is cut at the end of it. Thanks John for the support!

Ladies and gentleman … Jerell!

Jeremy from Wise, VA

Pitiful.

It was for a while Sunday. Then it wasn’t. Then it was weird. And frustrating. And ugly. And yeah, it was pitiful for a while at the end there, too.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

This game is painful to watch, and not just as a Jaguars fan.

It was a struggle. The second quarter for the Jaguars actually featured a couple of their best drives of the season, and for a few fleeting minutes you could see an idea of the sort of running game the team envisioned entering the season … but yeah, it was rough for the most part.

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