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Tough start, tough finish


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Overall, Jack Del Rio was hardly thrilled.

Del Rio, in his ninth season as the Jaguars' head coach, said while there were positives through a significant part of a 35-32 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills in the third game of the 2011 preseason Saturday night, there were too many other parts when that wasn't true.

A big part was the first quarter and a half. The other part was the last part of the fourth quarter.

Then, there was overtime.

"Not the beginning or ending we were looking for," Del Rio said afterward.

The Jaguars (1-2 in the preseason), outplayed by Buffalo significantly early in the game, rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit with 32 consecutive points before allowing the Bills to tie and eventually win for the first time in the 2011 preseason in front of 50,615 at Ralph Wilson Stadium Saturday night.

Bills kicker Rian Lindell's 40-yard field goal won it with 3:04 remaining in overtime.

"When you start the preseason and you have your games, you definitely want to be better than the week before," Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "Obviously, that was a goal for us. As an offense, we couldn't get that done right away, but we were able to show resolve and continue to work. We up-tempoed our offense a little bit, had them on their heels and were able to score points."

The Jaguars, after scoring 10 points late in the first half, scored the first 22 points of the second half as fullback Brock Bolen scored on a 2-yard run and linebacker Jacob Cutrera returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown.

Cutrera's interception came with 4:53 remaining in the third quarter. Running back DuJuan Harris' 11-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert and an ensuing two-point pass from Gabbert to Harris pushed the lead to 32-17.

"We got off to a bit of a slow start," said Jaguars starting quarterback David Garrard, whose four-yard touchdown run in the first half made it 17-7 and represented the first touchdown for the Jaguars' first-team offense this preseason.

"We definitely picked things up right before the half, then right after the half. That's an NFL game sometimes. You have to persevere through slow starts and just keep playing. It's a long game. As long as you have the opportunity to keep playing, that's all you can do."

The Bills forced overtime with a four-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Thigpen to Paul Hubbard and an ensuing two-point pass by the same combination.

"There was plenty of action, plenty of back and forth," Del Rio said. "You got to see quite a bit of football – a large number of snaps. A lot to evaluate, for sure."

Del Rio added, "We settled down and did some decent things in the middle of the game, and we ended up with the ball and a 15-point lead. We gave them life, and they came back and took the game back. There are a lot of things that need to corrected, a lot of things to work on. We'll go back and take a look at it.

"I thought the first groups finished on a high note, but it wasn't the kind of beginning we were looking for. It was good we came back and did some things. Not so good we didn't have the start we wanted. There's a lot we can go back, look at and correct and gain some experience from."

The Bills took an early 17-0 lead with striking ease, taking a 3-0 lead on a 21-yard field goal by Rian Lindell, then extending it in the second quarter.

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, practically perfect in the first two quarters, threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Easley with 5:10 gone in the second quarter, then followed that with a 52-yard touchdown to Stevie Johnson a minute later.

Fitzpatrick completed 11 of 12 passes for 165 first-half yards, and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He left at halftime with a 158.3 passer rating, the highest possible.

The Jaguars' started their comeback late in the first half with the starters from each side still in the game. First came Garrard's 4-yard run and a 45-yard field goal by Josh Scobee made it 17-10, Bills, at halftime.

"I liked the way we finished the half," Del Rio said. "There wasn't a lot to smile about in the first quarter. Things didn't start the way we needed to, but it's live football. The guys settled down and started making more plays as we closed out the first half and obviously we got ourselves back in the game."

Also Saturday:

*The Jaguars did not have a sack for a third consecutive game, and after putting significant pressure on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan last week, Del Rio said Fitzpatrick "looked a little too comfortable tonight. Didn't like looking at that. That's how that is."

*Jaguars wide receiver Jason Hill had two receptions for 35 yards and drew 51 yards in pass interference penalties on cornerback Drayton Florence. "When he got the ball in his hands he really lit up and tried to do something, tried to make some plays," Garrard said. "He was trying to get some YAC (yards after catch). That's important, receivers trying to get some YAC. He had one drop on a go-route and he told he was trying to do anything to play angry. When he caught the ball, he didn't care who was out there. He was going to try to get some yards. You could tell."

*Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings sustained a sprained knee on the game's first series and did not return.

*Linebacker Clint Session and running back Deji Karim did not play. It was the second consecutive game Session has missed after sustaining a head injury in the preseason opener. Karim sustained a head injury last week against Atlanta.

*Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu also did not play against the Bills. He had missed one practice this week with a wrap on his leg.

*The Jaguars played without running back Maurice Jones-Drew and defensive end Aaron Kampman for a third consecutive preseason game. "Maurice is a special player, so he definitely would make a difference out there," Garrard said.

*Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny played at Buffalo for the first time since signing with the Jaguars last month. He spent his first four NFL seasons in Buffalo. He was booed several times after making first-half tackles. "You've got to laugh about that," he said.

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