After losing a big lead over Buffalo, Jaguars QB Blake Bortles threw a touchdown pass to Allen Hurns and sealed a 34-31 win over the Bills before a crowd of 84,021 on Sunday at London’s historic Wembley Stadium.
“We have been in this situation before but on the sidelines the players were saying: ‘We’re not going to give this one up.’ Our players will take this and grow from it,” said Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.
Despite a 2-5 record the Jaguars are very much alive in the playoff hunt since they play in the weakest division in the NFL, the AFC South. Where no team has more than three wins. There has also been talk of possible realignment after the season due to the division’s woe performance as a whole. The Jaguars are a game out of first place.
As far as Bradley being on the hot seat after going 9-30 so far in his head coaching career, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported before Sunday’s game that “Bradley is considered safe this year and next year. Team understands patience.”
The win in England will only extend that patience.
Trailing 3-0 early, the Jaguars scored 27 unanswered points. Bortles was 13 of 29 for 182 yards with touchdowns to Tony Washington and Hurns. One interception by Corey Graham, resulting in a 44-yard TD. Rookie running back T.J. Yeldon rushed for 115 yards on 20 carries and one TD.
“To be able to stay calm and to have a big lead and give it up and be able to come back and score to win the game is huge,” Bortles said. “I think it speaks to the personality of this team.”
The 65 points combined was the second-highest in the series. According to Elias Sports Bureau, this was just the third NFL game in the last 10 years where both teams scored a go-ahead touchdown of 30 yards or longer in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter
LONDON NOTES – Jaguars’ kicker Jason Myers missed another extra point... Buffalo continues to be the most penalized team in the league, at 72 times for 670 yards. Worse in both categories... The Jaguars won their first game in London after losing the last two visits ... Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan mentioned “unacceptable” communication issues in which silence and static were all that could be heard in the team’s headsets... Coming into this game there had been 141 rushing touchdowns in the first six weeks of the NFL season. The Jaguars had not scored a one until Yeldon’s run.
TIMELY TAKEAWAYS – Jacksonville had no defensive scores this season – then recorded two within seven seconds Sunday. Coming into the game they had three takeaways so far. They matched that number on Buffalo’s first three possessions of the second quarter. Two for TDs in a seven second span. Chris Clemons returned a fumble six yards for a score. Linebacker Telvin Smith’s interception was returned 26-yards for a TD. Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny’s interception led to TJ Yeldon’s touchdown run. Josh Evans recovered a LeSean McCoy fumble caused by safety Johnathan Cyprien in the final quarter.
EJ MANUEL FALTERS - The former FSU quarterback committed three turnovers in a span of 1:41 against the Jaguars. Manuel is now 6-10 as a starter since Buffalo picked him in the first round of the 2013 draft. He started 10 games as a rookie. He beat out Tyrod Taylor over the summer, but started the last two games in place of an injured Taylor. Manuel was 24 for 42 for 298 yards, two TDs, two interceptions and the lost fumble.
DISMAL DIVISION – Indianapolis, Houston and Tennessee all lost Sunday. Only Jacksonville’s victory over Buffalo kept the AFC South from a winless Sunday. In NFL history only two team have won a division with a sub-.500 record—Carolina (7-8-1) last season and Seattle (7-9) in 2012. The Colts are alone atop the South at 3-4, their only three wins coming within the division. Houston and Jacksonville each have two wins so far. Tennessee has one. In Indy there are rumors of head coach Chuck Pagano’s internal rift with general manager Ryan Grigson. All good news for the Jaguars if they can take care of business moving forward
UP NEXT – Bye week is here. Then road games against the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens. Next home game at EverBank Field is a Thursday NFL Network matchup on Nov. 19 at 8:30 p.m. against AFLC South Rival Tennessee.