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Top 3 things we learned from Bills-Jaguars

Posted Jan 7, 2018

The Bills have a gamer in their feature back, the Bills 'D' won on third down and Lorenzo Alexander can still bring it.


1 – Shady is a gamer
Earlier in the week no one knew if LeSean McCoy was going to be fit to play and execute the kind of running style that makes him one of the most dynamic backs in the league. His ankle injury kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday and he was questionable going into the game.

On Sunday, McCoy proved to be a gamer as he put up 119 total yards from scrimmage, accounting for 45 percent of the team’s total offense against the Jaguars.

“I’m proud of the way LeSean (McCoy) rose to the occasion,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “He battled in there, and it wasn’t easy for him, but he put a good week in in terms of getting himself ready to go.”

“I felt okay,” he said. “I thought I played solid. It wasn’t a 100%. It was different, I think the cuts and runs I did were probably made. When you’re out there you don’t think about it. Just a little pain though. It got sore toward the end. Overall, I think it was solid. It’s not the reason we lost. We just didn’t play well.”

McCoy certainly wasn’t 100 percent, but he was good enough against the league’s second-ranked defense. The Bills feature back easily would’ve had over 100 yards rushing had one of his longer runs not been called back on a holding penalty downfield by a Bills receiver.

“It doesn’t surprise me (that he played),” said Eric Wood. “He’s one of the best competitors I have ever been around.  That’s what makes him so successful in this league. We definitely appreciate his effort and I thought he played pretty well.”

McCoy finished with 75 yards on the ground and 44 through the air as he was also Buffalo’s leading receiver with six catches for 44 yards.

“I knew last Sunday when he went down and he was pounding on the ground that he was going to play,” said Mike Tolbert. “I know the man’s heart and his tenacity. So I knew he was going to play. All throughout the week seeing the way he attacked his treatments and attacked the mental aspect of the game. I knew he was going to be ready to go.”

The loss on Sunday’s still stung when McCoy addressed the media in the locker room after the game.

“We made it here after 17 years, getting to the playoffs, which was cool,” said McCoy. “But we could’ve won this game. I’ve never won a playoff game. This was big for me. I wanted to win this game and get it rolling.

“We have a solid team, a good enough team, a great defense and playmakers. I don’t care about the building blocks (for the future). I live now in the moment and the moment is we could’ve won this game.”

2 – Third down defense did its job
If there was one side of the ball that was able to match Jacksonville, it was Buffalo’s defense. They held the Jaguars to just one red zone possession and were even better on third down.

“You know, I thought they played well most of the day,” said McDermott of his defensive unit. “They shut down the running game for the most part, and I know (Blake) Bortles was their leading rusher. Usually that doesn’t beat you. I thought we did a good job on twenty-seven (Leonard Fournette), and gave our offense chances. We got off the field on third down.”

The Bills held the Jacksonville offense to just two third down conversions on 12 opportunities for a success rate of just 17 percent. The Jaguars had one conversion on eight attempts in the first half.

“We were able to get them in some third and long situations and blitz some and that’s not their strength,” said Lorenzo Alexander. “Most offenses can’t handle third and long. We had a good pass rush. Bortles did some things with his legs and got out of a couple of instances where we had him bottled up there, but overall I thought we did a great job. But it always comes down to turnovers.”

Buffalo did have some opportunities for takeaways. Jacksonville had three fumbles, but lost none of them. Tre’Davious White and Colt Anderson also came close on a pair of potential interceptions.

“We didn’t get the takeaways today so I feel like that made the difference in the game,” White said. “I had an opportunity to catch one. I didn’t catch it. It would have set up our offense on a short field before halftime. I feel like that’s a big part of it.”

3 – Alexander puts together monster game
Veteran LB Lorenzo Alexander has put together another productive season, but on Sunday he put together perhaps his best single-game effort from start to finish. Alexander matched a single-game high this season and led all Bills defenders in tackles with 10, including a pair for loss. He also had a sack that forced a field goal attempt.

“It’s a playoff game and I’m in year 13 and I don’t know how many more opportunities I’m going to have,” said Alexander. “I had the mindset this week that I needed to take it to another level and try and lead by example. You just never know when it’s your last one.”

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