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Bills search for answers after tough loss in Jacksonville

Josh Allen (17). Buffalo Bills vs Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field, November 7, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert
Josh Allen (17). Buffalo Bills vs Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field, November 7, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert

With only 17 games in an NFL season, every loss is going to sting. In a close defensive battle, with only 15 combined points scored, it stings even more. 

The Bills came into this matchup with the most points scored per game and were met by a Jaguars team that played four tough and physical quarters of football. After two consecutive road losses to AFC teams, the Bills will regroup on Monday and find a way to make sure they get back in the win column. 

Team captain Jordan Poyer said after the game that the Jaguars came out playing a very physical style of football. The journey for them to improve starts now with the New York Jets quickly coming into focus. 

"This is the NFL," Poyer stated. "You got to learn how to handle the wins and handle the losses. This one hurts, but we've got to play another game on Sunday. … This one's gonna hurt but the 24-Hour Rule; we'll watch the tape tomorrow, learn from our mistakes, and get better."

On offense, the Bills had 83 more total net yards than the Jaguars but struggled throughout the game to end their drives with a kick. It was the first time since Week 8 of the 2020 season that Josh Allen finished the game without throwing a touchdown pass. It was also the first multi-interception game for Allen this season. 

As he does after every loss, Allen put the blame on his shoulders and was disappointed with the outcome of the game. 

"I don't want to lose, I don't want to lose games," Allen said. "I feel like I could have played better. I could have helped our team and put us in better situations, and I didn't. So, I'm frustrated with myself more so than anything. I gotta be better for this team."

Just like after the team's other losses, Allen's teammates know that the Bills quarterback isn't solely to blame for the loss – even if he puts it all on himself. 

Coming into this game, the Bills were down two offensive linemen due to injury. The new offensive line combination in Sunday's game struggled to give Allen a clean pocket on many of his throws which led him to have a 66.0% completion percentage with 264 passing yards and multiple turnovers. 

Mitch Morse said after the game that he knows the offensive line didn't play a perfect game. The center understands that they will have to look inward to fix the problems and get better as a team. 

"You can't put this on one person," Morse said. "Every person has got a little bit of blame. Simple as that. So much like every loss or every game, you look at what you can fix. I can only speak for myself. There are quite a few plays I wish I'd had back to put us in an optimal position to play more efficiently. I think most of the guys would say the same thing."

One thing that Sean McDermott has instilled in this Bills squad is that they win as a team and lose as a team. They have shown that they can battle through adversity and come back better on the other side. There is no doubt that McDermott will have his players ready come next Sunday. After the game, McDermott's message to the team is that they have to stick together – even when it's tough. 

"It's a long season and the guys have to realize that the season is going to ebb and flow a little bit," McDermott said. "Obviously, we were down today and we didn't get the result we wanted, but you have to hang together. We gotta go back and fix some things and make sure we identify where those problems are, particularly on the offensive side right now and get them fixed in a hurry."

Tremaine Edmunds tells the rest of the team that they can't beat themselves with penalties

The Bills had a season-high 12 penalties for a loss of 118 yards in today's game. Among those penalties were five personal fouls which led to the Jaguars putting points on the board and held the Bills back from doing so. That high rate of penalties is uncharacteristic for a Sean McDermott-led team. Bills' captain, Tremaine Edmunds, had a message to the rest of the team about the penalties after the game. 

"I think just the message is we got to play smart," Edmunds said. "Definitely in close ballgames, we can't beat ourselves. We can't point fingers at the refs or whatever it may be. We just got to play smart ball out there. Whatever the call is, whatever we think, in close games, we just got to play smart."

Sean McDermott explains declining a penalty in the second quarter which led to a Jaguars field goal

In the second quarter, on the Jaguars third offensive drive, kicker Matthew Wright kicked a career-long 55-yard field goal. On the previous play, there was an offensive holding call on the Jaguars that would have moved them back 10 yards and it would have been 3rd and 15. McDermott decided to decline the penalty, opting for the young kicker to push his limits and try the long kick. After the game, McDermott explained his reasoning behind the decision.

"I just felt we weren't playing great at that point," McDermott said. "You know, felt like he hadn't had a lot of field goals -- I'm not sure if he had any at that distance at this point in the season -- but that's one I want back, obviously with the result the way it was."