The Buffalo Bills lost 25-20 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London Sunday morning, bringing their record to 3-2 on the season.
Josh Allen and the Bills offense had the ball at their own 6-yard line with just over 20 seconds remaining in the game and couldn't pull off the miraculous drive needed to score a go-ahead touchdown.
A depleted defense struggled to get quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars offense off the field as Matt Milano (knee) and DaQuan Jones (pec) both exited the game in the first quarter with injuries. Defensive end Greg Rousseau (foot) and cornerback Christian Benford (oblique) were ruled out prior to the game and multiple other Bills defenders missed snaps at points during the game due to injury. With Tre'Davious White suffering a torn Achilles last week, the Bills were down five defensive starters after Milano's early exit.
The absence of White and Benford was felt, as Lawrence racked up 315 yards through the air. Wide receiver caught seven passes for 122 yards, consistently making big plays to extend drives.
The Jaguars used long drives to keep Josh Allen and the Bills offense off the field. Jacksonville dominated the possession battle 38:10 minutes to the Bills' 21:50.
While missing key defensive pieces, the Bills defense still made positive plays. Defensive lineman A.J. Epenesa stepped up throughout the game, finishing with 2.0 sacks, a tackle for loss, three passes defensed and a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Near the end of the first half, the Jaguars offense was threatening to score before Epenesa snuck around the left tackle and stripped Lawrence to force the Bills' first turnover of the game.
The Bills' second takeaway came after an exhausting 17-play drive from Jacksonville, which chewed eight minutes off the clock before Ed Oliver sacked Lawrence and forced a fumble, recovered by linebacker Tyrel Dodson. Buffalo finished with five sacks.
The Bills' following possession did not last long, with Allen throwing his fifth interception of the season on a deep ball intended for Stefon Diggs, setting up Jacksonville's second touchdown of the day.
While Allen's interception was the only turnover committed by the Bills offense Sunday, they struggled to put together long drives, going three-and-out in their first two possessions, and punting on their first four. Sunday marked the first time of the season the Bills have punted on consecutive drives.
While the Jacksonville defense did well to contain the explosive Buffalo offense, the Bills committed five offensive penalties and could not put together consistent positive plays in time to stay in the game. Additionally, with only 14 rushing attempts for 29 yards, Buffalo never got the ground game going, interrupting the flow of their offense.
Buffalo finally got in the end zone late in the half after an 86-yard, 11-play drive that resulted in a 15-yard touchdown reception from Stefon Diggs. Allen found wide receiver Deonte Harty on third-and-6 who slid to make the catch for a key 19-yard pickup to keep the scoring drive alive.
Their second came on a 75-yard drive that was extended by some crucial penalties committed by the Jaguars defense. Josh Allen's initial touchdown pass to Gabe Davis was nullified after an offensive pass interference called against Diggs, but Allen found Davis for a 19-yard score on the following play.
Running back Travis Etienne seemingly iced the game with a 35-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but the Bills responded with a 45-second touchdown drive capped off by a powerful run from Allen for the score.
The clock beat the Bills in the end, as they weren't able to get Jacksonville off of the field in time to set up a realistic scoring drive to end the game.
The Bills will travel back to Western New York to take on the New York Giants next Sunday at 8:15 p.m.
Key Stats and Facts to Know
- A.J. Epenesa had one of his most dominant performances Sunday, stepping up in the wake of a wave of injuries to the Bills defensive front. His 2 sacks set a single-game career high for the former Iowa Hawkeye.
- Stefon Diggs finished with eight catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. In the process, he passed Frank Lewis for the fifth-most receiving yards in team history and tied Bob Chandler for the fifth-most receiving touchdowns.
- Josh Allen's fourth quarter rushing touchdown broke a tie with Jack Kemp for the third-most career rushing touchdowns from an NFL quarterback. Cam Newton leads the league with 75, while Steve Young is second with 43.
- Gabe Davis has scored a touchdown in each of the last four games, setting a career-high touchdown streak. His six catches also tied a career-high.
- Dawson Knox finished with three receptions for 17 yards, passing Rueben Gant for the fourth-most receiving yards from a tight end in Bills history.
- Wide receiver Zay Jones scored the first touchdown of the game for the Jaguars. The Bills drafted Jones in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
- The Jaguars now have the all-time lead in head-to-head matchups against the Bills, winning their 10th game of their 19 matchups, including in the playoffs.
6:59 1Q | BUF 0 JAX 8 | Trevor Lawrence pass short right to Zay Jones for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN, Travis Etienne rushes right end for TWO-POINT CONVERSION
1:13 1Q | BUF 0 JAX 11 | Brandon McManus 44-yard field goal is GOOD
1:14 2Q | BUF 7 JAX 11 | Josh Allen pass short right to Stefon Diggs for 15 yards, TOUCHDOWN
7:44 4Q | BUF 7 JAX 18 | Travis Etienne right end for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN
4:03 4Q | BUF 13 JAX 18 | Josh Allen pass deep left to Gabe Davis for 19 yards, TOUCHDOWN, Josh Allen pass to Khalil Shakir is complete but short of the end zone, ATTEMPT FAILS
2:56 4Q | BUF 13 JAX 25 | Travis Etienne run for 35 yards, TOUCHDOWN
2:11 4Q | BUF 20 JAX 25 | Josh Allen right guard for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN