Buffalo No Match for Jaguars

The Jaguars, fueled by a career day by quarterback David Garrard, won their third consecutive game Sunday as they rolled over Buffalo, 36-14. Although the final margin of 22 points certainly appears decisive, the outcome was very much in doubt as late as halfway through the fourth quarter.

Despite dominating nearly every offensive statistic through three and a half quarters, the Jaguars found themselves nursing just a 22-14 lead with 5:02 left to play. Garrard then took the game in his own hands and led the Jaguars on a four-play, 73-yard drive which was highlighted by a 59-yard catch and run by wide receiver Reggie Williams for the game-clinching touchdown, and an insurmountable 29-14 lead, en route to the 36-14 victory.

The Jacksonville offense started off hot again as they scored on their first three possessions for the second time in as many weeks to take a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Buffalo defense stiffened, and the Jaguars took a 16-7 lead into halftime, thanks to three Josh Scobee field goals and a 50-yard touchdown run by Fred Taylor. The Jaguars had 198 total yards, to just 107 for the Bills at the half, and had already forced two Buffalo turnovers. Buffalo's lone first half score came on a 10-yard pass from J.P. Losman to running back Anthony Thomas.

Both teams scored on every possession in the third quarter, and despite decisively winning the stats battle, the Jaguars only led 19-14 after three quarters. Jacksonville took the second-half kickoff to the 20-yard line, which set up a 14-play, 75-yard drive for Josh Scobee's fourth field goal of the day. The Bills scored their second touchdown on a 24-yard end around run by wide receiver Roscoe Parrish as he went untouched into the end zone.

Offensively, the Jaguars were led by their emerging star quarterback David Garrard, as he completed 23 of 37 passes for a career high 296 yards, and one touchdown. Garrard continued his interception free play as he remains the only quarterback in the NFL not to have thrown a pick this season. Garrard finished with a 96.2 quarterback rating.

Garrard drew accolades from his head coach--

"I like a lot about what I'm seeing in David. He's getting to the third and fourth receiver time and time again. I think that having David as a quarterback and having that kind of stability and clarity at the position certainly gives you a lift. We think we have a guy who is emerging and giving us a chance."

Fred Taylor had his highest rushing output of the season, as he finished with 104 yards on just 14 carries including the big 50-yard touchdown run which put the Jaguars on the scoreboard during their opening drive. Maurice Jones-Drew had a tough time finding any room on the ground as he was held to just 10 yards on 10 carries, despite running for a 17-yard fourth quarter touchdown.

David Garrard spread the football around as eight Jaguars caught passes, and three players caught as many as five. Dennis Northcutt led all Jaguars receivers with five catches for 65 yards, followed by Ernest Wilford's five catches for 60 yards. Reggie Williams caught the big touchdown pass for 59 yards, and tight end Marcedes Lewis caught five passes for 57 yards.

Defensively, the Jaguars forced three turnovers, two coming from J.P. Losman interceptions. Rookie linebacker Justin Durant made his first start at linebacker for the injured Mike Peterson and contributed with eight tackles and one interception. Linebacker Daryl Smith added eight tackles, and cornerback Terry Cousin had seven stops. Veteran Sammy Knight collected his fourth interception of the season, and second in as many weeks to go along with two tackles.

It was an uneven performance from the Jaguars defense, as they forced three turnovers and held Buffalo to just two scoring drives, both coming on short fields. Jacksonville's defense held Buffalo to under 100 yards rushing, but allowed a third-down conversion rate of 56%, and failed to generate much pressure on the Bills J.P. Losman. Losman was sacked just once, and had time to throw for the most part.

The Jaguars will take their 8-3 record on the road to Indianapolis next week for a showdown which could land Jacksonville with a tie for first place if they can pull off a victory. The defending Super Bowl champion Colts have lost only one game at home in the last two seasons, and already own a head to head victory over the Jaguars when they defeated Jacksonville over a month ago on Monday night, 29-7.



Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.

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