JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's hot, and by the end of the game it might be the hottest Jaguars game ever.
Three times the Jaguars have played in 88-degree weather but it could be hotter than that today. You'd think that would give the Jaguars an advantage but the Bills, for now, look fine.
I never much worry about scoring on the opening drive but Buffalo marched right down the field to score the opening drive. It wasn?t a long play but rather 11 plays from the opening kickoff, 82 yards and it finished with an 11 yard Marshawn Lynch TD.
Not good for the Jaguars defense.
There?s a little bit of a thought that Tuten Reyes has a shoulder or a wrist injury but he?s not starting. Milford Brown, just signed this week, is on the offensive line in his place. The running game still isn?t going anywhere. Fred Taylor is doing what he can in the backfield but there?s not much room for him to run.
The Jaguars did get enough to get within field goal range and Josh Scobee did his job pulling them to 7-3 at the beginning of the second quarter. Still the offense looks out of sync and rightfully so with the changes on the offensive line.
Buffalo muddled along enough to get a field goal of their own to take a 10-3 lead. Maybe it?s a typical NFL game but it?s not what Jaguars fans have come to expect after the end of last season.
They got the ball back at the end of the half and marched it right down the field. Dennis Northcutt with a couple of good catches and Fred doing his best with not much room. With :14 to play, David Garrard three a ball to the corner of the end zone that looked like it was slightly tipped at the line of scrimmage. Of course it was picked off and the drive ended there, 10-3 Buffalo at half.
Much like the first half, the Jaguars took the second half kick-off and marched down the field.
On one play, Maurice Jones Drew had his helmet turned completely around on his head. The facemask penalty moved the ball 15 more yards but it looked so flagrant that it didn?t seem like enough. Reggie Williams caught the ball over the middle and took a big hit prompting a couple of guys to say what everybody was thinking in the press box, "He?s crazy, but he?s tough!"
MJD scored from a couple of yards out to tie the game at ten. The Jaguars gained more on the ground in that drive than they did the whole first half.
In the first surprise of the season, Scobee executed an on-side kick and the Jaguars recovered it at their own 40. A few plays later Scobee kicked another field goal for a 13-10 lead midway through the third quarter.
They still look a little disjointed but they?re enthusiasm is up.That, of course, is what fuels the defense.
Quentin Groves got to Trent Edwards for his first career sack and he forced a fumble. Great play by the rookie and mostly just on hustle. The Jaguars recovered, lateraled a couple of times and got the ball on the Buffalo 38. Scobee kicked another field goal to give the Jaguars a 16-10 lead.
Here?s the big series of the game with Buffalo starting inside their own 30 and 8 minutes to play. Edwards made Gerald Sensabaugh pay on third down, hitting Lee Evans for 37 yards on a double move to put the ball inside the five. Rashean Mathis got burned by 6-5 James Hardy for the TD and even though Del Rio challenged, the Bills lead 17-16 with 4 minutes to play.
The offense didn?t do anything but go backwards and then the Bills returned the punt back to the 30, kicking another field goal to lead by 4, 20-16.
The Jaguars got the ball back with about 30 second to play and no time outs and even though they tried some trickery on the last play, the Jaguars lose by four.
Starting 0-2 is a pretty deep hole to begin the season with, especially with Tennessee 2-0 and beating the Jaguars head-to-head last week. In both weeks, they?ve looked out of sync, very un-Jaguars like, at least not like they were at the end of last season.
Clearly the changes on the offensive line are causing a problem but Garrard isn?t playing particularly well either. He?s OK, but not nearly the caliber of player he was last season.
The stats on teams making the playoffs after starting at 0-2 are not good, especially with another road game, in the division against Indianapolis on the schedule next week.