Sometimes even a strong effort is not enough. That describes the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Sunday afternoon in Buffalo.
Despite the defense playing aggressive football, there was not quite enough offense for the Jaguars to break their long losing streak. The Bills came away with a 28-21 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium sending Jacksonville to their sixth straight loss.
The Bills came into the game as the leading rushing team in the NFL. For most of the day, Jacksonville did a good job of botting up the Bills, but one play was devastating.
LeSean McCoy broke free for a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half. The play gave Buffalo the lead for the first time, 13-7.
McCoy, an elite running back, had 103 rushing yards on 19 carries, meaning he had only 28 yards on his 18 other carries. The big run was the longest of his career.
Jacksonville sacked Buffalo Quarterback Tyrod Taylor five times and the defense recorded a staggering 10 tackles for loss. Clearly the defensive unit came to play on Sunday.
Jaguars’ Coach Gus Bradley has struggled to find consistency on offense. The lack of a running game and an inconsistent passing game have frustrated the coaching staff and the fans.
They have consistently starting each game slowly, going 24 consecutive games without scoring on their opening possession. That ended on Sunday when Chris Ivory scored on a two-yard run the first time the Jags had the ball.
Bortles threw for only 126 yards, but two were for touchdowns. He was also the team’s leading rusher with 80 yards. It did not help when Ivory had to leave with a hamstring injury in the first half.
Buffalo did not assume the lead for good until 10:46 remained. The Jaguars showed the grit of a team trying to win, but just could not make the play that would allow that to happen. They also came out on the short end of some controversial calls.
“It’s on us to go make a play,” said Bortles. “Instead of waiting for a break or a bounce, let’s just go make a play.”
Six game losing streaks are not good for job security, but at least Bradley had his team ready to play. Job security comes when effort equals victories.
Will that combination surface in the final five games to make a difference?