LONDON (WROC) — The Bills scored just one touchdown in the game’s first three quarters and suffered several key injuries as they fell to the Jaguars 25-20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
The Bills were already playing without cornerback Tre’Davious White who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, cornerback Christian Benford, and edge rushers Greg Rousseau and Shaq Jones entering the game.
Matt Milano and Daquan Jones both left the game in the first quarter with injuries and did not return. Milano suffered a knee injury and was quickly ruled out after getting carted to the locker room with an air cast on his right leg. Jones suffered a pec injury and while initially listed as doubtful, never returned.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport, Milano has suffered a season-ending injury to his leg and knee.
“You can talk about next man up. It does hurt, for sure,” said safety Jordan Poyer. “All-Pro Lano, that’s what we call him because he is All-Pro. He’s sideline to sideline making plays on the ball and you’ve seen it in the first five weeks of the season. We’ve just got to continue to give the guys behind him confidence and that’s the only thing we can do at this point.”
“You just keep playing. We’ve got a lot of depth on this team,” said Von Miller, who made his return to the field after recovering from a torn ACL. “We’ve done a good job of building up a team with quality players. You can’t replace DaQuan, you can’t replace Matt Milano, you can’t replace Tre White. That’s just part of the game. It’s a terrible part of the game.”
Defensive end Kinglsey Jonathan, cornerback Taron Johnson, edge rusher Leonard Floyd, left tackle Dion Dawkins, and tight end Dalton Kincaid all left the game with injuries but were able to return.
Josh Allen finished with 359 passing yards, but most of that production came in the game’s final quarter. He completed 27 of 40 attempts and had two touchdowns and an interception. Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis each went for 100 or more yards and had a touchdown. Diggs had eight catches for 121 yards and Davis caught six balls for 100 yards. The ground game could not get going. James Cook, Latavius Murray, and Damien Harris combined for 10 carries for 15 yards. Cook had five carries for -4 yards.
“We didn’t take care of the little things,” said Allen. “That’s on us captains, making sure that this team is ready to go. The opposing team, they were ready to go today and we weren’t.”
Trevor Lawrence completed 25 of 37 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown. Calvin Ridley had seven catches for 122 yards and Christian Kirk made six grabs for 78 yards. Travis Etienne ran the ball 26 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
After a punt for each team, the Jaguars struck first. A 30-yard catch from Kirk got Jacksonville into Bills territory. On third and six from the ten-yard line, the Bills got a stop to get off the field, but the drive was continued thanks to an Ed Oliver illegal use of hands penalty that gave Jacksonville an automatic first down.
On third down, Zay Jones made a phenomenal catch in the back of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown. Oliver was called for roughing the passer, which moved the Jags to the one-yard line on the two-point try, which Etienne converted to give Jacksonville an 8-0 lead.
The Bills could not accomplish anything on their first four drives, amassing just two first downs and punting on all four drives.
The team’s decision to fly to London Thursday night was called into question after their slow start. While most of the team rebuffed that as an excuse, Sean McDermott said they would evaluate the situation if they were to go back to London in the future.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got to be ready to play on Sunday,” said Allen. “It didn’t matter if we traveled on Saturday, Friday, Thursday, Monday, two weeks ago, it doesn’t matter. We didn’t put out our best stuff and they did and that’s why they beat us.”
They finally woke up down 11-0 midway through the second quarter.
Deonte Harty kick-started the drive with an 18-yard catch on third and six deep in Buffalo’s territory. Diggs ended it as he ran a beautiful route to score a 15-yard touchdown to make it 11-7.
Jacksonville drove into the red zone on the ensuing drive trying to score before the half, but the Bills defense came up with a big stop. AJ Epenesa stripped the ball from Lawrence as he sacked him and fell on the fumble, saving the Bills three points and keeping it an 11-7 game at the half. Epenesa finished the game with two sacks, a career-high.
The Bills could not carry the offensive momentum into the second half, punting on their only two drives of the third quarter. Jacksonville drove into Buffalo territory at the end of the quarter looking to score, but once again committed a costly turnover.
At the start of the fourth, Lawrence was pressured on third and long and was sacked by Ed Oliver. Lawrence fumbled, which was recovered by Tyrel Dodson, keeping the score at 11-7.
The Bills got a first down on the first play of the ensuing drive, but then suffered a turnover of their own. Allen launched a pass deep downfield for Diggs, but Darous Willimas won a battle for the ball as the two leaped in the air and came down with the interception.
The Jaguars marched down the field on the ensuing drive, going 93 yards in ten plays, finishing the drive off with an Etienne running it in from six yards out for a touchdown to push the lead to 18-7. The Bills defense looked gassed at the end of the drive. When the drive concluded, the Jaguars had run 73 plays to just 40 for the Bills.
Buffalo finally got something going on the next drive, needing nine plays to go 75 yards and find the end zone. Gabe Davis made a contested catch in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. The Bills were aided by two defensive penalties on the drive and the Jaguars also committed defensive pass interference on the touchdown. The Bills had to score twice as they were called for offensive pass interference as Davis scored on the play prior to his touchdown that counted. Khalil Shakir could not make a play in the open field and was stopped on the two-point conversion to keep the score 18-13.
The Bills could not get off the field on the next drive as the Jaguars scored the game-clinching touchdown. On third and four, Ridley beat Micah Hyde in coverage for a 32-yard pass deep down the field on the right sideline. Etienne ran in a 35-yard touchdown two plays later to make it 25-13, essentially ending the game.
The Bills went quickly down the field, needing just four plays to go 75 yards with Allen running it in from three points out.
However, with no timeouts remaining and just 2:11 left on the clock, the Bills were forced to go for an onside kick. The ball shot up in the air, but no Bills player was able to recover it before it went out of bounds.
The Bills got a stop and forced a punt, but had just 22 seconds to go 94 yards for a touchdown. Diggs fumbled trying to pitch the ball to keep a play alive and the game was over.
The Bills fall to 3-2 with the loss and will host the New York Giants on Sunday Night football on Sunday, October 15th.