It was a great game between the Bills and Jags at Wembley, with a splendid atmosphere reverberating around the stadium as fans of both teams and NFL in general rallied around an exciting ending. So here are my takeaways from the game.
- EJ Manuel isn’t an NFL player at all….
How does this guy have a job in the NFL? It’s insane. He could barely hit his receivers all game and hardly put five passes together for a drive. He had a thread of calamitous plays which started with his drive with a 9 yard pass too low for Robert Woods to make any yards after the catch on 2nd & 18; then on the next play, he failed to see the blitz, got hit and fumbled, and it was taken back for a touchdown by Chris Clemens. It was kicked off to the Bills who knelt the ball down. Then, on the first play of the drive from their own 20, Manuel throws a horrible pick 6 where he stares down his receiver and Telvin Smith sits in his zone watching Manuel’s eyes, then takes it to the house for a 21-3 lead. It was just an awful, awful read by Manuel. To put it into perspective, Manuel conceded 2 touchdowns in only 7 seconds of play, but to make matters even worse he then throws another interception only 2 minutes later to Paul Posluszny on 3rd & 16. He did rally them back well for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns and a comeback but ultimately performed very poorly in place of Tyrod Taylor.
2. TJ Yeldon was a star!
He injected some wonderful pace and decisiveness into the Jags’ offence. While Bortles only completed 13 passes for 182 yards on 29 attempts, it was Yeldon’s running that moved Jacksonville down the field with 115 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown giving him 5.8 yard per carry. His longest run of the day was a beautiful 28 yard run for a touchdown where he patiently waited for a gap, broke a tackle in the backfield and then took it to the house. I haven’t a clue what was going on when Greg Olson decided to put in Toby Gerhart to try and get him a touchdown inside the 1 yard line. Yeldon had been playing so well for the whole game and would have found the endzone to seal the win. So expect more from Yeldon throughout the season as he impressed here.
Throughout the game both teams were very guilty of committing penalties, with the Bills committing 10 for 87 yards and the Jags also committing 10 for 66 yards. The majority of these were very petty, either delay of game, holding or offside. But I believe the refs got the momentum-changing decision wrong with a very questionable pass interference call on Bradley Roby. With 3:15 to play on 3rd & 15, Brian Walters for the Jags ran an out-route with Roby on his coat tails all the way towards the side line, Bortles threw the pass just ahead of both of them out of bounds. The refs felt though that as Walters leapt towards the ball Roby pushed him, so called pass interference on him. It looked very questionable on the replay that Roby even touched Walters at all! So the Bills can feel aggrieved about that decision as it gave the Jags a lifeline to win the game especially as throughout the whole game they didn’t look like converting a 3rd & 15 at all!
As the Jags won, it now puts them at 2-5 on the season, tied 2nd in the AFC SOUTH and surprisingly only a game back from the Colts, their next match being against the Jets. So I’m predicting that even with this victory and some momentum, they won’t have enough offensive fire power to get past the top defense in the NFL especially in New York. Now the Bills fall to 3-4 and last in the AFC EAST. Luckily for the Bills they now have their bye week giving their star players time to rest and recover especially Tyrod Taylor who they desperately need. After that they have Miami at home which is a must win for both teams so that will be an exciting matchup!
I was thrilled to be at my 3rd International Series game which was unexpectedly exciting! Can’t wait for next time….
Happy Halloween everyone!