Jacksonville Jaguars catch Buffalo Bills cold to complete second London win
Jacksonville Jaguars 25-20 Buffalo Bills
Travis Etienne runs for 136 yards and two touchdowns
This was one of those encounters that never quite lives up to its billing, or is as close as the scoreline suggests. But at the end of a game that only really flared into life in a 27-point fourth quarter, the Jacksonville Jaguars were boisterously – and justifiably – celebrating their second London win in a week.
The architects of the Jaguars’ 25-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills were their quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who threw for 315 yards and one touchdown, and the running back Travis Etienne, who powered for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore finished with 230 yards and three touchdowns on a career night.
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But the Bills’ sluggish performance was surely a contributing factor. In truth they still looked jetlagged having flown into London on Friday while Jacksonville showed the benefits of having been in situ for over a week having beaten Atlanta at Wembley last Sunday.
As the Bills quarterback Josh Allen admitted: “We never felt like we got into a rhythm until late in the game.”
Beforehand this looked to be one of better NFL contests to be staged in London since 2007 – a figure that now stands at 35 games and counting – given both teams expect to make the playoffs again this season. And in the Bills, who had outscored their opponents 123-33 in their previous three games, the 61,000 fans in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium were arguably watching the hottest team in the league.
Yet Buffalo rarely showed it and offered little after the Jaguars opened the scoring when Lawrence found Zay Jones with a six-yard pass – or when Brandon McManus stroked through a 44-yard field goal to make it 11-0.
At the end of the first quarter Allen, the early favourite for the league’s most valuable player award, had thrown for just 23 yards. It was only just before half-time that the Bills found some groove as Allen led them 86 yards down the field before hitting Stefon Diggs with a 15-yard pass.