LONDON — EJ Manuel crossed the sea this week only to melt down fully in Great Britain. While he recovered in the second half, a four minute stretch in the second quarter was too much to overcome.
The Buffalo’s fill-in quarterback buried his injury-riddled team with a slew of turnovers that paved the way for Jacksonville to build a seemingly insurmountable 27-3 lead. The Jaguars wound up coughing up the lead in the second half, but held on for a 34-31 victory. Manuel’s ugly stretch was the primary reason why.
The Jaguars delighted this Jacksonville-heavy crowd by scoring four touchdowns in half a quarter, with 21 of those points coming during an explosive four-minute stretch. It’s a showing unlike anything we’ve seen from this club under coach Gus Bradley — and they have Manuel to thank after the sloppy passer committed a trio of turnovers in just eight plays.
It unfolded in brutal fashion. Trailing 7-3 with 12:21 left in the second quarter, Manuel lost the ball on an Aaron Colvin sack that saw pass rusher Chris Clemons scoop up the pigskin and roll into the end zone. On the next possession — just seven seconds later — Manuel launched a dangerous pass into the hands of Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith for a 26-yard pick six. One possession later, Manuel fired the ball into the arms of linebacker Paul Posluszny, setting up a quick three-play, 36-yard Jaguars scoring drive capped by T.J. Yeldon 28-yard touchdown run.
Jacksonville missed the extra point, but the rush of points from Bradley’s defense felt like a turning point for this young team. The Bills, meanwhile, cannot wait for starting passer Tyrod Taylor to get healthy again.