BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – “We’ve got to fix some things. Let’s start there.”
Those are words from Bills head coach Sean McDermott when he was asked about the offensive line after Sunday’s 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s no secret the game is won and lost on the line of scrimmage, and the Bills clearly lost the battle up front when it came to the offense, and that is part of what caused them to lose their third game of the season.
“We just didn’t do a good enough job and they outplayed us,” center Mitch Morse said. “Speaking for myself, I need to do more.”
Nearly everyone on the offensive line needs to do more, even looking at just the stats. Jacksonville’s defense sacked Josh Allen four times, and registered eight total hits on the quarterback. Two of Allen’s three turnovers came as a direct result of pressure from the Jaguar defense.
At least two of the sacks came in critical situations late in the game. On what would be their next-to-last drive in the fourth, pressure from Jacksonville allowed the Jaguars to get a sack and force a fumble, ending the drive.
Next time they got the ball, with little time to work with, the Bills were able to move it to the Jacksonville 39 yard line, almost close enough for kicker Tyler Bass to potentially tie the game. Two plays later, on 3rd and 7, Allen was sacked for a nine-yard loss, which put them out of field goal range and made the offense face a 4th and 16. They went for it, and failed to convert.
Taking stats out of the picture, it looked like the Bills quarterback was on the run for a lot of throws. Morse agreed that early pressure from the Jaguars defense may have affected Allen later in the game, even when the QB had a clean pocket. Not one to point fingers, Allen was quick to blame himself for those throws.
“It’s part of the game,” Allen said when asked about the defensive pressure. “We talked about their front being pretty good. Again, it starts with me. I can do some things better to help our guys out.”
While his QB wouldn’t blame the line for the lack of time in the pocket, Morse agreed that their inability to keep the defense out of Josh’s face in the early drive impacted them throughout the game.
“When you don’t give your quarterback time early, even when the pocket is clean, you kind of feel someone breathing down your neck, it’s just human nature,” Morse said. “I would do the same exact thing.”
Morse was also asked about just what went wrong against the Jaguar front.
“Sometimes we just got outplayed,” Morse said of the overall performance. “Sometimes it was the right call against the right play we had. It was just kind of an accumulation of a lot of stuff which made it very frustrating, but all you can do in games like this, all you can do is point inwards, look intrinsically. That’s what professionals do and it’s the hardest thing to do. That’s the hardest thing to do is look at yourself I think. As an offense we have to do that, each and everyone of us and go from there. I understand that we have got to figure some stuff out, plain and simple.”
With Jon Feliciano out at least two more games on injured reserve and the return date of Spencer Brown uncertain, the offensive line will have to find some answers to avoid more problems in the coming weeks. Morse reiterated that the team as a whole just needs to look in the mirror to find the answers they’re looking for.
“I can’t put this on one person, every persons got a little bit of blame in this and that’s the frustrating part and that’s the beautiful part, so you can only point yourself,” Morse said.
Buffalo plays the New York Jets at home next Sunday at 1 p.m.