Micah Hyde

Jaguars beat Bills 10-3 in ugly, sometimes unwatchable game

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Blake Bortles put together one decent drive all day, doing as much with his legs as his arm, and the defensive-minded Jacksonville Jaguars eked out an ugly and sometimes unwatchable 10-3 victory against the Buffalo Bills in an AFC wild-card game Sunday.

In the postseason for the first time since January 2008, the third-seeded Jaguars (11-6) advanced to play at No. 2 seed Pittsburgh next week.

The sixth-seeded Bills (9-8) will head home after ending the longest, current playoff drought in North American professional sports.

Bortles was a big reason Jacksonville won the game and a big reason it was so close.

This was far from a passing clinic. It was more like a painful exercise in overcoming poor passing.

Bortles was off most of the day, misfiring short and long, but made up for it with 88 yards rushing. He scrambled for a long first down run after fumbling the ball late, prompting a Bills assistant to slam a clipboard and eliciting a huge grin from Bortles.

“We weren’t sharp, we made some bad plays and did some stupid stuff, but we found a way to win and that’s all that matters,” Bortles said.

He completed 12 of 23 passes for 87 yards, with a touchdown. His TD pass to backup tight end Ben Koyack late in the third quarter was his best throw of the game. It also was a gutsy call on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

Bortles did the rest on the ground, scrambling for first downs and helping Jacksonville win its first playoff game at home since the 1997 season.

“You know, when we got beat last week at Tennessee, I didn’t run at all, so I thought we got beat without kind of shooting all of our shots, so I said it made it difficult, so let’s find some ways to move the ball and do some different stuff,” Bortles said.

The Bills had plenty of chances down the stretch, but a huge penalty against Charles Clay and then a tackle that knocked quarterback Tyrod Taylor out of the game ended any threat of a comeback.

Taylor slammed his helmet hard against the ground after getting thrown down by Dante Fowler Jr. He had to be helped off the field and forced backup Nathan Peterman into the game with 1:27 remaining. All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey tipped and then intercepted Peterman’s third pass, and the Jaguars ran out the clock.

“We prepare hard and we study a lot of tape, we practice hard,” Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell said.

“We’re battle-tested, so we know that if we just keep playing ball, good things will happen.”

The Bills finished with 263 yards, with 119 of those coming from hobbled running back LeSean McCoy (ankle).

The Jags had a measly 230 yards. Leonard Fournette ran 21 times for 57 yards.

RUNNING PASSERS

Bortles is the second starting quarterback in the past 25 seasons to win a playoff game with more rushing yards than passing yards (88 rushing, 87 passing). The other was Atlanta’s Michael Vick in the 2004 divisional round against the Rams (119 rushing, 82 passing).

HUGE SWING

Trailing 10-3 with about six minutes to play, the Bills looked as if they picked up a first down on an 11-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor to Clay. Jacksonville players standing on the sideline pointed to Clay’s feet, and coach Doug Marrone threw the challenge flag. Officials overturned the completion, saying Clay was out of bounds and setting up a third-and-10 play from the Jacksonville 48-yard line. Linebacker Myles Jack sacked Taylor on the next play, forcing a punt.

INJURIES

Bills: Safety Micah Hyde left the game in the third quarter and was being evaluated for a concussion. Cornerback Tre'Davious White went to the locker room in the fourth to be treated for cramps. Safety Colt Anderson injured his right shoulder in the fourth trying to make a diving interception. Guard Richie Incognito (shoulder) and Clay (hamstring) left briefly in the first half but returned.

Jaguars: Linebacker Paul Posluszny left the game with a hip injury, tried to return and then headed to the locker room for further evaluation. He was listed as questionable and returned to the sideline after halftime. Receiver/punt returner Jaydon Mickens left with a hamstring injury and did not return.

UP NEXT

The Jaguars will play at second-seeded Pittsburgh next Sunday, a rematch from Week 5. Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions, and Jacksonville won 30-9. The Steelers have won 10 of 11 since, the lone loss coming against New England.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Titans RB Murray hurts right knee in loss to Rams

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NEW YORK (AP) Tennessee could be without starting running back DeMarco Murray next week when it tried to clinch a playoff spot.

Murray injured his right knee with 2:23 left in the game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Coach Mike Mularkey said his running back will have an MRI, but it doesn’t look good.

The Rams lost left guard Rodger Saffold to a rib injury late in the game. Los Angeles safety Marqui Christian also hurt a shoulder.

Dallas played most of its game without five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith. He started against Seattle despite a right knee injury that kept him out of practice most of the week. He came out after the first series.

Other injuries included Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict. He returned after missing two games with a concussion only to hurt his right shoulder before halftime of a game against Detroit. Bengals running back Joe Mixon also returned after missing two games with a concussion. He left Sunday with an injured right ankle in the first quarter.

Buffalo lost backup running back Travaris Cadet to a right ankle injury in the second quarter. Safety Micah Hyde and cornerback Shareece Wright both left in the second half against New England. Both were shaken up on separate plays.

The Falcons lost tight end Levine Toilolo to a knee injury in the second half of their game against the Saints. New Orleans left tackle Terron Armstead suffered a thigh injury in the second half.

Miami had a pair of defensive players go down. Tackle Vincent Taylor hurt his knee on the opening kickoff, cornerback Alterraun Verner hurt his hamstring later in the half.

The Jets lost defensive end Leonard Williams in the second half with a back injury.

The Giants lost their leading receiver, tight end Evan Engram, in the first period with a rib injury. New York safety Landon Collins was knocked out of the game with a forearm injury in the third quarter.

Arizona linebacker Haason Reddick left with a foot injury in the second quarter.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

With eye on playoffs, Brady, Lewis lead Pats by Bills 37-16

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady passed for a pair of touchdowns and the New England Patriots stayed on track to claim home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a 37-16 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Dion Lewis caught a touchdown pass and rushed for a 4-yard score. He carried 24 times for career-high 129 yards. It was just his second-career 100-yard game. Mike Gillislee, active for the first time in six games, added a 1-yard rushing touchdown

New England (12-3) can lock up first-round bye with either a Pittsburgh or Jacksonville loss. If both of those teams lose, the Patriots will secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The Jaguars play at San Francisco Sunday. The Steelers play at Houston Monday.

Even with the loss, the Bills (8-7) remain in contention to break their 17-year playoff drought. It is longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports. It is the longest postseason absence since NFL merger in 1970.

New England has won at least 12 games in eight straight seasons – an NFL record.

Buffalo stayed close throughout and went into halftime locked in a 13-13 tie.

But the Bills managed just three points in the final 30 minutes, after a touchdown at the end of the first half was taken away.

Trailing 13-10, Buffalo was in position to take the lead, but an apparent 4-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor to Kelvin Benjamin in the corner of the end zone was overturned after an official review.

NFL vice president of officiating Al Riveron said in a Twitter post Benjamin was juggling the ball and was only able to get one of his feet down before completing the catch.

“When Kelvin Benjamin gains control, his left foot is off the ground. The receiver only has one foot down in bounds with control. Therefore, it is an incomplete pass,” Riveron wrote.

The Bills were forced to settle for a 23-yard Hauschka field goal as the half expired.

The play elicited immediate reaction on social media.

“Regarding the Buffalo no touchdown, nothing more irritating to an official than to make a great call and then someone in a suit in an office in New York incorrectly reverses it,” he wrote his Twitter feed .

The game was tied at 13 at the half.

The game was tied at 3 on Buffalo’s second possession when Taylor was sacked on a fourth-and-2 run by Marquis Flowers.

On the New England drive, Brady’s third down pass intended for Kenny Britt was intercepted by Jordan Poyer and returned 19 yards for a touchdown.

It was Brady’s eighth interception of the season. He threw two picks in the first 10 weeks, but now has six in his last five games.

The mistake only momentarily slowed down New England’s offense. Brady capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 17-yard pass that Rob Gronkowski pulled in with one hand to tie the game at 10.

INJURIES

Bills: RB Travaris Cadet was carted off the field late in the second quarter with a right ankle injury. … S Micah Hyde left the game after being shaken up in the third quarter. … CB Shareece Wright was shaken up in the fourth quarter, but walked off on his own power.

RARE MISTAKE

The pick six thrown by Brady was his first since he was intercepted by Robert Alford in last season’s Super Bowl win. Brady’s last regular season pick six came in Week 13 of 2015 against Philadelphia (Malcolm Jenkins).

DYNAMIC DUO

Brady’s touchdown 17-yard TD pass to Gronkowski marked the 75th time they have connected for a score. It is the fifth-most all-time between a quarterback and a receiver.

UP NEXT

Bills: At Miami in regular-season finale

Patriots: Host Jets in their finale.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL