The Bills will travel down to Duval County this weekend to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. The last trip to Jacksonville was a bittersweet one for the Bills. On one hand it was the Bills’ first playoff game since the 1999 season. On the other, the Bills lost that game by a score of 10-3, ending a miracle playoff berth and dream season. Buffalo and Jacksonville actually have a bigger history than what people may think.
1996 AFC Wildcard
This game would be Jim Kelly’s last game as a Buffalo Bill, and this would be the first-ever playoff game for the 2nd year Jacksonville Jaguars. This game would also be the Bills last home playoff game until the 2020 football season. The Jim Kelly era came to a disappointing end with a 45-yard Mike Hollis field goal to beat the Bills by a score of 30-27 in Orchard Park.
Controversial Bills’ quarterback Rob Johnson would spend his first three seasons in Jacksonville before coming to Buffalo. You cannot bring up Johnson without mentioning Doug Flutie. The franchise took a lot of heat for starting Johnson for the 1999 Wildcard Game against the Titans over Doug Flutie. Johnson’s tenure in Buffalo would end after the 2001 season, with the Bills bringing in Drew. Rob Johnson would serve as a backup to Brad Johnson in Tampa Bay during their Super run in 2002 and earn a Super Bowl ring.
1998: Bills ruin Jags undefeated start
The undefeated Jags would visit Ralph Wilson Stadium back in 1998 with the Bills sitting at 2-3. Doug Flutie would start the game for the Bills and it would become a classic that fans would remember for awhile. Late in the game the Bills would tie the Jags on a twelve-yard touchdown pass from Flutie to Eric Moulds. We would got to see some of the all-time greats battle it out as Hall of Fame defensive tackle Bruce Smith would be matched up with future Hall of Famer Tony Boselli. A long pass from Doug Flutie to Eric Moulds would set up the Bills winning touchdown. The deciding TD would be a Doug Flutie fake hand off to Thurmond Thomas and a QB keeper bootleg touchdown. The Bills would defeat the Jags by a score of 17-16.
Posluszny was drafted by the Bills in 2007 in the second round with the 34th overall pick. He would spend four years in Buffalo and would sign with the Jaguars in 2011. Posluszny would become a Pro Bowler in Jacksonville and would retire at the of the 2017 season after the Jags run at the AFC Championship
2017 AFC Wild Card
This would be the Bills first playoff appearance since the 1999 Wildcard. This game would be Tyrod Taylor’s last game as the Bills quarterback, and I consider this game the birth of Josh Allen’s tenure in Buffalo, even though he would not be drafted until April of 2018. The Bills would struggle on offense, LeSean McCoy would play hurt, but still managed to have a great day on the ground. Buffalo would lose by a score of 10-3. It was still nice to get back to the playoffs and the week leading up to the game was special.
Sunday’s game in Jacksonville will be the first meeting since the 2018 season when the Bills won 24-21. I remember that game had bulletin board material as Jaguars defensive back at the time Jalen Ramsey referred to Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen as “Trash.” This year, the Jaguars have had a rough season with off-the-field issues with current head coach Urban Meyer, and even though Trevor Lawrence is just a rookie, Jags fans think he isn’t producing. I expect a Bills win, but the Bills have not won in Jacksonville since 2008.
The Bills should take care of the Jaguars, but I could see this being a trap game, but that is unlikely. I have the Bills winning and winning big due to a dominating defensive performance and a big day from Josh Allen.