ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills won for second time in three weeks and kept their ultra-slim playoff hopes alive with a 34-18 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars at rainy Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday.
The Bills, who had lost four of their previous five and six of their previous eight, improved to 5-7. Jacksonville dropped to 2-10.
The Jags came into the game riding the hot arm of quarterback Chad Henne, who had thrown for 615 yards and six touchdowns the last two games in place of injured starter Blaine Gabbert. But the Bills defense strung together its third consecutive solid performance, limiting Henne to 18 completions in 41 attempts for 208 yards and one score. He was sacked four times, intercepted once and also fumbled once.
The Jags converted just one of 10 third downs.
Beleaguered Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes and running backs Fred Jackson (109) and C.J. Spiller (77) combined for 186 rushing yards.
The Bills scored first on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Fitzpatrick with 9:10 left in the first quarter. The key play in the drive was a 51-yard pass down the middle to rookie T.J. Graham to the Jags 1.
Early in the second quarter, Jags linebacker Paul Posluszny intercepted a pass intended for Stevie Johnson and returned it 5 yards to the Bills 32. Buffalo's defense held and Jacksonville settled for a 36-yard field goal by Josh Scobee, his 20th in 21 attempts this season.
After the Bills failed to convert a fourth-and-5 from the Jacksonville 37, the Jags took a 10-7 lead on a 1-yard bootleg by Henne. The drive featured a 24-yard pass interference call against Bills cornerback Ron Brooks, a 24-yard completion to Cecil Shorts and a 12-yard dump-off to tight end Marcedes Lewis.
Buffalo responded with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Fitpatrick to tight end Scott Chandler with 1:56 to go. The drive began on the Jacksonville 26 thanks to a 55-yard kickoff return by Marcus Easley and a personal foul against Richard Murphy.
The Bills increased their lead to 17-10 with 34 seconds left in the half on a 29-yard field goal by Rian Lindell. Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams set up the field goal when he stripped Henne of the ball and recovered at the Jags 14.
Fitzpatrick's 13-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson on the Bills' first possession of the second half increased their lead to two touchdowns. Brad Smith gave Buffalo a great drive start with a 38-yard kickoff return to the Bills 39.
Lindell's 50-yard field goal with just over two minutes to go in the third quarter increased Buffalo's cushion to 27-10. On the Bills' next series, Spiller turned the game into a rout with a 44-yard touchdown run.
Jacksonville closed the gap to 34-18 with 10:47 remaining on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Henne to Shorts and a two-point conversion run by Montell Owens. The scores came after Antwon Blake recovered a muffed punt by Justin Rogers, who was filling in for injured punt returner Leodis McKelvin.
NOTES: Jason Babin, who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the week, made his first start at defensive end with two tackles and two assists for the Jaguars. He also was whistled for a roughing-the-passer penalty. . . . Graham, starting in place of injured Donald Jones at wide receiver, had a career long reception of 51 yards, 27 longer than his previous best. . . . Posluszny, a second-round pick of the Bills in 2007, had two tackles, six assists tackles and an interception in his return to Buffalo. It was his third pick of the year. . . . Fitzpatrick and Johnson have combined for 22 touchdowns, tying Jim Kelly and Pete Metzelaars for the fourth most prolific passing combo in Bills history. . . . Jacksonville coach Mike Mularkey was 14-18 in his two seasons coaching the Bills. His 9-7 finish in 2004 marked the last time the Bills enjoyed a winning season.