Jaguars pass rush led by a rejuvenated Taven Bryan, who posted his first solo sacks in two seasons

The Jaguars' Taven Bryan performed one of the more unusual post-sack celebrations the first time he got to Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field.

Bryan didn't gesture wildly, jump and down, strut or invent a new sack dance. Rather, he went to his knees and held his hands in what many thought was a gesture of prayer or even a yoga position.

It was neither. Bryan later called it, "the campfire."

Bryan, an avid outdoorsman from Wyoming, said it wasn't anything related to his upbringing.

"I just thought it would be fun," he said.

Like roasting a quarterback?

"Yeah, kind of, I guess," he said. "It's just like a fun deal to do."

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Forgive the former University of Florida star and No. 1 draft pick from 2018 if it seems he didn't put much preparation on any post-sack antics. What was important is that Bryan, oft-criticized for his lack of production since being drafted — and only two weeks removed from being a healthy scratch against Miami in London — had his best game as a Jaguar in the 9-6 victory over the Bills.

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Taven Bryan (93) celebrates after a play against the Buffalo Bills.
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Taven Bryan (93) celebrates after a play against the Buffalo Bills.

Bryan had his first solo sack since the Jags' final game of the 2019 season against Indianapolis, added another in the third quarter, and rushed Allen into an incompletion.

Coming in on passing downs to play defensive tackle and at times head-up on the center, Bryan was able to get off on the ball quickly and split the guard-center gap.

In homage to Bryan, the Bills began double-teaming him in the fourth quarter on passing downs. That hasn't happened often in his career as he entered the game with only 3.5 sacks in 54 games and a long string of listless performances that has had coaches on two staffs scrambling to find a role that suits his size and strength, but limited repertoire of pass-rush moves

"Taven, oh my God," Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen said. "People hated on him but he got better, he's getting better. He's a big asset to this team and he's going to continue to get better."

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Bryan didn't have much to say after the game, preferring to deflect the credit to an overall defensive effort that produced four sacks, eight quarterback hits, three turnovers and the lowest point total for the Bills since a 13-6 loss to the New York Jets in the final game of the 2019 regular season.

"I'd say we probably just worked together as a group mostly," he said. "I missed a couple things and some stuff I've got to clean up, but not too bad, and it's always good to go away with a win."

Dawuane Smoot said Bryan's teammates haven't given up on him.

"Taven is a dog at the end of the day," Smoot said. "There's a reason why he went first round. Really, if you just make him go forward, no one is going to stop him at the end of the day, and that's what he did today."

Bryan said winning two of the last three games is a promising sign.

"We just start stacking them," he said. "There's a lot of games left and the more wins we get the better it is. Start here, and then the next week and the week after that and hopefully we can stack them all the way on out."

Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said Bryan was part of a big push almost the entire game from the interior defensive linemen, including Adam Gotsis, Jihad Ward and Malcom Brown.

"Taven Bryan came in and did a heck of a job," Meyer said. "Adam Gotsis, and Jihad Ward gave great penetration inside ... a lot of those sacks you saw when [Allen] was scrambling away from the interior pressure. The interior pressure really set up a lot of things.

Bryan also wasn't the only unsung hero on the defense. While Josh Allen dominated the game with eight tackles, a sack, his first career interception and a fumble recovery, nickel defensive back Rudy Ford had his first NFL interception, cornerback Nevin Lawson set up Allen's interception with a well-timed blitz and Smoot had a sack and forced the fumble that Josh Allen recovered.

Ford also had six solo tackles and had three of the Jaguars' five pass break-ups.

"He's a great player," Meyer said of Ford, who was signed a free agent mostly for special-teams help but has gotten more and more playing time on defense. "He hasn't gotten many opportunities in the NFL, but he's a hell of a player."

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Taven Bryan leads jacksonville Jaguars pass rush against Buffalo Bills