By Sal Maiorana Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
ORCHARD PARK - Nice to see the Bills take care of business in a game they were clearly favored to win. Too bad it came a month and a half too late.
The Bills beat up on an inferior Jacksonville team, 34-18, the way they should have beaten up on an inferior Tennessee team back on Oct. 21. That was the tipping point for their season, and had they whipped the Titans (not to mention the Colts last week in another game that was eminently winnable), Sunday's victory over the Jaguars would have meant a whole lot more.
Alas, all this did was get the Bills to 5-7 and still staring at mountainous odds to make the playoffs. But hey, they live for another week, so good for them. Here are my thoughts:
• Does anyone miss Mike Mularkey? I can't hammer him too much because he has very little to work with, but he looks like the same coach who flamed out in Buffalo in 2005 and then quit on the team. Good luck, Jacksonville.
• The run of bad luck for center Eric Wood has not ended. Wood - who has had two of his four NFL seasons ruined by serious injuries - suffered a left knee injury. In the locker room after the game his leg was immobilized and he was limping noticeably with a grim look on his face. It's too early to speculate, but it would appear there's a good chance he might miss some time. The line is already without right tackle Erik Pears, and his replacement, Chris Hairston, went down with an ankle injury.
• What's a Bills game without screaming about the lack of touches C.J. Spiller gets? Again, even in a game where the Bills needed to run, Spiller was on the bench as much as he was on the field, especially in the red zone. Chan Gailey said during the week he'd like to get a 60-40 split of touches in favor of Spiller. Well, Fred Jackson carried 25 times for 109 yards, and Spiller 14 for 77. That computes to 62.5 percent in Jackson's favor, but who's counting?
• Finally, in the 12th game of the season, Ryan Fitzpatrick hit T.J. Graham with a deep pass, a 51-yarder that set up the Bills' first TD. Why this took until the 12th game is one of the great mysteries of the season, but better late than never.
• Mario Williams had his most impactful play of the season, a sack/forced fumble/recovery that led to a field goal. He also had a batted down pass. No doubt he's playing much better since his wrist surgery. Hopefully he continues to soar from here for years to come.
• Rookie Ron Brooks was thrown into the fire, and he survived. The Bills played plenty of dime defense, and then Leodis McKelvin couldn't play because of a bad back, so Brooks saw his most extensive playing time. He was up and down, but it was a good learning experience for the kid and should be beneficial down the line.
• You didn't think I'd fail to mention the lunacy of allowing Rian Lindell to try a 50-yard field goal in the wind and rain, after not letting him do so last week in a dome, did you? It makes last week's decision in Indy - when the game really mattered - even more unbelievable. Oh, Lindell made the kick