Once David Garrard cleaned up his mistakes, the quarterback led the Jacksonville Jaguars to a comeback 36-26 win Sunday over the Buffalo Bills, who at 0-5 are off to their worst start in 25 years.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis caught a pair of touchdown passes, and Mike Sims-Walker scored on a 7-yard catch to break a 20-20 tie and put the Jaguars ahead for good late in the third quarter. Garrard overcame an interception and a fumble to finish 16 of 20 for 178 yards and three touchdowns as Jacksonville (3-2) overcame a pair of early 10-point deficits.
Josh Scobee made all five field-goal attempts, including a pair from 49 yards, one week after he beat Indianapolis 31-28 with a 59-yard field goal as time ran out.
The Bills got off to a great start, scoring twice by capitalizing on a pair of turnovers — Garrard's interception and Mike Thomas' fumble on a punt return — before running out of gas.
Buffalo's 0-5 record is its fifth in franchise history, and first since 1985. Worse still, the Bills have allowed 30 points in four straight games for the first time in team history. It's a stretch in which they've been outscored 146-77.
Buffalo squandered a 10-point lead for the first time since blowing an 11-point advantage in a 25-24 season-opening loss at New England last year.
Ryan Fitzpatrick went 20 of 30 for 220 yards and with three touchdowns, including a pair to Steve Johnson. Lee Evans also scored on a 45-yard catch.
The Bills scored 17 points on three Jaguars turnovers, including Garrard's fumble on a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 at midfield in the third quarter.
But the Bills' defense continues to let down the team. The unit allowed 216 yards rushing, the third straight game in which its given up 200 or more, and has allowed a combined 689 over that span.
Maurice Jones-Drew led Jacksonville with 84 yards rushing.
It was the efficient Jaguars passing attack that led the way as Garrard engineered consecutive touchdown drives over a 2:03 span bridging halftime.
Garrard tied the game at 13 with 25 seconds left in the second quarter by hitting Lewis for a 1-yard touchdown to cap a 10-play, 85-yard drive. He hit Lewis again — this time for 27 yards — three plays into the third quarter. Deji Karim set up the scoring drive with a 51-yard kickoff return to the Buffalo 39.
The Bills blew several chances to climb back into the game in the fourth quarter. Down 30-20 with 10 minutes left, punter Brian Moorman managed only 1 yard while being tackled from behind by Montell Owens on a fake punt on fourth-and-7.
After Johnson scored a 7-yard touchdown with 1:34 left, Fitzpatrick failed on the 2-point conversion when Jeremy Mincey batted down the quarterback's pass at the line.
(This version CORRECTS Jaguars 36, Bills 26. Corrects to 5th time Bills have been 0-5, 5th paragraph)