Jaguars 24, Browns 20

The Jacksonville Jaguars kept turning the ball over. The

Cleveland Browns kept failing to take advantage.

It was a defining sequence in another dramatic game for both

teams. An even more important twist came in the closing

minutes.

Maurice Jones-Drew followed a 75-yard reception with a 1-yard

touchdown dive with 1:16 remaining, and the Jaguars overcame six

turnovers to beat the banged-up Browns 24-20 on Sunday.

”Never felt like it was something that was out of our reach,”

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. ”I think certainly we defied the

odds. … We held our ground and didn’t allow them to take those

turnovers and bury us. That’s what typically happens – it’s a

landslide.”

Jones-Drew finished with 132 yards rushing and 87 receiving.

It’s the first time in his five-year career that he’s put together

three consecutive 100-yard games.

Jacksonville won all three, and thanks to Indianapolis’ loss to

New England on Sunday, the Jaguars are tied for first in the AFC

South. It’s the first time since 1999 they’ve been atop their

division this late in the season.

Jones-Drew has a lot to do with it. His best plays Sunday were

his last two.

Jones-Drew broke four tackles on a screen pass from David

Garrard and weaved his way toward the end zone. Rookie Joe Haden

made a touchdown-saving tackle, but all it did was end up taking

precious seconds off the clock. Jones-Drew scored two plays

later.

”I don’t feel like we stole the game,” Jones-Drew said. ”We

earned it.”

The Jaguars (6-4) are starting to make frantic finishes look

routine. It helps that the ball is bouncing their way –

literally.

Jacksonville beat Houston last week on Garrard’s desperation

pass to Mike Thomas on the final play. Thomas’ 50-yard catch was

tipped by a defender. Jacksonville enjoyed similar fortune against

the Browns (3-7), who played without linebacker Scott Fujita and

then lost cornerback Eric Wright early in the game.

Cleveland, coming off a last-second loss to the New York Jets in

overtime, had a final chance to win this one. But Jacksonville’s

Sean Considine tipped Colt McCoy’s pass away from Ben Watson at the

goal line. The ball bounced off Watson’s chest and landed in

Considine’s arms.

That saved Jacksonville from being minus-six in turnover

margin.

The last time an NFL team was minus-five in turnovers and won

was Oct. 8, 2007, when Dallas edged Buffalo 25-24.

”You’re going to have those moments,” said Garrard, who threw

for 254 yards and two touchdowns to somewhat offset three

interceptions and a fumble. ”The best thing about it was we kept

persevering.”

The Browns surely will kick themselves after this loss.

Phil Dawson missed two 51-yard field goal attempts wide right,

and Cleveland scored just 10 points off the six turnovers.

”Turning the ball over six times is a hard thing to do,”

Browns coach Eric Mangini said. ”When you have those chances, you

have to close them out.”

The Jaguars ended five consecutive drives with turnovers in the

second half. Jones-Drew, whose first career pass was intercepted in

the second quarter, started the sloppiness with a fumble following

an 8-yard run.

Abram Elam stripped the ball from Jones-Drew’s hands and

returned it 18 yards for a score and a 14-10 lead. Players on both

sides watched the play unfold, many of them believing Jones-Drew

was down or that his forward progress had been stopped.

Things snowballed from there for Jacksonville.

Garrard threw behind Thomas on the ensuing drive, and T.J. Ward

intercepted the tipped pass. But Cleveland punted.

Under heavy pressure on the following possession, Garrard threw

into double coverage. Haden picked it off and returned it to the

Jacksonville 31. The Browns settled for a field goal.

Garrard fumbled on the next drive, but Cleveland punted again.

Garrard then had another pass bounce off Marcedes Lewis’ shoulder

pads and into Ward’s hands. The Browns responded with a missed

field goal try.

”You get six turnovers and you don’t put points on the board,

that’s going to hurt your team,” Browns running back Peyton Hillis

said.

Jacksonville’s defense got credit for keeping Cleveland in

check.

The unit held Hillis to 48 yards on 21 carries and sacked McCoy

a season-high six times. McCoy played most of the second half with

a sprained left ankle and was wearing a walking boot after the

game.

”I wasn’t going to come out of the game,” said McCoy, who

completed 17 of 28 passes for 241 yards, with a touchdown and the

interception. ”We evaluated it and it hurt, but it wasn’t

something that I was going to pull myself out of the game over. I

felt like I could still do the things I needed to do. It was

bothering me but I needed to be out there.”

Once the Jaguars stopped turning the ball over, they moved the

chains with ease and won another one in dramatic fashion.

”We knew we had to come back and win this game,” Lewis said.

”I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself losing this game,

knowing all the opportunities we had and we kept giving the ball

away. I would have just been sick.”

NOTES: X-rays on McCoy’s ankle were negative. … Watson

sprained his right ankle in the first quarter, but later returned.

… Wright injured his left knee on his first series and did not

return. Mangini said Wright could have been used in an emergency.

… Jones-Drew became the third player in franchise history with at

least 9,000 all-purpose yards. … The Jaguars have won three in a

row and five of seven. … Jeremy Mincey had two of Jacksonville’s

six sacks.