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
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
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
”I don’t feel like we stole the game,” Jones-Drew said. ”We
The Jaguars (6-4) are starting to make frantic finishes look
routine. It helps that the ball is bouncing their way –
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
That saved Jacksonville from being minus-six in turnover
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
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
Jacksonville’s defense got credit for keeping Cleveland in
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
”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