Week 13 of the 2002 NFL season finds the Jaguars hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here's what happened in past years' week-13 games. They're ranked in the order of their prominence in Jaguars history.
Jaguars 28, Ravens 25 OT (11-24-96)
No one could've known at the time that the Jaguars' furious fourth-quarter rally in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium would be the beginning of one of the NFL's all-time Cinderella stories. At the time, it was just an exciting win, but this game will forever be remembered as the birth of the most successful expansion franchise in NFL history.
The Jaguars were 4-7 when they went to Baltimore. Seven straight wins later, they would find themselves in the AFC title game in just their second season. Who could've known after three quarters, with the Ravens holding a 25-10 lead?
That's when quarterback Mark Brunell took over. He capped a 74-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Pete Mitchell. Then, after linebacker Eddie Robinson recovered a Vinny Testaverde fumble at the Ravens 19-yard line, Brunell found Willie Jackson for a seven-yard touchdown pass, and Brunell's two-point run tied the game at 25-25.
In overtime, the Ravens moved to the Jaguars 38-yard line, but running back Earnest Byner fumbled and defensive tackle Kelvin Pritchett recovered. It took nine plays for the Jaguars to produce a game-winning, 34-yard, Mike Hollis field goal.
Brunell threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns, and though one of his two interceptions was returned for a touchdown, he was clearly the star of the game. Even better things were ahead for Brunell.
Jaguars 16, Titans 13 (11-26-00)
At Alltel Stadium, the Jaguars gained a small measure of revenge against the Titans, who had dealt the Jaguars their only three losses of the 1999 season and had kept the Jaguars out of the Super Bowl with an AFC title-game win in Jacksonville.
Mike Hollis kicked the game-winner with no time left on the clock in the Jaguars' first win against the Tennessee franchise since September of 1998. Titans kicker Al Del Greco had missed a 28-yard field goal attempt with 3:08 to play and the score tied.
Fred Taylor rushed for 104 yards, the sixth consecutive game he had reached the 100-yard mark, and Mark Brunell threw for 237 yards and a touchdown. Brunell's 10-yard touchdown pass to Taylor was the 100th touchdown pass of Brunell's career.
At 5-7, the Jaguars were beginning to entertain thoughts of "running the table" and making the playoffs. At 9-3, Tennessee was competing with Oakland for the top playoff spot in the AFC.
Bengals 31, Jaguars 26 (11-23-97)
The Jaguars' division-title hopes were dealt a severe blow in Cincinnati, when Boomer Esiason replaced Jeff Blake as the Bengals' starting quarterback and rallied the 3-8 Bengals to a win that would be costly to the Jaguars in the tie-breakers. The Jaguars technically remained in an AFC Central Division tie with Pittsburgh, who lost to Philadelphia.
Esiason moved the Bengals out to a 28-7 lead in the second quarter, before the Jaguars began chipping away at the deficit. Mike Hollis' fourth field goal brought the Jaguars to within a touchdown of victory, but running back Natrone Means fumbled with 3:04 to play as the Jaguars were driving for a potential game-winning score.
Means rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown, Brunell threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, and Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell each exceeded 100 yards in receiving, but the Bengals were opportunistic. They converted a Willie Jackson kickoff fumble into a nine-yard touchdown pass from Esiason to tight end Tony McGee, and would later score following an 85-yard kickoff return.
The Bengals held the ball nearly 12 minutes longer than the Jaguars, whose record slipped to 8-4 on this chilly day at Cinergy Field.
Jaguars 20, Steelers 6 (12-2-99)
The Jaguars and Steelers continued their prime-time tradition in this Thursday nighter at Alltel Stadium, however, it is not one of the enduring classics in Jaguars-Steelers history.
Pittsburgh, at the lowest point in their recent history, managed only 235 yards, including a mere 63 rushing yards, as the Jaguars dominated action more than the final score would indicate.
The Jaguars totaled 466 yards, including 145 yards rushing by James Stewart and 308 yards passing by Brunell.
With the score tied 6-6 in the third quarter, the Jaguars marched 86 yards in eight plays, Brunell throwing a 27-yard touchdown pass to Smith. The Jaguars would follow that with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that clinched victory.
At 11-1, the Jaguars were cruising toward the division title and homefield advantage for the playoffs. The game also marked the first-ever sweep in the Jaguars-Steelers series.
Jaguars 34, Bengals 17 (11-29-98)
The Jaguars increased their division lead to two games over the Steelers, with a win in Cincinnati that began with a 17-0 lead, but saw the Bengals cut their deficit to 20-17 before the Jaguars pulled away during a short span of the third and fourth quarters.
Brunell's third of four touchdown passes was the most critical. His three-yard toss to McCardell with 5:05 to play in the third quarter halted the Bengals' rally.
It was the first-ever victory by the Jaguars in Cincinnati.
Jaguars 14, Bengals 10 (12-9-01)
The Jaguars ended a three-game losing streak with a win in Cincinnati that was their first since having beaten the Bengals in Jacksonville.
Trailing 10-7 after three quarters, the Jaguars capped a short drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Mark Brunell to Keenan McCardell. It was Brunell's second touchdown pass of the day, but the defense was the star of the game for the Jaguars.
Playing with a makeshift lineup, the Jaguars held the Bengals to 200 totals yards; just 60 yards rushing.
The win ended a six-game road losing streak, which began in Cincinnati in December of the 2000 season.
Jimmy Smith surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the sixth consecutive season, becoming only the fifth player in NFL history to accomplish that feat.
On the down side, Brunell was sacked a team-record eight times.
The win left the Jaguars at 4-8.
Bengals 17, Jaguars 13 (11-26-95)
Star receiver Carl Pickens didn't catch a pass until the final minute of the game, but his five-yarder with 17 seconds to play was the game-winner at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
Actually, the big play of the game was a 34-yard pass-interference penalty against safety Travis Davis, as the Bengals struggled to cross midfield.
Blake to Pickens was the year's hottest pass-catch combination, but the Jaguars intercepted Blake three times.
Hollis broke a 10-10 tie with a 39-yard field goal with 3:19 to play in the game. Blake had opened the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but Smith tied the game with a 31-yard touchdown reception from Steve Beuerlein.
The Jaguars were a very competitive 3-9 in their inaugural season.