Week two of the 2003 NFL season finds the Jaguars hosting the Buffalo Bills. Here's what happened in past year's week-two games. They're ranked in the order of their prominence in Jaguars history.
Ravens 39, Jaguars 36 (9-10-00)
This game would be the beginning of the end for the Jaguars' hopes in 2000. Their second-half collapse was a harbinger of trouble, and the Ravens' 32-point, second-half outburst canceled one of the finest performances in NFL history.
Jimmy Smith caught 15 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns, but it wasn't enough. The Mark Brunell to Smith combination staked the Jaguars to a 23-7 lead at halftime, but the Ravens roared back to within 26-22 by the end of the third quarter, and took their first lead, 29-26, with 10 minutes to play in the game.
After an exchange of field goals, Brunell found Smith for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 1:45 to play, and it appeared as though the Jaguars would maintain their mastery of a Ravens team that had never beaten the Jaguars. However, Tony Banks had other ideas.
Banks took the Ravens 75 yards in seven plays, hitting tight end Shannon Sharpe with a 29-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with 41 seconds to play.
The win kick-started the Ravens' run to the Super Bowl title. The loss sent the Jaguars into a downward spiral that would see them lose five of their next six games.
Jaguars 13, Titans 6 (9-23-01)
It was the best of times and it was the worst of times for the Jaguars, who pushed their record to 2-0 in defeating archrival Tennessee, but lost star running back Fred Taylor to a groin injury in the second quarter. Of course, it was an injury that would end Taylor's season in week two.
Stacey Mack replaced Taylor and went 22 yards for a touchdown that staked the Jaguars to a 10-6 lead at halftime. The second half was a matter of hanging onto that lead, but there was plenty of drama.
The Jaguars defense stopped the Titans three times on fourth down in the final six minutes of the game. It marked the second consecutive game the Jaguars had kept their opponent out of the end zone.
Tennessee was playing without quarterback Steve McNair, and the Titans' record sagged to a surprising 0-2 following an offseason of Super Bowl predictions.
Jaguars 40, Giants 13 (9-7-97)
Steve Matthews knew only a handful of plays and formations, but he knew enough to lead the Jaguars to what was then the highest points production in their history, in a 40-13 win over the New York Giants.
Matthews, who had been signed a week earlier after he was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs, threw for 252 yards in leading the Jaguars to the win. It left the Jaguars at 2-0 and in first place in the AFC Central Division, with a bye week separating the Jags and a Monday Night Football showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Starting quarterback Mark Brunell had been out of action with a knee injury that was immediately feared to be season-ending. Brunell injured the knee in the second preseason game, and had been replaced by Rob Johnson, who led the Jags to a season-opening win in Baltimore. However, Johnson suffered a high-ankle sprain, forcing the Jags to cast their lot with Matthews, who had never previously played in a regular-season game.
Most impressively, Matthews led the Jags on an 82-yard touchdown drive when the Jags held a slim, 10-7 lead in the second quarter.
"To be 2-0 right now is an outstanding way to go into the bye week. Steve Matthews did an outstanding job. The running game came around. We played hard. We played our way through some troubled times at the beginning," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We asked for physical play and we got it."
Jaguars 22, Panthers 20 (9-19-99)
The Jaguars capped one of the zaniest weeks in their history with a 22-20 win at expansion rival Carolina.
It was a week that saw the Jags and their families, which in some cases included pets, hole up in Alltel Stadium as Hurricane Floyd bore down on the Jacksonville coast line. Floyd didn't make landfall in the Jacksonville area, but the early days of the week were filled with tension.
Several Jags players and their families evacuated Jacksonville, and by the time coach Tom Coughlin had gathered his team back in Jacksonville, much of the preparation time for the Panthers game had been lost.
However, the Jags turned in a dominant performance that included 27 first downs, 414 total net yards and more than 16 minutes of time of possession advantage. Jaguars red-zone failures kept the Panthers in the game and, with 31 seconds to play, linebacker Lonnie Marts had to knock away a Steve Beuerlein pass for tight end Wesley Walls, to keep the game from going into overtime.
Jaguars 23, Chiefs 16 (9-15-02)
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Colts, the Jaguars rebounded with a rousing victory at Arrowhead Stadium. And it was the "Big Three" of Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith and Fred Taylor who sparked the win.
Brunell and Smith hooked up for a 37-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-five play near the end of the first half with the Chiefs holding a 6-0 lead. The PAT kick failed, however.
Tied 9-9 with six minutes to play in the game, Brunell found wide receiver Patrick Johnson for a 79-yard touchdown pass that is the longest pass in Jaguars history. Three minutes later, Taylor raced 63 yards for a score that was the 34th in Taylor's career; a team record eclipsing James Stewart's 33.
Brunell threw for 320 yards, Smith caught five passes for 83 yards and Taylor rushed for 114 yards. The Jaguars' 450 yards of offense ranked high in the franchise record book.
Jaguars 21, Chiefs 13 (9-13-98)
A new-found running game led the Jaguars to victory for the second consecutive week, this time in a 21-16 verdict over the Kansas City Chiefs in the season's Jacksonville home-opener.
James Stewart broke the 100-yard mark for the second consecutive week, and the Jags' rushing attack was never more impressive than in the final minutes of the game, when it churned out two first downs to kill the final 3:39 of the contest.
Oilers 34, Jaguars 27 (9-8-96)
Then, they were the Houston Oilers, and they were every bit the Jags' nemesis at Alltel Stadium as they are now as the Tennessee Titans.
Following a rousing, season-opening win over the Steelers, the Jags fell at home to the Oilers, 34-27. It was a game that marked rookie running back Eddie George's debut in what would become one of the NFL's hot rivalries. George rushed for 143 yards in leading the Oilers to the win, but not before a furious Jags rally. A Marcus Robertson interception ended that rally, after the Jags had recovered an onside kick.
Bengals 24, Jaguars 17 (9-10-95)
Running back Randy Jordan scored the Jaguars' first-ever touchdown on a short pass from quarterback Steve Beuerlein that Jordan turned into a 71-yard play and the Jaguars' first-ever lead in a game, 7-3. However, the Bengals pass combination of quarterback Jeff Blake to Carl Pickens was too much for the Jags to overcome.
Mark Brunell replaced Beuerlein in the second quarter, after Beuerlein suffered a sprained knee. Brunell rallied the Jags late in the game, which would become a trademark of the Jags' inaugural season.