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Big win in Houston


Week 15 of the 2003 NFL season finds the Jaguars playing in New England. Here's what happened in past years' week-15 games. They're ranked in the order of their prominence in Jaguars history.

Jaguars 23, Oilers 17 (12-8-96)

The Jaguars' Cinderella run to the playoffs was on the line in the Astrodome, where the Jaguars had scored the first victory in franchise history the previous season.

A 73-yard touchdown drive on their first possession gave the Jaguars a 7-0 lead, and Mike Hollis' 34-yard field goal late in the second quarter left the Jaguars with a 10-7 advantage at halftime.

Natrone Means' five-yard touchdown run in the third quarter moved that lead to 17-7 before rookie Eddie George cut it to 17-14 with a six-yard touchdown burst early in the fourth quarter.

Hollis then sealed the win with two fourth-quarter field goals, and the Jaguars had evened their record at 7-7. It marked the first time in team history the Jaguars were at .500 later than the second week of the season.

Only 20,196 fans were in attendance, as the Oilers were just two games away from leaving Houston for Tennessee.

Oilers 16, Jaguars 13 (12-13-98)

Jacksonville was prepared to celebrate its first-ever AFC Central Division title, with fireworks set up in Alltel Stadium's adjacent practice fields. First, the Jaguars would have to beat the visiting Oilers, and the Jaguars would have to do so without Mark Brunell, who had suffered a severe high-ankle sprain the previous week against Detroit.

Backup quarterback Jamie Martin, making his first pro start, moved the Jaguars out to a 10-0 lead, but Martin suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter, and rookie quarterback Jonathan Quinn was forced into action. Making matters worse, the Oilers tied the score before halftime.

Quinn turned in an impressive performance, completing 12 of 18 passes for 107 yards, but an apparent touchdown pass was nullified by a holding penalty, and the Oilers won a field goal battle in the second half.

The Jaguars would have to wait a week to claim their division title, which they would do as they waited to play the Vikings in Minnesota. The more important historical fact about the Oilers' win was that it was the first of what would be five consecutive wins against the Jaguars.

Patriots 26, Jaguars 20 (12-7-97)

A huge and enthusiastic crowd was on hand at Alltel Stadium to see the Jaguars clinch a playoff berth and remain tied with the Steelers in the AFC Central title race, and the Jaguars' opponent was a New England team that had beaten the Jaguars in the previous season's AFC title game.

The scene was perfect for a Jaguars win, but even without star running back Curtis Martin, Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe was too much for the Jaguars. Bledsoe completed six passes to tight end Ben Coates, one of which was a five-yard scoring strike that widened the Patriots' lead to 20-7 with three seconds to play in the first half.

New England controlled the action, though it rushed for only 55 yards without Martin. Bledsoe was at his best, completing 26 of 35 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He was the master of the short, possession passing game.

Reggie Barlow returned a late-game kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, the longest return in Jaguars history.

The Jaguars fell to 9-5 and a game behind the Steelers.

Jaguars 24, Browns 14 (12-19-99)

The inaugural-season Browns forced the Jaguars to play four quarters in Cleveland, with the Jaguars clinging to a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. That's when Fred Taylor iced the victory with a 41-yard touchdown run that moved the Jaguars' record to a league-best 13-1.

Taylor rushed for 136 yards and Mark Brunell passed for 267, 134 of which went to wide receiver Jimmy Smith.

The Jaguars had six sacks, establishing a team record with 54 for the season.

Jaguars 29, Bengals 15 (12-15-02)

It would be the final win in Tom Coughlin's eight seasons as head coach of the Jaguars. At Paul Brown Stadium, Coughlin was still battling to avoid a losing season and, somehow, keep his job, when his quarterback led one of the most efficient offensive performances of the season.

Mark Brunell completed 19 of 28 passes for 223 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. It marked the third consecutive game in which Brunell was not intercepted and topped the 100 passer-rating mark. It also marked the third consecutive game in which the Jaguars had not committed a turnover.

Clearly, Coughlin was coaching some of the best football of his life, but in the two previous weeks his team came within a two-point conversion of sending the game into overtime against Pittsburgh, and lost on a final-play-of-the-game "Hail Mary" pass by Cleveland. Beating the Bengals offered some solace.

The Bengals took a 15-14 lead in the third quarter, but Brunell stormed back by pitching a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith. It proved to be the game-winner.

Colts 41, Jaguars 31 (12-10-95)

Indianapolis was on its way to becoming the Cinderella story of the 1995 season, which was the Jaguars' inaugural season.

In this game at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Aaron Bailey opened the game with a 95-yard touchdown return of the opening kickoff, then Bailey scored on a 14-yard pass from Craig Erickson, who was subbing for the injured Jim Harbaugh.

The Colts held a 27-10 lead after three quarters, but the Jaguars, who were becoming known for their fourth-quarter comebacks, stormed back to within 10 points three times in the final quarter. Willie Jackson scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Mark Brunell, then Jimmy Smith on a four-yard pass from Brunell, and, finally, Jackson again on a seven-yard toss from Brunell.

Brunell threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns, and rookie James Stewart turned in his best game with 92 yards rushing on 19 carries, and the Jaguars posted 424 total yards to the Colts' 219, but Bailey's return and a fumbled punt by Cedric Tillman deep in Jaguars territory were the difference. It was the top points and yardage outputs in the Jaguars' first season, which stood at 3-11 after this game.

Harbaugh would be named league MVP and the Colts would lose in Pittsburgh in the AFC title game.

Jaguars 33, Vikings 3 (12-23-01)

The Jaguars kept alive their hope of winning out and avoiding a losing season, as they swamped the Vikings in the Metrodome. It was the Jaguars' third consecutive win, all of them on the road.

Stacey Mack rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns, rookie Elvis Joseph added 86 more rushing yards, Mark Brunell threw for 217 yards and one touchdown, and Jimmy Smith caught eight passes for 122 yards.

Meanwhile, the defense throttled a Vikings team that was playing without its first two quarterbacks. The Jaguars held the Vikings to 28 yards rushing.

Jaguars 44, Cardinals 10 (12-10-00)

The Jaguars put their record at .500 for the first time since the first month of the season, with an easy win over an over-matched Arizona team.

Fred Taylor rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and established a single-season, career-high yards rushing total for himself and the Jaguars franchise.

Keenan McCardell joined Jimmy Smith by moving over the 1,000 yards receiving mark.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars defense held the visiting Cardinals to 189 yards, the fourth-fewest by an opponent in Jaguars history. The Cardinals' 40 yards rushing tied for the third-fewest by a Jags opponent.

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