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Fate favoring the Jaguars


They have an almost mystical quality about them. They appear to be favored by fate, just as the 1996 Jaguars team was.

How else do you explain the chain of events that has fueled the Jaguars' push for the playoffs? They are, clearly, the NFL's Cinderella team.

It is a chain of events that began with Houston running back Chris Brown fumbling the ball into the end zone when it appeared the Texans were going to send the Sept. 27 game between the two teams into overtime. The chain "grew" another link on Sunday when Brown threw the most awful-looking halfback pass in the history of halfback passes. It fluttered softly into the hands of Jaguars safety Gerald Alexander (pictured) at the three-yard line, thus, allowing the Texans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory one more time against the Jaguars.

The only difference between the two plays is that Brown wept in the postgame locker room following the fumble. This time, his coach, Gary Kubiak, no doubt wept for calling such a play on first and goal.

"That's a tough spot to put Chris in so it just ends up being a bad call by me; just a poor call," Kubiak said.

Got it, coach.

It was the play of the game and it allowed the Jaguars to hold on for a 23-18 win that, combined with other events around the league, strengthened the Jaguars' hold on a wild-card playoff spot. Oh, by the way, there was another key play in the game, on the first play of the game, when quarterback Matt Schaub injured his left shoulder while being sacked.

Schaub didn't return to action until 7:06 remained to be played in the first half and the Jaguars had built a 17-0 lead. At that point, the Jaguars were breezing to victory, but Schaub immediately drove the Texans 82 yards for a touchdown.

Oh, that halfback pass. It's the play that's standing between the 5-7 Texans and playoff contention, which will have to wait for another season.

That's not the case for the Jaguars. Though they are clearly in a rebuilding season, a favorable schedule, a favorable chain of events and grittiness the team failed to display at any time last season has the 7-5 Jaguars on track for a wild-card berth.

Again, Jack Del Rio's team rebounded from a lopsided defeat to claim victory. The Jaguars have now done it four times this season.

Just when you think they can't, they find a way to win. They're charmed. They're destiny's darlings.

"We've played well enough to be in the hunt. I'm going to go back to that cliché," Del Rio said. "We're going to take them one game at a time. Let's let it rip and see where it goes."

The next game is against 6-6 Miami, which will be coming off a rousing victory over New England that has the Dolphins back in playoff contention. It'll be an intrastate grudge match to see which extreme of the state fate favors the most, north or south.

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