Sunday, December 23, 2001, 1:00 p.m. EST
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn.
THIS WEEK: The Jacksonville Jaguars seek their third victory in a row and their first-ever sweep of three-straight road games when they travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings at 1:00 p.m. EST Sunday at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Jaguars have won two straight road games in Cincinnati and Cleveland and are 5-8 this season, trying to win out and reach .500 for the season.
The Jaguars defeated the Cleveland Browns 15-10 last Sunday in a controversial ending that saw both teams run to their lockerrooms amid an onslaught of bottles after an instant replay reversal stopped a Cleveland drive at the 12-yard line with 48 seconds remaining. Before the Jaguars' last two wins, they had lost eight of their previous nine games, with six of the losses coming in the final 5:13 of each game. Now, for two straight weeks, the Jaguars' defense has stopped an opponent in Jacksonville territory in the final minutes as it tried to drive for the winning score.
The game against the Vikings is the Jaguars' third in a three-game road trip. This marks the fifth time in seven years that the Jaguars have played three straight road games (including postseason), and the Jaguars are 8-6 in those games. However, it is the first time they have won the first two of three straight road games in the regular season. In 1997 and '98 they lost the first two games then won the third game, while in 1996 (all three in the postseason) and '98 (final two regular-season games and the Wild-Card game), they won their first two games and then lost the third game. The Jaguars are 3-5 in domed stadiums.
With the victory over the Browns, the Jaguars moved out of last place in the division for the first time since October 14, and they are only one game behind Cleveland and Tennessee for third place. They won back-to-back games for the first time since the first two games of the season. The Jaguars have allowed the second-fewest points in the AFC (and fifth fewest in the NFL), only 220 in 13 games for an average of 16.9 points allowed per game that ranks behind only Pittsburgh (12.7).
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The game will be televised regionally on CBS and locally on WJXT Channel 4, with Gus Johnson calling the play-by-play and Brent Jones adding analysis. The Jaguars Pregame Show, with hosts Brian Sexton and Sam Kouvaris, airs at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on WJXT Channel 4.
RADIO BROADCAST: All of the Jaguars' games are broadcast on WOKV (690 AM), WBWL (600 AM) and WKQL (96.9 FM) and the Jaguars Radio Network. Brian Sexton calls the play-by-play and former NFL quarterback Matt Robinson adds analysis, with Sam Kouvaris serving as field reporter. Sexton and Robinson are in their seventh season together. Robinson, Vic Ketchman and Cole Pepper handle the pre-game show (three hours before kickoff on all three stations), and Pepper and ex-Oakland Raider Pete Banaszak do the post-game show. A total of 19 affiliates in three states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game.
ON THE INTERNET: For breaking news, columns, feature stories, press releases, historical information, video highlights, rosters, depth charts and statistics, go to www.jaguars.com Updated daily, the Jaguars' Official Web Site has been ranked among the 100 Best Sites in the World by PC Magazine. The site also features online ticket buying, new merchandise offerings and multimedia, including video of Jaguars television shows and live radio broadcasts of games.
THE OPPONENT: The Minnesota Vikings joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1961 and had their first winning season in 1964 and first division title in 1968. A year later, Minnesota beat Cleveland for its first and only NFL championship, before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. The Vikings also appeared in Super Bowls VIII, IX and XI, all losses. Between 1968 and 1982, the Vikings won 11 division titles and appeared in the playoffs 12 times under legendary coach Bud Grant. The Vikings missed the playoffs from 1983 to '86, but have qualified for the postseason in 11 of the last 14 seasons and eight of nine years under current head coach Dennis Green. The Vikings are 5-8 this season and in fourth place in the NFC Central Division.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Vikings have played only one time, with the Vikings winning 50-10 in 1998 in Minnesota.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars claimed their first-ever division title prior to kickoff, but lost 50-10 to the Vikings on December 20, 1998 at the Metrodome in a Sunday night game. The Jaguars won the toss and received the ball, but after two quick first downs were forced to punt. The defense held the Vikings to a field goal as they took a 3-0 lead. After the teams traded punts for much of the remainder of the first half, the Vikings got on the board with their second field goal to take a 6-0 lead. On the following drive, Jonathan Quinn - who was making his first start in place of an injured Mark Brunell - was intercepted, which later resulted in a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed and the lead was 12-0. The Jaguars drove late in the second quarter but had to settle for a Mike Hollis field goal to cut the lead to 12-3 at the half. The Vikings began the second half by scoring a touchdown on the second play. The Jaguars' offense was forced to punt three straight series in the third quarter, a Quinn fumble resulted in a Vikings field goal, which was followed on the next play by an interception returned for a TD. On the next play, Fred Taylor fumbled, and the Vikings scored a TD to take a 50-3 lead. The Jaguars drove late in the game and scored a touchdown on a one-yard pass from Quinn to Pete Mitchell, which cut the lead to 50-10. The 50 points allowed by the Jaguars were the most in team history, and the 40-point loss was the second worst in team history.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE VIKINGS WOULD: Be their third straight victory and give them their first-ever sweep of a three-game road trip and their first three-game winning streak since last December. For the season, it would give them a 6-8 record and a chance at a .500 mark for the year, as well as their first win over the Vikings.
INJURY UPDATE: Three players were injured in the Cleveland game: RB Elvis Joseph (shoulder), LB Joseph Tuipala (foot) and TE Kyle Brady (ankle). Five players missed the game with injuries: RB Fred Taylor (groin), CB Aaron Beasley (shoulder), CB Fernando Bryant (foot), LB Danny Clark (ankle/foot) and S Marlon McCree (ankle, although he dressed). The status of all players will be updated on Wednesday.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (61-48 in regular season, 4-4 in postseason) has led the Jaguars to two AFC Central Division championships and two appearances in the AFC Championship game in six seasons as the only head coach in franchise history. The Jaguars made the playoffs all four seasons from 1996 to '99 - a first for an NFL expansion team and one of only two teams in the NFL to do so (along with Minnesota). In 1999, the Jaguars had the best record in the NFL (14-2), advancing to the conference championship game before losing to Tennessee. In 1998, Coughlin guided them to their first AFC Central Division championship with an 11-5 record. They defeated the New England Patriots in a Wild-Card game before losing to the New York Jets in the Divisional playoffs. In 1997, the Jaguars were 11-5 and finished second in the AFC Central, and they were defeated by Denver in the Wild-Card playoffs. In their second season in 1996, the Jaguars advanced all the way to the AFC Championship game, finishing the regular season in second place in the division with a 9-7 record. In the playoffs, the Jaguars upset the Bills and Broncos on the road before losing at New England. In 1995, the Jaguars finished with four victories in their inaugural season. Coughlin became head coach of the Jaguars on February 21, 1994 following three successful seasons as head coach at Boston College. He compiled a record of 21-13-1 from 1991 to '93 at Boston College, and had two appearances in bowl games and a ranking of 13th in the final AP poll of 1993. A veteran of 30 years of coaching, he was previously an NFL assistant coach with the New York Giants (wide receivers, 1988-90), Green Bay Packers (wide receivers and passing game coordinator 1986-87) and Philadelphia Eagles (wide receivers, 1984-85).
The Vikings reached the playoffs in eight of Dennis Green's first nine seasons and won four NFC Central titles, including last year, when he led Minnesota to the NFC Championship game. The Vikings had their most successful season under Green in 1998, finishing 15-1, scoring a league-record 556 points, and winning the NFC Central Division title for the first time since 1994. Minnesota also won the division title in 1992, Green's first year as head coach, and in 2000. Green is one of only seven coaches to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons. He was coach at Stanford (1989-1991) and at Northwestern (1981-85), where he was named 1982 Big Ten Conference coach of the year. He was special teams and receivers coach for the San Francisco 49ers (1979, 1986-88). Green was a running back at Iowa (1968-1970) and spent one year in the Canadian Football League. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Iowa (1972), then was an assistant at Dayton (1973), before returning to Iowa (1974-76). He was running backs coach and offensive coordinator at Stanford (1977-78, 1980). He has a record of 97-60 in the regular season and 4-8 in the postseason.
COUGHLIN IN SEVENTH SEASON WITH JAGUARS: Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin is in his seventh season as the team's head coach, tied for the fourth-longest tenure of any NFL coach with his current team. In addition, Coughlin has the fifth-best record of all current NFL coaches in division games (minimum of 20 wins) and the ninth-best record in home games (minimum of 16 home games).
JACKSONVILLE-MINNESOTA CONNECTIONS: There are no former Vikings on the Jaguars and no ex-Jaguars on the Vikings … No Jaguars players have ties to the state of Minnesota … Two Vikings have ties to north Florida: DL/DT Fred Robbins (Pensacola) and DB/CB Eric Kelly (Panama City). Also, Vikings WR Randy Moss redshirted as a freshman at Florida State in 1995). … The following players were teammates in college: Jaguars S James Boyd and Vikings LB Jim Nelson at Penn State; Jaguars P Chris Hanson and C/G John Wade and Vikings WR Randy Moss, RB Doug Chapman and LB Andre O'Neal at Marshall; Jaguars DE Rob Meier and Vikings OL/C Cory Withrow at Washington State; Jaguars MLB Joseph Tuipala and Vikings WR Nate Jacquet at San Diego State; Jaguars RB Stacey Mack and Vikings DL Lance Johnstone at Temple; Jaguars DT Gary Walker and Vikings RB/FB Harold Morrow at Auburn; Jaguars C/G Jeff Smith and Vikings CB/DB Dale Carter at Tennessee; Jaguars CB Damen Wheeler and Vikings TE/LS Brody Heffner-Liddiard at Colorado; Jaguars TE/LS Joe Zelenka and Vikings DL Fred Robbins at Wake Forest.
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars defeated the Cleveland Browns 15-10, winning their second straight road game and improving to 5-8 for the season. The game was completed after both teams had gone to the lockerrooms following the throwing of bottles onto the field by Cleveland fans who objected to an instant replay reversal that stopped a Browns drive on the Jaguars' 12-yard line with 48 seconds remaining. The ruling reversed a completed pass that would have given the Browns a first down on the nine-yard line. Stacey Mack led the Jacksonville attack with a career-high 115 yards rushing, as the Jaguars got their strongest ground game of the season, with 128 yards. However, the Jaguars allowed a team-record eight sacks for the second straight game, as Mark Brunell was under constant pressure. Brunell connected with Jimmy Smith on a four-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, as the Jaguars scored a TD on their first possession in more than two years. Mike Hollis missed the extra point but later connected on three field goals for the rest of Jacksonville's points. Although Jacksonville played without starting cornerbacks Aaron Beasley and Fernando Bryant and had backups at three other positions, the Browns gained only 220 yards (second fewest allowed all year) and held the ball for just 22:47 (lowest for a Jaguars opponent). Cleveland scored its only touchdown on a 97-yard interception return of a Brunell pass by Anthony Henry, who intercepted Brunell twice. The Jaguars' offense accounted for 330 yards but lost 48 yards on sacks and the team was penalized for 85 yards.
NOTES FROM THE BROWNS GAME: The victory gave the Jaguars a 5-5 record vs. the division this year, as they played their final game against an AFC Central Division opponent. The Jaguars have never had a losing record in the division in seven years. They finished 39-23 in seven years, including 17-14 in road games. Next season, the Jaguars will move to the AFC South. … The game marked the first time all season that the Jaguars did not trail at any point of the game. … The Jaguars improved to 7-1 vs. the Browns. … The Browns' eight offensive possessions tied the record by Jaguars' opponents, marking the fourth time an opponent had just eight possessions. … The Jaguars had more yards (282 yards to 220), more first downs (19 to 11) and more time of possession - 37:13 (most since 12/17/00 vs. Arizona) to 22:47. The game marked only the third time all season (and second time in a row) the Jaguars led their opponent in all three categories. The Jaguars held the Browns to 47 yards rushing, and have now allowed only 144 in their last three games. … The Jaguars converted 8 of 18 third downs (44 percent), while the Browns converted only 3 of 11 (27 percent). … The Jaguars had three turnovers and two takeaways, putting them at minus-four for the season. … The Jaguars scored a TD on their first possession, a four-yard pass from Mark Brunell to Jimmy Smith, for the first time since the 1999 AFC Championship game vs. Tennessee and, in the regular season, the first time since November 21, 1999 vs. New Orleans. … The Jaguars' nine points in the first quarter was their most this season. … Mark Brunell completed 20 of 35 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked eight times, tying the team record that was set one week earlier at Cincinnati. The 97-yard interception return by the Browns Anthony Henry was the longest ever against the Jaguars, breaking the old mark of 92 yards by St. Louis' Anthony Parker on 10/20/96. … RB Stacey Mack led the team with 28 carries for 115 yards, both career highs, as were his 139 combined yards. He became only the fourth player in Jaguars history to rush for 100 yards in a game, joining James Stewart (6 times), Natrone Means (1 time) and Fred Taylor (18 times). It marked the Jaguars' first 100-yard rushing game since Taylor did it on 12/17/00 at Cincinnati. The previous season high was Taylor's 96 yards on opening day. Mack's previous career highs were 18 carries on Sept. 23 vs. Tennessee and 93 yards on Sept. 30 in the first Cleveland game. … WR Keenan McCardell led the team with seven catches for 61 yards and extended his team-best streak to 46 straight games with at least one reception, now the second-longest streak in team history behind Jimmy Smith's mark of 80 straight games. … WR Jimmy Smith caught five passes for 52 yards and a TD, his seventh of the season, one behind his single-season team record. He now has 8,024 receiving yards in his career, reaching the 8,000-yard mark in his 115th NFL game, tying for the eighth-fastest player in NFL history to do so. The fastest to reach 8,000 yards were: Lance Alworth (83 games), Jerry Rice (94), Isaac Bruce (103), Michael Irvin (107), Gary Clark (108), James Lofton (110), Sterling Sharpe (111) and Herman Moore (115). Interestingly, Smith did not catch a pass in his first 15 NFL games, when he played solely on special teams. He became the 49th player to reach 8,000 career yards. … The Smith-McCardell tandem now has 1,021 receptions since 1996, more than any other duo in NFL history over a six-year span. … MLB Hardy Nickerson led the team with 16 tackles (5 solo), followed by S Donovin Darius with 6 tackles (4 solo). … The Jaguars had three sacks. One was made by DE Tony Brackens, who extended his team record with a sack in six consecutive games and got his eighth sack in nine games played this season (he missed the first four games with a knee injury). The other sacks were made by Renaldo Wynn (his fifth of the season, extending his career high) and LB Eric Westmoreland (first of his career). Westmoreland also recovered a fumble on a punt return (that was forced by Joe Wesley). … Jason Craft got the first interception of his career on the Browns' first possession. … Chris Hanson punted three times for a 44.3-yard average, two touchbacks, none inside the 20 and a long of 46. He had one kick returned for minus-2 yards. … PK Mike Hollis scored nine points on three field goals, hitting from 43, 46 and 37 yards. It was only his second game all season with three field goals. He missed his only extra point attempt, ending a streak of 220 consecutive extra points. It was his first miss since Oct. 22, 1995, also at Cleveland. … Every player who dressed played except S Marlon McCree and backup QB Jonathan Quinn. The inactive players were: CB Aaron Beasley, CB Fernando Bryant, RB Fred Taylor, LB Donny Green, LB Danny Clark, OT Patrick Venzke, OT Derrick Chambers and QB Roderick Robinson (third QB). … Jaguars captains were: WR Keenan McCardell, WR Jimmy Smith, DT Seth Payne and MLB Hardy Nickerson.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE BROWNS GAME: (on the backups who played key roles) "We played great defense. They gave us the ball two times, but we didn't get enough points off the turnovers, obviously. It was an all-out effort by everybody. I'm really proud of Damen Wheeler, Jason Craft and Kiwaukee Thomas. Those guys went out and battled. James Boyd battled like heck. Jeff Posey came in and played well in the end. Our front played well. Gary Walker had some penetration plays. Seth Payne has been very steady for us. We got a lot of play out of Renaldo Wynn. We got an awful lot of plays from an awful lot of people. They stepped up, which is what they have to do at this time of year. You're talking about December in the NFL. People get hurt, and people have to come up with plays. I was happy for those guys. Our defense really did a superb job. And we got the rushing game going. We had 115 yards rushing from Stacey Mack, and that was huge. We didn't have our best day with the pass. But we won the football game, and that's the bottom line. Every game is a dog fight. Every game in the NFL is like this."
(on the game) "It was the same type of game we've had all year long in the division - a great, tough, hard-nosed, hard-fought football game. We had penalties. We shot ourselves in the foot. Mike Hollis misses an extra point, but then he makes three field goals, and we win the game. We had time of possession. We did not win the battle of turnovers. But we kept fighting back. They never got down. They never gave up."
(on Stacey Mack) "We kept handing it to him. It's tough yardage for him. He's pounding in there every play. We lost Elvis Joseph early, and Stacey basically had to carry the whole load, including third downs, and he did it. Stacey, because he's been able to play, because he's been able to recognize game situations and circumstances, instinctively he's learned how to keep himself going north and south."
(on the bottle-throwing by Cleveland fans) "That was bad. That's not football. Not like I know it. They weren't throwing water bottles, they were throwing full beer bottles. If if hit one of the kids on the field, it would be serious, very serious. I have never seen anything like that. That's really not what the NFL is all about."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: (on the game) "Unbelievable. Absolutely incredible. I've never seen anything like that. I'll probably never see anything like that ever again. You won't forget that one. That's the game you'll always remember. I don't really have the words for it. It was just something you never in a million years expect to happen. The crowd was upset with the decision the referee made. That's an understatement, obviously. I thought it would be a temporary thing, and that they would get the beer bottles off the field and we'd play. But that was not the case."
(on coming back out) "I was on the way to the shower. All the guys had to get dressed again, but apparently the commissioner called and said that we had to finish the game. So we do what the boss said. Thankfully nobody got hurt. I was concerned. All of us were concerned. Especially being down there, I think the ball was on the 12-yard line. When we huddled, those bottles were coming our way. Some got close to the huddle, and we were concerned, no question."
(on Stacey Mack) "Stacey Mack had a great day, and was the key for us on offense. We had a lot of good drives. We had a lot of plays today. Unfortunately, we didn't put enough points on the board when we got down there. I was glad to get the running game going. We've been wanting that for some time now. I was excited for Stacey. He's a tough guy. He's a young player who's just getting better and better, and if given the opportunity, he can really run the ball, and he did that for us today."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: (on the win in December) "It means a lot. It means we have a lot of fight in us. We have the never-say-die attitude. We never give up, and it showed out there today. Guys went out and played hard. We have a lot of guys that are banged up. I'm proud of all my teammates. I'm happy to play with these guys. These guys laid it all on the line today."
FROM RB STACEY MACK: (on the offensive line) "I got a lot stronger and stronger, and the offensive line did a great job of holding their blocks. The receivers did a great job at letting me get the cutbacks. The fullback, Patrick Washington, was filling the lane, also. Everybody was key in the running game. Everybody just worked together as a team. To run the ball, everybody has to click as a team. I was just making the right cuts."
MILLER LITE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The Jaguars' nominee for the Miller Lite Player of the Week Award is RB Stacey Mack, who rushed for a career-high 115 yards on 28 carries, leading the Jaguars to their strongest running game of the season. In getting his first career 100-yard game, he became the fourth player in Jaguars history to rush for 100 yards, joining James Stewart, Natrone Means and Fred Taylor.
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will play their final home game of the 2001 season when they host the Kansas City Chiefs at 1:00 p.m. EST Sunday, December 30 at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars are 3-4 at home this year, and a victory will keep the Jaguars from having a losing home record for the first time ever. The two teams have played two times, with the Jaguars winning both games, 24-10 in 1997 and 21-16 in 1998. Both games were played in Jacksonville. This season, the Chiefs are 4-8 this season after defeating the Denver Broncos 26-23 in overtime last Sunday.
THE MARK OF A WARRIOR: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell is having one of his finest seasons despite a quadriceps injury that forces him to miss most practices during the week leading to each game, and the lack of a running game that has turned the Jaguars into a passing team.
Brunell suffered a strained quadriceps in his right leg on October 28 at Baltimore (ironically on a 38-yard run that was the longest of his career). Since then, he usually misses the Wednesday and Thursday practices and takes part sparingly on Fridays and Saturdays. He missed the November 18 game at Pittsburgh when team doctors determined two hours before kickoff that he could not play. Two weeks ago at Cincinnati, Brunell was sacked eight times and suffered lacerations on the index finger on his left (throwing) hand when he hit the facemask of a Bengals player. He missed only one play, then returned and directed the game-winning score on his next drive. Through 14 weeks, Brunell ranks fourth among AFC quarterbacks with a 85.6 passer rating. He was also sacked eight times last Sunday at Cleveland.
"He's a warrior, that guy," said Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. "He's playing with every ounce of energy he has. Our guy is something else. He's been very, very special this year. He's played extremely well. We've asked him to do a lot of things without a running game, and he's done a superb job whatever he's been asked to do."
BRUNELL VS. AFC CENTRAL: Mark Brunell has finished his seven seasons in the AFC Central Division with a winning record as a starter against every team:
vs. Baltimore 7-4
vs. Cincinnati 8-3
vs. Cleveland 7-1
vs. Pittsburgh 7-5
vs. Houston/Tennessee 6-5
BRUNELL HAS 10TH-BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the 10th-best career winning percentage of active quarterbacks (minimum 20 wins). Also, in the last seven seasons, Brunell has the most victories of any quarterback other than Green Bay's Brett Favre.
BRUNELL ON CENTRAL TIME: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the NFL's best division record as a starter among active quarterbacks. In the seven years the Jaguars have been members of the AFC Central, Brunell compiled a 35-18 (.660) record as a starter against the division. Following are the top four active quarterbacks in career division win percentage (minimum 25 starts):
Quarterback Record Pct.
Mark Brunell 35-18-0 .660
Brett Favre 51-27-0 .654
Steve McNair 29-16-0 .644
Randall Cunningham 44-25-1 .636
CENTURY MARK: The Jaguars played in their 100th regular-season game on October 7 and had an overall record of 58-42. That gave them the second-most wins of any modern-era team in its first 100 games and the fourth-best winning percentage.
THE TEAL IS REAL . . . In the last five seasons, the Jaguars' record is tied for the fourth best in the NFL, two games behind the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. The Jaguars have won 48 of their last 77 regular-season games (they also won their final five games in 1996).
JAGUARS HAVE FOURTH-BEST HOME RECORD AND SECOND-BEST ROAD RECORD SINCE 1996: The Jaguars went 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium from 1996 to '99 and are 3-4 this season, giving them a 35-12 record that is tied with the fourth-best mark at home since the start of the 1996 season. On the road, the Jaguars are tied with the second-best record and they are one of only five NFL teams with a better-than-.500 mark on the road dating back to November 24, 1996.
JAGUARS HAVE BALANCED OFFENSE ... Although the Jaguars are often referred to as a passing team, in reality they have a balanced attack that features the run. In the last four seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 7,338 yards on the ground, the sixth most in the NFL, and they are the only team to have more than 2,000 yards rushing each of the three seasons from 1998 to 2000.
And, over the past six seasons, the Jaguars have the sixth-most passing yards in the NFL.
JAGUARS SCORE ON THE GROUND … In the last five seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 84 touchdowns, tied for the second most in the NFL.
… AND STOP THEIR OPPONENTS: In the last five seasons, the Jaguars have allowed only 62 rushing TDs, the NFL's fifth-best mark.
SMITH IS NFL'S LEADING RECEIVER SINCE 1996 ... Since the start of the 1996 season, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has the most receptions in the NFL, and teammate Keenan McCardell is fifth. They are the only wide receiver tandem in NFL history to amass more than 1,000 receptions over a six-year span. The two receivers are close friends, with McCardell nicknamed "Thunder" and Smith called "Lightning." Smith was the NFL leader in 1999 with 116 receptions - the sixth most in a season in NFL history - and he easily broke the team record of 85 set in 1996 and '97 by McCardell. Smith has a total of 564 career receptions, while McCardell has 559.
... AND SMITH LEADS ALL RECEIVERS IN YARDAGE: Over the last six seasons, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has amassed more receiving yardage than any receiver in the NFL, and teammate Keenan McCardell is 10th.
SMITH HAS MORE RECEPTIONS THAN 11 OF 17 HALL OF FAME RECEIVERS: Even though he is in only his seventh season as a Jaguar, Jimmy Smith already has more receptions and receiving yards than 11 of the 17 receivers who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
SMITH'S FIVE BEST SEASONS SURPASSED ONLY BY RICE: From 1996 through 2000, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith caught 450 passes for 6,599 yards. No other receiver in NFL history - except for future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice - has caught more passes for more yards in any five-year period.
In three different five-year periods, Rice had more catches and more receiving yards than Smith's totals. In addition to Rice, only three other players ever caught more passes in a five-year period than Smith, but they always had fewer yards receiving. Similarly, one other player ever had more receiving yards but fewer receptions than Smith.
The three players who had more receptions but fewer yards in a five-year period were: Cris Carter (three times: 1993-1997, 515, 6,379; 1994-1998, 507, 5,870; and 1995-1999, 475, 5,858), Herman Moore (1994-1998, 487, 6,431), and Tim Brown (1995-1999, 454, 6,210). The only player who had more yards receiving but fewer receptions in a five-year period was Michael Irvin (1991-1995, 449, 7,093).
SMITH HAS SIX STRAIGHT 1,000-YARD SEASONS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark receiving six straight seasons, a feat accomplished by only four other players in NFL history. Currently, he ranks fifth all time behind Jerry Rice (11 straight 1,000-yard seasons), Tim Brown (9 straight), Cris Carter (8 straight) and Lance Alworth (7 straight). Here's the list:
PLAYER YEARS TEAM 1,000
Jerry Rice 1986-96 San Francisco 11
Tim Brown 1993-01 Oakland 9
Cris Carter 1993-00 Minnesota 8
Lance Alworth 1963-69 San Diego 7
Jimmy Smith 1996-01 Jacksonville 6
Michael Irvin 1991-95 Dallas 5
Rod Smith 1997-01 Denver 5
SMITH AND McCARDELL SET NFL RECORD: Jaguars WRs Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell hold the NFL record with nine games in which both players have had 100 yards receiving in the same game.
THE ORIGINAL THUNDER AND LIGHTNING: Jaguars WRs Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell are only the sixth tandem in NFL history to each have 1,000 yards receiving in the same season three different years. This season, Smith already has 1,137 yards, while McCardell is closing in on the 1,000-yard mark with 850 yards through 13 games. If McCardell gains 150 yards in the final three games, the Smith-McCardell tandem would tie the NFL record held by Minnesota's Cris Carter and Jake Reed.
TAYLOR HAS SEVENTH-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FOUR YEARS: Despite missing 21 full games and parts of nine others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor has the seventh-most touchdowns over the last four seasons.
HOLLIS IS NFL'S SIXTH-MOST ACCURATE FIELD GOAL KICKER EVER: Jaguars PK Mike Hollis is the six-most-accurate field goal kicker in NFL history in the regular season (he is the second-most accurate in the postseason). In 2001, Hollis is 13 for 21, giving him a career accuracy mark of 80.95.
HOLLIS IS 11TH-LEADING ACTIVE SCORER: Jaguars PK Mike Hollis has scored 743 career points in his seven seasons in the NFL, which ranks 11th among active players.
HOLLIS IS MOST ACCURATE 50-YARD KICKER: Jaguars PK Mike Hollis has connected on 10 of his 14 field goals over 50 yards in his seven-year career, and his .714 percentage is the best among the NFL's active placekickers.
BRUNELL'S TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 121 TD passes in seven seasons in Jacksonville. Here are the 18 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (37), Keenan McCardell (23), Damon Jones (11), Willie Jackson (10), Pete Mitchell (7), Kyle Brady (5), James Stewart (5), Fred Taylor (4), Ernest Givins (3), Cedric Tillman (3), Alvis Whitted (3), Andre Rison (2), Elvis Joseph (2), Derek Brown (1), Ty Hallock (1), Desmond Howard (1), Natrone Means (1), R. Jay Soward (1) and RB Stacey Mack (1).
JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: After 13 games, the Jaguars are 25th in the NFL in total offense (28th rushing, 16th passing), and they are 21st in defense (12th rushing and 22nd passing). They have allowed 220 points, an average of 16.9 per game that is the second lowest in the AFC and fifth lowest in the NFL. … The offense is 11th in the AFC with 227 first downs and 15th in the conference in third-down percentage (54 of 162 33.3 percent). The defense is 13th in allowing 231 first downs and is 11th in the AFC in opponent's third-down conversions (73 of 186, 39.2 percent). … The Jaguars are minus-four on the turnover table, 10th in the AFC. … Jacksonville's 36 sacks is tied for sixth in the AFC. … The Jacksonville run defense allows 3.4 yards per carry, fifth best in the NFL. … The Jaguars are seventh in the AFC with a 50.0 percent rate on scoring touchdowns inside the red zone (17 of 34). Defensively, the Jaguars are ninth in the AFC with opponents scoring touchdowns on 50.0 percent of red zone opportunities (18 of 36). … PK Mike Hollis is 14th among AFC kickers in scoring with 62 points. … QB Mark Brunell is fourth in the AFC in passing with a 85.6 rating. … WR Jimmy Smith is second in the AFC and third in the NFL with 92 receptions, and his 1,137 receiving yards is third in the AFC and seventh in the NFL. … WR Keenan McCardell is tied for sixth in the AFC with 73 catches, and his 850 yards ranks 12th. … Despite starting just eight games, Stacey Mack is 15th in the AFC in rushing with 575 yards. … Chris Hanson is fifth in the AFC with a 44.1 gross punting average and tied for third in the AFC with a 37.3 net average. … Damon Gibson is eighth in the AFC with a 9.2-yard average on punt returns. … Despite missing the season's first four games, DE Tony Brackens is tied for eighth in the AFC with 8.0 sacks, the second most of his career.
STATS AND SUCH: Mark Brunell is 56-40 as a starter in regular-season games, 60-44 overall. He has won more games under head coach Tom Coughlin than any current NFL quarterback under his head coach. … PK Mike Hollis has scored in 90 consecutive regular-season games in which he has played (and all eight in the playoffs). He has 743 points in his seven years with the Jaguars. … Of the Jaguars' 263 completed passes in 2001, 186 have been to wide receivers, 35 to tight ends and 42 to running backs. … WR Jimmy Smith's 92 receptions are already the third best in team history, with three games remaining. … The Jaguars are 3 for 11 on fourth-down conversions this season; their opponents are 3 for 14. … A total of 10 players (seven on offense and three on defense) have started all 12 games this year: WRs Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, TE Kyle Brady, OT Maurice Williams, Gs Brad Meester and Zach Wiegert, C Jeff Smith, DE Renaldo Wynn, and DTs Seth Payne and Gary Walker. … The offense has used 11 different starting lineup combinations in 13 games, and the defense has had a different starting lineup in 12 of the 13 games. … The Jaguars have had only 7 plays of 30 or more yards this season. They had 26 plays of 30-plus yards in 2000, 23 in 1999, 29 in 1998, 22 in 1997, 26 in 1996 and 12 in 1995. WR Jimmy Smith is the leader, with 51 of the 143 total plays of 30 or more yards. … On 34 drives inside the opponent's 20, the Jaguars have scored 17 touchdowns and 6 field goals (and 11 drives with no points). Their opponents have had 36 trips inside the red zone and have come away with 18 touchdowns and 11 field goals (and 7 drives with no points). … Jaguars opponents have begun 31 possessions inside their own 20 and they scored on three of those drives (three field goals). The Jaguars have begun 35 possessions inside their own 20 and have scored on five of those drives (four touchdowns and a field goal). … The Jaguars have used turnovers to score 45 points, while their opponents have scored 47 points off Jaguars' turnovers. … In seven seasons, the Jaguars are 14 for 21 on two-point conversions (1 for 2 in 2001), while their opponents are 5 for 21 (0 for 2 in 2001). … In seven seasons, the Jaguars have a winning record in every month except October. They are 1-0 in August, 14-12 in September, 12-16 in October, 17-10 in November, 16-10 in December and 1-0 in January. … In 2001, the Jaguars have outscored their opponents in only the third quarter (77-55) and have been outscored in the first (32-33), second (65-68) and fourth quarters (46-66).
The average age of the 53-man roster as of December 17 is 25.81 years old. There were 28 players 25 or younger, 20 players between 26 and 29 years old, and five players 30 or older. The youngest player is OT Maurice Williams (22 years, 11 months); the oldest player is MLB Hardy Nickerson (36 years, 3 months). … There are 12 rookies on the 53-man roster, including five of the 10 draft choices (DT Marcus Stroud, OT Maurice Williams, LB Eric Westmoreland, S James Boyd and S Marlon McCree), as well as undrafted rookies FB Patrick Washington, TE Ryan Prince, RB Elvis Joseph, OT Patrick Venzke, OT Derrick Chambers, RB Reggie White and LB Donny Green (one other draft pick is on the practice squad). … More than two-thirds of the players (38) have four years or less of NFL experience, and five players are in their eighth season or more. … There are 24 players who are new to the team, and 29 who were with the team before the 2001 season. In addition to the 12 rookies, the other 12 new players are: WR Sean Dawkins, WR Damon Gibson, P Chris Hanson, TE/LS Joe Zelenka, LB Joe Wesley, CB Damen Wheeler and PK Jaret Holmes (veteran free agents); MLB Joseph Tuipala and WR Micah Ross (first-year free agents) and S Ainsley Battles, LB Jeff Posey and QB Roderick Robinson (waivers). … The Jaguars have 10 players who were first-round selections in the college draft, including seven of their own picks: WR Sean Dawkins (1993, Indianapolis), OT Tony Boselli (1995, Jaguars), TE Kyle Brady (1995, N.Y. Jets), LB Kevin Hardy (1996, Jaguars), DT Renaldo Wynn (1997, Jaguars), RB Fred Taylor (1998, Jaguars), S Donovin Darius (1998, Jaguars), CB Fernando Bryant (1999, Jaguars), WR R. Jay Soward (2000, Jaguars) and DT Marcus Stroud (2001, Jaguars).
WR Jimmy Smith has played in 108 of the 109 games in Jaguars history, and PK Mike Hollis is second with 105 games. … The longest streak of consecutive starts is held by WR Keenan McCardell (40), followed by G Brad Meester (29). … Eight players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: MLB Hardy Nickerson (206), WR Sean Dawkins (137), WR Keenan McCardell (129), WR Jimmy Smith (115), DT Gary Walker (106), TE Kyle Brady (105), PK Mike Hollis (105) and QB Mark Brunell (101). … Nickerson leads with 182 career starts, followed by Dawkins (109). … QB Mark Brunell has started 96 games for the Jaguars, followed by OT Tony Boselli (90), WR Keenan McCardell (90), WR Jimmy Smith (87) and LB Kevin Hardy (83).