Sunday, January 6, 2001, 1:00 p.m. EST
Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.
THIS WEEK: The Jacksonville Jaguars will close out their 2001 season when they travel to Chicago to face the playoff-bound Bears at 1:00 p.m. EST Sunday at Soldier Field. The game was originally scheduled to be played on September 16 but was postponed due to the events of September 11 in New York and Washington. It will be the last regular-season game at Soldier Field before that stadium undergoes a major renovation in 2002.
The Jaguars are coming off a 30-26 loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs when they failed to score in two possessions inside the red zone in the final two minutes. For the season, they are 6-9 and guaranteed of having back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in franchise history. Still, they hope to close out the 2001 season on a winning note, and they are 5-1 in season finales and 1-1 in road season-enders, the only loss coming a year ago. The Bears, who are coached by former Jacksonville defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, are 12-3 after shutting out the Detroit Lions 24-0 on Sunday. This week's game carries great significance for the Bears, who can clinch the NFC Central crown with a win or tie, or with a Packers loss or tie. If the Bears win and the Rams lose, Chicago wil be the top-seeded team for the NFC playoffs.
The Jaguars have won their last three road games and two weeks ago became the first team to win three straight on the road in three consecutive weeks since the 1997 Green Bay Packers when they defeated the Bengals, Browns and Vikings. The Jaguars are tied with the NFL's second-best road record dating back to 1996, a 23-18 mark that is half a game behind Tennessee's 24-18 record. They are 3-4 on the road this year. Jacksonville is in fifth place in the AFC Central Division, a game behind Tennessee and Cleveland. All time, the Jaguars are 4-6 vs. NFC Central teams, rebounding from an 0-4 record in 1995 (their inaugural season). They are 1-1 vs. the Bears. The Jaguars are also 18-11 in December/January regular-season games.
Even though the Jaguars allowed the Chiefs to score 30 points last Sunday, for the season they have allowed the second-fewest points in the AFC and fourth fewest in the NFL. Despite allowing 30 points to the Chiefs (the most in a year and a half), Jacksonville has given up only 253 points in 15 games for an average of 16.9 points allowed per game that ranks behind only Chicago (12.7), Philadelphia (13.0) and Pittsburgh (13.7). The Bears will be facing one of the NFL's best run defenses. Jacksonville has given up only 264 rushing yards in the last five games and allows only 3.4 yards per carry this season, tied for second lowest in the league.
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The game will be televised regionally on CBS and locally on WJXT Channel 4, with Dick Enberg calling the play-by-play, Dan Dierdorf adding analysis and Bonnie Bernstein as the field reporter. 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 Bears have won the most games in NFL history and have claimed nine NFL Championships in 82 seasons. They started as the Decatur Staleys in 1920, and won championships in 1921 (their first season in Chicago), 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1963, and Super Bowl XX in 1985. The Bears have had 24 players inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the most of any NFL team. In recent years, they missed the playoffs for the last six seasons, but they did qualify for postseason play eight times in 11 seasons between 1984 and '94. Chicago was 5-11 in 2000 but owns a 12-3 record this season, second best in the NFC.
THE SERIES: This is the third game between the two teams, with both teams winning on the road. In 1995, the Bears won 30-27 in the Jaguars' seventh game ever. In 1998, the two teams met on opening day, with the Jaguars winning 24-23 at Soldier Field.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars won their season opener 24-23 on September 6, 1998, with Jimmy Smith catching a four-yard touchdown pass from Mark Brunell with 29 seconds remaining in the game. The victory marked the Jaguars' first road victory ever over an NFC team. After spotting the Bears a field goal, the Jaguars drove 72 yards in 14 plays, only to turn the ball over on a Mark Brunell interception in the endzone. The Bears could not capitalize and punted. The Jaguars then drove downfield and scored on a three-yard run by James Stewart to take a 7-3 lead. On the following kickoff, Glyn Milburn returned it 88 yards for a touchdown to take a 10-3 lead in the second quarter, even though replays showed Mike Hollis had tripped him up. After another Brunell interception late in the half, the Bears added a field goal to take a 13-7 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Jacksonville took advantage of a fumble forced by Dave Thomas and scored on a seven-yard touchdown by Stewart to take a 14-13 lead. Thomas forced another Bears' fumble and the Jaguars took a 17-13 lead on a 23-yard field goal by Hollis. The Bears came back, driving 72 yards in 11 plays capped by a one-yard run by Edgar Bennett to take a 20-17 lead. With the Bears leading 23-17 after a Jeff Jaeger field goal, the Jaguars took over with 4:08 remaining in the game and drove 87 yards in 12 plays for the game-winning score. Brunell hit his first seven passes in the final drive, going 8 of 9 for 73 yards and running twice for 12 yards. Just eight current Jaguars played in that game (Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, Renaldo Wynn, Donovin Darius, Mike Hollis, Fred Taylor and Seth Payne), in addition to three who are now on injured reserve (Tony Boselli, Kevin Hardy and Aaron Beasley). Four others did not play (Jonathan Quinn, John Wade, Todd Fordham and Tony Brackens).
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE BEARS WOULD: Give the Jaguars a 7-9 record for the second straight season and give them a 6-1 mark in regular-season finales over seven years. It would also give them a 4-4 record on the road this year and a 2-1 record vs. the Bears.
INJURY UPDATE: The only player injured in the Kansas City game was CB Jason Craft (head/neck burner), while three players missed the game with injuries: RB Fred Taylor (groin), CB Fernando Bryant (foot) and LB Joseph Tuipala (foot). The status of all players will be updated on Wednesday.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (62-49 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).
After winning six games in his first season (1999), Dick Jauron last year became the first Bears coach to win at Lambeau Field in each of his first two trips. Jauron spent four seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars. During his time in Jacksonville, the Jaguars made the playoffs three consecutive years (1996-98). In 1998, Jacksonville won its first AFC Central Division title with an 11-5 record, advancing to the second round of the playoffs. Jauron was a key part of the Jaguars' team that advanced to the 1996 AFC Championship Game, beating playoff veterans Buffalo and Denver along the way. Jauron was a running back at Yale (1970-72) and still holds the school career rushing mark with 2,947 yards. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft. Jauron was converted to defensive back and played five seasons for the Lions (1973-77). He was named to the Pro Bowl following the 1974 season. Jauron joined Cincinnati in 1978 and played with the Bengals until he retired in 1980. He finished his career with 25 interceptions, including six as a Bengals' starter in 1979, and he returned two for touchdowns. Following a four-year hiatus, Jauron returned to the NFL as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Bills. He spent one season in Buffalo before joining the Packers' coaching staff. He served as defensive backs coach under three different head coaches (Forrest Gregg, 1986-87; Lindy Infante, 1988-1991; Mike Holmgren, 1992-94). Jauron joined the Jaguars in 1995. He has a record of 23-24.
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).
THE COUGHLIN COACHING TREE: Even though the Jaguars have played only seven seasons, head coach Tom Coughlin has already seen four of his assistant coaches go on to become head coaches of other NFL teams. This Sunday, for the first time he will face Bears head coach Dick Jauron, who was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator from 1995 to '98. Coughlin has never lost a game to one of his protegees, going 4-0 against Cleveland's Chris Palmer in 1999 and 2000. Coughlin never faced Kevin Gilbride (San Diego Chargers in 1997 and '98) and will face Houston's Dom Capers twice a year beginning in 2002.
JACKSONVILLE-CHICAGO CONNECTIONS: Bears head coach Dick Jauron was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator from 1995 to '98, and offensive assistant Pete Carmichael was the Jaguars' WR coach from 1995 to '98 … One former Bear is on the Jaguars roster: PK Jaret Holmes (1999) … Three former Jaguars are on the Bears: FB Daimon Shelton (1997-2000), QB Jim Miller (1997) and OT Jimmy Herndon (1996) … Three Bears have ties to north Florida: WR Dez White (Orange Park and The Bolles School), QB Danny Wuerffel (Fort Walton Beach and University of Florida) and QB Shane Matthews (University of Florida) … Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache served as the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL in the 1984-85 season … Three Jaguars have ties to the state of Illinois: LB Kevin Hardy (University of Illinois), DE Renaldo Wynn (Chicago and Notre Dame) and LB Danny Clark (Country Club Hills and University of Illinois), while Jaguars defensive coordinator Gary Moeller served as head coach at the University of Illinois from 1977 to '79 … Players who were college teammates include: Jaguars RB Fred Taylor and Bears QB Danny Wuerffel at Florida, Jaguars DE Tony Brackens and Bears OT Blake Brockermeyer at Texas, Jaguars OT Maurice Williams and Bears WR David Terrell and RB Anthony Thomas at Michigan, Jaguars DT Gary Walker and Bears TE Fred Baxter at Auburn, Jaguars TE/LS Joe Zelenka and Bears CB Reggie Austin and TE Dustin Lyman at Wake Forest, and Jaguars DE Renaldo Wynn and Bears RB Autry Denson at Notre Dame.
JAGUARS VS. BEARS: Here are the accumulated statistics for players in the Jaguars-Bears series:
Jaguars QB Mark Brunell - 2 games (both wins); 52 completions in 83 attempts (62.7%) for 509 yards, 5 TDs and 3 INTs; 9 rushes for 58 yards
Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith - 2 games; 9 receptions for 90 yards and 1 TD
Jaguars WR Keenan McCardell - 1 game; 7 receptions for 72 yards
Jaguars PK Mike Hollis - 2 games; 3 for 5 on field goal attempts and 6 for 6 on extra points for 15 total points
Bears QB Jim Miller - 1 game with Steelers in 1996; 9 completions in 17 attempts for 83 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Bears TE Fred Baxter - 6 receptions for 99 yards with the Jets in 1995
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars were defeated 30-26 by the Kansas City Chiefs at ALLTEL Stadium, as two drives inside the red zone in the final two minutes of the game failed to produce the winning touchdown. The loss dropped the Jaguars to 6-9 for the season, guaranteeing them their second straight losing season, a first in franchise history. The loss also gave the Jaguars a 3-5 record at home this year, their first losing season at home since 1995, their inaugural year. Stacey Mack had his third straight 100-yard game, rushing for a career-high 125 yards, and Keenan McCardell caught seven passes for 132 yards, as the Jaguars had a season-high 431 yards on offense. However, the defense - playing without five starters - gave up its most points in a year and a half, even though the Jaguars forced four turnovers. On their final two drives, the Jaguars drove 56 yards to the 8-yard line and 46 yards to the 13-yard line. But a fourth-down pass on the first series was two yards short of a first down, and a third-down pass on the second series was incomplete in the end zone as time ran out. The Jaguars failed to capitalize on four takeaways and had three turnovers themselves, leading to 10 points for Kansas City.
NOTES FROM THE CHIEFS GAME: The Jaguars are now 5-2 in regular-season home finales. … The Jaguars allowed 30 points, the most since October 22, 2000, when Washington scored 35. … The Jaguars had more yards (431 yards to 365), but fewer first downs (22 to 23) and less time of possession (27:20 to 32:40). Their 431 yards of total offense was their most since 12/10/00 vs. Arizona (469). … The Jaguars held the Chiefs to 92 rushing yards, as Priest Holmes, the NFL's leading rusher going into the game, gained only 91 yards on 27 carries (3.4 average). The Jaguars have allowed only 264 rushing yards in their last five games and have kept Ahman Green, Corey Dillon and Holmes from rushing for 100 yards. The Jaguars haven't allowed a 100-yard back for 11 games, since Seattle's Shawn Alexander had 176 yards on October 7 for the only 100-yard performance allowed this season. … The Jaguars converted only 3 of 11 third downs (27 percent), while the Chiefs converted only 4 of 11 (36 percent). … The Jaguars had three turnovers and four takeaways (the most since the season opener), putting them at minus-one for the season. … Mark Brunell completed 22 of 37 passes for 283 yards (third most this year), one touchdown and one interception for a 81.2 passer rating. He was sacked four times (and the team has now allowed 59 sacks, its most ever in a season). He threw a 20-yard TD pass to Keenan McCardell, his 11th consecutive game with at least one TD pass, extending his team record (Brunell missed the 11/18/01 game at Pittsburgh with a quadriceps injury). His 44-yard pass to Keenan McCardell was his longest of the season. … RB Stacey Mack led the team with 16 carries for 125 yards and one TD. His 125 yards and 7.0-yard average were career highs, and his 54-yard run was a career long and the fourth longest in team history. He rushed for more than 100 yards in his third consecutive game, now the second-longest streak in team history behind Fred Taylor's nine straight 100-yard games in 2000. Mack now has nine rushing TDs this season, tied for fourth most in a season by a Jaguars running back (with Natrone Means, 1997). His 811 rushing yards this season rank fifth on the team's single-season list. … The Jaguars have 396 yards rushing in their last two games, the second-most ever in a two-game stretch in team history (458 vs. Cleveland and Arizona in 2000). … WR Keenan McCardell led the team with seven catches for 132 yards and one TD. He extended his team-best streak to 48 straight games with at least one reception, now the second-longest streak in team history behind Jimmy Smith's mark of 80 straight games. It marked McCardell's 20th career 100-yard game, his 19th as a Jaguar and second this season. … McCardell surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season for the fourth time. He and Jimmy Smith became only the second tandem in NFL history in which each player has had 1,000 yards receiving in the same season four times, tying the NFL record held by Minnesota's Jake Reed and Cris Carter. McCardell has had 1,000-yard seasons in 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2001, while Smith has 1,000 yards each of the last six seasons. … Smith caught five passes for 51 yards while being double-covered most of the game. He now has 105 receptions this season, becoming only the fifth player in NFL history to catch 105 or more passes in two different seasons. The other players to do so were Sterling Sharpe, Jerry Rice, Cris Carter and Herman Moore. … The Smith-McCardell tandem now has 1,045 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 (7 solo), followed by WLB Edward Thomas with 12 tackles (6 solo). Nickerson became the first Jaguars player to have more than 200 tackles in a season. He has 212 this season, two shy of his career-high of 214 in recorded in 1993 with Tampa Bay. He also had an interception and a fumble recovery in the game, the 12th of his career in each category. … The Jaguars had two sacks, one each by DE Tony Brackens and S Ainsley Battles. Brackens extended his team record with a sack in his eighth consecutive game. He now has 11.0 sacks in 11 games played this season (he missed the first four games with a knee injury). On the sack, he forced a fumble, the 27th of his career, extending another of his team records. For Battles (who recovered that fumble), it was his first career sack. … CB Jason Craft got his second interception of the season and second of his career. … Chris Hanson punted four times for a 42.8-yard average and 44.5-yard net (he had three kicks returned for minus-seven yards). … PK Mike Hollis scored six points on three extra points and one field goal, hitting from 28 yards but missing from 42. He had eight straight field goals before the miss. … Every player who dressed played except DB Renard Cox and backup QB Jonathan Quinn. The inactive players were: CB Fernando Bryant, RB Fred Taylor, LB Donny Green, LB Joseph Tuipala, OT Patrick Venzke, OT Derrick Chambers, DL Larry Smith 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 CHIEFS GAME: "The story in the game comes down to the red area. We were on the fringe of the red area three times in this game and didn't get the ball into the end zone. We missed a field goal and came away without points the last two times."
"We fought our butts off. We had some adversity. We lost Jason Craft. Damen Wheeler went in and played the whole second half and did as good as he could do. Our defense kept fighting and scratching. We really put ourselves in a position where we could win the football game. We're down there looking at the goalline and thinking about using up some clock while we're down there, and we come up short on fourth down, making eight out of nine yards (needed). The opportunities were there. It's a game we could have won. I feel bad for our guys because they play really hard. They just make mistakes. There's too many things that we don't accomplish, like the missed field goal today. Those type of things make the difference in the long run. But there's two good football teams playing, and two teams that are better than their records indicate."
(on why the Jaguars didn't run much in the second half) "We got ourselves down by 10. That was one of the considerations. The other thing was there was a period of time there our mix wasn't very good; we were 3-and-out on a couple of occasions. We didn't want to get away from the run. We did get away from the run to a certain extent. When we got into the no-huddle, we did use the run a little bit, but not the way we did in the first half. In the first half, some of those runs were packages that were checked by the quarterback from one run to another or pass to run, taking advantage of the front the defense presented for us. We didn't get the opportunities in the second half. We came fighting back. We went to the no-huddle because we weren't moving the ball and it seemed to give us an opportunity to gain an advantage, and we scored off that."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: (on the delay of game penalty on the second-to-last series) "It was a crucial play. I needed to call a timeout right there. We had a substitution problem. Once you break the huddle, you have to find the (play) clock. For whatever reason, I didn't do it that time and the clock ran out on me. It was unfortunate. We needed that. You break the huddle, you call the timeout. That is entirely my fault."
(on Keenan McCardell) "Keenan was incredible today. He's a competitor. He wants the ball. He makes big-time plays time and time again. He's (nearly) 32 and he plays like he's 24. He's remarkable. They were trying to take Jimmy (Smith) away. They had a corner and a safety on Jimmy the whole game. We were able to get him the ball maybe five or six times, but Keenan was the guy with the coverage they were giving us. He was the guy who was getting the ball today."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: (on the 3-5 record at home) "I don't think guys are really thinking about that. It's just that with our talent, we ought to be in the playoffs. I wish we were a playoff team, but we're not. We just have to come back, play hard next week and get ready for next year."
(on the Chiefs' defense) "They double-covered me all day and pretty much shut me down. But Keenan (McCardell) stepped up and had a big game."
(on the team's need to keep McCardell) "Keenan's not going anywhere. Why mess with the equation? We've been the strongest group ever since this team has existed. I don't see why it's a big issue. It's not an issue. Why get rid of one of your best players?"
FROM S DONOVIN DARIUS: (on the loss) "It's tough, but you have to find something positive. A positive is that we had a couple of guys go down and we had some guys step up. Priest Holmes didn't have the kind of game he normally has, and we accomplished that by containing the run. But the bottom line is we always want the victory."
FROM TE KYLE BRADY: (on Mark Brunell) "He's done a great job. Coach Coughlin coined the phrase "Warrior," and Mark truly fits the bill. I admire that attitude. He will take off and run. He still has some spring in his step. He's just a competitor. He throws the ball well. He runs it. He sees the field. There's really not much he can't do."
MILLER LITE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: The Jaguars' nominee for the Miller Lite Player of the Week Award is a tie between WR Keenan McCardell and MLB Hardy Nickerson. McCardell had seven receptions for 132 yards, including a 20-yard TD pass from Mark Brunell. He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, thus he and Jimmy Smith became only the second tandem in NFL history in which each player has had 1,000 yards receiving in the same season four times, tying the NFL record held by Minnesota's Jake Reed and Cris Carter (McCardell has had 1,000-yard seasons in 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2001, while Smith has 1,000 yards each of the last six seasons. Nickerson led the team with 16 tackles and also had an interception and a fumble recovery. He now has 212 tackles for the season, becoming the first Jaguars player to have 200 tackles in a season, and he is two shy of his career high of 214 tackles in 1993, when he played for Tampa Bay.
ANATOMY OF NINE LOSSES: The Jaguars have lost nine games this season, with six of those losses coming in the final 5 minutes and 13 seconds of each game. Here's a recap:
OPPONENT SCORE OUTCOME
Cleveland 14-23 Leading 14-13 until allowing 10 points in the final 5:13
Seattle 15-24 Possible game-tying touchdown drive in fourth quarter ended with fumble at Seattle 36-yard line
Buffalo 10-13 Buffalo kicked the winning field goal with 1:03 to play
Baltimore 17-18 Leading 17-6 until Baltimore scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the game-winner with 4:07 left (a disputed call that instant replay ruled was inconclusive)
Tennessee 24-28 Tennessee scored the winning touchdown with 44 seconds left (another disputed call that instant replay ruled was inconclusive)
Pittsburgh 7-20 Allowed final touchdown with 1:56 to play, after a Jaguars fumble on Steelers' 18-yard line ended possible go-ahead drive
Baltimore 21-24 Baltimore scored the winning touchdown with :09 seconds remaining
Green Bay 24-28 Green Bay scored the winning touchdown with 1:30 remaining
Kansas City 26-30 In the final two minutes, the Jaguars failed to score twice from inside the red zone(driving to the 8- and 13-yard lines).
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 practices during the week leading to each game, and an earlier lack of a running game that 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 has usually missed the Wednesday and Thursday practices and has taken 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. On December 9 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. (He was also sacked eight times at Cleveland the next week.) Through 16 weeks, Brunell ranks fourth among AFC quarterbacks with a 86.8 passer rating.
"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 has 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 52-27-0 .658
Steve McNair 29-17-0 .630
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, three games behind the Green Bay Packers. The Jaguars have won 49 of their last 79 regular-season games (they also won their final five games in 1996). Here's a look at the league's best records since 1997:
JAGUARS HAVE FIFTH-BEST HOME RECORD AND SECOND-BEST ROAD RECORD SINCE 1996: The Jaguars went 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium from 1996 to '99 and finished 3-5 this season, giving them a 35-13 record that is the fifth-best mark at home since the start of the 1996 season. On the road, the Jaguars are tied with the second-best record (half a game behind Tennessee) 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 7,734 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 88 touchdowns, the second most in the NFL.
… AND STOP THEIR OPPONENTS: In the last five seasons, the Jaguars have allowed only 63 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 577 career receptions, while McCardell has 570.
... 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 ninth.
SMITH'S LAST SIX SEASONS SURPASSED ONLY BY RICE: From 1996 through 2001, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has caught 555 passes for 7,909 yards (with one game remaining). No other receiver in NFL history - except for future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice - has ever caught more passes for more yards in any six-year period. In two different six-year periods, Rice had more catches and more receiving yards than Smith's totals.
PLAYER YEARS REC YARDS
Jerry Rice 1990-1995 596 8,759
Jerry Rice 1991-1996 604 9,115
Jimmy Smith * 1996-2001 555 7,909
- 1 game remaining
In three different six-year periods, Cris Carter has had more receptions but fewer yards than Smith (1993-1998, 593, 7,534; 1994-1999, 597, 7,111; and 1995-2000, 571, 7,129). No other NFL player has had more receptions in a six-year period than Rice, Smith or Carter. The only player who had more yards receiving but fewer receptions in a six-year period was Michael Irvin (1991-1996, 513, 8,055).
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 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 TIE AN NFL RECORD: Jaguars WRs Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell tied an NFL record on December 30, becoming the second tandem in NFL history to each have 1,000 yards receiving in the same season four different years. This season, Smith already has 1,310 yards, while McCardell has 1,017 yards. The Smith-McCardell tandem tied the NFL record held by Minnesota's Cris Carter and Jake Reed. Here's the list:
Players Team Times Years
Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell Jacksonville 4 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001
Cris Carter and Jake Reed Minnesota 4 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
Cris Carter and Randy Moss Minnesota 3 1998, 1999, 2000
Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey Denver 3 1998, 1999, 2000
Art Monk and Gary Clark Washington 3 1986, 1989, 1991
Mark Clayton and Mark Duper Miami 3 1984, 1986, 1991
TAYLOR HAS SEVENTH-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FOUR YEARS: Despite missing 23 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 sixth-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 18 for 27, giving him a career accuracy mark of 81.02.
HOLLIS IS 12TH-LEADING ACTIVE SCORER: Jaguars PK Mike Hollis has scored 764 career points in his seven seasons in the NFL, which ranks 12th 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 123 TD passes in seven seasons in Jacksonville. Here are the 19 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (37), Keenan McCardell (25), 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 15 games, the Jaguars are 19th in the NFL in total offense (25th rushing, 18th passing), and they are 16th in defense (9th rushing and 23rd passing). They have allowed 253 points, an average of 16.9 per game that is the second lowest in the AFC and fourth lowest in the NFL. … The offense is tied for ninth in the AFC with 272 first downs and 14th in the conference in third-down percentage (66 of 187 35.3 percent). The defense is tied for 10th in allowing 281 first downs and is 11th in the AFC in opponent's third-down conversions (81 of 211, 38.4 percent). … The Jaguars are minus-one on the turnover table, eighth in the AFC. … Jacksonville's 42 sacks is third in the AFC. … The Jacksonville run defense allows 3.4 yards per carry, tied for second best in the NFL. … The Jaguars are eighth in the AFC with a 48.9 percent rate on scoring touchdowns inside the red zone (22 of 45). Defensively, the Jaguars are tied for 10th in the AFC with opponents scoring touchdowns on 50.0 percent of red zone opportunities (21 of 42). … PK Mike Hollis is 14th among AFC kickers in scoring with 83 points. … QB Mark Brunell is fourth in the AFC in passing with a 86.8 rating. … WR Jimmy Smith is third in the NFL with 105 receptions (one behind leaders Rod Smith and Keyshawn Johnson), and his 1,210 receiving yards is second in the AFC and third in the NFL. … WR Keenan McCardell is seventh in the AFC with 84 catches, and his 1,017 yards ranks 10th. … Despite starting just 10 games, Stacey Mack is 10th in the AFC in rushing with 811 yards and tied for sixth in TDs with 10. … Chris Hanson is fifth in the AFC with a 44.2 gross punting average and second in the AFC (and third in the NFL) with a 37.8 net average. … Damon Gibson is ninth in the AFC with a 8.8-yard average on punt returns. … Despite missing the season's first four games, DE Tony Brackens is tied for fifth in the AFC with 11.0 sacks, the second most of his career.
STATS AND SUCH: Mark Brunell is 57-41 as a starter in regular-season games, 61-45 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 92 consecutive regular-season games in which he has played (and all eight in the playoffs). He has 764 points in his seven years with the Jaguars. … Of the Jaguars' 302 completed passes in 2001, 213 have been to wide receivers, 43 to tight ends and 46 to running backs. … WR Jimmy Smith's 105 receptions are already the second most in team history. His team record is 116 catches, set in 1999. … The Jaguars are 3 for 12 on fourth-down conversions this season; their opponents are 4 for 16. … A total of 10 players (seven on offense and three on defense) have started all 15 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 15 games, and the defense has had a different starting lineup in 12 of the 15 games. … The Jaguars have had only 11 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 52 of the 143 total plays of 30 or more yards. … On 45 drives inside the opponent's 20, the Jaguars have scored 22 touchdowns and 10 field goals (and 13 drives with no points). Their opponents have had 42 trips inside the red zone and have come away with 21 touchdowns and 13 field goals (and 8 drives with no points). … Jaguars opponents have begun 34 possessions inside their own 20 and they scored on four of those drives (four field goals). The Jaguars have begun 40 possessions inside their own 20 and have scored on 7 of those drives (6 touchdowns and 1 field goal). … The Jaguars have used turnovers to score 55 points, while their opponents have scored 57 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, 17-11 in December and 1-0 in January. … In 2001, the Jaguars have outscored their opponents in the first quarter (49-40), second quarter (83-79) and third quarter (84-65) and have been outscored in the fourth quarter (65-69).
The average age of the 53-man roster as of December 31 is 25.73 years old. There were 29 players 25 or younger, 19 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. … Nearly three-fourths of the players (39) have four years or less of NFL experience, and five players are in their eighth season or more. … There are 25 players who are new to the team, and 28 who were with the team before the 2001 season. In addition to the 12 rookies, the other 13 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, WR Micah Ross and DB Renard Cox (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 110 of the 111 games in Jaguars history, and PK Mike Hollis is second with 107 games. … The longest streak of consecutive starts is held by WR Keenan McCardell (42), followed by G Brad Meester (31). … Eight players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: MLB Hardy Nickerson (208), WR Sean Dawkins (139), WR Keenan McCardell (131), WR Jimmy Smith (117), DT Gary Walker (108), TE Kyle Brady (107), PK Mike Hollis (107) and QB Mark Brunell (103). … Nickerson leads with 184 career starts, followed by Dawkins (109) and TE Kyle Brady and DT Gary Walker (101 each). … QB Mark Brunell has started 98 games for the Jaguars, followed by WR Keenan McCardell (92), OT Tony Boselli (90), WR Jimmy Smith (89) and LB Kevin Hardy (83).