THIS WEEK: Coming off their most heartwrenching loss in years, the Jacksonville Jaguars will travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals at 1:00 p.m. EST Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Jaguars are trying to break a three-game losing streak, following a last-second 21-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, when Cleveland's Tim Couch threw a 50-yard Hail Mary pass to Quincy Morgan for the winning touchdown on the final play of the game. The play was reviewed on instant replay and officials ruled there wasn't substantial evidence to overturn the call.
The loss was the Jaguars' fourth at home this season in seven games and gave them a 5-8 record overall. They are
2-4 on the road. With the Jaguars now all but eliminated from the playoff race — they still have a chance mathematically — the team has hopes to finish with a .500 record, which will take victories in the last three games. Following the Cincinnati game, the Jaguars will host Tennessee and then travel to Indianapolis for the season finale. The Cincinnati game is the last in a three-game string against former rivals from the AFC Central Division who are now in the AFC North. The Bengals are 1-12 this year after losing to the Carolina Panthers 52-31 last Sunday.
Seven of the Jaguars' eight losses have been by a touchdown or less, with five of them by a field goal or less and the last three by a total of five points. Jacksonville is 5-2 when scoring more than 20 points this season. Defensively, although the Jaguars have given up more than 20 points in four straight games, for the season they have allowed an average of only 19.4 points per game that is the third-lowest mark in the AFC. They average 25.8 points a game in their five wins and only 18.4 points in their six losses.
In the last six seasons, the Jaguars have the eighth-best record in the NFL, a 54-39 mark that is nine games behind the Green Bay Packers. The Jaguars also have the NFL's seventh-best home record, 38-17 dating back to 1996, and they are the NFL's third-best road team with a 25-23 record going back to the 1996 season (tied with Green Bay).
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The Jaguars-Bengals game will be televised regionally on CBS and locally on WTEV Channel 47 (Ch. 6 cable), with Don Criqui calling the play-by-play and Steve Tasker adding analysis. The Jaguars Pregame Show airs at 11:30 a.m. on WTEV, with Brian Sexton, Ryan Elijah and Jordan Siegel.
RADIO BROADCAST: All Jaguars games are broadcast on WOKV (690 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 Cole Pepper serving as field reporter for home games. Sexton and Robinson are in their eighth season together. Robinson, Vic Ketchman and Pepper handle the pre-game show (three hours before kickoff on both stations), and Pepper and ex-Oakland Raider Pete Banaszak do the post-game show. A total of 16 affiliates in three states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game.
ON THE INTERNET: The Jaguars website has unveiled a re-designed look for the 2002 season. 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 game broadcasts.
ON THE AIR THIS WEEK:
Monday — Jaguars Reporters, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio, with Brian Sexton, Vic Ketchman
The Jaguars End Zone, 7:00 p.m., WJXT-TV4, with Sam Kouvaris, Donovin Darius and a guest
Wednesday — Jaguars This Week, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio, with Brian Sexton, Vic Ketchman, Jeff Lageman
Thursday — Tom Coughlin Show, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio, with Tom Coughlin, Brian Sexton
THE Jaguars Show, 8:00 p.m., WJXT-TV4, with Brian Sexton, Jeff Lageman
Saturday — Tom Coughlin Show, 7:30 p.m., WJXT-TV4, with Tom Coughlin, Brian Sexton
EMMY AWARD WINNING: The Jaguars broadcasting department was recognized on December 7 with a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award for its 2001 television special "Behind the Scenes: The Making of an NFL Broadcast." It was the third Emmy Award for the Jaguars.
THE OPPONENT: The Bengals were the second expansion team of the American Football League, starting play in 1968, when they finished 3-11 under Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown. They made the playoffs in their third season, the quickest ever for an expansion team until Jacksonville and Carolina did so in their second seasons in 1996. In 1982, the Bengals finished 12-4 under Forrest Gregg and advanced to Super Bowl XVI, where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers. After six seasons out of the playoffs, the Bengals again went 12-4 in 1988, appearing in Super Bowl XXIII, where, with Sam Wyche as their head coach, they again lost to the 49ers. Their last playoff appearance was in 1990. In 2001, the Bengals finished 6-10 and tied for fifth place with the Jaguars in the old AFC Central Division. They are 1-12 this season, in last place in the AFC North.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars have a 9-5 lead in the series that began in 1995 and have won seven of the last eight games. Cincinnati won both 1995 games, 24-17 in Cincinnati and 17-13 in Jacksonville. In 1996, the Bengals won at home 28-21 and Jacksonville won its home game 30-27. In 1997, the Jaguars won 21-13 at home, then lost on the road 31-26. The Jaguars swept the series in 1998 and 1999 (in '98 at home 24-11, and in Cincinnati 34-17, and in '99 41-10 in Cincinnati and 24-7 at home). In 2000, the Jaguars won the season opener 13-0 at home, then lost 17-14 in Game 15 at Cincinnati. Last year, the Jaguars won the first meeting 30-13 on November 11 at ALLTEL Stadium, and they took the rematch 14-10 four weeks later at Paul Brown Stadium.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars defeated the Bengals 14-10 at Paul Brown Stadium on December 9, coming from behind in the fourth quarter to snap a three-game losing streak and win their first road game in 13 months. QB Mark Brunell threw touchdown passes to Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, and the Jacksonville defense held the Bengals to only 200 yards, the fewest allowed by the Jaguars in one year. The Jaguars jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 17-yard TD pass from Brunell to Smith, who caught nine passes for 119 yards and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth straight season. But the Jaguars were kept from scoring again until the final quarter, as Cincinnati took a 10-7 lead. On the third play of the fourth quarter, Brunell hooked up with McCardell on an 11-yard scoring pass, and then the Jacksonville defense took over, stopping the Bengals on three straight possessions. Cincinnati drove into Jacksonville territory on its final drive but was stopped on fourth down at the 36-yard line. The Jaguars took over with 3:23 remaining and ran out the clock.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE BENGALS WOULD: Break a three-game losing streak and give them a 6-8 record and a chance to finish .500 for the season. It would also be their 10th victory in 15 games against the Bengals, their third road win of the season and give them a 1-3 record against the AFC North.
WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEK: FS Marlon McCree needs one interception to break the team single-season record of six that he shares with Aaron Beasley (1999). … A sack by DT John Henderson would be his seventh, tying the team rookie record set by Tony Brackens in 1996. … WR Jimmy Smith can move into 18th place on the all-time receiving list with 12 receptions (he has 651). With 35 receiving yards, Smith would move into 21st place on the all-time receiving yardage list, passing Anthony Miller and Herman Moore. He also needs 120 receiving yards to post his seventh straight 1,000-yard season, which would tie Lance Alworth for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (67-58 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 seven seasons as the only head coach in franchise history. In his first seven seasons, Coughlin posted a 39-23 division record against the AFC Central, including 22-9 at home and 17-14 on the road. The Jaguars made the playoffs all four seasons from 1996 to '99 — a first for an NFL expansion team. 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 his team to its first AFC Central Division championship with an 11-5 record. The Jaguars 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 second 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 bowl game appearances, as well as a ranking of 13th in the final AP poll of 1993. A veteran of 31 years in 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 Bengals promoted assistant head coach-defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to head coach after the third game of the 2000 season, replacing Bruce Coslet. LeBeau led the Bengals to a 6-10 record in 2001, the most victories by the club since 1997, the year he rejoined the Bengals for his second stint as the club's defensive coordinator. He previously served as the Bengals' defensive coordinator from 1984-1991, and his defense helped Cincinnati advance to Super Bowl XXIII. LeBeau is credited with creating the zone blitz when he served as defensive backs coach (1992-94) and defensive coordinator (1995-96) of the Pittsburgh Steelers. LeBeau also coached special teams (Eagles 1973-75) and defensive backs (Packers 1976-79) before joining Cincinnati in 1980 as defensive backs coach. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1984. Under LeBeau's direction, the Bengals' defense allowed only 14 points per game during the 1988 postseason. He played college football at Ohio State from 1956-58, helping the Buckeyes win the national championship in 1957. After being released by the Cleveland Browns, who selected him in the fifth round of the 1959 draft, LeBeau went on to play 14 seasons (1959-1972) with Detroit. LeBeau earned three Pro Bowl selections, and played in 171 consecutive games. His 62 career interceptions ranked third in NFL history when he retired. He has a coaching record of 11-31.
COUGHLIN IN EIGHTH SEASON WITH JAGUARS: Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin is in his eighth season as the team's head coach, tied for the third-longest tenure of any NFL coach with his current team. In addition, Coughlin has the seventh-best record of all current NFL coaches in division games (minimum of 20 wins) and the ninth-best record in home games (minimum of 20 home games). Records include all teams coached by an individual during the regular season.
JACKSONVILLE-CINCINNATI CONNECTIONS: Two Bengals are former members of the Jaguars: C Brock Gutierrez (two weeks on the practice squad in 1998) and S JoJuan Armour (first two weeks of the 1999 season on the 53-man roster) … Five Bengals have ties to the state of Florida: WR Ron Dugans (Tallahassee, Florida State), WR Chad Johnson (Miami), SS Marquand Manuel (Miami, University of Florida), WR Peter Warrick (Bradenton, Florida State) and DE Reinard Wilson (Lake City, Florida State) … Three Jaguars have ties to the state of Ohio: DE Marco Coleman (Dayton), QB Kent Graham (Ohio State) and TE/LS Joe Zelenka (Cleveland) … Jaguars assistant strength and conditioning coach Greg Finnegan was born in Toledo, RB coach Gerald Ingram was born at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, and LB coach Steve Szabo coached at Ohio State from 1979 to '81 … Players who were college teammates include: Jaguars S James Boyd and Bengals TE Tony Stewart at Penn State; Jaguars LB Bobby Brooks and Bengals FS Cory Hall at Fresno State; Jaguars LB Danny Clark and Bengals PK Neil Rackers at Illinois; Jaguars CB Jason Craft and Bengals OLB Adrian Ross at Colorado State; Jaguars OL Todd Fordham and DT Larry Smith with Bengals WR Ron Dugans, WR Peter Warrick and DE Reinard Wilson at Florida State; Jaguars DT John Henderson and LB Eric Westmoreland with Bengals OT Reggie Coleman at Tennessee; Jaguars WR Patrick Johnson and Bengals QB Akili Smith at Oregon; Jaguars DE Rob Meier and Bengals FS Lamont Thompson at Washington State; Jaguars OT Mike Pearson and Bengals SS Marquand Manuel at Florida; Jaguars WR Bobby Shaw and Bengals P Nick Harris at California; Jaguars LB Akin Ayodele and Bengals PK Travis Dorsch at Purdue; Jaguars PK Danny Boyd and Bengals CB Mark Roman at Louisiana State; and Jaguars DE Javor Mills and Bengals RB Rudi Johnson at Auburn.
JAGUARS VS. BENGALS: Here are the accumulated statistics for players in the Jaguars-Bengals series:
Jaguars QB Mark Brunell – 12 games (8-3 record as a starter); 198 of 333 for 2,379 yards; 20 TDs, 6 INTs (93.9 rating); 38 rushes for 225 yards, 2 TDs
Jaguars RB Fred Taylor – 5 games; 102 carries for 457 yards; 4.5 yards per carry, long of 52 yards; 5 TDs; 5 catches for 38 yards, 3 100-yard games
Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith – 14 games; 88 receptions for 1,116 yards (12.7 avg.), 7 TDs; 5 100-yard games
Bengals QB Jon Kitna – 3 games (one with Seattle); 66 of 111 for 681 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
Bengals RB Corey Dillon – 9 games; 154 carries for 566 yards, 3 TDs
Bengals WR Peter Warrick – 4 games; 15 receptions for 185 yards; 5 punt returns for 93 yards, including 82-yard TD
INJURY UPDATE: Players injured in the Browns game were DT John Henderson (knee), RB Elvis Joseph (hamstring) and LB Eric Westmoreland (hamstring), though none were serious. The only player who missed the game was S Donovin Darius (shoulder). The status of all players will be updated during the week.
LAST WEEK: A 50-yard Hail Mary pass for a touchdown from Tim Couch to Quincy Morgan on the final play of the game handed the Jaguars a 21-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns at ALLTEL Stadium. The play was reviewed by instant replay but not overturned. The Jaguars had taken a 20-14 lead with 50 seconds remaining on the second of two Danny Boyd field goals, a 22-yarder. A squib kick was returned to the Cleveland 47-yard line, and then Couch was sacked on first down, then completed an eight-yard pass before the Hail Mary throw. The game was tied 14-14 late in the fourth quarter before Boyd kicked a 33-yard field goal — the first of his career — with 2:32 remaining in the game. Five plays later, Akin Ayodele intercepted Couch and returned the ball to the Browns' 24-yard line. The Jaguars drove to the 4, but they went for a field goal on fourth down prior to Cleveland's final drive. In the first half, Jacksonville had the only score on a four-yard pass from Mark Brunell to Kyle Brady. The scoring picked up in the third quarter, with Cleveland scoring two touchdowns, sandwiched around the Jaguars' one TD, a 44-yard run by Fred Taylor, who rushed for 145 yards in the game. The Browns gained 417 yards to the Jaguars' 211 (only 54 passing), and they controlled the clock for 34:56. Morgan scored on passes of 60 and 50 yards for the Browns, who were aided by William Green's 119 yards and one TD rushing. His 100-yard game broke a streak of 17 consecutive games in which the Jaguars had not allowed an opposing running back to gain more than 100 yards.
NOTES FROM THE BROWNS GAME: The Jaguars lead the series 7-2 but have dropped the last two in Jacksonville. … The Jaguars are now 0-3 against AFC North teams this year. … The Jaguars had fewer first downs (13 to 21), fewer yards (211 to 417) and less time of possession (25:04 to 34:56). They converted only 2 of 11 third downs (18 percent, lowest of the season), while the Browns were 7 of 15 (47 percent). … Jacksonville's 54 net yards passing was its second lowest total ever and the lowest since the team's inaugural game (45 vs. Houston on 9/3/95). … The Jaguars had no turnovers and two takeaways and are plus-11 for the season (third in the AFC). … Mark Brunell completed 10 of 14 passes (71.4 percent) for 73 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT for a passer rating of 107.1. It was his fewest attempts, completions and yards ever in a complete game. … Fred Taylor rushed 23 times for for 145 yards, his fifth 100-yard game of the season and 23rd of his career. His 44-yard TD run was his longest since week 2. In three career games against the Browns, Taylor has rushed for 462 yards (154 a game) and four TDs. … Kyle Brady led the team with three receptions for 16 yards and one TD. … Jimmy Smith had two receptions for 23 yards and moved into sole possession of 19th place on the NFL's all-time receiving list, passing Hall of Famer Charley Taylor. Smith now has 651 career receptions. … Chris Hanson punted seven times for a 46.6-yard average, with no touchbacks, four inside the 20, and a long of 56. He had three kicks returned for 8 yards and one fair catch for a net average of 45.4. … PK Danny Boyd, playing in his first NFL game, scored eight points on two extra points and field goals of 33 and 22 yards. … Marlon McCree made one interception and tied two team single-season records. He now has six interceptions and six takeaways this season, tying the mark set by Aaron Beasley in 1999. He also moved into a tie for fourth place on the team's career interception list with seven. … Akin Ayodele got the first interception of his career, along with his third sack. … The team made three sacks, one each by Ayodele, Paul Spicer (third of the year in his first start in 2002) and Ike Charlton (second of his career, first with Jaguars). The Jaguars allowed three sacks. … LB Danny Clark led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo), followed by SLB Akin Ayodele with 10 tackles (6 solo). … Every player saw action except G/C Drew Inzer and QB David Garrard. The inactive players were: S Donovin Darius, RB Dan Alexander, LB Bobby Brooks, OT Roger Chanoine, G/OT Leander Jordan, WR Kevin Lockett, DT Clenton Ballard and QB Kent Graham (third QB).
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE BROWNS GAME: (on the final play) "There's only one play he (Tim Couch) can make, and yet we're not back there, we're circling under the ball and we give him a chance. It's going to be the last play of the game. Where's he going to go with the ball? He has to throw the ball into the end zone. For whatever reason we're not back here, we're not in position, we're the ones scrambling around instead of them."
(on if it's the most difficult loss this year) "Without a doubt. How can you prepare for that and not get that done? How do you get into that situation and not make that play? That's the last play of the game. There's no other play after that. What's he going to do — throw a 10-yarder? He has to throw it in the end zone."
(on the instant replay call) "That ball was on the ground. I saw it on the ground. What I saw on the replay was, the point of the ball was on the ground. That's what I thought would be overturned."
(on the final two drives) "I thought we did all the right things with the exception of we'd have run the ball into the end zone at the end instead of having to kick a field goal. There was no question — we had to kick the field goal, for sure. We weren't going to let them come back down and kick a field goal and tie it. If we run the ball into the end zone when we had the opportunity after the (Akin Ayodele) turnover — I thought the turnover sealed the game — and if we run the ball into the end zone, it's academic."
(on the team's performance) "We played well enough to win 20-14. We didn't make mistakes. Offensive plays were made on the ground. Not many plays were made in the pass game. It was a game we should win."
(on where to go from here) "We try to win the next one."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: "It's a tough one. The game is within our grasp and we let it slip away. These things happen and unfortunately they happened to us today. Like I said, this was our win."
(on the passing game) "The passing game wasn't there. They seemed to have the answers for us today. We didn't execute the way we should have. The passing game has to improve if we want to win, and today it wasn't where it needed to be. I think we had some opportunities. The offensive line did a good job and the receivers did a good job. I needed to be sharper today."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: (on the loss) "It's hard. A team like Cleveland and we have the game won … to lose like that at the last second … it's tough for the defense to be put into that kind of situation. What do you do? The only thing we can do is go out and play as hard as we can."
(on his frustration) "We can't worry about all the other things, we just need to play good football. But it is more frustrating than it's been in a long time."
FROM CB FERNANDO BRYANT: (on the defensive alignment on the final play) "That was the defense we had called. It
wasn't the defense. Bottom line…I just didn't make the play. There wasn't anything wrong with the defensive call, there wasn't anything wrong with the offensive situation when we went down and kicked the field goal. The other 10 guys on the field did what they had to do. The bottom line was I didn't make the play. I thought the ball touched the ground. They're not going to call the contact at the end of the game, which is the right thing. You've got to let two players go up and play for the ball. Everyone is in a tough situation on a play like that, but I should have never let it get to that point."
FROM RB FRED TAYLOR: (on if this loss was his most painful) "It's pretty close, but I still think the (1999) AFC championship still tops them all. I think that will always be there until we make it to the Super Bowl. This is a heartbreaker. No way in the world did I think we could have lost that game."
(on why the Jaguars have been losing close games) "I don't know. I wish I did. We play hard to the end, and if you're superstitious, you could say it's bad luck. But we're just not getting it done."
(on last play) "It's a 50-50 chance when you have a play like that. It should have never come to that. My heart dropped to the ground when it happened."
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will play their final home game of the season when they host the Tennessee Titans at 1:00 p.m. EST Sunday, December 22 at ALLTEL Stadium. It will be the 16th game between the two teams (17th including playoffs), with the Titans holding an 8-7 series lead after winning the first contest this year 23-14 on October 13 in Nashville. In that game, Mark Brunell was knocked out with a concussion in the first quarter and rookie QB David Garrard played the rest of the game. This season, the Titans are 8-5 and in first place in the AFC South (tied with Indianapolis).
THE TEAL IS REAL . . . In the last six seasons, the Jaguars' record is the eighth best in the NFL, nine games behind the Green Bay Packers.
JAGUARS HAVE SEVENTH-BEST HOME RECORD AND THIRD-BEST ROAD RECORD SINCE 1996: After the Jaguars went 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium four times from 1996 to '99, they have a 38-17 record that is the seventh-best mark at home since the start of the 1996 season. On the road, the Jaguars have the third-best record (tied with Green Bay) and they are one of only six NFL teams with a better-than-.500 mark on the road dating back to November 24, 1996.
HANSON FIRST IN AFC IN GROSS PUNTING AND FIRST IN NET: Chris Hanson, in only his second full season as the punter for the Jaguars, has established himself as one of the NFL's premier punters. Through 13 games, he leads the AFC in both gross punting and net punting and ranks second in gross and third in net in the NFL.
In addition, Hanson has a chance to break Jaguars team records in both categories. Bryan Barker currently holds those marks with a 45.0 gross average in 1998 and a 38.8 net average in 1997.
Here are the top punters in the AFC this season:
JAGUARS CLOSE TO PACE TO BREAK TEAM'S SACKS-ALLOWED RECORD: Only one season after allowing 63 sacks in 2001, the second-highest total in the league, the Jaguars' retooled offensive line has given up only 32 sacks through 13 games in 2002. The offensive line is on pace to yield the fewest sacks allowed in a season since 1999 and the second-fewest in team history.
SHAW FOURTH IN AFC IN PUNT RETURN AVERAGE: After replacing Damon Gibson as the Jaguars punt returner, Bobby Shaw has placed himself fourth in the conference with a 13.2-yard average on his 20 returns.
TAKE THAT: Through 13 games, the Jaguars are plus-11 in the turnover category, third in the conference and tied for fifth in the NFL. The defense has grabbed 12 interceptions and recovered 10 fumbles so far this season, with an additional fumble recovery and interception on special teams. This is the Jaguars' best mark through 13 games since the 1999 season when the team was plus-15 through 13 games.
ROOKIE SACKER: Through 13 games, the Jaguars' John Henderson leads NFL rookie defensive tackles in sacks, and his six sacks are the fourth most by all rookies.
CONSISTENT SACKERS: The Jaguars have made at least one sack in 37 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in the NFL. Also, since 1999, the Jaguars have made 172 sacks, the fifth-highest total in the NFL.
DYNAMIC DUO: Defensive tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud, in only their first and second years in the league respectively, have the seventh-most sacks by a defensive line tandem in the AFC with 12 sacks through 13 games.
RUSHING ONE-TWO PUNCH: Fred Taylor and Stacey Mack combine for one of the most prolific running back tandems in the NFL. The two backs have combined for 1,495 yards rushing.
TOUCHDOWN TANDEM: The one-two punch of Fred Taylor and Stacey Mack have provided the Jaguars with the third-most touchdowns (rushing and receiving) by a running back duo in the AFC with 15 touchdowns.
JAGUARS HAVE BALANCED OFFENSE: In the last five seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 9,576 yards on the ground, the fifth most in the NFL. They were the only team to have more than 2,000 yards rushing each of the three seasons from 1998 to 2000 (an injury to Fred Taylor held them to 1,600 rushing yards in 2001).
DEADLY COMBINATION: The big three for the Jaguars — QB Mark Brunell, WR Jimmy Smith and RB Fred Taylor — have been an integral part of the team's success. The combination of Taylor and Smith together have accumulated the NFL's eighth most yards from scrimmage from a running back and wide receiver tandem.
JAGUARS SCORE ON THE GROUND … In the last six seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 105 touchdowns, the most in the NFL.
… AND STOP THEIR OPPONENTS: In the last seven seasons, the Jaguars have allowed only 75 rushing TDs, the NFL's fourth-best mark.
THE BRUNELL TO SMITH CONNECTION: Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith have connected on five touchdowns this season, giving the tandem 43 scores in eight seasons, ranking second among active players.
SMITH 19TH AMONG ALL-TIME RECEIVERS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith is 19th on the NFL's all-time receiving list, and he is 24th in career receiving yards. Smith has 651 career receptions for 9,140 yards.
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). Through 13 games this year, Smith has 880 receiving yards and needs 120 yards for his seventh straight 1,000-yard season.
SMITH IS NO. 5 WITH 5.0 RECEPTIONS PER GAME: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith averages 5.0 receptions per game played during his career, the fifth-highest average in NFL history. Interestingly, Smith did not catch a pass in his first 15 NFL games played (seven in Dallas, eight in Jacksonville), otherwise he would average 5.6 catches per game or second all-time.
SMITH HAS MORE RECEPTIONS THAN 17 OF 19 HALL OF FAME RECEIVERS: Even though he is in only his eighth season as a Jaguar, Jimmy Smith already has more receptions and receiving yards than 17 of the 19 receivers who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
TAYLOR HAS SEVENTH-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FIVE YEARS: Despite missing 24 full games and parts of nine others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor has the seventh-most touchdowns over the last five seasons among active players.
BRUNELL'S TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 139 TD passes in eight seasons with the Jaguars. Here are the 20 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (43), Keenan McCardell (26), Damon Jones (11), Willie Jackson (10), Kyle Brady (9), Pete Mitchell (8), James Stewart (5), Fred Taylor (4), Ernest Givins (3), Cedric Tillman (3), Alvis Whitted (3), Andre Rison (2), Elvis Joseph (2), Patrick Johnson (2), Derek Brown (1), Ty Hallock (1), Desmond Howard (1), Natrone Means (1), R. Jay Soward (1), Stacey Mack (1), Bobby Shaw (1) and Kevin Lockett (1).
BRUNELL HAS 10TH-BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the 10th-best career winning percentage of active quarterbacks (minimum 20 wins). Brunell also owns the NFL's third-best record in divisional games (37-21, .638), and in the last eight seasons, he has the most victories of any quarterback other than Green Bay's Brett Favre.
JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: Through 13 games, the Jaguars rank 24th in the NFL in total offense (8th rushing, 27th passing), and they are 22nd in defense (27th rushing and 18th passing). They have allowed 252 points, third fewest in the AFC. … The offense is 14th in the AFC with 222 first downs and 14th in the conference in third-down percentage (62 of 171, 36.3 percent). The defense is 15th in allowing 267 first downs and seventh in the AFC in opponent's third-down conversions (67 of 171, 39.2 percent). … The Jaguars are plus-11 on the turnover table, third in the AFC. … The Jaguars are tied for eighth in the AFC with a 53.5 percent rate on scoring touchdowns inside the red zone (23 of 43). Defensively, the Jaguars are fifth in the AFC with opponents scoring touchdowns on 47.6 percent of red zone opportunities (20 of 42). … QB Mark Brunell is 10th in the AFC in passing with a 84.9 passer rating. He has the lowest interception percentage in the conference. … RB Stacey Mack is 14th in the AFC with eight touchdowns. … RB Fred Taylor is fifth in the AFC with 1,153 rushing yards and is fifth in the AFC with 1,597 yards from scrimmage. … WR Jimmy Smith is tied for 12th in the AFC in receiving with 67 receptions, and his 880 receiving yards is ninth. … Chris Hanson leads the AFC in both gross punting (44.9) and net punting (38.2). … Bobby Shaw is fourth in the AFC with a 13.2 average on punt returns. … Elvis Joseph is 11th in the AFC with a 21.5 average on kickoff returns. … S Marlon McCree's six interceptions is tied for the lead in the AFC. … John Henderson and Marcus Stroud both have six sacks and are tied for 15th in the AFC.
STATS AND SUCH: There are 25 new players on the Jaguars' roster: seven of the nine draft choices (DT John Henderson, OT Mike Pearson, LB Akin Ayodele, QB David Garrard, TE Chris Luzar, DT Clenton Ballard and CB Steve Smith), three unrestricted free agents (WR Patrick Johnson, G Chris Naeole and WR Bobby Shaw), seven veteran free agents (LB Bobby Brooks, OT Roger Chanoine, DE Marco Coleman, QB Kent Graham, G/OT Leander Jordan, TE Pete Mitchell and G Daryl Terrell), two first-year free agents (WR Jimmy Redmond and PK Danny Boyd), one undrafted free agent (DE Javor Mills), two trade acquisitions (CB Ike Charlton and LB Wali Rainer) and three waiver pickups (RB Dan Alexander, C/G Drew Inzer and WR Kevin Lockett). Jacksonville opened the season with 10 new starters: C John Wade, RG Chris Naeole, WR Patrick Johnson, LDE Marco Coleman, DTs Larry Smith and Marcus Stroud, SLB Danny Clark, MLB Wali Rainer, WLB Eric Westmoreland and RCB Jason Craft (Zach Wiegert also moved from RG to LT). There were no rookies in the starting lineup on Opening Day for the first time since 1997, although Ayodele has started three games at strongside linebacker, DT John Henderson started the last 10 games, and OT Mike Pearson started the last eight games. … A total of 12 players have started every game this season (seven on offense and five on defense): WR Jimmy Smith, Gs Brad Meester and Chris Naeole, C John Wade, TE Kyle Brady, QB Mark Brunell, RB Fred Taylor, DE Marco Coleman, DT Marcus Stroud, CBs Fernando Bryant and Jason Craft and S Marlon McCree.
Mark Brunell is 62-50 in 112 regular-season starts, 66-54 overall. He has won more games under head coach Tom Coughlin than any current NFL quarterback under his head coach. … In 13 games, the offense has used seven different starting lineup combinations and the defense has used seven different starting combinations. … The Jaguars have had 16 plays of 30 or more yards so far this season. They had only 11 plays of 30-plus yards in 2001, 26 in 2000, 23 in 1999, 29 in 1998, 22 in 1997, 26 in 1996 and 12 in 1995. The Jaguars have allowed 13 30-plus plays this season… Of the Jaguars' 218 completed passes, 117 have been to wide receivers, 52 to tight ends and 49 to running backs. … The Jaguars are 14 for 19 on fourth-down conversions this season; their opponents are 9 for 16. … On 43 drives inside the opponent's 20, the Jaguars have scored 23 touchdowns and 14 field goals (and six drives with no points). Their opponents have had 42 trips inside the red zone and have come away with 20 touchdowns and 12 field goals (and 10 drives with no points). … Jaguars opponents have begun 30 possessions inside their own 20 and they scored on 6 of those drives (5 TDs and 1 FG). The Jaguars have begun 28 possessions inside their own 20 and scored on 5 of those drives (3 TDs, 2 FGs). … The Jaguars have used turnovers to score 95 points, while their opponents have scored 34 points off Jaguars' turnovers. … In eight seasons, the Jaguars are 16 for 25 on two-point conversions (2 for 4 in 2002), while their opponents are 7 for 23 (2 for 2 in 2002). … In eight seasons, the Jaguars have a winning record in every month except October (they are .500 in January). They are 1-0 in August, 16-13 in September, 13-19 in October, 19-12 in November, 17-13 in December and 1-1 in January. … In 2002, the Jaguars have outscored their opponents in the second quarter (85-74) and fourth quarter (96-77), have been outscored in the first quarter (31-37) and are tied in the third quarter (64-64).
The average age of the 53-man roster as of December 8 is 26.03 years old. … There are 28 players 25 or younger, 19 players between 26 and 29 years old, and six players 30 or older. The youngest player is OT Mike Pearson (22 years, 4 months); the oldest player is QB Kent Graham (34 years, 1 month). … More than two-thirds of the players (38) have four years or less of NFL experience, and six players are in their eighth season or more. … The Jaguars have eight players who were first-round selections in the college draft, including five of their own picks: DE Marco Coleman (1992, Dolphins), TE Kyle Brady (1995, N.Y. Jets), G Chris Naeole (1997, Saints), RB Fred Taylor (1998, Jaguars), S Donovin Darius (1998, Jaguars), CB Fernando Bryant (1999, Jaguars), DT Marcus Stroud (2001, Jaguars) and DT John Henderson (2002, Jaguars). … WR Jimmy Smith has played in 124 of the 125 games in Jaguars history. Of this year's players, next are QB Mark Brunell (115) and DE Tony Brackens (92, on injured reserve). … The longest streak of consecutive starts is held by G Brad Meester (45), followed by TE Kyle Brady (43) and WR Jimmy Smith (36). … Five players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: DE Marco Coleman (168), WR Jimmy Smith (131), TE Kyle Brady (121), QB Mark Brunell (117) and TE Pete Mitchell (111). … Coleman leads with 166 career starts, followed by Brady (115), Brunell (112) and Smith (103).