Sunday, November 18, 2001, 4:15 p.m. EST
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
THIS WEEK: For the Jacksonville Jaguars, one streak has ended and another one still needs to end. The Jaguars snapped a five-game losing streak last Sunday, and now they travel to Pittsburgh hoping to win their first road game in exactly one year. Jacksonville has lost five straight games away from home since they defeated the Steelers on November 19, 2000 in Pittsburgh at Three Rivers Stadium.
It will be the second game of the season between the two teams. The Jaguars won this year's season opener 21-3 on September 9 in Jacksonville. Since that time, the Jaguars went 2-5, including a five-game losing streak that was snapped last Sunday, when they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 30-13 in Jacksonville. The Steelers have gone 5-1 since they last played the Jaguars, losing only to Baltimore on November 4. Kickoff for Sunday's game is 4:15 at new Heinz Field.
The Jaguars are now 3-5 and striving to get back to .500 and stay in the playoff hunt. The Steelers are alone in first place in the AFC central Division, one game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens. The game is the Jaguars' fourth of five straight against AFC Central rivals. The Jaguars are in last place in the division, tied with the Tennessee Titans.
The Jaguars' defense has allowed the fifth-fewest points per game in the NFL, an average of 16.0 per game. And, even though Jacksonville has scored only 18.0 points a game, the team has scored 54 points in its last two games, with back-to-back games of 24 and 30 marking their highest scores of the year.
Even with their five straight losses on the road, the Jaguars have the fourth-best road record dating back to 1996 with a 20-17 mark.
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The Jaguars-Bengals game will be televised regionally on CBS and locally on WJXT Channel 4, with Ian Eagle calling the play-by-play and Solomon Wilcots adding analysis. The Jaguars Pregame Show, with hosts Brian Sexton and Sam Kouvaris, airs live 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 fifth-oldest franchise in the NFL, the Steelers have been members of the NFL since 1933, when they were founded by Art Rooney as the Pittsburgh Pirates. They made their first playoff appearance in 1947, losing to the Chicago Cardinals, and their second in 1962, then didn't make the playoffs again until 1972 after coach Chuck Noll had arrived. Behind Noll and eight other Hall of Famers, the Steelers developed into one of the NFL's true dynasties. They won four Super Bowls (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979), then made the postseason only once in seven years from 1985 to '91. They have advanced to the playoffs five times in the last seven years under Bill Cowher, playing in the AFC championship game in 1994 and '97 and the Super Bowl in 1995. The Steelers have won the AFC Central Division in five of Cowher's nine seasons as head coach, but not since 1997. They finished 9-7 in 2000, in third place in the division. This season they are 6-2 and alone in first place in the AFC Central.
THE SERIES: This is the 14th game between the Jaguars and the Steelers, with the Jaguars holding an 8-5 lead in the series. The home team won the first eight games in the series, until Jacksonville swept the series in 1999. The Jaguars won the first meeting in 1995 20-16 and then lost at Pittsburgh 24-7. In 1996, the Jaguars won the season opener between the two teams 24-9 and then lost at Three Rivers Stadium 28-3. In 1997, Jacksonville won 30-21 on "Monday Night Football" and then lost 23-17 in overtime in the rematch at Pittsburgh. In 1998, the Steelers won 30-15 in Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville won 21-3 at home in the season finale. In 1999, the Jaguars won 17-3 at Pittsburgh and 20-6 at ALLTEL Stadium. Last season, Pittsburgh won the first game 24-13 on October 1, their first victory ever in Jacksonville. The Jaguars won the 2000 rematch 34-24 in Pittsburgh on November 19. In this year's season opener, the Jaguars won 21-3 on September 9.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars won their season opener for the sixth straight year 21-3 over the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 9 at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars scored all 21 of their points in the second quarter, and then a strong defense took over, holding a Pittsburgh team without a touchdown for the fourth time in the last six games between the two teams. Mark Brunell threw three touchdown passes - two to Jimmy Smith and one to Damon Jones - and Fred Taylor rushed for 96 yards in the win. Smith and Keenan McCardell both started the game, each of them after making fast recoveries from abdominal surgeries. McCardell caught a pass on the first play of the game, and Smith had eight receptions for 126 yards. Kevin Hardy led the defense with 12 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defensed. Brunell marked his 10th consecutive game with at least one touchdown pass. Following a Steelers field goal on the second play of the second quarter, the Jaguars drove 74 yards in six plays, culminating in the first Brunell-Smith score, a 34-yard pass in the corner of the end zone after Smith broke off his route on a Brunell scramble. On Pittsburgh's next possession, Donovin Darius partially blocked Josh Miller's punt and the Jaguars took over at midfield. Eight plays later, Brunell threw 15 yards to Smith for a 14-3 lead. Hardy Nickerson then forced a fumble that was recovered by rookie Marlon McCree, and the Jaguars took over at the Pittsburgh 23-yard line. Brunell hooked up with Damon Jones for 22 yards, then on the next play found Jones over the middle in the end zone for a one-yard score and the team's third TD of the period. The Jaguars went to ball control in the second half, when a steady downpour forced them to play conservative and not turn the ball over.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE STEELERS WOULD: Be their second straight victory and give them a 4-5 record and first road win in a year. It would also give them a 9-5 record in the series against the Steelers.
INJURY UPDATE: Three players were injured in the Cincinnati game: DT Gary Walker (elbow), TE Damon Jones (shoulder) and FB Patrick Washington (nose). Two players missed the game with injuries: RB Fred Taylor (groin) and S Ainsley Battles (knee). The status of all players will be updated on Wednesday.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (59-45 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).
In his first six years (1992-97) as head coach in Pittsburgh, Bill Cowher guided the Steelers to six consecutive playoff appearances. It is a feat matched only by Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown. He enters the 2001 season nine victories shy of 100 career wins. The 1997 Steelers finished 11-5, winning their fourth consecutive AFC Central Division championship. In 1995, Cowher led Pittsburgh to the AFC Championship and Super Bowl XXX, losing to Dallas 27-17. In 1994, the team overcame a 3-4 start and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. The Steelers won 53 regular-season games during Cowher's first five seasons (1992-96), which tied for third highest among coaches in their first five NFL seasons. In his second season, the Steelers appeared in the 1993 AFC playoffs as a Wild-Card entry. He was NFL Coach of the Year in 1992, his first season, after bringing the AFC Central Division title to Pittsburgh for the first time in eight years. Cowher served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1991) after four seasons as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns (1985-88). Cowher began his NFL career as a free-agent linebacker with the Philadelphia Eagles (1979). He played three seasons for the Cleveland Browns (1980-82) before being traded back to Philadelphia (1983-84). Cowher was a three-year starter at linebacker for North Carolina State (1976-78). He was the team's captain and most valuable player as a senior. He has a record of 92-60 in the regular season and 5-6 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 sixth-best record of all current NFL coaches in division games (minimum of 20 wins) and the eighth-best record in home games (minimum of 16 home games).
JACKSONVILLE-PITTSBURGH CONNECTIONS: The Jaguars have two former Steelers on their roster: MLB Hardy Nickerson (1987-92) and S Ainsley Battles (2000) … There are three former Jaguars on the Steelers' roster: S Mike Logan (1997-2000), G Rich Tylski (practice squad in 1995 and active roster 1996-99) and WR Lenzie Jackson (1999) … One Steeler has ties to north Florida: LB Earl Holmes (Tallahassee, Florida A&M) … Four Jaguars have ties to the state of Pennsylvania: CB Aaron Beasley (Pottstown), TE Kyle Brady (New Cumberland and Penn State), RB Stacey Mack (Temple) and S James Boyd (Penn State). … Jaguars special teams coordinator Frank Gansz was born in Altoona, Pa. … Jaguars TE coach Fred Hoaglin started at center and linebacker at the University of Pittsburgh … Jaguars RB coach Jerald Ingram grew up in Beaver, Pa. … Jaguars DL coach John Pease was born in Pittsburgh … Jaguars director of player personnel Rick Reiprish was born in Shamokin, Pa. … Jaguars WR coach John McNulty was born in Scranton and played safety at Penn State … Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was born in Ft. Lauderdale and played at Florida. ... Players who were college teammates include: Jaguars TE Kyle Brady and Steelers FB Jon Witman and C Jeff Hartings at Penn State; Jaguars S James Boyd and Steelers LB Justin Kurpeikis at Penn State; Jaguars QB Mark Brunell and Steelers TE Mark Bruener at Washington; Jaguars DE Renaldo Wynn and Steelers RB Jerome Bettis at Notre Dame; Jaguars DT Gary Walker and Steelers OT Wayne Gandy at Auburn; Jaguars DT Marcus Stroud and Steelers LB Kendrell Bell at Georgia; Jaguars CB Jason Craft and Steelers LB Clark Haggans and OLB Joey Porter at Colorado State; Jaguars CB Fernando Bryant and Steelers CB Deshea Townsend at Alabama; Jaguars LBs Kevin Hardy and Danny Clark and Steelers TE Matt Cushing at Illinois; Jaguars LB Eric Westmoreland and Steelers QB Tee Martin at Tennessee; Jaguars OT Maurice Williams and Steelers TE Jerame Tuman at Michigan; and Jaguars CB Aaron Beasley and Steelers DB Mike Logan and RB Amos Zereoue at West Virginia.
JAGUARS VS. STEELERS: Here are the accumulated statistics for players in the Jaguars-Steelers series:
QB Mark Brunell - 13 games, 12 starts (7-5 record); 222 completions in 406 attempts (54.7%) for 2,455 yards, 14 TDs, 10 INTs, 2 300-yard games; Rushing: 45 for 206 yards
RB Fred Taylor - 6 games; 148 carries for 520 yards, 9 TDs; 2 100-yard games; receiving 13-70 yards, 2 TDs
WR Jimmy Smith - 12 games; 63 receptions for 851 yards and 5 TDs; 3 100-yard games
WR Keenan McCardell - 12 games; 48 receptions for 622 yards and 3 TDs; 2 100-yard games
PK Mike Hollis - 13 games; 15 of 18 on FGAs and 25 of 25 on PATs for 70 points
Steelers QB Kordell Stewart - 13 games; 137 of 246 (55.7%) for 1,481 yards, 6 TDs and 10 INTs.
Steelers RB Jerome Bettis - 11 games; 220 carries for 802 yards, 4 TD; 2 100-yard games
Steelers WR Hines Ward- 7 games; 21 receptions for 269 yards, 1 TD
Steelers TE Mark Bruener - 6 games; 23 receptions for 157 yards, 3 TDs
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 30-13 at ALLTEL Stadium. Mark Brunell threw two touchdown passes and Stacey Mack rushed for two scores, as the Jaguars scored their most points of the season and won for the first time since September 23. Trailing 13-7 at halftime and having gained only 70 yards on offense in the first half, the Jaguars scored on their first three possessions of the second half. Switching to a balanced attack following a first half in which they ran the ball only seven times, the Jaguars scored 21 unanswered points and gained 204 yards in the third quarter, 59 of them on the ground while brunell completed all 10 of his passes in the quarter. The Bengals, meanwhile, gained only eight yards in the period. Following the second half kickoff, Brunell connected with Jimmy Smith on a five-yard scoring pass. The Jaguars held the Bengals, and then marched downfield again, this time Mack scoring from two yards out. The Jaguars forced Cincinnati three-and-out and scored five plays later, with Brunell hitting Keenan McCardell with a 20-yard scoring pass. Mack got his first touchdown of the day in the first quarter on a one-yard run, giving the Jaguars their first touchdown in the first quarter all season. The Bengals then struck back for 13 points in the second period, a time in which the Jaguars had only 14 plays. In the game, Mack rushed 15 times for 71 yards - 70 of them in the second half. Meanwhile, the Jaguars held Cincinnati's Corey Dillon to only 58 yards on 17 carries.
NOTES FROM THE BENGALS GAME: The Jaguars have won six straight games at home over the Bengals. … The Jacksonville defense has yielded only 12 touchdowns in its first eight games, the second-fewest in the franchise's seven-year history (fewest: eight in 1999). … The Jaguars were outgained (261 yards to 352) and had less time of possession (28:08 to 31:52) but had more first downs (21 to 18). … The Jaguars converted only 3 of 11 third downs (27 percent), while the Bengals were 9 of 19 (47 percent). The Jaguars have converted only three third downs each of their last four games. … The Jaguars had no turnovers and one takeaway, putting them at plus-one for the season. They have only two takeaways in the last four games. … Mark Brunell completed 20 of 32 passes for 189 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In his last six games vs. the Bengals, he has a 147.1 passer rating (11 TDs vs. 1 INT) and has a career-best 18-to-5 TD-to-interception ratio vs. Bengals. … RB Stacey Mack rushed 15 times for a game-high 71 yards and the first game of his career with two touchdowns. Mack's first touchdown was the Jaguars' first TD in the first quarter all season. … WR Jimmy Smith led the team with eight receptions for 63 yards and his fourth TD of the season. He tops the AFC with 224 third-down receiving yards. … WR Keenan McCardell caught five passes for 61 yards and his second score. He extended his team-best streak to 41 straight games with at least one reception, now the second-longest streak in team history behind Smith's mark of 80 straight games. … WR Sean Dawkins added four catches - his most as a Jaguar - for 42 yards. … Hardy made his 57th consecutive start, extending his team record. … SLB Kevin Hardy led the team with 14 tackles (8 solo), followed by MLB Hardy Nickerson with 13 tackles (4 solo). … The Jaguars had four sacks, two by DE Tony Brackens (giving him three for the season), one by DT Gary Walker (giving him 5.5 for the year and one in each of his last four games, tied for the longest streak in team history with Tony Brackens and Kevin Hardy), and one by DT Seth Payne (his fifth of the year, extending his career high). Brackens' second sack was a safety of Bengals QB Jon Kitna for the team's final points. It marked Jacksonville's first safety since 10/3/99 vs. Pittsburgh (by Joel Smeenge). … CB Aaron Beasley got his second interception of the season. … Chris Hanson punted eight times for a 44.9-yard average, one touchback, a season-high four inside the 20 and a long of 59. He had no punts returned (three fair catches) for a 42.4 net average. … Damon Gibson returned five punts for a season-high 60 yards. … Every player who dressed played. The inactive players were: S Ainsley Battles, RB Fred Taylor, LB Eric Westmoreland, OT Patrick Venzke, OT Derrick Chambers, TE Ryan Prince, DE/DT Larry Smith and QB Phil Stambaugh (third QB). … Jaguars captains were: WR Jimmy Smith, WR Keenan McCardell, DT Seth Payne and MLB Hardy Nickerson.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE BENGALS GAME: "We set the tone in the third quarter, and we really had to because we left the defense on the field much too long in the first half, when we didn't get enough done. We didn't get the balance out of the offense that we wanted. We decided we would come out and run the ball, take a little pressure off the front instead of always backing up. I thought we responded well. Stacey Mack played well. The defense played well the whole game, except when we were in the prevent defense and gave up some yardage at the end. We had much better balance in the second half.
(on the third quarter) "Mark (Brunell) was 10 for 10 in the third quarter when we scored three touchdowns, and that was the game. We controlled the game in the second half. We took the ball, drove it and scored three times, with excellent execution. The only thing I was disappointed in, and I realize there's another team out there, but we didn't finish the game on offense, with the ball under our arms, moving toward the goal line, but nevertheless it was a win we had to have. I wanted us to be able to finish it off in the fourth quarter with a couple of first downs at the end. The third quarter really was the story. We came out, had a good mix of run and pass. Scoring three times in the quarter was pretty much the game right there."
(on running the ball in the second half) "Consciously, we made the decision to go with the running game and a better mix. I wanted Stacey (Mack) in the game, and he responded and played well. We ran. We didn't do much of it in the first half. We threw the ball more and were out of balance. We didn't give ourselves much of a chance. We had to rush the ball to create some balance. Stacey ended up with cutbacks, and the cutbacks ended up being outside. That's part of the option run by the back - if he gets the cutback read, he starts working back hole by hole, and in this case he was able to bounce the ball."
(on the lockerroom after the game) "Obviously there was relief to win and sincere enjoyment in winning and winning at home. It was a feeling that we've been starving for. We've been close but haven't gotten a win, and all you're in this business for is to win."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: "We had a really good third quarter. In the first half, we had some 2nd-and-long and 3rd-and-long situations early, and that is not the way we want to play. When we got into the third quarter, we ran the ball, and that made the difference. We were more balanced and we made a lot of completions in that quarter that allowed us to score some points. We just needed to settle down more and not get into the panic mode. There was nothing that they did in the first half that messed up our confidence. We knew we just had to go out and start executing and do the little things. We were fortunate to get things turned around."
(on having a better comfort level with other receivers) "We got the ball to Sean (Dawkins) a little more, which is what we wanted to do. The problem is when Sean gets the ball more, Jimmy (Smith) and Keenan (McCardell) get it less, so I have to answer to that. Sean was definitely in it. It helps to provide more balance for us in the passing game."
(on winning) "It builds character. It's good for you. This was a lot of fun and hopefully this is the start of something and hopefully it will create some momentum. It was good to have some smiles on our faces after games."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: "It's a much needed win today. It's good to get a win at home in front of our fans. I thank God for the fans who came out today. They gave us a big boost in coming out in the second half and putting this team away."
(on Tom Coughlin's reaction to a loss) "He hurts a lot. I think he hurts more than any of us because he is totally dedicated to this game and this team. You can tell he is happy with this win, but we are all happy. We are going to enjoy this for a couple of days and then get ready for Pittsburgh."
FROM RB STACEY MACK: "I know what I can do when I am out there … getting the opportunity again and going out there and performing. I know I have the ability to play this game and I can play this game. I'm taking care of the ball, and I am going to have two hands on it when there are guys around me."
FROM WR KEENAN McCARDELL: (on the performance of the offense ) "We realized in the first half that the defense was playing great and keeping us in the ballgame. The offense wanted to control the line of scrimmage. We made a conscious effort to do that, because if you don't control the line of scrimmage in the National Football League, you're not going to win."
(on the win): "It feels good. I really thought it was coming. The last few weeks, we've played well. But we can't worry about the past weeks. Now we've got worry about the next eight weeks. This was good. We got it. We'll rejoice tonight, but we have Pittsburgh coming up. That's a big division game. They're on top of the division, and we have to bring them down. It's going to be a fun game. It's going to be one of those AFC Central battles."
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 71 yards - 70 of them in the second half - and two touchdowns in the Jaguars' 30-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will return home to host the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at 1:00 p.m. EST Sunday, November 25 at ALLTEL Stadium. The two teams met on October 28 in Baltimore, with the Ravens winning 18-17 on a controversial touchdown pass with 4:07 remaining. The Jaguars hold an 8-3 lead in the series that dates to 1996 (and they won two games vs. the Cleveland Browns in 1995). However, the Ravens have won the last three games after losing the first eight times.
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 Minnesota Vikings. The Jaguars have won 46 of their last 72 regular-season games (they also won their final five games in 1996).
JAGUARS HAVE THIRD-BEST HOME RECORD AND FOURTH-BEST ROAD RECORD SINCE 1996: The Jaguars went 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium from 1996 to '99 and are 3-2 this season, giving them a 35-10 record that is the third-best mark at home since the start of the 1996 season. On the road, the Jaguars have the fourth-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 6,866 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 seventh-most passing yards in the NFL.
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 have 400 receptions each over a five-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 522 career receptions, while McCardell has 519.
... 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 HAS MORE RECEPTIONS THAN 10 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 10 of the 17 receivers who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
SMITH'S LAST FIVE 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. Here's a look:
PLAYER YEARS REC YARDS
Jerry Rice 1990-1994 474 6,911
Jerry Rice 1991-1995 496 7,257
Jerry Rice 1992-1996 524 7,305
Jimmy Smith 1996-2000 450 6,599
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 FIVE STRAIGHT 1,000-YARD SEASONS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark receiving five straight seasons, a feat accomplished by only six other players in NFL history and which ties him for fifth all time behind Jerry Rice (11 straight 1,000-yard seasons), Tim Brown and 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 1993-00 Oakland 8
Cris Carter 1993-00 Minnesota 8
Lance Alworth 1963-69 San Diego 7
Jimmy Smith 1996-00 Jacksonville 5
Michael Irvin 1991-95 Dallas 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.
TAYLOR TIED WITH THIRD-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FOUR YEARS: Despite missing 16 full games and parts of nine others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor is tied with the third-most touchdowns over the last four seasons.
HOLLIS IS NFL'S THIRD-MOST ACCURATE FIELD GOAL KICKER EVER: Jaguars PK Mike Hollis is the third-most-accurate field goal kicker in NFL history in the regular season (he is also the second-most accurate in the postseason). In 2001, Hollis is 8 for 12, giving him a career accuracy mark of 82.09.
HOLLIS IS 11TH-LEADING ACTIVE SCORER: Jaguars PK Mike Hollis has scored 721 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 HAS EIGHTH-BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the eighth-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. Since joining the Jaguars in 1995, Brunell has compiled a 33-17 (.660) record as a starter against the AFC Central. Following are the top four active quarterbacks in career division win percentage (minimum 25 starts):
Quarterback Record Pct.
Mark Brunell 33-17-0 .660
Brett Favre 49-26-0 .653
Steve McNair 27-15-0 .643
Randall Cunningham 44-25-1 .636
BRUNELL'S TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 116 TD passes in seven seasons in Jacksonville. Here are the 18 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (34), Keenan McCardell (22), 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), Derek Brown (1), Ty Hallock (1), Desmond Howard (1), Natrone Means (1), R. Jay Soward (1), RB Elvis Joseph (1) and RB Stacey Mack (1)
JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: After eight games, the Jaguars are 26th in the NFL in total offense (26th rushing, 20th passing), and they are 19th in defense (16th rushing and 21st passing). … The offense is 13th in the AFC with 138 first downs but last in the conference in third-down percentage (26 of 90, 28.9 percent). The defense ranks ninth in allowing 155 first downs and is 11th in the AFC in opponent's third-down conversions (50 of 119, 42.0 percent). … The Jaguars are plus-one on the turnover table, seventh in the AFC. … Jacksonville's 27 sacks is tied for second in the AFC and tied for fifth in the NFL. … The Jaguars are fourth in the AFC with a 57.9 percent rate on scoring touchdowns inside the red zone (11 of 19). Defensively, the Jaguars are fifth in the AFC with opponents scoring touchdowns on 45.5 percent of red zone opportunities (10 of 22). … PK Mike Hollis is last among AFC kickers in scoring with 40 points. … QB Mark Brunell is third in the AFC in passing with a 90.3 rating. … WR Jimmy Smith is second in the AFC with 58 receptions, and his 722 receiving yards is third. … WR Keenan McCardell is tied for 12th in the AFC with 38 catches, and his 447 yards ranks 16th. … Despite starting just three games, Stacey Mack is 16th in the AFC in rushing with 354 yards. … Chris Hanson is third in the AFC with a 45.6 gross punting average and third with a 38.5 net average. … Damon Gibson is eighth in the AFC with a 9.9-yard average on punt returns. … LB Kevin Hardy and DT Gary Walker are tied for eighth in the AFC with 5.5 sacks each.
STATS AND SUCH: Mark Brunell is 54-38 as a starter in regular-season games, 58-42 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 85 consecutive regular-season games in which he has played (and all eight in the playoffs). He has 721 points in his seven years with the Jaguars. … Of the Jaguars' 154 completed passes in 2001, 112 have been to wide receivers, 21 to tight ends and 21 to running backs. … The Jaguars are 1 for 8 on fourth-down conversions this season; their opponents are 2 for 8. … A total of 14 players (eight on offense and six on defense) have started all eight games this year. … The offense has used seven different starting lineup combinations in eight games, and the defense has had a different starting lineup in seven of the eight games. … The Jaguars have had 6 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 19 drives inside the opponent's 20, the Jaguars have scored 11 touchdowns and 2 field goals (and 6 drives with no points). Their opponents have had 22 trips inside the red zone and have come away with 10 touchdowns and 8 field goals. … Jaguars opponents have begun 21 possessions inside their own 20 and they scored on one of those drives (a field goal). The Jaguars have begun 22 possessions inside their own 20 and have scored on four of those drives (three touchdowns and a field goal). … The Jaguars have used turnovers to score 28 points, while their opponents have scored 16 points off Jaguars' turnovers. … In seven seasons, the Jaguars are 13 for 20 on two-point conversions (0 for 1 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, 17-8 in November, 14-9 in December and 1-0 in January. … In 2001, the Jaguars have outscored their opponents in the second (55-44) and third quarters (55-17) and have been outscored in the first quarter (13-27) and fourth quarter (19-42).
The average age of the 53-man roster as of November 12 is 25.99 years old. There were 25 players 25 or younger, 23 players between 26 and 29 years old, and five players 30 or older. The youngest player is OT Maurice Williams (22 years, 10 months); the oldest player is MLB Hardy Nickerson (36 years, 2 months). … There are 10 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 and OT Derrick Chambers (one other draft pick is on the practice squad). … More than half of the players (36) have four years or less of NFL experience, and five players are in their eighth season or more. … There are 19 players who are new to the team, and 34 who were with the team before the 2001 season. In addition to the 10 rookies, the other nine new players are: WR Sean Dawkins, WR Damon Gibson, P Chris Hanson and Joe Zelenka (veteran free agents); MLB Joseph Tuipala and DB Renard Cox (first-year free agents) and S Ainsley Battles, RB Frank Moreau and QB Phil Stambaugh (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) and DT Marcus Stroud (2001, Jaguars), as well as WR R. Jay Soward (2000, Jaguars, on reserve/suspended list).
WR Jimmy Smith has played in 103 of the 104 games in Jaguars history, and PK Mike Hollis is second with 100 games. … The longest streak of consecutive starts is held by WLB Kevin Hardy (team-record 57), followed by WR Keenan McCardell (35) and QB Mark Brunell and G Brad Meester (24 each) … Seven players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: MLB Hardy Nickerson (201), WR Sean Dawkins (132), WR Keenan McCardell (124), WR Jimmy Smith (110), DT Gary Walker (101), TE Kyle Brady (100) and PK Mike Hollis (100). … Nickerson leads with 177 career starts, followed by Dawkins (109). … QB Mark Brunell has started 92 games for the Jaguars, followed by OT Tony Boselli (90), WR Keenan McCardell (85) and WR Jimmy Smith and LB Kevin Hardy (82 each).