CLEVELAND, Ohio – The game was as messy at times as the weather. The good news for the Jaguars?
They still won an important game.
With the defense turning in yet another dominant performance – and with the offense struggling to pull away – the Jaguars on Sunday sloshed, shoved and shivered their way to a 19-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The victory was the Jaguars' fourth in succession, their longest winning streak since 2007. They are now 7-3 with a game lead on the Tennessee Titans for first place in the AFC South; the Browns fell to 0-10.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis in the first quarter, and kicker Josh Lambo's 38-yard field goal marked the last points until Lambo converted a 39-yarder with 3:31 remaining for a 13-7 lead.
That offensive output was enough because the Jaguars' defense made sure it was enough, holding the Browns to one first-half touchdown and 179 total yards. The Jaguars forced five turnovers, four on defense and one on special teams.
The Jaguars' defense then stopped the Browns twice in the final two minutes, with defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. recovering a fumble by Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer then – after a Jaguars punt – linebacker Telvin Smith recovering a fumble by Kizer in the end zone for a game-clinching touchdown.
Smith's recovery came after a sack/fumble by defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and made it, 19-7 Jaguars, with 1:14 remaining.
Fournette, questionable with an ankle injury entering the weekend, rushed 28 times for 111 yards. Bortles completed 17 of 30 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Kizer completed 15 of 30 passes for 174 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions. Fournette's 100-yard game was his fourth of the season, two behind Fred Taylor's franchise record for 100-yard rushing games by a rookie set in 1998.
Step by step:
*The Jaguars took a 7-0 lead on a 33-yard first-quarter drive, with Bortles passing for a touchdown to Lewis with 6:54 remaining in the quarter. Bortles sold the play with a play-action fake to help Lewis break wide open on the play. Smith set up the touchdown with a 26-yard return after intercepting Kizer. The Jaguars held a 7-0 lead at the end of the quarter, holding a 107-4 total-yardage and 6-0 first-down advantage. …
*The Jaguars pushed the lead to 10-0 with Lambo's 38-yarder with 14:14 remaining in the second quarter. That capped an eight-play, 47-yard drive keyed by a 29-yard run by Fournette. The Browns turned in their best drive of the game on the next series, pulling to within 10-7 with a 27-yard pass from Kizer to running back Duke Johnson with 11:28 remaining in the half. Lambo missed a 41-yard field goal just before halftime, at which time the Jaguars led just 10-7 despite outgaining Cleveland, 206-68.
*The Jaguars squandered another scoring chance early in the third quarter when rookie defensive end Myles Garrett recovered a fumble by Bortles at the Browns 29. Jaguars safety Jarrod Wilson had recovered a muffed punt by Browns punt returner Jabril Peppers at the Cleveland 31 to set up the Jaguars' opportunity.
*Both teams struggled offensive throughout the second half, with the Jaguars getting a second interception off Kizer when cornerback A.J. Bouye intercepted an overthrown pass to give Jacksonville 1st-and-10 at the Jaguars 48 with 8:23 remaining in the fourth quarter. That led directly to Lambo's 39-yarder with 3:31 remaining.
Notable: The Jaguars forced a three-and-out on the Browns' first series Sunday, the Jaguars' sixth such defensive series on 10 first drives this season. The Jaguars have allowed points on the opponents' first drive just once this season (Week 5, Pittsburgh, field goal). … Jaguars and former Browns safety Tashaun Gipson had words with several Browns players during warmups; officials separated players from both teams with little incident. … Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis made his 150th career start Sunday, joining center Brad Meester (209) and wide receiver Jimmy Smith (150) as only players in franchise history with 150 or more career starts. … Smith's first-quarter interception was his third of the season. … The Jaguars registered four sacks Sunday – two and a half by Ngakoue, a half by end Calais Campbell and one each by tackle Malik Jackson and Fowler. … Bouye's fourth-quarter interception was his fourth of the season. …
Injury report: Jaguars rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole left with first-quarter rib injury and returned shortly thereafter. … Linebacker Donald Payne left with a hamstring injury in the first quarter. … Starting right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) and starting left guard Patrick Omameh (quad) were both inactive after being listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week Friday. Josh Wells started in place of Parnell and Chris Reed started in place of Omameh. The Jaguars' other five inactives Sunday: Cornerback Jalen Myrick, linebacker Blair Brown, nose tackle Eli Ankou, offensive lineman William Poehls and wide receiver Allen Hurns. Hurns had been ruled out on Friday with an ankle injury; Cole started at wide receiver in place of Hurns. …
What's next: The Jaguars are scheduled to play the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Sunday November 26 at 4:25 p.m.