JACKSONVILLE – When the 5-3 Jaguars squared off against the 4-4 Detroit Lions midway through the 2004 season, neither team was sure of itself.
The Jaguars started the season with three consecutive wins but entered the Lions game having lost three of four. They were also without quarterback Byron Leftwich, who was injured in a loss to the Houston Texans the week before.
The Lions were starting Joey Harrington at quarterback and still trying to find out if their first-round draft pick from 2002 was going to be the guy. Harrington led the Lions to a 4-2 start but they were looking shaky coming off back-to-back losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Washington.
Third-year quarterback David Garrard gave the Jaguars an early 7-0 lead by leaning on the running game. Running back Fred Taylor ripped off a 42-yard run on the first play of the drive, and Garrard alternated between Taylor and LaBrandon Toefield. Garrard's 12-yard pass to Toefield, the only pass on the drive, turned into a touchdown and an early lead.
Harrington completed seven passes in the first half for 66 yards and a 28.1 passer rating and finished with 11 total completions and a 32.5 rating.
This game seemed unlikely to end up in overtime when fullback Greg Jones' one-yard run gave the Jaguars a 17-0 lead entering the fourth quarter.
But when Jaguars punter Chris Hanson shanked a punt from the Jaguars 29, Eddie Drummond had other ideas. As Jones tried to down the punt, Drummond snatched the ball off the turf and raced through the surprised coverage team for a 55-yard touchdown.
That ignited the Lions' and a Detroit field goal cut the lead to 17-10 with less than three minutes to play. The Jags hoped to run out the clock with 1:22 remaining, but Taylor was stopped for a two-yard loss on first down. Garrard's quarterback draw on third-and-10 came up two yards shy of the first.
Hanson was punting again with 1:03 remaining, and it seemed a good punt would put the game away. But his 43-yard punt was low, which gave Drummond an advantage. He raced down the sideline before anyone could catch him to tie the game 17-17. Alltel Stadium was in shock.
The Jaguars won the toss and started overtime with the ball at their own 24-yard line. Garrard alternated between Taylor, wide receiver Jimmy Smith and tight end Kyle Brady and methodically moved the offense down the field.
Head coach Jack Del Rio thought about kicking the game winner when they got to the 38-yard line –rookie kicker Josh Scobee had enough leg – but opted to move closer. Two plays later they were only two yards closer and Del Rio called a time out.
So, on third down, when you thought they might play it safe, Garrard dropped back to throw and saw Smith streaking across the middle of the field. He let loose with a dart that went right to Smith's hands – and 36 yards later the Jaguars had an overtime win and a 6-3 record.
It was the perfect ending, though a far from perfect day for Del Rio's team.