JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars had everything to play for when the Oakland Raiders arrived in Jacksonville two days before Christmas in 2007.
The Jaguars already had locked down a playoff spot, but a win over Oakland would lock down the fifth seed in the AFC – and likely send the Jaguars to Pittsburgh, where they had just beaten the Steelers 29-22 the previous week.
The Raiders limped into Jacksonville with eight losses in 10 games. While the offense was a tepid bunch, the defense was led by future Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, and the run-heavy Jaguars figured to have their hands full.
Jacksonville's big, powerful defensive line put the clamps on Raiders quarterback Josh McCown and forced a three and out on Oakland's first series. Jaguars quarterback David Garrard then was scheduled to test the secondary with a deep ball to wide receiver Dennis Northcutt on the first play of the ensuing series, but something in the Raiders' front seven told him to change the play.
It was the right move. Garrard's handoff to Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, who had recently crossed the 10,000-yard career rushing mark, turned into the game's statement play.
Taylor followed fullback Greg Jones behind center Brad Meester, and 62 yards later scored the game's first touchdown. Taylor finished with 111 yards rushing, his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing game.
It was the beginning of what would be a historic day in Jacksonville, and one the Raiders would soon hope to forget.
Garrard soon went back to work at his own 16-yard line, with the drive's key play a 43-yard gain on a screen pass by Oakland native and Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew two plays later ran for a 14-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Jaguars lead.
It was about to get much worse for Oakland.
What looked like a routine Oakland punt with just over nine minutes to play in the second quarter turned into a lateral from Northcutt to Scott Starks, who was all alone on the other side of the field. The Raiders caught the track-star-turned-cornerback at the Raiders 2, and Jones' touchdown reception on the ensuing play gave the Jaguars a 21-3 lead.
The Raiders then replaced McCown with the future of the franchise, or so they hoped. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell was the first pick of the 2007 NFL Draft and his first pass play that day was a sack by Bobby McCray; his second, an interception by cornerback Terry Cousins. Three plays late Garrard joined Taylor, Jones-Drew and Jones with a rushing touchdown of his own.
Sapp then was hit with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on back-to-back plays in the final :30 of the half and walked off the field to a chorus of lusty boos.
Jaguars history was made in the second half as reserve quarterback Quinn Gray threw touchdown passes to wide receivers Matt Jones and Reggie Williams, and a third to tight end Richard Angulo for a 49-3 lead. It was the first and only time in franchise history that seven different players scored a touchdown in the same game.