JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-1)
CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-1)
Sunday, September 17, 2000, 1:00 p.m. EDT
ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.
THIS WEEK: After beginning the 2000 season with their first two games on the road, the Jacksonville Jaguars finally return to ALLTEL Stadium when they host the Cincinnati Bengals in their home opener on Sunday. Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
The Jaguars have the best record at home in the NFL over the last four seasons, having won 28 of their last 32 regular-season home games, going 7-1 each of the last four years.
The Jaguars are coming off a heartbreaking, last-minute 39-36 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday in a game they led 17-0 in the first quarter, 23-7 at the half and 36-32 with 1:45 to play. The Jaguars fell to 1-1 for the year, marking the first time they have been at .500 since mid-December of 1996 when they were 7-7 and in the midst of their first run to the playoffs. Every other NFL team has been at or below .500 more recently than 1996.
The Jaguars still have the best record in the NFL over the last three seasons. Their 37-13 record in that time is one game better than Minnesota.
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The Jaguars-Bengals game will be televised regionally by CBS and locally by WJXT Channel 4, with Kevin Harlan calling the play-by-play, Sam Wyche adding analysis and Beasley Reece as the field reporter.
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, former NFL quarterback Matt Robinson adds analysis and Dan Hicken is the sideline reporter. Sexton and Robinson are in their sixth season together. Robinson, Jennifer Candelino, Vic Ketchman and Cole Pepper handle the pre-game show, and Pepper and ex-Oakland Raider Pete Banaszak do the post-game show. A total of 18 affiliates in three states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game. The radio broadcast is also simulcast live worldwide on the Jaguars' Official Website, jaguars.com, and on nfl.com.
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 1999, the Bengals finished 4-12 and in fifth place in the AFC Central Division. They are 0-1 in 2000, having lost their season opener at home last week to Cleveland 24-7.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars have a 6-4 lead in the series that began in 1995. The Jaguars have swept the series the last two years. Cincinnati won both games in '95 and the two teams split the two games in each of 1996 and '97. In 1995, the Bengals won 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. The Jaguars won in 1997 21-13 at home, then lost on the road 31-26. The Jaguars won the first meeting of 1998 at home 24-11, and again in Cincinnati 34-17. Last season, Jacksonville won 41-10 in Cincinnati on Halloween night and then 24-7 at home on January 2.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 24-7 on January 2, 2000 in the 1999 regular-season finale to win their second straight AFC Central Division championship and clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs and home-field advantage. Jay Fiedler made his first NFL start and passed for 317 yards and a touchdown to Keenan McCardell, becoming the first Jaguar other than Mark Brunell to throw for 300 yards in a game. Jimmy Smith caught a then-personal-best 14 passes for 165 yards and Fred Taylor ran for 85 yards and two TDs. The Jaguars' defense allowed the Bengals only 13 first downs and 236 yards, as Jacksonville held an opponent to fewer than 10 points for the eighth time in 1999.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE BENGALS WOULD: Give the Jaguars a 2-1 record and their fifth straight win in their home opener. It would also be their 30th victory in their last 34 home games dating back to 1995, as well as their 17th win in their last 22 division games.
INJURY UPDATE: LB Brant Boyer (groin) was the only player injured last Sunday at Baltimore. Missing the game with injuries were: DT Emarlos Leroy (calf), RB Fred Taylor (knee), C John Wade (foot) and OT Leon Searcy (quadriceps). Wade has returned to practice and could play this week, while Taylor's status will be updated later in the week.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (50-32 in regular season, 4-4 in postseason) has led the Jaguars to two consecutive AFC Central Division championships and two appearances in the AFC Championship game. The Jaguars have made the playoffs each of the last four seasons - 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).
Bruce Coslet's Bengals finished strong in 1999, winning three of their last five games for a 4-12 record. They are 0-1 this season. Coslet, in his fourth season, replaced Dave Shula seven games into the 1996 season and led the team to a 7-2 record during the final nine games after a 1-6 start. The Bengals started 1-7 in 1997, but again rebounded, winning six of their last eight games to finish 7-9. Cincinnati finished 3-13 in 1998. Coslet rejoined the Bengals as offensive coordinator in 1994. He was head coach of the New York Jets (1990-93), compiling a 26-39 record, including a Wild-Card playoff appearance in 1991. Coslet's previous tour on the Bengals' staff lasted nine years (1981-89), and included a stint as offensive coordinator (1986-89). In 1988, Coslet was a key factor in the Bengals' making it to Super Bowl XXIII when his offense led the NFL in yards per game (378.6). During his first tour as offensive coordinator, the Bengals had the NFL's top-ranked offense twice (1986 and '88) and led the league in rushing twice (1988 and '89). Coslet began his coaching career with the San Francisco 49ers in 1980 as an assistant coach under Bill Walsh. The Bengals signed Coslet as a free agent out of the Canadian Football League in 1969. He played tight end and special teams in Cincinnati for eight seasons. He was a tight end at College of the Pacific (1965-67) before joining the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.
COUGHLIN RANKED AMONG LEAGUE'S TOP COACHES: With every regular-season victory, Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin moves up on two lists when compared to other elite active NFL head coaches. In 2000, Coughlin has one victory in two games vs. AFC Central teams and has not coached his team at home yet. Coughlin has the second-best record of all current NFL coaches in division games and the third-best record in home games (minimum of 16 home games). Records include all teams coached by an individual during the regular season.
RECORDS IN DIVISION GAMES RECORDS IN HOME GAMES Rk. Coach W L Pct. Rk. Coach W L Pct. 1. George Seifert 44 17 .721 1. Mike Holmgren 54 11 .831 2. Tom Coughlin 30 14 .682 2. George Seifert 56 16 .778 3. Mike Shanahan 34 18 .654 3. Tom Coughlin 30 10 .750 4. Mike Holmgren 42 23 .646 4. Mike Shanahan 38 13 .745 5. Bill Cowher 36 25 .590 5. Bill Cowher 47 19 .712
JACKSONVILLE-CINCINNATI CONNECTIONS: Bengals C Brock Gutierrez was on Jacksonville's practice squad for two weeks in 1998 in between his two stints in Cincinnati ... Seven Bengals are from the state of Florida: LB Reinard Wilson (Lake City and Florida State), FB Nick Williams (University of Miami), S Tremain Mack (University of Miami), QB Scott Covington (University of Miami), WR Ron Dugans (Tallahassee and Florida State, where he played with Jaguars G/OT Todd Fordham and DT Larry Smith), WR/PR Peter Warrick (Bradenton and Florida State) and FS Darryl Williams (Miami and University of Miami, where he played with Jaguars OT Leon Searcy). ... Jaguars defensive coordinator Dom Capers was born in Cambridge and raised in nearby Buffalo, Ohio and coached at Ohio State from 1982 to '83. ... Bengals defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was the Steelers' DB coach from 1992 to '94 when Dom Capers was the team's defensive coordinator. On those Pittsburgh teams were Jaguars Leon Searcy, Hardy Nickerson and Carnell Lake ... Special teams coordinator Frank Gansz coached special teams and tight ends for the Bengals from 1979 to '80. ... TE coach Fred Hoaglin was born in Alliance, assistant strength and conditioning coach Greg Finnegan was born in Toledo, RB coach Jerald Ingram was born at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton and ILB coach Steve Szabo coached at Ohio State from 1979 to '81. ... Jaguars TE Kyle Brady and Bengals G Matt O'Dwyer were teammates on the Jets from 1996 to '98. ... Players who were college teammates include: Jaguars DT Larry Smith and Bengals LB Reinard Wilson at Florida State, Jaguars S Mike Logan and Bengals OLB Canute Curtis at West Virginia, Bengals SS Chris Carter and Jaguars DE Tony Brackens at Texas, Jaguars DE David Richie and Bengals RB Corey Dillon at Washington, Jaguars CB Fernando Bryant and Bengals P Daniel Pope at Alabama, Bengals PK Neil Rackers and Jaguars LB Danny Clark at Illinois, Bengals MLB Armegis Spearman and Jaguars PK Steve Lindsey at Mississippi, Jaguars S Erik Olson and Bengals OLB Adrian Ross at Colorado State, Jaguars DT Gary Walker and Bengals OT Willie Anderson and OLB Takeo Spikes at Auburn, Bengals DT Oliver Gibson and Jaguars DE Renaldo Wynn at Notre Dame, Jaguars RB Chris Howard and Bengals DT Glen Steele at the University of Michigan and Jaguars CB Aaron Beasley and Bengals C Rich Braham at the University of West Virginia. ... Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith and CB Dave Thomas were on the Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys in 1992 along with Bengals DB coach Ray Horton.
JAGUARS VS. BENGALS: In eight games against the Bengals (five wins in seven starts; inactive for 1/2/00 contest due to knee injury), Mark Brunell has thrown for 1,602 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed 27 times for 177 yards and two TDs. ... In nine games, Jimmy Smith has caught 56 passes for 835 yards and five touchdowns and has recorded four 100-yard games. ... Mike Hollis has hit 18 of 23 field goals and 27 of 27 extra points against the Bengals for a total of 81 points in 10 games. ... For the Bengals, RB Corey Dillon has played in five games (was inactive for 1/2/00 contest due to knee strain), with 79 carries for 338 yards (4.3 average) and one TD. ... In two games against the Jaguars, RB Michael Basnight gained 97 yards on 14 carries. ... In his only game against the Jaguars (10/31/99), QB Akili Smith went 6 of 12 for 67 yards and threw two interceptions. He was inactive for the 1/2/00 game with a toe injury suffered in the 10/31 game.
DAILY SCHEDULE: Interview and practice times for this week are as follows:Day Players Coach Coughlin PracticeTuesday Players off No availability No practiceWednesday 11:40 - 12:10 p.m. 12:15 p.m. 1:20 p.m.Thursday 11:40 - 12:10 p.m. 12:15 p.m. 1:20 p.m.Friday 1:15 - 1:35 p.m. --- 11:30 a.m.Saturday No availability No availability Walk throughSunday Jaguars vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m. EDT, ALLTEL Stadium
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars lost a heartbreaker to the Baltimore Ravens 39-36, when they allowed 32 points in the second half, including the winning touchdown with 41 seconds to play. The Jaguars scored on 5 of 7 first-half possessions and Baltimore on 5 of 8 in the second half. Jimmy Smith caught 15 passes for 291 yards - the fifth-most receiving yards in a game in NFL history - and three touchdowns and Mark Brunell passed for 386 yards, third most in Jaguars history. But the Jaguars squandered a 23-7 halftime lead in losing to the Ravens for the first time in nine games in the series. With Fred Taylor out and Stacey Mack hobbling, the Jaguars started third-string running back Chris Howard, but they managed only 46 rushing yards, forcing Brunell to throw 50 times, second most in team history. Mike Hollis added a team-record-tying five field goals on five attempts. But the defense allowed its second most points ever in the second half, as Baltimore QB Tony Banks threw a team-record five touchdown passes in leading the Ravens to the come-from-behind win. The Jaguars' 36 points was their most ever in a loss, eclipsing the previous high of 31 on December 10, 1995 to Indianapolis.
NOTES FROM THE RAVENS GAME: The loss was only the Jaguars' fifth in their past 21 division games. The Jaguars are 30-14 in division games overall. ... The Jaguars outgained the Ravens (421 to 331 yards) and had more time of possession (31:23 to 28:37). ... The Jaguars converted 5 of 14 third downs (36 percent), while the Ravens converted just 3 of 13 (23 percent). ... The Jaguars' 17 points in the first quarter tied for their second most ever (21 on 10/12/97 vs. Philadelphia and 17 on 11/2/97 at Tennessee). ... Stacey Mack did not start but led the team with 36 yards rushing on 11 carries. ... The Jaguars' 46 yards rushing was their fewest since October 19, 1997 at Dallas (42). ... Starter Chris Howard rushed 8 times for 7 yards. Both players fumbled inside the Ravens' 15-yard line, leading to easy touchdowns and 15 points for Baltimore. ... Mark Brunell's 50 passes were two shy of his team record set on 10/20/96 at St. Louis, also a loss. His 386 yards were the third most in team history. The two higher totals - 432 on Sept. 22, 1996 at New England and 421 on 10/20/96 at St. Louis - were also in losses. His 28 completions tied for the third most in team history. Brunell threw three TD passes for the eighth time in his career, while he was intercepted twice for the first time since last year's game in Baltimore on 11/28/99.
Smith's Exploits: Jimmy Smith extended his team-record streak to 74 consecutive games with at least one reception. ... His career-high 15 catches were one shy of teammate Keenan McCardell's mark of 16 set on 10/20/96 at St. Louis, and his 291 yards receiving broke McCardell's record of 232 set in that same game. They were also the most ever vs. the Ravens in a game (previous: 229 by St. Louis' Isaac Bruce). ... His 15 catches tied for the sixth most in a game in league history. ... Smith's three TD catches gave him 32 for his career and broke the team's single-game record of two TDs set in eight games. ... In eight games vs. the Ravens, Smith has 56 catches for 996 yards and eight touchdowns. ... Smith's TD catches were on plays of 45, 43 and 40 yards. Along with a 33-yard catch in the fourth quarter, he has all four of the team's plays of 30 yards or more this season. ... Smith had his 25th 100-yard game and second 200-yard game, both team records. He has had 100 yards in seven of his last nine games. ... He now has four TDs this season; in 1999 he didn't have his fourth TD until the 10th game.
Rayna Stewart had the team's only two interceptions, the first interceptions of his career. That tied the Jaguars' game record held by Deon Figures (8/31/97 at Baltimore) and Aaron Beasley (9/12/99 vs. San Francisco). ... MLB Hardy Nickerson led the team with 18 tackles (10 solo), followed by WLB Kevin Hardy with 10 tackles (6 solo) ... The Jaguars had three sacks and allowed four for the second straight week. Sacks were made by Renaldo Wynn, Tony Brackens and Joel Smeenge. Brackens has at least one sack in six of his last eight games ... Bryan Barker punted for the first time this year, kicking three times for a 38.0-yard average, with one touchback. He had no kicks returned. ... Mike Hollis scored a career-high 18 points and was 5 for 5 on field goals, tying his team-record set 12/1/96 vs. Cincinnati and 11/30/97 vs. Baltimore. He has now been successful on 50 of his last 54 field goals (92.6 percent) on the road dating back to 1997. ... Every player who dressed played except QB Jamie Martin. Friday's inactives were: RB Fred Taylor, C John Wade, OT Leon Searcy and DT Emarlos Leroy, Sunday's inactives were: RB Chad Dukes, OT Mark Baniewicz, DE David Richie and QB Jonathan Quinn (third QB). ... Jaguars captains were MLB Hardy Nickerson, WLB Kevin Hardy, OT Tony Boselli and WR Keenan McCardell.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE RAVENS GAME: "That was two halves that were completely different. The history of this series has been that every game is right down to the last second, and it was like that in this game. We did a lot of good things; we had momentum and we had a substantial lead. There are some things you don't expect. I didn't expect the two turnovers on the run - I'm not even sure they were hit or if the ball just came out. And I don't expect their offense driving up and down on our defense. I will give Baltimore credit - they scored against zone and against man (coverage). They protected and we had basically no pressure. You either have to pressure or protect, and we didn't do either one. Our defense will be back to the drawing board, no question."
(on the turnovers) "We gave the Ravens the ball at point-blank range with the two turnovers that lead to 14 points. You at least should have to make your opponent work to score. That was extremely disappointing, and the frustrating thing is that both the young guys (Chris Howard and Stacey Mack) were trying to be in position to help the football team without Fred Taylor. They had done a good job, but the No. 1 job is ball security. On the final drive, we were in two-deep coverage and we let the tight end go down the middle, and there is no excuse for that. It was a blown coverage."
(on Jimmy Smith's performance) "Jimmy Smith had a great day. Between he and Mark (Brunell), he made the superb touchdown plays in the first half and the second half with the blitz coming, Keenan (McCardell) went up and knocked it to Jimmy. Then you saw how strong he is to make it to the endzone. That should have been enough to win."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: (on watching the Ravens drive after his TD pass to Jimmy Smith) "In most situations, that is a victory. You have to give credit to Tony Banks and his offense. They went down the football field and made the plays to win the game. They were very impressive today on both sides of the ball. I think our team has a lot of character; a lot of fighters who never give up. These games have always been this way with Baltimore. It is a great rivalry - two very good teams going head to head, and Baltimore was better than we were today.
(on connecting with Jimmy Smith all game) "Jimmy is going to be open. We knew we would be able to throw the football today, and we did. It's what they give you. You try to get in certain formations, and depending on the coverage that determines who gets the ball. If they go two-high, Jimmy's not going to get the ball. But if they single up, then we are going to get him the ball. We got those situations today, and he had some big plays today. He is a fine competitor."
(on the loss) "We scored some points, but it wasn't enough. We turned the ball over in the red zone and they scored two touchdowns, and you are just giving them points. I don't want to take anything away from the Ravens, but this offense really has to hold on to the ball. The turnovers will kill you. We were not able to run the football today. We had to throw it and we came up short. It's up and down. It's from about as high as you can get to as low as you can get, but it's football. That is what makes it so great. We came up short, but this team will bounce back and get where we want to be with Cincinnati this week."
FROM DE RENALDO WYNN: (on not stopping the Ravens in the last minutes) "It's tough. I give a lot of credit to Tony Banks. He hung in the pocket, took some hits and made some great plays for them. It just goes to show you it doesn't matter what happens in the first half - it is a 60-minute game. You have to play all four quarters."
(on the first half) "We thought the momentum was on our side. We were excited and ready to go out there in the second half and continue to fire it up. They came out, scored the first time and it seemed like we couldn't get anything going. Every time we had them on the ropes, they came back and scored again."
FROM LB KEVIN HARDY: "Our goal is to hold teams to 17 points, and we would hope to adjust that to 14 or less. For them to put as many points on the board as they did after only giving up seven in the first half, is a disappointment for us. It was a breakdown on our behalf. They came out and hadn't thrown a lot of checkdowns and they started hitting (Obafemi Ayanbadejo) and Priest Holmes in the backfield. We broke down and didn't check the tight end in the middle of the field deep. We were taking the deep ball away, and he was checking off to the backs, and in my anticipation I guessed wrong."
(on the loss) "I think we have more disappointment than anger. We started out so hot and had the game won two or three times, but we really should have had them."
FROM DT GARY WALKER: "The offense gave us enough points to win. You come in at halftime 23-7 and if they don't score, you win. (The defense) has to do our job and not worry about the offense, just the defense. We didn't stop them. I don't know why. We just didn't stop them. Last year was the same thing, a close game right to the end. You have to step up and make the plays at the end of the game, and we didn't do it. We kept letting them back in the game. They scored and gained momentum and used it to their advantage."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: "I was double-teamed, sometimes with three guys, but fortunately I was able to make some plays. It just wasn't enough to get the job done. Stats are good, but it doesn't matter if you are not winning ballgames. We had several opportunities to win the game today, but we had turnovers in the redzone, where they got two easy scores off of them. You can not win like that."
MILLER LITE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The Jaguars' nominee for the Miller Lite Player of the Week Award is WR Jimmy Smith, who caught 15 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns in the Jaguars' 39-36 loss to the Ravens at Baltimore. His 15 catches tied for the sixth most in a game in NFL history, and his 291 yards were the fifth most ever in a game. Smith set team records with his receiving yards and touchdowns and fell one catch short of Keenan McCardell's team mark for most catches in a game. When asked if Smith's performance was the best he'd ever coached, the Jaguars' Tom Coughlin commented "That'd be hard to top."
LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE: Jimmy Smith's performance of 15 receptions and 291 yards against the Ravens is the fifth-most receiving yards ever in a game in NFL history and tied for the sixth-most yards. Here are the lists: