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THIS WEEK: With their best record ever after nine games of the season and the second-best mark in the AFC, the Jacksonville Jaguars will play their cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on Sunday at ALLTEL Stadium. Kickoff is at 4:15 p.m. EST.

The Jaguars are now 7-2 and coming off a 24-11 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, which marked their fourth win in four games against AFC Central teams. They are 4-0 at home this year and have won 19 of their last 21 home games dating back to 1995. The Jaguars remain in first place in the AFC Central, with a one-and-a-half game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers (who played Green Bay on Monday night). The Jaguars have never been alone in first place this late in the season.

The Buccaneers are 4-5 after losing to the Tennessee Oilers 31-22 last Sunday night. The game will be only the second meeting ever between the two teams. Tampa Bay had won three of its previous four games after rebounding from a 1-3 start. This is their second of four games against AFC Central teams.

The Jaguars have the fourth-best record in the NFL over the last 30 regular-season games dating back to November 24, 1996, when they began their late-season streak to the playoffs. The 23-7 record of the Jaguars in that time trails only Green Bay (24-5, not counting the Monday night game), San Francisco (24-6) and Denver (24-6). The Jaguars also have the third-best home record and the third-best road record since late in the 1996 season.

TELEVISION BROADCAST:The game will be televised regionally by FOX and locally by WAWS Channel 30. Tim Ryan will call the play-by-play and Bill Maas and Ronnie Lott will add analysis.

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. Sexton and Robinson are in their fourth season together. Robinson, Jennifer Kumik, 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 21 affiliates in four states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game.

The game will also be broadcast nationally on Westwood One Radio, with Tony Roberts and Rick Walker describing the action.

THE OPPONENT:The Buccaneers were awarded a franchise on April 24, 1974 and began play in 1976. They lost their first 26 games but advanced to the NFC Championship game in only their fourth season in 1979. The Buccaneers also advanced to the playoffs in 1981 and '82, but then they lost 10 or more games each season from 1983 to '94 and still finished below. 500 in 1995 and '96. In 1996, their first season under head coach Tony Dungy, the Buccaneers won five of their last seven games to rebound from a 1-8 start. Last season, the Buccaneers won their first five games en route to a 10-6 record. They qualified for the postseason and won their Wild-Card playoff 20-10 over Detroit before losing to Green Bay 21-7 in the Divisional playoffs. They are 4-5 this season, with victories over Chicago, the New York Giants, Carolina and Minnesota.

THE SERIES:The two teams have played only one time, with Tampa Bay winning 17-16 on November 19, 1995, in the Jaguars' inaugural season.

THE LAST TIME:The Jaguars lost a heartbreaker to the Buccaneers 17-16 on November 19, 1995. Coach Tom Coughlin chose to go for the victory and a two-point conversion with 37 seconds remaining in the game, but Steve Beuerlein's completed pass to Jimmy Smith on the conversion try was ruled out of bounds. The Jaguars had pulled to within one point when Beuerlein hit TE Pete Mitchell with a 12-yard touchdown pass to cap a 96-yard drive, the team's longest of its inaugural season. Beuerlein had replaced an injured Mark Brunell (hamstring) early in the fourth quarter and directed the Jaguars' last three drives. The Jaguars recovered an onside kick, but Beuerlein's first pass was intercepted by Martin Mayhew, and Tampa Bay ran out the clock. Brunell scored Jacksonville's first TD on a nine-yard run, which is when he was injured. Errict Rhett scored two touchdowns for Tampa Bay.

A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE BUCCANEERS WOULD:Give them an 8-2 record, their best start ever in four NFL seasons, as well as continue to give them the second-best mark in the AFC. It would also be their 24th victory in their last 31 regular-season games dating back to 1996. A win would also give them a 2-0 record against the NFC this season and a 6-8 mark in four years.

INJURY UPDATE:The only injury suffered in the Cincinnati game was QB Mark Brunell's strained groin, which sidelined him in the second half. Missing the game with injuries were: WR Keenan McCardell (sprained shoulder), S Chris Hudson (sprained ankle) and RB Tavian Banks (sprained foot). The status of all injured players will be updated during the week.

THE COACHES:Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin has led the Jaguars to the playoffs each of the last two seasons, a first for an NFL expansion team. In 1997, the Jaguars finished 11-5 and lost the AFC Central Division championship on the fifth tiebreaker to Pittsburgh. The Jaguars 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, Coughlin's Jaguars finished with four victories in their inaugural season. He became head coach of the Jaguars on February 21, 1994 following three successful seasons as head coach at Boston College. Coughlin 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 27 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). He has a record of 31-26 during the regular season and 2-2 in the postseason.

In his second season as the Buccaneers' head coach in 1997, Tony Dungy continued the franchise's rebuilding project, as the Buccaneers improved to 10-6. Tampa Bay made its first playoff appearance since 1982 and hosted its first playoff game since the 1979 NFC Championship Game, defeating the Detroit Lions. In Dungy's first season in 1996, Tampa Bay rallied to win five of its last seven games after a 1-8 start. The Tampa Bay defense, which finished 27th the previous season, ranked 11th in 1996. Dungy had been Minnesota's defensive coordinator from 1992 to '95, and the Vikings led the NFL with 95 interceptions during his four years there. Dungy also coached Kansas City's defensive backs (1989-1991). He spent eight years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an assistant coach, serving as defensive backs coach (1982-83) and defensive coordinator (1984-1988). He has a record of 20-21 and is 1-1 in the postseason.

COUGHLIN FOURTH IN DIVISION VICTORIES:With four victories in four games vs. AFC Central teams so far this season, the Jaguars' Tom Coughlin is fourth among all current NFL coaches with a .679 winning percentage (19-9) in division games. The leaders are Marty Schottenheimer (73-31, .702 with Cleveland and Kansas City), Bill Cowher (32-14, .696 with Pittsburgh) and Mike Holmgren (35-17, .673 with Green Bay). Mike Ditka is fifth (61-35, .635 with Chicago and New Orleans). Coughlin started the season in fifth place with a 15-9 mark.

JACKSONVILLE-TAMPA BAY CONNECTIONS:One Jaguar previously played for the Buccaneers: DE Eric Curry, who was a first-round pick (the sixth-player chosen) in the 1993 draft by Tampa Bay. Curry was signed on September 9, 1998 by the Jaguars after defensive end Jeff Lageman was placed on injured reserve … The Buccaneers have five players from the state of Florida: WR Reidel Anthony (Belle Glade, University of Florida), LB Derrick Brooks (Pensacola, Florida State), DT Brad Culpepper (Tallahassee, University of Florida), OT Jason Odom (Bartow, University of Florida), DT Warren Sapp (Apopka, University of Miami). Also, RB Warrick Dunn attended Florida State, WR Jacquez Green played at the University of Florida and QB Steve Walsh attended the University of Miami … Buccaneers offensive assistant coach Ricky Thomas coached Jaguars S Tawambi Settles in high school at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn. … Jaguars DE Joel Smeenge played in New Orleans from 1990 to '94 with Buccaneers P Tommy Barnhardt (1989-94), FB Lorenzo Neal (1993-96) and QB Steve Walsh (1990-93). Walsh also played in St. Louis in 1996 with Jaguars QB Jamie Martin. … Jaguars LB Brant Boyer and G/OT Jeff Novak were teammates in Miami with Buccaneers DE/DT Tyoka Jackson in 1994 … Jaguars P Bryan Barker played in Kansas City from 1990 to '93 with Buccaneers DB Charles Mincy (1991-93), DB Anthony Parker (1991) and WR Robb Thomas (1990-91). Mincy also played with Jaguars DE Fernando Smith in Minnesota (1995), Parker played with Martin in St. Louis (1996) and with Smith in Minnesota (1994) … Jaguars RB Tavian Banks and Buccaneers DB Damien Robinson played at the University of Iowa … Jaguars LB Brant Boyer and TE Rich Griffith were teammates with Buccaneers DB Tony Bouie at the University of Arizona … Jaguars QB Mark Brunell played with Buccaneers DB Charles Mincy and OT Pete Pierson at the University of Washington … Jaguars G/OT Ben Coleman was a teammate of Buccaneers C Tony Mayberry at Wake Forest … Jaguars FB Zack Crockett and G/OT Todd Fordham played with Buccaneers RB Warrick Dunn and LB Derrick Brooks at Florida State … Jaguars OT Tony Boselli and Buccaneers DB Brian Kelly were teammates at Southern Cal … Jaguars CB Kevin Devine played with Buccaneers DE Regan Upshaw at the University of California … Jaguars LB James Hamilton was a teammate of Buccaneers DT Marcus Jones at the University of North Carolina … Jaguars OT Leon Searcy played and won a national championship with Buccaneers QB Steve Walsh at the University of Miami … Jaguars RB Fred Taylor was teammates with Buccaneers WR Reidel Anthony, WR Jacquez Green and OT Jason Odom at the University of Florida. Taylor and Anthony were also high school teammates at Glades Central High in Belle Glade, Fla. … Jaguars DT Don Davey was a teammate of Buccaneers OT Paul Gruber at the University of Wisconsin.

JAGUARS VS. BUCCANEERS:In the only game between the two teams (November 15, 1995), Jaguars QB Mark Brunell completed 15 of 21 passes for 169 yards and had a nine-yard TD run before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter. … TE Pete Mitchell had his best game as a pro, catching 10 passes for 161 yards and one TD … PK Mike Hollis made his only field goal attempt and only extra point try. … Buccaneers QB Trent Dilfer completed 9 of 20 passes for 103 yds, with no interceptions and no TDs … Buccaneers PK Michael Husted made his only field goal attempt and both extra points.

DAILY SCHEDULE: Interview times and practice for the next week are as follows:

DayPlayersCoach CoughlinPractice
TuesdayPlayers offNo availabilityPlayers off
Wednesday11:45 - 12:15 p.m.12:15 p.m.1:30 p.m.
Thursday11:45 - 12:15 p.m.12:15 p.m.1:30 p.m.
Friday1:15 - 1:30 p.m.No availability11:30 a.m.
SaturdayNo availabilityNo availabilityWalk through
SundayJaguars vs. Buccaneers,4:15 p.m.,ALLTEL Stadium

NEXT WEEK:The Jaguars will travel to Pittsburgh for their first meeting of the year against the Steelers. The Jaguars have never won in Pittsburgh, going 0-3 in three seasons, but they own a 3-3 lifetime mark against the Steelers. The two teams will play in Jacksonville on Monday night, December 28, the last day of the regular season. The Steelers were 5-3 heading into their Monday night game against Green Bay.

LAST WEEK:The Jaguars defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 24-11, taking a 24-0 lead in the first half and playing the second half without QB Mark Brunell, who suffered a strained groin. Fred Taylor rushed for 118 yards on a career-high 27 carries, and Brunell passed for 111 yards on only five completions in 12 passes (with one touchdown) before leaving the game. The Jaguars' defense played well, with CB Aaron Beasley scoring a touchdown on a 90-yard fumble return, making four sacks and holding the Bengals out of the end zone until 1:55 remained in the game.

NOTES FROM THE BENGALS GAME:The victory gave the Jaguars a 4-0 division record this season, 19-9 all time. They are 11-3 at home and 8-6 on the road. … The Bengals remain the only team in the AFC Central with a winning record against the Jaguars (4-3) since 1995, but Jacksonville has won three of the last four games. … The game was the Jaguars' last of eight straight against AFC teams. They went 6-2 in those games and have won 19 of their last 24 regular-season games against AFC foes dating back to late 1996 … The Jaguars have scored 69 points in their last two games, one point shy of their best two-game total of 70 against the New York Giants (40) and Pittsburgh (30) last year. … The Jaguars have outscored their opponents 66-13 in the first halves of the last two games (42-13 over Baltimore and 24-0 over Cincinnati). … The Jaguars gained only 64 yards in the second half and were outgained for the game (272 to 326), had fewer first downs (14 to 19) and less time of possession (24:10 to 35:50). The Jaguars did rush for 137 yards, the eighth time this season they've had more than 100 (the team record is 10 in a season) and the seventh time over 130 yards. Their 135 yards passing is their third-lowest total of the year. They completed less than 50 percent of their passes (9 of 21, 42.9%) for the first time since 11/9/97 vs. Kansas City (9 of 21) … The nine completions also ties the franchise low for a game, and the 21 attempts tied for the fifth-fewest ever. … The Jaguars had one turnover and two takeaways, making them plus-seven for the season. … Three quarterbacks played in a game for the first time, with Jamie Martin (4 of 9, 35 yards) playing for the second game in a row, and rookie Jonathan Quinn seeing his first action in the NFL. … Fred Taylor rushed 27 times for 118 yards. It was his third 100-yard game of the season, extending his team record, and his 118 yards is the second-highest single-game total in Jaguars history. Taylor also scored his eighth touchdown (sixth rushing), leaving him two TDs short of James Stewart's single-season record of 10 set in 1996. Taylor has scored in each of the last six games in which he has played. Taylor also broke the team single-season record for rushing yards by a rookie. He now has 611 yards, surpassing James Stewart's total of 525 yards in 1995. … Jimmy Smith led the team with four receptions for 44 yards and his fifth TD of the season, leaving him two short of his team record of seven set in 1996. … Alvis Whitted had his first reception as a pro, a 55-yarder. … Aaron Beasley's 90-yard furmble return is the longest defensive score in Jaguars history, breaking the record Donovin Darius set one week earlier (83 yards at Baltimore). It marked the first time the Jaguars have had defensive scores in back-to-back games. … RB Zack Crockett partially blocked a punt (10 yards) to give the offense possession at midfield, setting up a second-quarter TD. … Mike Logan opened the game with a career-best 51-yard kickoff return. … The Jaguars' four sacks tied their season high set on September 27 at Tennessee. Turning in sacks were: Joel Smeenge (giving him a team-leading 5.5 for the year), Fernando Smith, Kelvin Pritchett, while John Jurkovic and Jose White shared a sack. The Jaguars now have 17 for the season. … S Travis Davis made his second interception of the season and fifth of his career. … The Bengals converted on a two-point conversion, leaving Jaguars opponents 3 of 12 in four seasons (the Jaguars are 7 of 11). … The Jaguars were 4 of 13 on third-down attempts (31 percent), while the Bengals were 4 of 16 (25 percent). … Bryan Barker punted five times for a 46.2-yard average, with one touchback and three inside the 20. He had two kicks returned for only six yards. … LB Kevin Hardy led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo), followed by LB Bryce Paup with 9 tackles (6 solo). … Every player who dressed played for the second straight week, as well as QB Jonathan Quinn, who was designated as the third quarterback. It was the first the Jaguars have played three quarterbacks in a game. Friday's inactives were: RB Tavian Banks, S Chris Hudson, C John Wade and DE Lamanzer Williams; Sunday's inactives were: QB Jonathan Quinn (third QB, though he played), CB Kevin Devine, DE Eric Curry and WR Keenan McCardell. … Jaguars captains were OT Tony Boselli, WR Jimmy Smith, DT Renaldo Wynn and LB Bryce Paup.

FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE BENGALS GAME:"We had some big plays on defense, like (Aaron) Beasley's pickup of the fumble and scoring - that was a huge play. We did a nice job defensively in the tight red area twice turning them away. I thought those were the keys to the game. Up 24-0 at the half, we felt good about that. We did want to do more and we did some good things offensively but not as much as I would have liked to. We didn't try to go ultra-conservative on purpose in the second half, but it turned out that way. We wanted some opportunities for Jamie Martin to get some playing time, but we didn't get any continuity going and I am disappointed in that. We are 7-2. I'm pleased with the win and I am pleased with the way the defense played.
(on Mark Brunell sitting out the second half with a strained groin) "We just felt that we didn't want to take a chance and that it would be in our best interest to hold him back because he was sore. We tried to be aggressive and got into some situations where we couldn't. There was no continuity. In two of those series, we started out with a penalty on first down. We had too many penalties. The offense wasn't sharp, the offensive line wasn't sharp. We needed to take control of the game no matter who was in there, and we didn't do that and I'm disappointed in that.
(on blitzing Dave Thomas and Mike Logan) "It was definitely a change in terms of our pressure package. Our pressure was good today, we had four sacks and got some hurries with the ball being thrown away. That helped to set the kind of tempo the game was going to be played under, at least in the first half. We've always had a variety of new things. We made penetration sometimes with even single situations." FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: "I could have played with a groin strain. Because of the score, we were up a bit and coach (Coughlin) wanted to be careful, so he chose to go with Jamie (Martin) in the second half.
(on Fred Taylor)"He's getting better every week. He's running the ball hard, and when nothing's there he just keeps fighting and finds a way to get an extra yard. I know the linemen appreciate that. He catches the ball and runs the right routes. He's not playing like a rookie at all. It probably wouldn't have happened if James (Stewart) hadn't gotten injured, Fred probably wouldn't have this opportunity. He's a first-round pick, and he's expected to do the job when he gets in there, and he's done that.
(on the two wins since the Denver loss) "I can tell you the practices have been more upbeat. We're working harder. After those two losses, it was very frustrating. We wanted to get back on track, and we felt the way to do that was to work harder during the week - study more, spend more time watching film and doing the things that allow you to win. We've done that, and I think it shows on Sunday.
(on Tony Boselli's tackle after Artrell Hawkins' fumble recovery)"I've never seen 330 pounds move that fast. He was pretty impressive. That was a great effort. He saved a touchdown."

FROM DT JOHN JURKOVIC: (on whether or not the Jaguars were trying to save something for the next game against the Bengals) "It's not that you want to go vanilla against anybody, but you might not want to show them your complete package either. We expected them to go to a three-wide set a lot earlier, but they chose to keep the regular team in there and try to run the ball. We just go out there and we battle and battle trying to prevent the plays that are going to hurt us - the big plays. We didn't want them to get a 70-yard bomb or a 50-yard run. And if they wanted to try to grind it out, God bless them."

FROM DE TONY BRACKENS:"To this point, it was probably our best effort (as a defensive line). The key to beating that kind of quarterback is not to give him time or he'll stick the ball in there. We just tried to get in on him. We didn't do anything different scheme-wise. We just challenged ourselves up front to make a conscious effort to get to the quarterback. We just challenged ourselves to play our hardest today."

FROM RB FRED TAYLOR:"I thought I could run in the NFL, but I thought it would take some time. It wasn't a huge adjustment from college; I just needed to learn the plays here. Now I just keep trying to get better each game."

MILLER LITE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:The Jaguars' nominee for the Miller Lite Player of the Week Award is CB Aaron Beasley, who had seven tackles (six solo), a forced fumble and a fumble recovery that he returned 90 yards for a touchdown. It marks the longest defensive score in team history.

THE TEAL IS REAL . . .Since November 24, 1996, when the Jaguars began their run to the '96 playoffs, their record is fourth best in the NFL behind Green Bay, San Francisco and Denver, all of whom have 24 victories. The Jaguars have won 23 of their last 30 regular-season games. Here's a look at the league's best records since November 24, 1996:

. . . WITH THE THIRD-BEST RECORD AT HOME . . .The Jaguars have gone 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium each of the last two seasons and are 4-0 this year, which gives them an 18-2 record, which is tied for the third-best mark at home over the last three seasons. The Jaguars have lost only one home game since the second week of the 1996 season and have won 19 of their last 21 home games dating back to December 24, 1995, in their inaugural season. Here are the best home records in the NFL since the start of the 1996 season:

. . . AND THE THIRD-BEST RECORD ON THE ROAD . . .The Jaguars are one of only seven NFL teams with a better than .500 record on the road dating back to November 24, 1996. The Jaguars' 9-6 record away from home during that time is tied for the third-best mark in the NFL with Minnesota, behind only San Francisco and Green Bay. Here are the only teams in the league with a .500 or better record on the road since November 24, 1996:

1. San Francisco10-5.667
2. Green Bay Packers *9-4.692
3. Jacksonville Jaguars9-6.600
Minnesota Vikings9-6.600
5. Denver Broncos8-7.533
New England8-7.533
Pittsburg Steelers8-7.533
8. Carolina Panthers7-8.467
Kansas City Chiefs7-8.467

TAYLOR MADE FOR BIG PLAYS AND BIG GAMES:Jaguars rookie RB Fred Taylor has started only five games so far, but he has quickly turned into one of the top big-play performers in the NFL. Despite not playing much until James Stewart was injured in the season's third game, Taylor already has accomplished the following:

  • Has the two longest runs in Jaguars history (77 and 52 yards)

  • Has the longest pass reception in Jaguars history (78 yards)

  • Has three 100-yard games this season, already the team single-season record

  • Has the top three rushing performances in Jaguars history (128, 118 and 11 yards)

  • Is the only player in the NFL with TDs of more than 75 yards both running and receiving so far this year

  • Has eight touchdowns, two short of the team's single-season record

  • Has scored touchdowns in each of the last six games in which he played

  • Has the third-most TDs in the NFL (tied with three other players)

  • Is ninth in the AFC in rushing with 611 yards and leads all rookie rushers

  • Has already broken the Jaguars' single-season rookie rushing record

  • Is eighth in the AFC in total yards from scrimmage

  • Has a 5.0-yard rushing average, which trails only Denver's Terrell Davis among active running backs (and is tied with Barry Sanders and Robert Smith)

In his first three games as the main ballcarrier, Taylor had runs of 52, 49 and 77 yards, making him only the 11th player in the NFL since 1950 to have runs of 40 or more yards in three consecutive games. The other 10 players were: Lenny Moore (1956), Jim Brown (1958), Clarence Peaks (1960), Curtis McClinton (1962), Gale Sayers (1965), Franco Harris (1972), O.J. Simpson (1976), Ottis Anderson (1980), Bo Jackson (1990) and Barry Sanders (1997)

Taylor did not start the season's first two games when Stewart was rushing for 100 yards in back-to-back games; he did not play on October 18 at Buffalo because of a shoulder injury; and he missed more than a quarter of the October 25 game at Denver with a mild concussion. Taylor was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month in September.

As All-Pro offensive tackle Tony Boselli put it, "We all know he can go all the way at anytime. If we sustain our blocks and give him a little crease, he's going to make something big happen. He has the speed to go the distance. He can make people miss, and he has power, too. It's fun to block for him."

TWO TERRIFIC TANDEMS:Jaguars wide receivers Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith have each had consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and they seek to join Minnesota's Cris Carter and Jake Reed as the only duos in NFL history to reach the milestone for three straight seasons. Carter and Reed have each compiled 1,000-yard receiving seasons for four consecutive years, and they can extend their record to five in 1998. Following is a chart comparing the receiving yards of the two terrific tandems:

PLAYER199419951996199719981998 PACE*
Cris Carter1,2561,3711,1631,0695711015
Jake Reed1,1751,1671,3201,138418743
Keenan McCardell----1,1291,164524932
Jimmy Smith----1,2441,3246321,124

Smith has now caught passes in 49 consecutive games, and McCardell in the last 40 that he has played. McCardell suffered a sprained shoulder on November 1 at Baltimore and missed last week's game against Cincinnati. He was on pace for a 1,000-yard season before his injury.

JAGUARS KICK RETURN TEAMS ARE REALLY SPECIAL:Since the midway point of the 1997 season, Reggie Barlow has been on a tear on both punt and kickoff returns. Here's a look at his numbers in the last 17 regular-season games:

Punt returns4462014.185t1
Kickoff returns2463226.392t1

Three weeks ago at Denver, Barlow returned six kickoffs for a team-record 206 yards, including a 91-yarder that set up a touchdown and is the second longest in team history to his 92-yarder last season. Currently, Barlow is fourth in the AFC in punt returns (13.1) and second in kickoff returns (27.6). In addition, in last year's AFC playoffs, he also returned three kickoffs for 118 yards, with a 52-yarder. Rookie Tavian Banks returned a kickoff 65 yards in Week 2 against Kansas City and has a 26.6-yard average on five kickoff returns. And, in the last two weeks, Mike Logan has been on a tear. He had a 96-yard return for a touchdown called back because of a penalty at Baltimore, and he had a 51-yard return last week vs. Cincinnati.

As a team, the Jaguars rank tied for fifth in kickoff returns with a 24.7-yard average, and they are seventh in punt returns with a 13.3-yard average. The Jaguars' average start after kickoffs is the 28.1-yard line, fourth in the AFC and sixth in the NFL.

THE FIRST FOUR SEASONS:Of the 10 expansion teams in NFL history, the Jaguars have the most victories through four seasons. The Jaguars have 31 victories in three-plus seasons, compared to 27 for Carolina and 25 for Seattle (in four full seasons). Here's how NFL expansion teams fared in their first four seasons:

THE COMEBACK CAT: Since the Jaguars' inaugural season of 1995, QB Mark Brunell has led the Jaguars to 10 come-from-behind victories in the fourth quarter. Here's a recap:

DateOpponentScoreWhat Happened
Oct. 12, 1998vs. Miami28-21Down 21-14 early in the forth quarter, Brunell threw two TD passes to Keenan McCardell for the victory on "Monday Night Football." The first score was a 23-yarder with 11:55 remaining to tie the game, and the game-winner came on a 56-yard pass with 2:44 left on the first play after a missed Miami field goal.
Sept. 27, 1998at Tennessee27-22Trailing 22-21 entering the forth quarter, Brunell led the Jaguars to field goals on back-to-back possessions on drives of 10 and 13 plays.
Sept. 6, 1998at Chicago24-23Down 23-17 with 4:08 to play, Brunell drove the Jaguars 87 yards in 12 plays, throwing a four-yard TD pass to Jimmy Smith for the winning score.
Sept. 22, 1997vs. Pittsburgh30-21Down 21-20 with 10:28 remaining in the game, Brunell drove the Jaguars 72 yards in 13 plays, culminating in a 27-yard field goal from Mike Hollis with 4:14 left that gave Jacksonville the lead. Pittsburgh then drove downfield and attempted a winning field goal, which was blocked and returned for a touchdown.
Dec. 28, 1996at Buffalo30-27Tied 20-20 heading into the quarter, Brunell threw a pass that was (Wild-Card) tipped, then intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He then led the Jaguars to 10 unanswered points, including a 2-yard TD pass to Jimmy Smith on third down, for the team's first-ever playoff victory.
Dec. 15, 1996vs. Seattle20-13Down 13-7 entering the fourth quarter, the Jaguars scored 13 unanswered points to win 20-13. First, Brunell threw a 39-yard TD pass to Jimmy Smith, then Mike Hollis kicked field goals of 19 and 39 yards.
Nov. 24, 1996at Baltimore28-25 (OT)Down 25-10 entering the fourth quarter. Scored two touchdowns on Brunell TD passes to Pete Mitchell and Willie Jackson and a two-point conversion on a Brunell run. Brunell led Jacksonville 48 yards on 9 plays to set up Mike Hollis' game-winning 34-yard field goal.
Nov. 10, 1996Baltimore30-27Down 27-16 with 6:23 to play. Scored on last two possessions, an 8-yard pass from Brunell to James Stewart and a 1-yard run by Brunell (with Brunell throwing a pass to Keenan McCardell for a two-point conversion).
Dec. 24, 1995Cleveland24-21Down 14-13, Brunell ran 27 yards for a TD and threw a pass for a two-point conversion for a 21-14 lead. Cleveland tied the game 21-21 with 1:13 to play, then Brunell led the Jaguars 63 yards in 5 plays for a 34-yard field goal by Mike Hollis for the game-winner.
Oct. 1, 1995at Houston17-16Down 16-10 with 2:27 remaining, Jeff Lageman forced a fumble. Brunell, in a relief role, drove the Jaguars 45 yards in five plays, leading to a 15-yard TD pass to Desmond Howard and the extra point by Mike Hollis. It was the franchise's first-ever victory.

BRUNELL'S TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 67 TD passes in four seasons in Jacksonville. Here are the 14 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (15), Keenan McCardell (11), Willie Jackson (10), Pete Mitchell (7), James Stewart (5), Damon Jones (5), Ernest Givins (3), Cedric Tillman (3), Fred Taylor (2), Andre Rison (2), Derek Brown (1), Ty Hallock (1), Desmond Howard (1), Natrone Means (1).

JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS:Through 10 weeks, the Jaguars rank 7th in the NFL in total offense (6th rushing, 12th passing), and they rank 26th in defense (14th rushing and 27th passing). … The Jaguars have scored 233 points, an average of 25.9 per game, second in the conference behind Denver (33.3) and fifth in the NFL. … The Jaguars' offense is ninth in the NFL in third down percentage (48 of 118, 40.7 percent) and the defense is the 13th in the NFL in opponent's third-down conversions (44 of 121, 36.4 percent). A year ago in third down percentage, the Jaguars ranked 12th on offense (39.2 percent) and last on defense (45.1 percent). … The Jaguars are second in the AFC and third in the NFL with an average of 6.11 yards on first downs. Denver leads the conference with 6.59 yards. … The Jaguars' plus-7 difference in turnovers-takeaways is second in the AFC and third in the NFL. … RB Fred Taylor is tied for second in the AFC with eight touchdowns … Mike Hollis is seventh in the AFC in scoring with 59 points. … QB Mark Brunell is third in the AFC in passing with a 97.6 rating, which would be a career high. Brunell's 15 TD passes is tied for the AFC lead and is tied for fourth in the NFL. He also is fourth in the conference with a 103.1 passer rating in the fourth quarter. … Despite missing last week's game, WR Keenan McCardell is sixth in the AFC with 42 catches, and Jimmy Smith is tied for eighth in the AFC with 40 receptions. Smith's 632 yards is fourth in the AFC, and McCardell's 524 yards is 13th … Despite just five starts, Fred Taylor is ninth in the AFC with 611 yards rushing, and his 5.0-yard rushing average is tied for second in the NFL among active running backs. Taylor is also eighth with 842 total yards from scrimmage, while Smith is 17th with 632 yards. … Reggie Barlow is fourth in the AFC in punt returns (13.1-yard average) and second in kickoff returns (27.6 yards). … P Bryan Barker is 11th in the AFC in gross punting (43.6) and is fourth in net punting (37.7). Barker has the fourth-fewest punts returned in the AFC (16), the second-fewest return yards (102) and the second-most inside-the-20 punts in the conference (15).

1998 STATS AND SUCH: In nine games, the Jaguars have 18 plays of 30 or more yards. They had 22 plays of 30-plus yards in 1997, 26 in 1996 and 12 in 1995. … The Jaguars have outscored their opponents in the first quarter (62-26), second (83-76) and third quarter (48-26) and have been outscored in the fourth quarter (40-48). … The offense has used seven different starting lineup combinations in the nine games, while the defense has had a different starting lineup in eight of the nine games. … Of the Jaguars' 155 completed passes this season, 91 have been to wide receivers, 24 to tight ends and 40 to running backs. … Jaguars opponents have begun 25 possessions inside their own 20, and they have scored on only one of those drives (1 FG). The Jaguars have begun 16 possessions inside their own 20, and they have scored on 2 of them (2 TD). On 33 drives inside the opponent's 20, the Jaguars have scored 17 TDs and 10 FGs. Their opponents have had 30 trips inside the red zone and have scored 14 TDs and 12 FGs. … The Jaguars have used turnovers to score 51 points, while their opponents have scored 22 points off turnovers. … In four seasons, the Jaguars are 7 for 11 on two-point conversions, while their opponents are 3 for 12 (the Jaguars had one attempt and conversion this year, which was nullified by a penalty). … The Jaguars are 3 for 5 on fourth-down conversions; their opponents are 7 of 11 this season.

In four seasons, the Jaguars are 1-0 in August, 8-8 in September, 7-9 in October, 8-5 in November and 7-4 in December. … Mark Brunell is 28-21 as a starter in regular-season games, 30-23 overall. … The average age of the 53-man roster as of November 9 was 26.08 years old. There were 25 players 25 or younger, 22 players between 26 and 29 years old, and six players 30 or older. The youngest player is RB Fred Taylor (22 years, 10 months), and the oldest is P Bryan Barker (34). … Ten rookies are on the roster, including eight of the 11 draft choices (RB Fred Taylor, S Donovin Darius, CB Cordell Taylor, QB Jonathan Quinn, RB Tavian Banks, C/G John Wade, DE Lamanzer Williams and WR Alvis Whitted) … More than half of the players (36) have four years or less of NFL experience, and only 5 players are in their eighth season or more. … There are 17 players who are new to the team this year, and 36 who were with the team before this year. In addition to the eight draft choices, the other nine new players are C Quentin Neujahr (restricted free agent from Baltimore); LB Bryce Paup (unrestricted free agent from Buffalo); QB Jamie Martin, DEs Fernando Smith and Eric Curry and RB George Jones (veteran free agent); RB Chris Howard and S Tawambi Settles (rookie free agents); and FB Zack Crockett (claimed off waivers). … The Jaguars have 11 players who were first-round selections in the college draft, including six of their own picks: DE Jeff Lageman, who is on I.R. (1989, New York Jets), DT Kelvin Pritchett (1991, Dallas Cowboys, but traded to Detroit on Draft Day), OT Leon Searcy (1992, Pittsburgh Steelers), CB Deon Figures (1993, Pittsburgh Steelers), DE Eric Curry (1993, Tampa Bay), OT Tony Boselli (1995, Jaguars), RB James Stewart, who is on I.R. (1995, Jaguars), LB Kevin Hardy (1996, Jaguars), DT Renaldo Wynn (1997, Jaguars), RB Fred Taylor (1998, Jaguars) and S Donovin Darius (1998, Jaguars).

In three seasons, four Jaguars have played in all 61 games (regular season and postseason) in franchise history: WR Jimmy Smith, TE Pete Mitchell, PK Mike Hollis and P Bryan Barker. … OT Leon Searcy has started the most consecutive games, 89 dating back to 1993 when he was with the Steelers. Searcy has played in 103 straight games. … Five players have played in more than 100 games during their careers: P Bryan Barker (128), DE Joel Smeenge (122), LB Bryce Paup (116), DT Kelvin Pritchett (109) and OT Leon Searcy (104). … Paup has 92 career starts, followed by Searcy (89). … OT Tony Boselli and QB Mark Brunell have each started 49 games for the Jaguars, followed by Ben Coleman (46). The longest current string of consecutive starts is shared by Coleman (41) and Searcy (41).

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