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Jags 20th: A Memorable Monday


Simmons got it, and safety Chris Hudson scooped it up and raced past Steelers coach Bill Cowher and raced 58 yards for a touchdown and a 30-21 Jaguars victory.

But that was only the ending. The days leading to that September 22, 1997 game were shrouded in mystery. Would Mark Brunell be ready to start at quarterback for the first time since injuring his knee in the preseason? Or would the Jaguars have to play journeyman Steve Matthews, who was good enough to beat the Giants but perhaps not quite the guy to take down Pittsburgh?

Brunell took the field during player introductions and the crowd at Alltel Stadium surged. He looked like his old self early, driving the Jaguars in 10 plays for a touchdown pass to Natrone Means and a 7-0 Jaguars lead. The Steelers answered when quarterback Kordell Stewart ran for a six-yard touchdown.

The game went back and forth, the teams trading touchdowns and field goals. Steelers tight end Mark Bruner's one-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Steelers a 21-20 lead, their first of the game. Mike Hollis returned the lead to the Jaguars when his 27-yard field goal with just over four minutes to play sailed through the uprights.

On the ensuing drive the Steelers pounded the ball all the way to the Jaguars 22-yard line. Norm Johnson seemed poised to give Cower and his Steelers their first win in Jacksonville with a makeable 39-yard field goal. Then, Simmons' big hands got in the way and Hudson capped the memorable night with a score that almost, almost brought Bill Cowher to the edge.

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