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Jags 20th: Morten Misses


The Jaguars entered the 1996 regular-season finale needing a victory over the Atlanta Falcons to qualify for the playoffs. They got the victory, 19-17, but it took a remarkably memorable finish to get it.

The Jaguars, who entered the game on a four-game winning streak, squandered a 16-3 third-quarter lead to lead by just two, 19-17, entering the final minutes. As the Falcons drove deep into Jaguars territory, the Jaguars' playoff hopes appeared to be fading – particularly considering the presence on the Atlanta sideline of Morten Andersen, one of the NFL's most reliable kickers.

Andersen, then a 15-year veteran, had made 59 kicks from 30 yards or closer. With eight seconds remaining, Andersen lined up for a 30-yard field goal.

But Andersen's plant foot slipped. The ball missed left by a yard. The crowd erupted and players flooded the field. The Jaguars advanced to the AFC Playoffs as a wild-card team with a 9-7 record.

"You've just got to believe in destiny when something like that happens," wide receiver Jimmy Smith told reporters afterward.

There was plenty of destiny yet to come.

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