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Jags do it at crunch time again


The Jaguars will break the legs off the turkey with great gusto this Thursday. Their Thanksgiving dinner will never taste better.

A team that was left for dead only a month ago is now on a three-game winning streak that includes consecutive weeks of scintillating, game-winning plays at crunch time. Last week, it was the Houston Texans that fell on the final play of the game. Sunday, the Cleveland Browns went down, 24-20, despite six Jaguars turnovers.

What is it about this Jaguars team that has people asking this popular question: Are the Jaguars a team of destiny?

"Yes," coach Jack Del Rio said when asked if he believes in such things as teams of destiny. "I also believe you don't find out until it's all done."

Ten games into the 2010 season, the Jaguars left their locker room on Sunday to go home and watch what they hoped would be a Patriots win over the Colts that would leave the Jaguars in a first-place tie with the Colts. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans fell off the pace by losing in overtime to the Washington Redskins.

Wow! Life sure is good these days, but make the celebration short and subdued, please, because just ahead are consecutive road games that will test not only this team's mettle but its pact with destiny, too.

"We're gonna have to jump out on teams now. That's what you have to do on the road," defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said.

Knighton is in only his second year of professional football, but he has the savvy of a 10-year veteran. He knows the way the Jaguars played on Sunday won't work in New York or in Tennessee. That destiny stuff is nice and it makes for a good story, but it's not something on which you should count in the cold winds of the Meadowlands or on hostile soil in Nashville.

Hey, that wasn't good enough. Give the Jaguars credit for being resilient. Feel good about the performance of the defense. Don't fool yourself into believing that divine intervention is a Jaguars fan.

On a day when David Garrard threw three interceptions and saw his passer rating suffer a severe hit, is it possible the Jaguars stole a win?

"Not really," Del Rio said when asked if he was of that opinion. "I never felt it was something out of our reach. Certainly we defied the odds."

Yeah, they sure did. You just don't expect to go 72 yards with a simple screen pass. Truth be known, Cleveland coach Eric Mangini did the Jaguars a big favor twice in Sunday's game, having Phil Dawson twice attempt 51-yard field goals that failed and handed the Jaguars field position they turned into touchdowns.

The Jaguars won this game because:

  • Garrard was able to rally in the face of a disastrous stretch of play in the second half and rally the Jaguars to victory. He tied the game with a 59-yard drive and a touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis following the second of Dawson's two misses from 51.

"He did keep his wits about him. A couple of the balls were perfect," Del Rio said of the tipped passes that resulted in interceptions. "The one to Mike (Thomas) hit him in the chest. He did a good job of not unraveling," Del Rio added of Garrard.

  • Maurice Jones-Drew capped one of the great performances in Jaguars history by running through half the Browns defense on a 72-yard screen pass that, three plays later, produced the game-winner when Jones-Drew punched it in from less than a yard out.

"We just put the ball in the hands of one of our better players and he made a big play," Del Rio said.

  • The defense limited three interceptions and a fumble on four consecutive possessions by the Jaguars offense to a mere three points by the Browns. They were four possessions that could've clinched the win for the Browns, but the defense said no; it said no for one of the few times this season and that is the best news of all from a win that didn't quite have the bite that, in many ways, didn't feel like one.

"We won because the defense played a helluva game. We won the game and everybody's happy but we definitely have to play better. As an offense, we didn't play well. The defense deserves all the credit," Jones-Drew said.

Fate is getting its share of the credit, too.

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