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Jags trounce Panthers, 37-6


Jacksonville's defense turned in its best performance in two months. Fred Taylor topped it with the longest run in team history.

Together, they helped the Jaguars move a step closer to securing an AFC playoff berth.

Taylor ran for 132 yards and a touchdown, the defense looked like its old self and the Jaguars beat the Carolina Panthers 37-6 on Sunday.

Jacksonville (9-4) harassed Vinny Testaverde, stuffed DeShaun Foster and locked down Steve Smith -- the defense's most complete game since consecutive wins at Denver and Kansas City early in the season.

The Jaguars turned the game on the first play of the third quarter and sealed the victory on the first play of the fourth.

But the defense ended up sharing the spotlight with Taylor, whose 80-yard TD run with 9:48 to play was the longest run from scrimmage in the NFL this season.

Taylor started up the middle, cut left and then ran untouched for the score. He outran several defenders on his way to the end zone and ended up passing Eddie George (10,441) and Tiki Barber (10,449) on the NFL's all-time rushing list.

Taylor now ranks 18th with 10,457 yards. He would have had more yards, but ended up losing 21 yards on a fumble in the second quarter.

The Panthers (5-8) lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell farther back in the NFC playoff picture. With games remaining against division leaders Seattle, Dallas and Tampa Bay, Carolina probably needs to win out to even have a shot at making the postseason.

The Panthers looked nothing like a playoff team Sunday.

Testaverde was 13-of-28 for 84 yards, with an interception that was returned for a touchdown. He missed receivers all over the field, was sacked once and was eventually benched in favor of Matt Moore.

Foster ran 11 times for 46 yards and had a critical fumble.

Smith had six catches for 44 yards, hardly providing the kind of deep threat that has given the Jaguars problems all season.

Foster fumbled on the first play of the third quarter. John Henderson knocked the ball loose and Daryl Smith recovered at the 21-yard line.

Jacksonville scored six plays later. David Garrard's 6-yard pass to Matt Jones in the back of the end zone made it 17-6.

The Jaguars added a field goal on their next possession, then Clint Ingram stepped in front of Testaverde's pass in the flat -- the first play of the fourth quarter -- and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown and a 27-6 lead.

Taylor's long run made it a laugher.

Garrard finished 20-of-36 for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He hooked up with Reggie Williams for a 22-yard score in the first quarter. Williams had five catches for 90 yards.

Jaguars three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, returning from a four-game suspension for violating the league's steroid and related substances policy, injured his right ankle on the first play of the second half.

Stroud was helped to the locker room for X-rays.

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