Jaguars reach 'sweet 100'

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The Jaguars notched their 100th win against the coach who gave them their first 68. Jack Del Rio decided to give the game ball to the man who was there for all 100, owner Wayne Weaver.

Del Rio's team spoiled Tom Coughlin's return to Jacksonville on Monday night by handing Coughlin and the New York Giants a 26-10 defeat that wasn't as close as the score would indicate.

"The former Jags coach against the current Jags coach; there's only been two of us," Del Rio said, referring to himself and Coughlin.

It was a game the Jaguars desperately needed to win to keep pace with Kansas City in the wild-card race. At 6-4, the Jaguars are tied with the Chiefs as the two teams head toward a final-day-of-the-season showdown in Kansas City that could decide the AFC's sixth and final playoff spot.

The Jaguars scored this most recent win by using the same formula that has been successful for them most of this season: They played suffocating defense.

In holding Tiki Barber and the Giants to 25 net yards rushing, the Jaguars set a franchise record for lowest rushing output by an opponent. Monday night's effort bettered the previous mark, achieved in a week-two win on Monday Night Football, when the Jaguars held the Steelers to 26 yards rushing.

"We did not execute on offense at all. We did not rush the ball," Coughlin told reporters.

The Giants were completely dominated by the Jaguars defense, which roughed up quarterback Eli Manning to the tune of two interceptions and a 51.9 passer rating that was a vast improvement over his 19.6 at halftime.

It was defensive tackle Marcus Stroud's comeback game after having missed five games due to an ankle injury, but Stroud's contribution was more emotional than statistical.

"I was a little rusty out there. I still have got to work on getting my pad level back to where I need to be and get my conditioning back to where I had it," Stroud said.

Just as the Jaguars were celebrating the return of Stroud, however, they lost safety Donovin Darius for the season to a broken ankle he sustained in the first half. Wide receiver Ernest Wilford, who led the Jaguars with five catches for 72 yards, also sustained an ankle injury. Del Rio referred to the injury as a sprain but added that was a preliminary diagnosis.

Josh Scobee kicked four field goals, giving him 15 straight, and Fred Taylor scored from 10 yards out and Maurice Jones-Drew from three yards. The defense did the rest.

"I thought you saw some maturity out there. I thought you saw some persistence and enthusiasm," Del Rio said.

The only tense moment in the game occurred late in the third quarter, after the Jaguars had taken a 16-10 lead. Manning heaved a pass downfield for wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who was ruled to have made a juggling catch for a 53-yard gain to the Jaguars 27-yard line.

Just before the Giants snapped the ball to begin the next play, Del Rio threw his red "challenge" flag, stopping the action and triggering a review. The review showed conclusively that Burress had not controlled the ball and the call was reversed to an incomplete pass.

"I was screaming 'challenge, challenge, challenge' as I was digging the flag out. That was a huge turning point right there," Del Rio said.

Had Del Rio not produced the red flag before the next play began, the original call would've stood. Who knows what would've followed?

The Jaguars now face two road tests, the first in Buffalo this Sunday, followed by a trip to Miami.

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