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Life is good for the Jaguars


Jack Del Rio walked into the room for the start of his postgame press conference, causing one of the attendants to turn off the TV.

"Don't cut that off," Del Rio said. "Let's watch it for awhile."

The TV was turned back on for what would be the game-winning, overtime field goal in Kansas City's upset win over the Steelers. When the officials raised their hands to signal the kick was successful, Del Rio added, "See, it was worth those 30 seconds," at which point the TV was turned off, again, and Del Rio walked to the podium for one of the most satisfying postgame press conferences in his seven years as Jaguars coach.

"What a great comeback victory today," Del Rio said.

It is also one of the great understatements of his Jaguars career. Ten games into a rebuilding season that began 0-2 and had the look of hopelessness, Del Rio's Jaguars are tied with the Super Bowl-champion Steelers in the wild-card race, both teams at 6-4. Life is good for the Jaguars.

The Jaguars have now won six of their last eight games and they have one of the league's hottest crunch-time quarterbacks. David Garrard has now rallied his team to the game-winning touchdown on the team's final drive of the game in three of the last five games.

"He's had a few of those for us this year," Del Rio said of Garrard. "That's what this league comes down to, being able to function at crunch time."

Truth be known, Garrard was not having a very good day. In his other fourth-quarter drive, he was stripped of the ball by Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny at the Bills 21.

Garrard was on his way to a week of criticism for having allowed the lowly Bills defense to dominate the Jaguars offense. Then, crunch time arrived and Garrard became a better player, just as he had the previous week in rallying the Jaguars to victory over the Jets.

He converted a second-and-seven play with a 20-yard pass to Mike Sims-Walker to the Bills 12-yard line. Six plays later, on third and goal at the Bills three-yard line with 1:02 to play, Garrard found Sims-Walker wide open in the left side of the end zone, and Garrard dropped the pass perfectly, artistically into Sims-Walker's hands.

This was supposed to be a game in which the Jaguars would pound the ball at the Bills defense, the worst in the league against the run. The Jaguars did pound the ball but the Bills pounded back, holding Jones-Drew to 66 yards on 25 carries.

"He's our best football player and he's got to touch the ball. We thought if we could get him to the second level, they'd have trouble tackling him. We just never got him to the second level," Del Rio said of Jones-Drew.

Posluszny was Jones-Drew's constant pursuer, as Posluszny recorded 12 tackles and showed no signs of weakening late in the game. Though the Jaguars were first and goal at the two, Jones-Drew was stopped twice, the second time for a two-yard loss.

This one was in Garrard's hands. He had to make the winning play and he did.

"Right now, I couldn't be happier about winning the ballgame," Del Rio said in responding to a reporter who asked if Del Rio was concerned about his offense's otherwise weak performance. "You have to be happy about making the plays you need to make at crunch time."

Yeah, and you have to be happy about being in the playoff race at Thanksgiving.

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