Week 17 of the 2003 NFL season finds the Jaguars playing at the Atlanta Falcons. Here's what happened in past years' week-17 games. They're ranked in the order of their prominence in Jaguars history.
Jaguars 19, Falcons 17 (12-22-96)
It is one of the most famous regular-season finales in NFL history, the result of one of the most infamous field goal attempts ever.
Morten Andersen, who was then the most accurate placekicker in NFL history, missed a 30-yard attempt with four seconds remaining in the game, allowing the second-year Jaguars to clinch a playoff berth and begin a Cinderella run to the AFC title game.
Atlanta was a mere 3-12 coming into Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The Jaguars were 8-7 and needing a chain of events to put them into the playoffs. They seemed to be a team of destiny, as Mike Hollis banked the eventual game-winning field goal off the left upright early in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons cut the Jaguars' lead to two points with 5:39 to play, then got the ball back at the Atlanta 30-yard line. Eleven plays later, the Falcons were at the Jacksonville 13-yard line, where it was decided that was close enough for Andersen to kick the game-winner. It was a sure thing. Yeah.
Jacksonville got 222 yards passing and no interceptions from Mark Brunell, and 110 yards rushing from Natrone Means, but the feisty Falcons played as though their playoff lives were at stake.
Following the win, owner Wayne Weaver led an impromptu postgame celebration at midfield, during which Weaver and coach Tom Coughlin addressed the wildly cheering crowd of 71,449. Little did they know what was ahead; playoff wins in Buffalo and Denver.
Jaguars 24, Bengals 7 (1-2-00)
The 13-2 Jaguars had to win at home against the 4-11 Cincinnati Bengals to clinch their second consecutive AFC Central Division title, and to also secure homefield advantage for the playoffs. The Bengals didn't make it easy, and the Jaguars also lost star offensive tackle Tony Boselli for the remainder of the season to a severe knee injury.
Cincinnati took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, but the Jaguars quickly responded with an eight-play, 60-yard, game-tying touchdown drive that was capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by Fred Taylor.
Of course, the Jaguars were playing without quarterback Mark Brunell, who was nursing a knee injury suffered the previous week in Tennessee. Jay Fiedler took Brunell's place and threw for an impressive 317 yards in an error-free performance.
Fiedler's 25-yard touchdown pass to Keenan McCardell put the Jaguars on top to stay, and Taylor padded the lead with a fourth-quarter touchdown.
At 14-2, the Jaguars would have a week off before hosting intrastate rival Miami in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Jaguars 21, Steelers 3 (12-28-98)
Smarting from a 50-10 shellacking at Minnesota the previous weekend, the Jaguars hosted rival Pittsburgh in a Monday night regular-season finale in which Mark Brunell would remain out of action as he recovered from a severe high-ankle sprain suffered three weeks earlier against Detroit.
Rookie quarterback Jonathan Quinn was making his second professional start. This one turned out a lot better.
Quinn ran 15 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter, erasing the Steelers' 3-0 lead, and Fred Taylor would clinch victory with a nine-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter and a 12-yard touchdown run in the third.
Quinn threw for 192 yards, in a workmanlike performance in front of the largest crowd (74,143) in Alltel Stadium history.
At 11-5, the Jaguars were AFC Central champs for the first time and would prepare to host their first-ever home playoff game, against the New England Patriots.
Colts 20, Jaguars 13 (12-29-02)
The only suspense for this 2002 season finale was the fate of coach Tom Coughlin. Amid rumors Coughlin would be fired the following morning, the Jaguars took the field in the RCA Dome with rookie David Garrard at quarterback.
Say this for the 2002 Jaguars: They played hard to the end.
The Jaguars held a 13-10 lead with 13:55 to play in the fourth quarter. But with less than five minutes to play, the Colts began a seven-play, 47-yard touchdown drive that would be the game-winner. Peyton Manning threw 11 yards to tight end Marcus Pollard for the winning touchdown.
Mark Brunell missed the game with a sore hamstring; Garrard threw for 135 yards. The Jaguars finished the season 6-10 for the second consecutive year.
Coughlin was fired the following morning.
Jaguars 20, Raiders 9 (12-21-97)
The Jaguars had nothing at stake in this regular season finale in Oakland. They had clinched a wild-card playoff berth the previous weekend, and were set for a return to Denver in the first round of the playoffs.
Mark Brunell threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, Natrone Means rushed for 80 yards, and Jimmy Smith put the finishing touches on a career-high 1,324 yards receiving for the season.
The Raiders, 4-11 at kickoff, cut the Jaguars' lead to 14-10 in the third quarter, but the defense held firm the rest of the way. The Jaguars finished the season with a franchise-best 11-5 record.
Giants 28, Jaguars 25 (12-23-00)
The Jaguars were attempting to avoid their first losing season since their inaugural year and, for awhile, it appeared they might succeed. Then, the soon-to-become-NFC-champion Giants swamped the visitors with a fourth-quarter barrage.
Jacksonville led, 10-7, into the fourth quarter, but Ike Hilliard caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Kerry Collins, then Collins hit Amani Toomer with a 54-yard touchdown pass and the Jaguars were locked at 7-9.
Jimmy Smith left the game in the first half after a big hit by the Giants' Shaun Williams, and Smith's consecutive-games, pass-catching streak came to an end.
Fred Taylor suffered a similar fate. Taylor left the game due to injury and Taylor's consecutive-games, 100-yard rushing streak ended at nine games.
Jaguars 24, Browns 21 (12-24-95)
Christmas Eve in Jacksonville saw the Cleveland Browns (5-10) playing their final game before moving to Baltimore and becoming the Ravens.
Meanwhile, the 3-12 Jaguars were trying to end a seven-game losing streak that stretched back to an Oct. 22 win in Cleveland.
Mark Brunell returned to action from a severe hamstring injury to star in the Jaguars' inaugural-season finale. Brunell threw for 275 yards and a touchdown, and led the Jaguars with 51 yards rushing. His 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave the Jaguars a 21-14 lead, but Vinny Testaverde led the Browns on a game-tying 79-yard touchdown drive.
With just over a minute to play, Brunell led the Jaguars in a five-play, 63-yard drive that culminated in a game-winning, 34-yard field goal by Mike Hollis as time expired.
Bears 33, Jaguars 13 (1-6-02)
A lopsided loss in Chicago left the Jaguars with their worst record (6-10) since their inaugural season.
The Bears dominated the game, as rookie running back Anthony Thomas rushed for 160 yards. The win left the Bears with homefield advantage for the NFC playoffs.
Keith Traylor provided the memorable play of the game, as the 350-pound defensive tackle rumbled 67 yards with an interception.