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Taylor leads Jags to victory


PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The snow, wind and chilly temperatures on a mid-December day in Pittsburgh made for perfect conditions on exactly the kind of day the Steelers love. Perfect, that is, for the weatherproof Jacksonville Jaguars.

Fred Taylor scored a decisive touchdown on a 12-yard run in the final two minutes while gaining 147 yards and the Jaguars withstood the bad weather and Pittsburgh's fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Steelers at their own game, winning 29-22 Sunday.

The Steelers (9-5), losing at home for the first time in eight games this season on a day seemingly built for them, fell into a tie with the Browns (9-5) for the AFC North lead after Cleveland beat Buffalo 8-0. The Steelers, who could have clinched the division with a win and a Browns loss, own the tiebreaker going into their Thursday night game at St. Louis.

Pittsburgh's last chance of tying it ended when tight end Heath Miller was stopped a half-yard short of a first down on a fourth-and-7 pass play from the Jacksonville 45 in the final minute.

The Steelers were down 22-7 after David Garrard threw three touchdown passes and looked beaten after getting nothing going offensively in the half, only to tie it by scoring twice in 7 1/2 minutes with the help of two missed extra points by Jacksonville.

Garrard was intercepted for only the second time in 303 attempts. Anthony Smith's 50-yard return set up Ben Roethlisberger's 11-yard TD pass to Hines Ward. After the Jaguars punted, Roethlisberger - who threw three TD passes despite playing with a sore shoulder on a windy day - hit Nate Washington for 30 yards and the QB's team record-setting 29th scoring pass of the season.

Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, lined up in the backfield, then found Holmes in the end zone for the tying 2-point conversion, but Jacksonville needed only eight plays to drive 73 yards for the deciding touchdown. Taylor had his fourth consecutive 100-yard game and is averaging 121 yards in his last six against Pittsburgh, which lost to Jacksonville for the third season in a row.

The weather seemingly couldn't have been worse for the Jaguars, who hadn't played all season with a gametime temperature below 62. It was 35 and dropping, with an already soggy field made even mushier by a snow shower 25 minutes before kickoff that briefly coated the field. Snow flurries returned to keep the field white during the second half.

Only these Jaguars aren't a typical, warm-weather team. Coach Jack Del Rio has built a power-running team that can pound out the tough yards in bad weather yet rarely turns the ball over, and the Jaguars illustrated their versatility on their first two possessions of the second half.

Jacksonville, leading 10-7 following Garrard's 12-yard scoring pass to Ernest Wilford with about a minute left in the first half, put together exactly the kind of a drive that might have been expected of the Steelers in a key, mid-December home game - 20 plays for 74 yards over nearly 10 minutes.

Garrard finished it off with a 3-yard TD pass to Reggie Williams on third-and-goal, after the Jaguars went 0-for-6 on third downs in the first half. On this drive, they converted three times on third down with 8 to go or longer, and twice on fourth-and-1 with Garrard keeping the drive going with a 3-yard QB sneak to the Steelers' 28.

The big plays were Maurice Jones-Drew's 17-yard run on third-and-10 and Jones-Drew's 8-yard catch on third-and-8 at the 9.

Then, after Pittsburgh went three-and-out, Garrard found Dennis Northcutt behind Smith - yes , him again - on the Jaguars' next play for a 55-yard touchdown that made it 22-7. However, the Jaguars missed the extra point on both scores, the first after holder Adam Podlesh bobbled a snap and the second when Josh Scobee missed into the wind.

Smith's ill-advised guaranteed win riled up the Patriots a week ago before their 34-13 rout of Pittsburgh, which has lost three of five.

This was the third consecutive game played at Heinz Field in inclement weather, including tropical-like rain that fell throughout Pittsburgh's 3-0 victory over Miami on Nov. 26 and left the field nearly unplayable.

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