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Third-quarter drive big


This time they didn't abandon the run, and a 13-play, 80-yard drive to begin the second half was the turning point in the game.

Seven of those plays were on the ground, and quarterback Byron Leftwich covered the remaining distance himself, scoring on a four-yard quarterback draw. The touchdown drive cut the Indianapolis Colts' lead to 20-14 and began a Jaguars second-half rally that would culminate in a 28-23 upset of the Colts.

"Down 13 points getting the ball after halftime, you're certainly not chased out of your running game. That initial drive was big. When you're converting third downs you get a chance to run it," head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters this afternoon.

All of the elements of the Jaguars' offense came together in the second half. Leftwich twice kept the drive alive with clutch third-down passes; one went to rookie Cortez Hankton for 16 yards on third-and-12, and another was to Jimmy Smith for 15 yards on third-and-nine.

Taylor, the star of the game with 152 yards rushing on 28 carries, began the drive with three consecutive runs for 11 yards and a first down, but Taylor was not the star of the series. He was replaced midway in the drive by LaBrandon Toefield, who gave way to Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, though their contributions were minor.

What was important was the Jaguars' commitment to the run. Leftwich was the star of the drive, but the emphasis was on the run and it paid dividends at crunch time in the fourth quarter when the Jaguars pounded the Colts into submission.

Taylor gained 82 yards rushing in the fourth quarter. It was the finest 15 minutes of football the Jaguars have played this season, and it included 11:34 in time of possession, eight first downs and four of five in third-down conversions. Defensively, the Jaguars made two late-game stands and special teams contributed a 27-yard punt return by David Allen when the Jaguars desperately needed field position.

"It was a nice fourth quarter. It was clearly something we needed to do; win the fourth quarter and get a big win," Del Rio said. "The backs all ran hard and the offensive line did a fantastic job. It was one of those breakout moments we so desperately needed."

Del Rio awarded game balls to Taylor, middle linebacker Mike Peterson and specials team gunner Anthony Mitchell. He probably should've awarded one to himself for a rousing halftime speech that included some broken glass.

"There's no question motivation plays a part in the game, but it comes down to blocking, tackling and execution of fundamentals. It's got to be natural. It's nothing premeditated," Del Rio said. "It was more a show of the will I thought we needed to have to win. I'm just being myself. It's what I thought was appropriate."

Sticking to their running game was also appropriate. It was something they hadn't done after falling behind in previous games. They continued to talk about doing it; this time they did it.

In other news:

• Del Rio said he would cast his MVP vote for Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair if the vote was taken today.

• About defensive end Tony Brackens' recovery from knee surgery, Del Rio said: "He's as far as he's going to get."

• "I know Hugh was doing all he can. That's all you can ask of a man," Del Rio said of defensive end Hugh Douglas, who went sackless against Colts rookie offensive tackle Makoa Freitas.

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