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Jaguars keep finding ways to win

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Recent posts by Arthur Arkush

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Posted Nov. 22, 2010 @ 5:37 p.m. ET
By Arthur Arkush

The Jaguars, winners of three in a row and 5-of-7, earned their second consecutive victory Sunday after trailing with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, topping the Browns 24-20. Maurice Jones-Drew, who finished the game with a career-high 219 yards from scrimmage, scored the game-winning one-yard TD run with 1:16 remaining.

He also set up the score by taking a David Garrard screen pass 75 yards down to the Browns' one-yard line two plays earlier. The Jaguars became the first team since Oct. 8, 2007 to win despite turning the ball over six times and posting a minus-five turnover ratio.

The PFW Spin

While Jones-Drew provided the fireworks on offense, it was the defense that kept the Jaguars within striking distance. Jacksonville turned the ball over on five consecutive possessions in the second half — three interceptions and two fumbles — and the "D" stood tall each time, holding Cleveland to an unheard-of minus-four yards on 14 plays over that span, resulting in merely one field goal — not including Browns DB Abram Elam's 18-yard fumble return for a TD — off of the miscues.

In the first half it looked like the "D" would be in for a long afternoon, as Browns RB Peyton Hillis piled up 119 yards from scrimmage and a TD, but Jacksonville regrouped at halftime. Emerging star DTs Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu took over after the break, consistently walking back the interior of the Browns' O-line and allowing the Jaguars' LB corps to track down the Browns' physical back.

The "D" also did a great job making life difficult for rookie QB Colt McCoy. The young signalcaller was sacked six times, and intercepted with five seconds remaining at the Jacksonville 29-yard line. Head coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker devised a perfect game plan, forcing McCoy to run for his life from blitzing LBs and DBs much of the second half.

The Jacksonville secondary has taken plenty of heat this season, so it is only fair that we applaud it for a great effort. Several of the Jaguars' sacks were because of blanket-tight coverage on the Browns' receivers. FS Sean Considine, who lost his starting job earlier in the season, was in on the final defensive play of the game for the second week in a row, intercepting McCoy's pass attempt near the Jacksonville goal line.

With four of their final six games on the road, including three against divisional opponents, Del Rio's troops couldn't afford to drop this game. And to its credit, the defense, which also knew that Garrard would come down to earth at some point, was more than up to the challenge of picking up its leader, who still threw for 254 yards and two TDs despite his carelessness with the football.

No one is going to pretend the Browns' offense is as explosive as the Colts' or the Chargers', but what better time for the Jaguars to show up with their best defensive effort of the season? The most important thing to take away from this victory is that Del Rio's troops found a way to win a game that they would have found a way to lose in the past.

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