Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PAIN AND GAIN; Garrard Passes First Test, More Await after Leftwich Injury

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PAIN AND GAIN; Garrard Passes First Test, More Await after Leftwich Injury

Article excerpt


TEMPE, Ariz. -- This was the definition of a bittersweet victory for the Jaguars.

They won their fourth consecutive game Sunday for the first time since 2000 and improved their record to 8-3 with a 24-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, moving one step closer to the playoffs.

But they lost starting quarterback Byron Leftwich for at least a month and possibly the season when he was sacked by strong safety Adrian Wilson on the game's first play.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio first described Leftwich's injury as a broken foot, but then said, "I am not sure which particular bone, but it looks like he has a crack in the ankle.''

Del Rio said the "best-case scenario'' would be that Leftwich would be out a month but added, "It could be worse.''

The sack was rubbed out by a penalty, and Leftwich lasted just three more plays before limping off. When he left the field on a cart, the Cardinals' radio sideline announcer said he had tears in his eyes. Leftwich didn't speak to reporters after the game.

"We're going to miss him and that kind of puts a damper on things,'' Del Rio said.

David Garrard came off the bench, ran for a touchdown, and did not turn the ball over. The Jaguars' backup quarterback could be the starter the remainder of the season.

Garrard, who before Sunday had taken just one snap in a game all season, threw for just 115 yards. But he displayed his trademark scrambling ability as he ran six times for 61 yards.

Garrard came in with the Jaguars at midfield and threw three completions before running 16 yards for a touchdown on a bootleg to complete a 67-yard drive.

That was basically the Jaguars' lone touchdown drive of the game -- their other two touchdowns were on two big plays.

Derrick Wimbush returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and Greg Jones ran 25 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter after the Cardinals turned the ball over on downs.

Garrard said his job is to lead the team to victories, adding: "I don't have to go out and be Superman.''

The fourth-year pro has started only three games in his career while backing up Mark Brunell and Leftwich, and is ready for the opportunity.

"This is what you dream about as a kid,'' Garrard said. "This is what I've been dreaming out as a professional athlete because I've been the backup my entire career -- the chance to be able to finish the season and possibly take the team to the playoffs. You can't ask for anything better than that. I have to step up as a man and a player and do my job.''

Garrard will be backed by a defensive unit that held Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner to 51 yards passing in the first half. Warner, who was sacked three times in the game, warmed in the final quarter and finished with 315 passing yards. …

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