Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGS' SCREEN GEM; Defense, Pass to Jones-Drew Lift Jags to Top of AFC South

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGS' SCREEN GEM; Defense, Pass to Jones-Drew Lift Jags to Top of AFC South

Article excerpt

Byline: TANIA GANGULI

There was another tip, and another Jaguars player in exactly the right spot.

This time, the defense overcame a struggling, mistake-riddled offense.

This time, the defensive back caught the ball, instead of batting it into the arms of a surprised receiver.

The Jaguars beat the Cleveland Browns 24-20 at EverBank Field on Sunday, committing six turnovers and causing just one - Sean Considine's interception at the Jaguars' 3-yard line to essentially end the game.

They won on the back of the defense's best performance in more than a year, and on a 75-yard screen pass to Maurice Jones-Drew, who weaved through several defenders before being tackled at the Browns' 1-yard line, setting up the winning score. It delivered a crushing loss to the 3-7 Browns, while boosting the Jaguars to 6-4.

"I think this football team has a flair for the dramatic. Wow," coach Jack Del Rio said.

And as things went right for the Jaguars again, the rest of the AFC South continued to fall apart. The Jaguars left Sunday tied for first place in the division, holding the tiebreaker over Indianapolis. It is the first time since 1999 the Jaguars have led the division this late in the season.

"We have to give most of the credit to the defense," Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas said. "We wouldn't be able to do it if the defense would've had an off day. If that would've been the case, you could've kissed this game goodbye. Defense was what kept us in it."

Every time the Jaguars offense coughed up the ball, the defense made sure the Browns couldn't go anywhere with it.

The Jaguars sacked rookie quarterback Colt McCoy six times. Defensive end Jeremy Mincey got to McCoy twice, injuring his ankle on one of the hits.

"We were well-prepared and we came with intensity," Mincey said. "Guys were fearless."

Cleveland's bruising running back Peyton Hillis was held to 48 yards rushing and just a 2.3 yards per carry average.

The Browns never got a first down after notching a turnover and finished the game with minus-9 yards after turnovers.

The Jaguars committed their first turnover in the second quarter, when Jones-Drew threw a pass on a trick play.

"I could see why David is such a tough guy," said Jones-Drew, who finished the game with 132 yards rushing, a touchdown, a fumble and an interception. "I got scared and I just threw the ball up, closed my eyes. ... I don't think I'll be throwing the ball too much more."

The defense held the Browns to a three-and-out after the interception and at halftime the Jaguars took the lead with a touchdown pass to Thomas.

A turnover festival began in the third quarter.

Jones-Drew fumbled at the Jaguars' 18-yard line and Abram Elam recovered and returned the fumble for a touchdown, sauntering into the end zone as a baffled Jaguars offense watched him go. …

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