Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Special Team Blocked FG Seals Victory for Jaguars

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Special Team Blocked FG Seals Victory for Jaguars

Article excerpt

Maybe the Miracle Man is good for a miracle or two.

Last night, Mark Brunell returned to the lineup for the Jaguars

after missing six weeks with a knee injury, but the miracle that

gave the Jaguars a 30-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers

had nothing to do with the quarterback.

Instead, staring defeat in the face in their first-ever Monday

night appearance, Jaguars defensive end Clyde Simmons was able

to block a potential game-winning, 40-yard field goal by

Pittsburgh's Norm Johnson with six seconds to play. As an Alltel

Stadiumrecord crowd of 73,016 jumped for joy, Chris Hudson

picked up the ball and raced 58 yards to seal the Jaguars'

victory, keeping them unbeaten at 3-0 and atop the AFC Central

standings.

The Jaguars have now won eight consecutive regular-season games

and are 11-2 since their bye week last season, the best record

in the league in that time span. In winning last night, the

Jaguars bucked a Pittsburgh trend, as the Steelers (1-2) came

into the game 10-1 on Monday night under coach Bill Cowher.

"We felt good at our opportunity to block that kick at the end

of the ballgame," said Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin. "We work on

that, and we knew exactly what we wanted there. Clyde had a

chance to do what he does very well, and then Chris picking it

up and scoring was just incredible to have that finish."

"When they were lining up for the field goal, all I could think

of was Atlanta and Morten Andersen," Jaguars linebacker Jeff

Kopp said. "During the timeout, I tried to remember what I was

doing when Andersen tried his field goal, whether I was on a

knee, standing or not looking. I wanted to do the same thing. I

wanted to have all the luck on our side that we could."

They had just enough.

And just enough of Brunell, who has been dubbed The Miracle Man

because his knee injury wasn't as bad as first feared and

because of his swift return to the playing field.

On a special night in Jacksonville, made even more special by

the impressive play of Brunell, the Jaguars were able to escape

with a victory on a night in which they didn't play particularly

well. …

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