Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Depend on Brunell for Too Much

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Depend on Brunell for Too Much

Article excerpt

The comparisons to Steve Young fit from a physical standpoint.

Both quarterbacks are southpaws with strong arms and splendid

mobility.

But as the Jacksonville Jaguars build their identity, Mark

Brunell finds himself in almost the same predicament as Dan

Marino. The team's success rides almost entirely on his arm.

"No, we don't want to be like that," said Jaguars' offensive

coordinator Kevin Gilbride. "We're trying very hard not to

become that way. But if you become proficient at the passing

game, that should open things up."

The encouraging part of yesterday's 30-27 victory over the

Cincinnati Bengals is Brunell came as close as he has ever come

to throwing a perfect game.

The scary part is thinking about where Jacksonville would be

now without Brunell having a day where he could do no wrong.

Certainly not 6-7 and talking about its chances of reaching the

postseason.

Brunell threw for 356 yards, his 15th consecutive 200-yard

game. He had no interceptions for the first time in nearly two

months. He completed 16 of his last 19 passes.

Ultimately, the game turned on a third-and-10 play that seemed

destined for a sack. Brunell, flushed out of the pocket by the

Bengals' pressure, waited until the last possible second before

heaving a 48-yard touchdown pass to Keenan McCardell. An ensuing

two-point conversion pass gave the Jaguars a 27-20 lead they

never relinquished.

But when you look at Brunell's near-flawless performance,

combined with an early special-teams touchdown off a field goal

blocked by Clyde Simmons, this shouldn't have been a game where

Cincinnati still had a chance to win until an onside kick went

awry with 15 seconds remaining.

Unfortunately, even with Brunell throwing the ball like Nolan

Ryan on a hot Texas night, the Jaguars never make anything look

easy.

Except for an Aaron Beasley interception in a jump-ball

situation with Carl Pickens, the defense provided little

assistance. It surrendered a season-high 485 yards just one week

after giving up 460 to the Baltimore Ravens. …

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