Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Upended in Oakland Jaguars Struggle on Offense

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Upended in Oakland Jaguars Struggle on Offense

Article excerpt

OAKLAND, Calif. -- There was a time when playing close on the

road was good enough for the Jaguars. Having a chance at the end

was something to take home and use for growth.

Don't dare tell that to them anymore. They insist that's for

expansion teams. This team has grown up.

That's why their 17-3 loss to the Oakland Raiders yesterday,

which showed they can battle back from adversity, is nothing to

be proud about. That's why blowing so many chances is so painful

to take.

"There's no consolation," Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin said. "We

came to win the game. When you play right down to the wire, and

have a chance to win, there is no consolation."

"We're going to grow up," defensive tackle John Jurkovic said.

"We can't lose many like this. Eventually we have to step up and

start making plays."

The Jaguars were outplayed for most of the game, but the

Raiders seemed bent on giving the game away. And in the end,

Jacksonville somehow had a chance to sneak out of the Oakland

Alameda County Coliseum with a victory.

Trailing 10-3, the Jaguars moved to a first-and10 at the

Oakland 26 with just over two minutes to go. They got the first

down by inches by converting on a fourth-and-5 pass from Mark

Brunell to Jimmy Smith.

"It was there for us," said tackle Tony Boselli.

And then it was gone.

Brunell attempted to throw a quick slant to Andre Rison, but

blitzing linebacker Rob Fredrickson hit him as he threw and the

ball was tipped. Defensive tackle Jerry Ball plucked it out of

the air and raced 66 yards for a touchdown, much to the delight

of the crowd of 46,291.

"You see the ball go up, and everything is in super slow mo,"

Jurkovic said. "You see Jerry Ball catch the ball, and here he

comes. And there he goes."

"I didn't know what happened," said Brunell, who finished 18 of

37 for 217 yards and two interceptions. "I looked up and

what's-his-name was running down the field. There she goes."

The hard part to take is that Rison was open. Brunell said the

play would have gone for big yardage if the blocking had held up. …

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