Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Taylor Hits High Gear Third-Year Back Totals 234 Yards against Steelers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Taylor Hits High Gear Third-Year Back Totals 234 Yards against Steelers

Article excerpt


PITTSBURGH -- Even with a big prime-time victory, the Jaguars' once-hopeful season may be over.

Fred Taylor's, clearly, is not.

Taylor, the Jaguars' third-year running back, continued to overcome a slow start to the season last night, rushing for three touchdowns and catching another, becoming the first Jaguars running back to rush for more than 100 yards in Three Rivers Stadium.

Taylor, who missed the first three games with a sprained medial collateral ligament and was slowed by the injury in the next three games, finished with 234 yards on 30 carries, and got most of his yards as the Jaguars pulled away in the second and third quarters.

Taylor went over 100 yards midway through the third quarter. His team-record streak of 100-yard games is now at five.

The Jaguars, in five previous trips to Three Rivers, had never had a 100-yard rusher, but from the early going last night, it became clear the Jaguars' offensive line was controlling the Steelers' front seven more than it had in previous seasons.

James Stewart's 73 yards rushing in a victory last season was the team's previous best rushing day at Three Rivers.

The 14th 100-yard game of Taylor's career -- also a team record -- may have been the most impressive, and featured as many spectacular runs as he has had in one game.

Early in the second quarter, with the Jaguars trailing 7-0, Taylor took a handoff at the Steelers 25. He faked inside, then popped around the right side, getting blocks from Todd Fordham and Kyle Brady to score untouched.

On the ensuing drive, Taylor set up a touchdown with a 31-yard run over left tackle, made possible by blocks from left guard Brad Meester and left tackle Tony Boselli.

By halftime, Taylor had 89 yards on 12 carries, and in the second half, a Jaguars offensive line that was criticized early in the season for giving up too many sacks and not run-blocking well put together one of its best performances of the season.

After being held to 3 yards on the Jaguars' first possession of the half, Taylor again got free on the second possession, taking a handoff over Fordham at right tackle and gaining 34 yards to the Steelers 2. He powered over Meester and center Jeff Smith on the next play for a 27-10 Jaguars lead.

On the Jaguars' next possession, Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell threw deep to tight end Kyle Brady for a 30-yard gain to the Steelers 26.

On the next play Taylor ran through the middle, then cut to the right sideline, tiptoeing the final few yards for a 26-yard touchdown and a 34-10 Jaguars lead. Taylor finished with four runs of 24 or more yards.

Taylor, through the first six games of the season, had 135 yards rushing. Through the next four -- games against Tennessee, Washington, Seattle and Dallas -- he had 446 yards, leaving him a chance for an improbable 1,000-yard season.

It's no longer so improbable. …

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