Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Victory Mixes Satisfaction with Relief

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Victory Mixes Satisfaction with Relief

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

HOUSTON -- We don't know yet how the eighth season in franchise history will be remembered.

Plain and simple, that's what this afternoon, played under a retractable roof that was open as Kyle Brady in the back of the end zone, ended up meaning.

It didn't put a period on this season. It left a question mark. It meant that after 10 games, this year still is like wet clay, waiting to be molded into its final form.

"We got to where we've wanted to be," Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin said after the 24-21 victory against the Texans lifted his team to back to .500. "And now the season begins."

It could have ended yesterday. If the Jaguars hadn't won -- if they had blown a 24-7 lead in the final 17 minutes -- we already would know how this season will be remembered.

In time, all the other storylines of 2002 would fade from memory. The offseason salary-cap hits. The Damon Gibson saga. The upset of Philadelphia. The spoiling of Steve Spurrier's homecoming. All of that would disappear and be replaced by a simple epitaph.

2002: the year they lost twice to an expansion team.

Win and . . . who knows?

That's what this victory did. It kept alive 2002, turning it into a six-game season.

"We put ourselves in a predicament this season," cornerback Jason Craft said. "We dug a hole by losing games we shouldn't have."

And now?

"Now we're like this," Craft said, craning his neck and pretending to pull himself out a pit. "Now the chin is right above the hole."

At least it's not buried at Reliant Stadium.

This game was like one of the $500 questions on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." Get it right and you move on. Get it wrong and you go home, embarrassed that you froze when Regis asked, "What color is the Beatles' White album? …

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