Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

By No Means Is Jacksonville's Means Finished

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

By No Means Is Jacksonville's Means Finished

Article excerpt

The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the kind of roll Natrone Means experienced with the San Diego Chargers in 1994, the year he led the AFC in rushing and played in the Super Bowl at age 22.

And Means is in the kind of groove he couldn't develop when he was playing backup to James Stewart for the first 12 games of this season.

"I feel like I can be at my best when I'm pounding, pounding, pounding," Means said. "I'm getting a chance now. I'm not spot-running anymore. I'm in there the majority of the time, and I'm into the flow of the game." In Sunday's playoff-clinching victory over Atlanta, he gained 110 yards on 27 carries. It was his most productive game since early last season, when he was again leading the AFC in rushing before a groin injury kept him out until the Chargers' final playoff game. "I wasn't thinking about all the things that happened in the past," Means said. "I just got caught up in the moments. It seemed like everything was finally clicking." The past bothered Means when he signed with the Jaguars in the spring. When the Chargers released him in March, they attributed it to the salary cap and team chemistry. The Chargers finished 29th in the NFL in rushing this season, and Means' recent surge has been a factor in the Jaguars going into their first playoff game Saturday at Buffalo on a five-game winning streak. Means has started the past four games in place of Stewart, who has turf toe, and the running game has been getting better every week. Even when the numbers haven't been glittering, he has been making the right plays at the right time. In a 23-17 victory over Houston three weeks ago, Means rushed 25 times for only 67 yards, but he had gains of 6, 8 and 6 yards on three consecutive carries late in the game to seal the win. "Natrone has run the ball real hard," right tackle Leon Searcy said. …

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