YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


True Grit Is Shown by Johnson

September 01, 1997|From Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Rob Johnson was on crutches. His swollen left ankle was in a cast.

Yet the smile on his face indicated he was feeling just fine, mainly because his first NFL start was such a success.

Playing in place of injured Mark Brunell, Johnson threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith with 5:47 left Sunday to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars past the Baltimore Ravens, 28-27.

Twice last year, the Jaguars rallied behind Brunell in the fourth quarter to defeat Baltimore. This time, with Brunell sidelined because of a knee injury, Johnson did the honors despite twice being helped off the field because of the ankle injury. "The first time it hurt real bad. The second time I thought it was broken," he said.

After X-rays in the third quarter showed no break, Johnson limped back onto the field and carried the Jaguars to victory.

"It was just an incredible performance for a guy who literally had no ability to ride up on his front foot," Jaguar Coach Tom Coughlin said. "He could push off his right foot, but he could not sustain any balance off his left foot. So he did a lot with his arm, and his timing was very good."

Johnson was carted into the dressing room for X-rays with 13 minutes left in the third quarter and Jacksonville trailing, 24-21. Still limping noticeably, he returned with 3:51 to go in the period and moved the Jaguars 41 yards before Mike Hollis missed a 43-yard field goal.

The Ravens then got a 25-yard field goal from Matt Stover to go ahead, 27-21, with 8:46 left.

Showing uncanny poise for a quarterback who threw only seven passes in two NFL seasons, Johnson moved Jacksonville 80 yards in five plays for the go-ahead score--a strike to Smith in the left side of the end zone.

Johnson was 20 for 24 passing for 294 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Los Angeles Times Articles