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Backup Gets Job Done for Jaguars

December 07, 1998|From Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mark Brunell left the locker room on crutches, a bad sign for a Jacksonville team talking about making a big playoff run this season.

The Jaguars may not have as much to worry about, however, if Fred Taylor and backup quarterback Jamie Martin keep playing like they did Sunday.

Pressed into emergency duty, Martin threw for a 67-yard touchdown to Keenan McCardell on his second play and finished with 228 yards passing to lead the Jaguars to a 37-22 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Taylor ran 32 times for a team-record 183 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark as the Jaguars (10-3) moved three games ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Central. The Steelers lost, 23-9, to New England.

By now, Taylor's success is expected. Not so for Martin, a fifth-year journeyman who had thrown only 34 NFL passes coming into this season.

"I think I have the ability," Martin said. "Obviously, I don't have Mark's talent or anything like that. But mentally, I've been around a couple years. Given time to prepare, I think I can do some big things."

Barry Sanders had 102 yards in 18 carries for the Lions (5-8), but Detroit had its hope of sneaking into the playoffs virtually come to an end.

Brunell suffered a severely sprained left ankle, caused when Lion lineman Robert Porcher came in from the blind side on the game's second play and bent him backward, forcing the ankle to buckle underneath him.

In came Martin, who came to Jacksonville after uneventful stints with the Redskins and Rams. He also had an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith.

"He did everything he had to," Jaguar Coach Tom Coughlin said.

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