EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The student, Tom Coughlin, finally beat the teacher, Bill Parcells. It wasn't pretty.
In a snoozer of a Monday night game, Coughlin's Jacksonville Jaguars downed Parcells' New York Jets, 16-6. It was the first time Coughlin, who was an assistant under Parcells with the Giants and credits the current Jet coach with boosting his career, defeated his mentor in four tries, including two playoff games.
The Jaguars, whose vastly upgraded defense has given up just 52 points, never let New York (1-4) get going. Not that Jacksonville (4-1) did much offensively, either.
It didn't matter with the way Tony Brackens, Carnell Lake and the Jaguar defenders were performing. Not even an eight-minute delay to repair a tear in the artificial turf--which is in its final year at Giants Stadium--bothered them.
"We can be as good as we want to be," said Lake, a safety whose signing as a free agent was a major step in rebuilding the defense, "and we want to be the No. 1 defense."
Linebacker Lonnie Marts, another free-agent addition, added: "We got good young guys, we got good older guys. If we do a few things, we can get there."
They got all over the Jets from the outset.
"Right now, we're just trying to figure out why we're missing blocks, passes or catches," Keyshawn Johnson said. "We didn't do much to help the defense after it kept things close."
For the third time this season, the Jaguars, who had four sacks, held an opponent without a touchdown. And in reversing their playoff loss to New York in January, the Jaguars handed the Jets their fourth loss, as many as they had in all of 1998. New York has only one victory and dim prospects for making the postseason.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, appears to have a playoff-caliber defense to go with what normally is a high-powered--but lately has been a sputtering--attack. On the Jets' last real chance, Kevin Hardy stopped Curtis Martin for no gain on fourth-and-one at the New York 45.
In all, the Jets gained 226 yards, 51 coming on the last, desperation drive.
Mike Hollis kicked three field goals and James Stewart had a three-yard touchdown run for all the Jacksonville points. John Hall made two field goals for New York.
Jacksonville showed no signs of its recent offensive struggles on its first possession, marching 61 yards in 13 plays to Stewart's scoring run. Stewart, playing for injured starter Fred Taylor (hamstring) was involved in eight of the plays on the drive.
That was it early for either team as the punters took center stage. Tom Tupa sent a 54-yarder that was downed on the Jacksonville 1. So Bryan Barker returned the favor with a team record 83-yarder.
The Jets reached Jacksonville territory on two consecutive series, but their inability to adequately protect quarterback Rick Mirer kept stopping drives. When Mirer's pass to Quinn Early deflected off the receiver's hands and then off teammate Johnson to safety Blaine McElmurry for his first NFL interception, the Jaguars took over at their 46.
A 33-yard completion to Keenan McCardell on which he turned around cornerback Aaron Glenn set up Hollis' 32-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
But the Jets responded thanks to a 43-yard kickoff return to midfield by Dwight Stone. Mirer connected with Johnson for 16 yards before the drive stalled and Hall made a 33-yard field goal.
Hollis' 44-yarder, set up by Brunell's 31-yard third-down completion to Reggie Barlow, opened the second half. Hall connected from 42 with 8:53 left, and when the Jet defense stopped the Jaguars twice more, well, so what? New York's injury-riddled offense couldn't go anywhere.
Hollis capped the scoring with a 21-yard field goal with 1:46 to play.