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NFL / WEEK 1 | JACKSONVILLE 27, CLEVELAND 7

Talented Brunell Gives Jaguars a Healthy Dose of Confidence

September 04, 2000|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Quarterback Mark Brunell, one of the few Jacksonville stars who is not hurt, passed for 301 yards and one touchdown Sunday to lead the Jaguars to a 27-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

"As long as we have Mark, we have the ability to strive and rise, no matter what the circumstances," Jaguar Coach Tom Coughlin said.

Brunell completed 24 of 34 passes, including eight in a row to open the second half when the Jaguars scored 10 consecutive points after a crucial fumble by Browns' rookie tight end Aaron Shea.

Brunell picked apart the Browns' secondary despite playing behind an offensive line missing right tackle Leon Searcy and center John Wade and with left tackle Tony Boselli less than 100% after knee surgery.

"We were a little banged up," Brunell said. "But the guys that played today--played."

Brunell hardly missed after halftime, completing 11 of 13 passes for 148 yards. His incompletions were on intentional overthrows.

Jacksonville's running game hardly missed Fred Taylor as Stacey Mack and Chris Howard each ran for a touchdown.

Keenan McCardell had nine receptions for 115 yards, Jimmy Smith had a touchdown catch and tight end Kyle Brady caught five passes for 85 yards.

"When we get into a rhythm, we're hard to stop," McCardell said. "We've got a lot of injuries, but we've got a lot of weapons."

Mike Hollis added two field goals--one from 50 yards--for the Jaguars, who outscored the Browns, 17-0, in the second half.

Brown quarterback Tim Couch completed 19 of 27 passes for 160 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to JaJuan Dawson.

Cleveland managed only 249 yards of offense, but the Browns did show signs they might be better than last year's 2-14 expansion team.

Trailing, 10-7, Cleveland took the second-half kickoff and was inside the Jacksonville 35 when Couch passed to Shea over the middle for 21 yards. However, Shea fumbled on the next play.

Brunell went to work, completing four consecutive passes in an 86-yard drive with Mack running in from the four to put the Jaguars ahead, 17-7.

Browns' end Courtney Brown, the overall No. 1 draft pick this year, did not have any tackles, but showed his speed by chasing down Brunell on an incomplete pass.

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