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After Quick Start, Jaguars Nearly Get Hit by Carr

November 18, 2002|From Associated Press

HOUSTON — The Jacksonville Jaguars didn't take expansion Houston seriously the first time, and it cost them. The Jaguars were prepared this time, yet they nearly blew it again.

Mark Brunell saved Jacksonville from the embarrassment of losing to the Texans twice in one season by throwing two touchdown passes in the Jaguars' 24-21 victory Sunday.

"To a certain degree, we took them kind of lightly the first time," running back Stacey Mack said of the Jaguars' 21-19 loss to Houston in Jacksonville on Oct. 27. "We came into this game a lot more aggressively."

The attitude helped the Jaguars (5-5) take a 24-7 lead, but David Carr nearly led the Texans (2-8) to another victory. He scored on second-half runs of two and 14 yards -- the latter coming with 2:04 left.

The Texans got one last chance, taking possession at their 18-yard line with 1:32 to play, but Carr was sacked twice and threw an incomplete pass to end it.

Brunell was relieved.

"You have a tendency to get on your heels a little bit after getting a big lead," Brunell said. "But you have to fight to continue to be aggressive."

The Jaguars are the only expansion team to beat an opponent twice in the same season since the league expanded in 1960. Jacksonville, in its first season in 1995, beat Cleveland twice.

"We got to where we wanted to be. Now the season begins," said Jaguar Coach Tom Coughlin, whose team has consecutive victories after losing four in a row. "It's a six-game schedule. We did get two wins in a row, and I'm pleased with that."

Jacksonville went ahead, 17-7, at halftime, on Mack's one-yard run, Brunell's two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Brady and Tim Seder's 22-yard field goal.

Houston's Jermaine Lewis fumbled a punt while looking into the sun in the third quarter, giving the Jaguars a first down at the Texan 27. Brunell put the Jaguars ahead by 17 with 12:35 left in the third quarter when he ran to his right to escape the rush and connected with Jimmy Smith for a 13-yard score.

Carr completed 22 of 30 passes for 228 yards. He was sacked four times for 34 yards in losses.

"Our team is frustrated, and they are upset," Texan Coach Dom Capers said. "Determination is the only thing that pulls you out of these situations. You have to keep fighting."

Jacksonville got its first break when Marlon McCree intercepted a pass by Carr and returned it to the Texan two-yard line, where McCree was tackled by Carr. Mack finally punched it in from a yard out on fourth down.

Next, the Jaguars put together a 96-yard drive in the second quarter, capped by Brunell's touchdown pass to Brady.

Houston's only touchdown of the first half came when Carr found Corey Bradford open on the outside for a 52-yard pass play.

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