Improbable Finish Leads to Meaningful Game
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Posted Nov 12, 2010


The last time the Jaguars played the Browns, they had nothing at stake and they played as if they didn't. When the Jags play Cleveland on Sunday, they may have their playoff lives at stake.



The Jaguars lost to the Browns 23-17 in the 2009 season finale in a game Cleveland led handily before the Jaguars scored a late touchdown. The Browns rushed for 214 yards that day, and the Jaguars finished 7-9.

When the teams play Sunday, the stakes will be high for the Jaguars.

Coming off a dramatic 31-24 over the Texans, the Jaguars are 5-4 and tied with Tennessee just one game behind the 6-3 Colts in the AFC South.

They can't afford a loss to the Browns because four of their final six games are on the road, including a game at the New York Giants and then road games at all three division rivals, the Titans, Colts and Texans.

They also hope the way the beat Houston will be a springboard.

Houston cornerback Glover Quin batted a Hail Mary pass in the end zone into the arms of Mike Thomas on the final play of regulation.

A surprised Thomas caught the 50-yard pass inside the 1-yard -line and walked into the end zone to give the Jaguars a 31-24 victory over the Texans just when it seemed as if the teams were headed for overtime.

"Wow, it was crazy. I still can't believe it. That is why it's called the Hail Mary," guard Uche Nwaneri said. "Whether, it s destiny, magic or luck, it's a win. That's a fact.

"I've never, ever in my career as a football player seen that play live. I've always seen on ESPN Classics where it works. But I've never been a part of it.

"It may well be the start of a storybook season."

Thomas said, "What a way to end it, huh? I was a little shocked and stunned."

The last time a Jaguars game ended on a Hail Mary pass was in 2002, when Cleveland's Tim Couch threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Morgan to beat Jacksonville 21-20.

It was only the fourth time in NFL history that a regular-season game ended on a game-winning TD pass of 50 yards or more with no time remaining. Two of them took place in Jacksonville games.



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