Amazing Victories in Jaguars History (#4 – #1)

Jags upset Bills

Today we conclude with our five-part series where we identify the 20 most thrilling wins in Jaguars history. Check back every day this week as we revisit 4 amazing victories per day. Be sure to leave us comments about what you remember about those games. Enjoy!

#4 | 1/15/00 vs. Miami Dolphins (Divisional Round) / 62-7:
The Jaguars had the best record in the league at 14-2 in 1999, and they were awarded the #1 seed and home field advantage. The first order of business was to welcome the Miami Dolphins to Jacksonville in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. It turned into a fish fry really quick. The Jaguars led 24-0 after one quarter, 41-7 at the half, and eventually had 62 points by the end, which are the second-most points scored in NFL postseason history and the most scored in an AFC playoff game. The 55-point margin of victory is the second-largest for an NFL postseason game, second only to the Chicago Bears’ 73-0 victory over the Washington Redskins in 1940. RB Fred Taylor also provided a highlight 90-yard touchdown run that remains the longest touchdown in playoff history. It was a sad exit for one of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks as QB Dan Marino was only 11-for-25 for 95 yards.

#3 | 12/28/96 vs. Buffalo Bills (Wild Card Round) / 30-27: The Jaguars had made the improbable happen by winning the last 5 regular season games and clinching a wild card berth. The first destination? A date with the Bills where Buffalo had never lost a playoff game at Rich Stadium. The Bills players did not take the Jaguars seriously. According to excerpts from “Jags to Riches” by Pete Prisco and John Oehser, RB Thurman Thomas commented, “Jacksonville who?” QB Jim Kelly said on his television show that the Bills had a huge edge over the Jaguars because they had not seen the K-Gun no-huddle offense before, even though the Ravens ran the same offense and lost twice in ’96 to the Jaguars. LB Sam Rogers told the Buffalo News that the Jaguars would be shell-shocked by the Rich Stadium crowd. The Jaguars did not blink, and it was the Bills who got shell-shocked. The “no-name” Jaguars LT Tony Boselli completely shut down All-World DE Bruce Smith. RB Natrone Means pounded the rock for 31 carries and 175 rushing yards. QB Jim Kelly was knocked out of the game late, and backup QB Todd Collins was not a factor as the Jaguars upset the Bills 30-27. Jacksonville who? They knew after that December day.

#2 | 1/4/97 vs. Denver Broncos (Divisional Round) / 30-27: Even with beating the Bills on the road in the Wild Card round the week before, the Jaguars did not earn many believers heading into Denver for the Divisional Round game versus the 13-3 Broncos. The Jaguars (or “JagWads” as Denver columnist Woody Paige dubbed the team) were 13.5 point underdogs to John Elway and company. It started off like maybe the Jaguars did not belong on this stage after all, as the Broncos got out to a 12-0 lead after the 1st quarter. But the Jaguars would tack on 23 unanswered points to quietly take a 23-12 lead. The Broncos were stifled by the Jaguars defense. RB Natrone Means continued his bruising running attack, carrying the rock 21 times for 140 yards. Elway refused to give up, and he pulled the Broncos to within 23-20 with about 7 minutes left in the game. The ensuing drive solidified QB Mark Brunell’s nickname as “Miracle Mark” as he had a legendary 29-yard scramble deep into Broncos territory. A few plays, Brunell threaded a beautiful touchdown pass to WR Jimmy Smith to give the “JagWads” a 30-20 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining. Elway got a quick Broncos touchdown in typical two-minute fashion that has always made Elway a legend. But an onside kick was recovered by the Jaguars, and David truly slayed Goliath. The miracle train that was the ’96 season kept on rolling right to the AFC Championship Game.

#1 | 12/22/96 vs. Atlanta Falcons / 19-17: The 8-7 Jaguars were riding a 4-game winning streak as they prepared for the season finale with the dismal 3-12 Atlanta Falcons. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the first playoff berth in franchise history, and things started out great as Jacksonville took a 13-3 lead at halftime. The Jaguars were already getting help from Buffalo as they were rolling over Kansas City. The stars were aligning for something special. The Jaguars tacked on another field goal 16-3, and the playoff fever was starting to spread through the Jacksonville crowd. But by the end of the 3rd quarter the Falcons were making things interesting, pulling to within 16-10. K Mike Hollis would nail a 42-yard field goal off the upright to pad the lead 19-10. The Jaguars defense seemed lackadaisical as they allowed the Falcons right back into the game. Atlanta completed a 12-play, 77-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown run by RB Craig “Ironhead” Heyward. The lead suddenly was only two points with just less than 6 minutes to play, and the Jacksonville crowd was getting worried. The Jaguars’ next drive stalled, and the Falcons got the ball back. Just like the previous drive, Atlanta moved with ease through the Jaguars’ defense. The Falcons made it all the way down to the Jaguars’ 13-yard line, called timeout with just seconds on the clock, and sent in one of the most sure-footed kickers in the history of the game: Morten Andersen. The snap was good. But Andersen planted his foot and slipped! The kick sailed wide left, and the Jaguars miraculously escaped 19-17 to begin their first trip into the playoffs.

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