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Jags Overcome Browns; Find themselves in First in South 24-20

The Jags will wake up Monday morning in a place three weeks ago they almost could have never imagined they would be.

First place in the AFC South.

But it didn’t come without a lot of drama Sunday at EverBank Field, as the Jags committed six turnovers, but still found a way to overcome a game Cleveland Browns team 24-20.

David Garrard threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns, and he and the team overcame three interceptions, and made a huge play down the stretch to running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

Down 20-17 with just over 2 minutes to play, Garrard hit Jones-Drew with a scree pass, and the RB went 75 yards to the Browns one, setting up the winning score with 1:16 left.

Jones-Drew rushed for 132 yards on 24 carries. Jones-Drew also caught three passes for 87 yards and Marcedes Lewis hauled in five passes for 66 yards and a score. Garrard completed 20 of his 34 throws.

“Coming into the game we talked a lot about our need to be able to run the football and our need to be able stop the run,” said Browns head coach Eric Mangini. “We didn’t do either one of those very well.”
“Defensively we made a lot of plays. We forced six turnovers but we couldn’t stop them when we needed to.”

Colt McCoy threw for 241 yards on 17-of-28 passing with a touchdown, but was intercepted with five seconds left. Peyton Hillis caught six passes for 95 yards and a score for Cleveland (3-7), which has lost two straight.

Hillis rushed for 48 yards on 21 carries and Abram Elam returned a fumble for a touchdown in defeat. After Phil Dawson kicked a 41-yard field goal to put the Browns up 20-17, the Jaguars got the ball back with 2:46 remaining with a chance for the win.

They started the drive at their own 13-yard line, but on the third play, Garrard and Jones-Drew got the job done with the big play to get the Jags in a position for the win.

McCoy had the Browns marching in the final minute in the no-huddle offense, and worked the ball to the Jacksonville 29 with 13 seconds left. But his first-down pass was picked off by Sean Considine, allowing the Jaguars to run out the clock.

“I think this football team has a flair for the dramatic,” head coach Jack Del Rio said of his team. “Another exciting win at home.”

“This is a huge win for us. Our guys showed a lot of resiliency and I am proud of the fortitude they showed out there. The game never got away from us because we responded, we held our ground and didn’t let (Cleveland) take those turnovers and bury us.”

Now winners of three in a row, and thanks to Indianapolis’ loss to New England on Sunday, the Jaguars are tied for first in the AFC South. It’s the first time since 1999 they’ve been atop their division this late in the season.

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