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First off the Field: Jaguars 32, Browns 28

Posted Dec 1, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars rally to beat Cleveland Browns, 32-28, on late touchdown reception by wide receiver Cecil Shorts III.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – This was wild, and a little weird.

For the Jaguars, what mattered more than any of that was that it was another victory.

Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, playing his first NFL game in his hometown, caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne with 40 seconds remaining Sunday, giving the Jaguars a come-from-behind, 32-28 victory over the Cleveland Browns in front of 69,654 at FirstEnergy Field.

The victory was the third in four games and second in as many weeks for the Jaguars (3-9).

Shorts’ reception capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive on the possession after Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon had given the Browns a 28-25 lead with a 95-yard touchdown reception.

The Jaguars, after struggling offensively much of the second half, took the lead midway through the fourth quarter – on a safety.

On the play, Browns center Alex Mack snapped the ball over quarterback Brandon Weeden’s head. The ball bounced into the end zone, where Weeden kicked it out of the back of the end zone for a safety.

The Jaguars then drove to the Browns 8 on the ensuing possession, extending the lead to 25-21 with a 25-yard field goal by Josh Scobee, but on the first play of the ensuing series, Weeden passed to Gordon, who caught the ball around the Browns 35.

Safety Winston Guy went for the ball on the play, missed and Gordon outran the defense to the end zone.

The Browns took the lead 21-20 with a four-yard touchdown pass from Weeden to wide receiver Greg Little on the first possession of the half.

The Jaguars hadn’t won back-to-back road games on consecutive weeks since 2005. They last won three consecutive road games in 2007.

Their last two-game winning streak came late in the 2010 season.

Henne completed 22 of 40 passes for 195 yards and two touchdown with one interception, and the Jaguars finished with 314 total yards.

Weeden completed 24 of 40 passes for 364 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, with Gordon catching 10 passes for a Browns franchise-record 261 yards.

The Jaguars led 20-14 after a first-half dominated at times by Gordon.

The Browns’ first touchdown came on their first series, a drive set up by rookie Jordan Poyer’s 38-yard punt return to the Jaguars 47. Weeden hit Gordon with a 42-yard pass on the next play, and two plays later running back Willis McGahee’s one-yard run made it 7-0.

Henne led one of the Jaguars’ best drives of the season on the ensuing possession, capping it with an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clay Harbor. Henne completed three of four passes for 34 yards on the drive, with Jones-Drew and Todman having 19- and 13-yard runs, respectively.

Gordon, who finished the first half with six receptions for 125 yards, caught a 21-yards pass over Jaguars cornerback Will Blackmon with 2:57 remaining in the quarter.

After that, Browns turnovers changed the momentum.

First, Johnathan Cyprien intercepted Weeden, with his 27-yard return giving the Jaguars 1st-and-10 at the 17. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew’s 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis tied the game, 14-14, with 1:19 remaining in the half.

Cornerback Dwayne Gratz intercepted Weeden on the ensuing series, setting up a 44-yard field goal by Josh Scobee to make it 17-14 with :52 remaining in the half.

Jaguars Defensive end Jason Babin then sacked Weeden on the Browns’ final series of the half. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks returned the fumble 15 yards to set up a 36-yard field goal by Scobee on the final play of the half.

 

TURNING POINT

This came on the Jaguars’ final drive. Gordon had given the Browns the lead and momentum with a 95-yard catch-and-run touchdown, but the Jaguars’ offense turned in one of its best drives of the season on the ensuing possession.

 

1st HALF PHOTO GALLERY

HIGHLIGHTS

1.Marks’ second-quarter sack/forced fumble gave him a career-high three sacks and a career-high two forced fumbles this season. The sack helped the Jaguars force a three-and-out on the series after an interception by cornerback Joe Haden gave the Browns possession at the Jaguars 47. Marks also had a pressure and a battered pass in the game.

2.The touchdown pass from Jones-Drew to Lewis in the second quarter was the first touchdown pass by a non-quarterback in franchise history.

 

LOOKING ON . . .

1.The Jaguars continued to look for ways to run Sunday, and for a second consecutive week, they found them. At least they did early. On the Jaguars’ second drive of the game, Henne pitched to wide receiver Ace Sanders for a 4-yard run for a first down around left end. That helped loosen the Browns’ defense, and Jones-Drew and Todman had runs of 18 and 13 yards later on the drive, respectively. The Jaguars finished with 112 yards rushing a week after rushing for a season-high 118 yards against Houston.

2.The Jaguars stayed in the game through the first three quarters largely because of the 13 points in the final 1:19 of the first half – a touchdown reception by Lewis and two field goals by Scobee off three turnovers. The stretch was the first time since 2008 the Jaguars had takeaways on three consecutive possessions.

 

2nd HALF PHOTO GALLERY

INJURY WATCH

Jaguars safety Josh Evans sustained a shoulder injury in the first quarter and did not return. Guard Will Rackley sustained a left elbow injury in the fourth quarter and returned.

Wide receiver Mike Brown played for the Jaguars after being questionable throughout the week, with wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion) and running back Justin Forsett (foot) out.

Forsett is out at least six weeks and could be placed on injured reserve this week.

Other Jaguars inactives Sunday: defensive end Jeremy Mincey, quarterback Ricky Stanzi, guard Jacques McClendon, wide receiver Jeremy Ebert and cornerback Jamell Fleming.

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