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NFL Recap (Tennessee-Jacksonville)

Posted: Sun December 13, 1998 at 6:36 p.m. EST


JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars lost another quarterback and an opportunity to clinch their first AFC Central Division title.

Al Del Greco kicked a 41-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to give the Tennesee Oilers a 16-13 victory over the Jaguars, who played the entire second half with third-string rookie quarterback Jonathan Quinn.

"The kick wasn't pretty and I feel very fortunate that it went through," said Del Greco. "Hopefully, I'd like to think I did something right that it stayed straight."

The loss left Jacksonville (10-4) with a two-game lead over the Oilers with two games remaining. Pittsburgh, which had won the last four division crowns, officially was eliminated from the division race with a 16-3 loss in Tampa Bay.

"It was a very disappointing loss for us, without a doubt," said Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin. "We lost the game but we still have our goals in sight and can still win this thing. We just have to regroup."

"At first I was nervous," added Quinn. "After I got in there, things started settling down. It had the makings of a dream game, but it didn't turn out that way. It was definitely something you dream about as a kid."

Second-stringer Jamie Martin, making his first career start in place of injured Pro Bowl starter Mark Brunell, sprained his right ankle on a six-yard gain late in the second quarter and did not return.

That left Jacksonville's offense in the hands of Quinn, a 1998 third-round pick out of Middle Tennessee State who was making his NFL debut.

"You have to give him credit for coming in No. 3 two weeks ago to playing in the second half today," added Coughlin. "We lost Jamie Martin before the half on an unfortunate play. We got the ball to start the second half and we put the ball in the young kid's hands and let him play."

Martin completed 6-of-11 passes for 71 yards while Quinn was 12-of-18 for 107 yards. Rookie running back Fred Taylor was held to 42 yards on 20 carries.

"Give our defense credit for handling their running game," said Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher. "We felt like we had to come in and stop Fred Taylor and I thought for the most part we did a great job against him."

"We couldn't rush the ball," noted Coughlin. "That was the huge difference. We felt we had to run the ball today with the circumstances the way they were. Tennessee usually runs an eight-man front and most of the time today they were in an eight- and nine-man front."

After a scoreless third quarter, Tennessee (8-6) drove 68 yards in 11 plays to take a 13-10 lead on Del Greco's 30-yard field goal 13 seconds into the final period.

Jacksonville answered with a 14-play, 65-yard march and pulled even on Mike Hollis' 29-yard kick with 7:44 remaining, but Steve McNair's pass to running back Eddie George gave the Oilers a first down at the Jaguars 40 with 1:19 to go.

McNair, who was 22-of-39 for 232 yards, scrambled for a 12-yard gain and the Oilers ran three rushing plays to set up Del Greco's winning kick, his franchise-record 33rd of the season.

George rushed for just 26 yards on 14 carries but McNair gained 81 on 11 carries.

"This is a a great rivalry," said McNair. "Every year it's a game we look forward to. You never know who's going to win. Whoever has the ball last is probably going to win. That's the key."

The win gave the Oilers a 7-1 division mark and dropped the Jaguars to 5-2 with a game remaining against the Steelers. If the teams finish tied, Tennessee would win the division based on a better AFC Central mark. Despite the 10 wins, the Jaguars still have not clinched a playoff spot.

"People kind of counted us out a few weeks ago, but this team has been fighting," added Fisher. "It's one thing we're known for, we're going to fight. We came down here expecting to win and we found a way to win."

Jacksonville grabbed a 10-0 lead in the first period on Hollis' 21-yard field goal and Taylor's one-yard TD run. But the Oilers pulled even in the second quarter on McNair's four-yard TD pass to Jackie Harris and Del Greco's 28-yard field goal with 1:57 left in the half.

Quinn had a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith called back in the third quarter because of a holding penalty on tackle Ben Coleman. The Jaguars then turned the ball over when cornerback Darryll Lewis intercepted Quinn in the end zone.

"I definitely made some rookie mistakes," said Quinn. "We should have put up some more points. We were in field-goal range and I should have thrown it away to give our kicker a chance to put some points on the board."

© 1998 Sportsticker Enterprises, LP

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