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Jaguars Chew Up Bengals


Mark Brunell's side ached. Fred Taylor's legs cramped. Neither did much in the second half except watch from the sideline.

Against the Cincinnati Bengals, one painful half was more than enough.

Taylor, playing for the first time in four weeks because of a hamstring injury, rushed for 126 yards in the first half as the Jaguars rolled to a 41-10 victory Sunday.

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Game Summary

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  • After relying heavily on the NFL's top-ranked defense to carry them this far, the Jaguars (6-1) put it all together for the first time since a season-opening 41-3 win over San Francisco.

    "This game was kind of personal for the offense," offensive tackle Leon Searcy said. "We have been overshadowed by the defense the past couple of weeks. We just wanted to gain some of that notoriety."

    They came close to gaining a little piece of history.

    Jacksonville's domination was so complete that the Bengals (1-7) needed a timeout and a last-second touchdown pass by Jeff Blake to avoid the worst defeat in franchise history.

    Blake called a timeout with 6 seconds left, then lobbed a 15-yard touchdown pass as time ran out to avoid the record books. A 41-3 defeat would have been Cincinnati's worst ever.

    Coach Bruce Coslet had an apple core, a plastic cup and other garbage thrown at him as he left the field. His postgame remarks lasted 20 seconds, and he walked away without taking questions.

    "When you're feeling like I'm feeling, I think it's better not to say anything," Coslet said. "Why should I stand up here and say the same old stuff? I'm as tired and sick of it as you are and the fans are."

    The Jaguars had little trouble improving to 6-1 for the first time in their five seasons. They scored on their first five possessions, piling up a 27-0 lead.

    Jacksonville moved he ball easily against a defense that was often out of place, a step too slow and sloppy in its tackling. The Jaguars scored touchdowns on their first two possessions for the first time this season, with Taylor running 1 yard and Brunell throwing a 23-yard pass to Keenan McCardell.

    For an early clincher, the Jaguars drove 98 yards in a nine-play drive that took less than five minutes. Taylor went over 100 yards on the drive, which ended with Brunell's 3-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith for a 24-0 lead.

    "You'd like to do that every game, but it's just not the case," Brunell said. "You play some good football teams and most of the time it's a real battle for four quarters. We were fortunate to get some momentum going early."

    Taylor had a lot to do with that. He'd missed three games with sore ribs and a strained hamstring he managed only 129 yards in the other three and hasn't completely recovered his strength. He developed leg cramps in the second half and finished with 128 yards on 15 carries.

    "I thought during the week of practice that I felt rusty," Taylor said. "I'm not as quick as I was before."

    Brunell, who had to leave a game against Cleveland two weeks ago with strained muscles in his side, completed 11-of-19 for 145 yards in the first half. The side was bothering him, so the Jaguars rested him in the second half.

    "I'm probably 85 percent to 90 percent," Brunell said. "There were no setbacks. We were up enough that I was fortunate I could rest it."

    The Jaguars' defense got after Akili Smith, a rookie making his fourth start. Smith completed 6-of-12 for 67 yards, was sacked four times and threw two interceptions in the first half of his worst start yet.

    Smith sprained his right big toe and didn't play the second half. Since he led the Bengals on a game-winning drive in Cleveland, Smith has failed to produce a touchdown in the last three games.

    "Hey, it's all about being a shark," said Aaron Beasley, who had the first interception. "You smell blood, you attack. You disguise some things. You show one play and do another to confuse the guy."

    Blake was unaware that the Bengals faced the worst loss in their history when he called the timeout with 6 seconds left.

    "I wanted to throw a touchdown pass," he said.

    The only other diversion for the fans was a costume competition encouraged by the Bengals. Spooky organ music was played over the public address system from time to time, providing a fitting soundtrack, and fans in costume were shown on the video board.

    As they left the field at halftime, the Bengals hard a loud boo that had nothing to do with Halloween. Jacksonville rolled up 277 yards in the half and kept Cincinnati from getting any closer than its 27-yard line.

    "Yeah, I'm embarrassed," safety Greg Myers said. "It is embarrassing for the team and embarrassing for the fans."

    Notes

  • Beasley's interception was his career-high fourth of the season and the ninth of his career, setting a Jacksonville record.
  • Offensive tackle Tony Boselli sprained his ankle and walked slowly off the field in the fourth quarter. The Bengals lost several players with sprains and bruises.
  • Smith was on crutches after the game and was listed as questionable for next week.
  • Receiver Craig Yeast, a fourth-round draft pick sidelined by a sprained ankle, had his first three NFL catches.
  • Carl Pickens completed a pass to Smith after taking a handoff.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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