Fortunately, backup David Garrard filled in capably and helped lead the team to a 7-point victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Garrard was obviously rusty after taking only one snap all season. Although he threw for just 115 yards, he ran six times for 61 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown for the team's first score in the opening quarter.
"This is what you dream about as a kid," said Garrard. "This is what I've been
dreaming out as a professional athlete because I've been the backup my entire
career, the chance to be able to finish the season and possibly take the team to the playoffs. You can't ask for anything better than that. I have to step up
as a man and a player and do my job."
A kickoff return and an Arizona gamble that failed were the keys to the Jaguars' 24-17 victory over the Cardinals. After the Cardinals got a third-quarter field goal to cut their deficit to 10-3, Derrick Wimbush ran the ensuing kickoff back 91 yards for a 17-3 Jaguars lead. But Kurt Warner led an 81-yard drive that pulled the Cardinals to within 17-10, and on the next drive, the Cardinals faced a fourth-and-1 at the Arizona 40 with 4:33 left.
Coach Dennis Green decided to go for it instead of punting and trying to get the ball back. When Warner's fourth-down pass was incomplete and Anquan Boldin got a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, the Jaguars got a first down on the Arizona 25. On the first play, Greg Jones ran 25 yards for the touchdown to make it 24-10.
Still, the Cardinals weren't done. They put together a 77-yard touchdown drive to make it 24-17, then got the ball back and reached the Arizona 36 with 32 seconds left. On third down, Akin Ayodele hit Warner, knocked the ball out of his hand, and Rob Meier recovered to clinch the victory.
The Jaguars (8-3) have won four in a row for the first time since 2000. They're likely to get a wild-card playoff spot to end their five-year playoff drought, but they'll probably go into the playoffs with David Garrard at quarterback.
--QB David Garrard, who had a 59.0 quarterback rating against Arizona, probably will be the starter for the rest of the year. Garrard is noted more for his running than passing.
--RB Fred Taylor sat out the Arizona game with an ankle injury. His condition will be updated Wednesday.
--RB Greg Jones filled in for Fred Taylor (ankle) and ran for 78 yards after getting just 18 in the first half against Arizona.
--WR Jimmy Smith caught seven passes for 70 yards against Arizona.