With David Garrard sidelined with a high ankle sprain, the Jaguars gave backup Quinn Gray his first start against the Bucs and escaped with a 24-23 victory when they opened the game with 14 consecutive running plays on their first two drives.
But whether that'll work against the Saints, who've won three in a row, remains to be seen.
One of the reasons the Jaguars won is that Jeff Garcia had a bad day, throwing three interceptions and twice missing wide open receivers for touchdowns, including Ike Hilliard, who was open down the right sideline on the Bucs' next-to-last play. Aaron Glenn returned one of the interceptions for a touchdown.
The Jaguars hope to keep finding a way to win with defense and running the ball until Garrard gets back because they appear to have no confidence in Gray throwing the ball. He was only two of six in the first half and seven of 16 for the game.
It's also difficult for the Jaguars to make much yardage on each running play because the Bucs know they weren't going to throw. The Jaguars trailed in first downs, 18-12, and yardage, 385-219, but won the game on the turnovers and Garcia's inaccuracy.
If Drew Brees is more on target in New Orleans, the Jaguars may have a tough time winning with the same victory formula.
But the Jaguars stressed the found a way to win.
"This was the best team effort I've been around in Jaguars history," said running back Fred Taylor, who has been with the team since 1998. "I really do believe that. This is why this is the best sport in the world. It was ugly in a sense. There weren't a lot of pretty plays, but this was an exciting game. It says something about our character and resolve."
"What an effort," said coach Jack Del Rio after the Jaguars forged a 17-3 lead, fell behind 23-17, but scored the winning touchdown on Gray's fade pass in the right corner of the end zone to Matt Jones with 11:37 left in the game.
Jones, who'd been inactive two games, veteran cornerback Aaron Glenn, who'd played in only one game, running back LaBrandon Toefield, who hadn't played in a game, and rookie punter Adam Podlesh were among the unlikely heroes.
"Everything was almost stacked up against us," linebacker Mike Peterson said. "We had a short week, coming in (on the road) with our backup quarterback and a couple of guys were banged up. A lot of people wrote us off, but we found a way to win."
The victory boosted their record to 5-2 and kept them tied for second place in the AFC South behind 7-0 Indianapo1is.
The Jaguars kept running even though the Bucs stacked the box.
"Everybody was in the box, even George Bush," Taylor said with a smile. "But we were going to ride the run."
Taylor only averaged 2.8 yards a carry, but had 24 tough carries for 68 yards to boost his career total to 9,930 and leave him just 70 yards shy of becoming the 21st player in NFL history to reach the 10,000-yard mark.
Drew, coming back from a knee injury he suffered Monday night, added 48 yards on 10 carries and Toefield had 12 yards in six carries.
When Del Rio was asked to evaluate Gray, whose seven completions tied the record set in 2002 for fewest Jaguars completions in a game, he said,
"He's 1-0 as a starter."
Gray, who often overthrew receivers, said he didn't get in a groove. But the bottom line is they found a way to win.
"It wasn't the cleanest game I have ever coached, but certainly one of the most satisfying victories in terms of getting a complete effort. We were able to scratch and claw a victory," Del Rio said.
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