<
>

Garrard sparks Jags' rally vs. Droughns, Browns

CLEVELAND (AP) -- At halftime, Jack Del Rio's angry voice filled every crevice of Jacksonville's locker room. By the time the tirade quieted, the message had sunk in with the Jaguars.

"He was a little fired up," quarterback David Garrard said. "But I've seen him worse. He didn't break anything."

Del Rio left that up to his team.

Garrard, making his fourth career start, threw two touchdown passes in the second half and made a crucial scramble for a first down in the final minutes as the Jaguars rallied for their fifth straight win, 20-14 over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Before getting their third straight road win, the Jaguars (9-3) didn't look anything like playoff contenders in the first half as a dropped TD pass, penalties and an interception thrown by Garrard gave the Browns a 14-3 lead at halftime.

As they left the field, the Jaguars knew what was coming during the 12-minute intermission: Del Rio's wrath.

"There is a time and place to express frustration and anger," said Del Rio, who refused to give details about his verbal barrage. "I did what I had to do to motivate them. They responded well."

No player more than Garrard.

With Byron Leftwich out at least four weeks with a broken ankle, the Jaguars have put their playoff hopes in the hands of Garrard, a four-year veteran with no big-game experience in the pros.

But he came through in the clutch against the Browns (4-8), tossing two TDs -- the second a 12-yarder to Jimmy Smith late in the third quarter -- as Jacksonville rallied to win for the seventh time in 2005. He finished 11-of-20 for 116 yards and one interception.

"He didn't do anything to hurt us," Smith said. "He did a great job and made big plays when we needed them. That's all you can ask."

Jacksonville's defense also turned it around, holding the Browns to 55 yards in the second half after giving up 243 in the first. The Jaguars sacked Cleveland rookie quarterback Charlie Frye five
times after halftime.

"In the second half, the whole idea was to put pressure on the rookie," said defensive tackle Marcus Stroud. "We showed him stuff he's probably never seen. Coach challenged us and we responded."

As the Jaguars were attempting to run out the clock near midfield, Garrard took off on third-and-19, picking up 28 yards at the two-minute warning. He then knelt on three straight plays as the Jaguars closed out their third straight road win as Browns fans
peppered the field with snowballs.

Jacksonville has twice gone 3-0 on three-game trips since 2001 -- the only NFL team to do so.

Next week, the Jaguars have a chance to do something else unique -- they'll host unbeaten Indianapolis. Earlier this season, the Colts beat Jacksonville 10-3.

"All wins are satisfying," Del Rio said. "But now we can finally look ahead to the Colts."

The only thing the Browns can look forward to is the end of another tough season.

Frye, making his first career start in place of injured Trent Dilfer, threw two touchdown passes in the first half to Braylon Edwards. But Frye was roughed up in the second half, and Edwards was helped off the field in the fourth period with a potentially season-ending injury to his right knee.

The Browns said Edwards will likely have an MRI on Sunday night and coach Romeo Crennel will have an update Monday.

Browns wide receiver Antonio Bryant said Edwards "told me he felt a pop."

Frye finished 13-of-20 for 226 yards.

One of the few bright spots for the Browns was running back Reuben Droughns, who became the first Cleveland back to break 1,000 yards in a season since 1985. He finished with 88 yards on 30 tries.

"It is bittersweet," Droughns said. "It's not exactly one of those exciting moments because I would rather win."

Trailing 14-3 at half, Garrard drove the Jaguars to a field goal on their first possession of the third quarter. The next time he got the ball, Garrard tossed a 9-yard TD pass to tight end George Wrighster, who dragged his left foot at the back of the end zone.

The Browns went three-and-out; following a 46-yard pass interference call against Cleveland, Garrard completed a 17-yard pass to Kyle Brady before hitting a wide-open Smith.

Game notes
Jacksonville has won five straight for the first time since 1999. ... Cleveland hadn't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner, who both went over 1,000 yards in 1985. ... The Jaguars are 5-0 in Cleveland. ... Smith has caught a pass in 72 straight games. He needs only 2 yards to become the 13th receiver in league history to top 12,000 career yards.