Final

Panthers 6

(5-8, 4-3 away)

Jaguars 37

(9-4, 5-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 9, 2007

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
CAR 0 6 0 06
JAX 7 3 10 1737

Top Performers

Passing: D. Garrard (JAX) - 230 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: F. Taylor (JAX) - 18 CAR, 132 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: R. Williams (JAX) - 5 REC, 90 YDS, 1 TD

Defense dominates as Jaguars thump toothless Panthers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Fred Taylor started left, cut back right, then outran everyone. Instead of turning his head to check for defenders, he tried something new: He looked up at the huge video screen in the end zone.

Even Taylor was impressed.

"It was sweet," he said.

Taylor's 80-yard touchdown run, a franchise record in the regular season, put an exclamation point on Jacksonville's 37-6 romp over the struggling Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Taylor finished with a season-high 132 yards on 18 carries and overshadowed the team's best defensive effort of the season. He also had an 18-yard reception in which he bowled over safety Chris Harris for extra yards.

"He's one of those guys that can juke you and leave you standing there or he can run you over," center Brad Meester said. "Both are fun to watch."

The Jaguars (9-4) rebounded from a tough loss at Indianapolis, one that essentially ended their chances of winning the AFC South, and moved a step closer to claiming an AFC wild-card berth.

They also got a strong performance from the defense, which had been criticized for the four losses and countless breakdowns in the secondary.

Jacksonville harassed Vinny Testaverde, stuffed DeShaun Foster and bottled up Steve Smith -- the defense's most complete game of the season. The Panthers (5-8) finished with a season-low 149 yards of offense.

"They're a good football team, but let's be honest, that was garbage," Carolina guard Mike Wahle said. "That's it. ... We had turnovers, three-and-outs, not efficient. I can go on and on about it. We're not playing very well."

The Panthers (5-8) lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell farther back in the NFC playoff picture. With games remaining against division leaders Seattle, Dallas and Tampa Bay, they probably need to win out to have a shot at making the postseason.

"With adversity like this, that's when we've got to come together," safety Deke Cooper said. "We can't let a loss separate us. We've got three games left. Who knows what's going to happen in the playoff race? We've got to play every game like we're still in the playoffs."

Carolina looked nothing like a playoff team Sunday.

Testaverde was 13-of-28 for 84 yards, with an interception that was returned for a touchdown. He missed receivers all over the field, was sacked once and eventually benched in favor of Matt Moore.

Foster ran 11 times for 46 yards and had a critical fumble.

Smith had six catches for 44 yards, hardly providing the kind of deep threat that has given the Jaguars problems all season.

Jacksonville turned the game on the first play of the third quarter and sealed the victory on the first play of the fourth.

Foster fumbled on the first play of the third. John Henderson knocked the ball loose and Daryl Smith recovered at the 21-yard line.

Jacksonville scored six plays later. David Garrard's 6-yard pass to Matt Jones in the back of the end zone made it 17-6.

"It was big turnaround," Henderson said. "That's what we wanted to do. It was all in the plan."

The Jaguars added a field goal on their next possession, then Clint Ingram stepped in front of Testaverde's pass in the flat -- the first play of the fourth quarter -- and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown and a 27-6 lead.

But the defense ended up sharing the spotlight with Taylor, whose 80-yarder with 9:48 to play was the longest run from scrimmage in the NFL this season. Taylor also had the previous long, a 76-yarder against Houston in October.

Taylor's new mark didn't last very long, though. Minnesota's Chester Taylor bested it about an hour later with an 84-yarder against San Francisco.

Nonetheless, Jacksonville's Taylor ended up passing Eddie George (10,441) and Tiki Barber (10,449) on the NFL's career rushing list.

Taylor now ranks 18th with 10,457 yards. He would have had more, but lost 21 yards on a fumble in the second quarter.

"I'm still mad about that," Taylor said.

Taylor now has three straight 100-yard games for the first time since 2004. His 132 yards were his most since he ran for 165 at St. Louis in October 2005.

Not bad for a guy nearing his 32nd birthday.

"He's a tremendous back," Meester said. "He finds a way to make yards when things aren't there and he takes those little holes we give him and breaks them open.

"When you let that guy get in the open, there's no stopping him; you can't catch him. It doesn't matter how old he is. He hasn't lost a step. He's as fast as he's ever been."

Game notes


Garrard was 20-of-36 for 230 yards and two touchdowns. ... Three-time Pro Bowl DT Marcus Stroud, returning from a four-game suspension for violating the league's steroid and related substances policy, injured his right ankle in the third quarter and did not return. ... The Panthers finished 0-4 against the AFC South. ... The Jaguars improved to 5-1 against teams with losing records.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CAR
JAX
1st Downs1024
Passing 1st downs
614
Rushing 1st downs
38
1st downs from penalties
12
3rd down efficiency
2-129-17
4th down efficiency
1-31-2
Total Plays5475
Total Yards149427
Yards per play2.85.7
Total Drives1112
Passing99249
Comp-Att
16-3821-37
Yards per pass
2.56.7
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-60-0
Rushing50178
Rushing Attempts
1538
Yards per rush
3.34.7
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-11-4
Penalties5-506-40
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession21:0238:58

Passing Leaders

CARC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Testaverde13/28843.0011-6
Moore3/10212.1000-0
JAXC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Garrard20/362306.4200-0
Gray1/11919.0000-0

Rushing Leaders

CARCARYDSAVGTDLG
Foster11464.2011
Williams372.307
JAXCARYDSAVGTDLG
Taylor181327.3180
Jones-Drew11242.206

Receiving Leaders

CARRECYDSAVGTDLG
Smith6447.3015
Carter4266.508
JAXRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williams59018.0124
Wilford4389.5016

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCARJAX
jaxTD3:36Reggie Williams, 22 yd pass from David Garrard (Josh Scobee kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 55 yds, 3:45
07
SECOND QUARTERCARJAX
carFG11:32John Kasay 49 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 27 yds, 2:39
37
jaxFG5:35Josh Scobee 21 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 72 yds, 5:55
310
carFG1:07John Kasay 39 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 16 yds, 1:11
610
THIRD QUARTERCARJAX
jaxTD11:34Matt Jones, 6 yd pass from David Garrard (Josh Scobee kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 21 yds, 3:21
617
jaxFG1:25Josh Scobee 20 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 72 yds, 7:04
620
FOURTH QUARTERCARJAX
jaxTD15:00Clint Ingram, 39 yd interception return (Josh Scobee kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 16 yds, 1:31
627
jaxTD10:01Fred Taylor, 80 yd run (Josh Scobee kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 80 yds, 0:00
634
jaxFG3:19Josh Scobee 33 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 31 yds, 5:00
637