JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The old Kardiac Kids were downright boring compared to these new Cleveland Browns.
Proving once again that none of their games are over until the clock reads :00 -- and sometimes, not even then -- the Browns beat Jacksonville 21-20 when Quincy Morgan caught a desperation heave for a touchdown with no time left Sunday.
|Quincy Morgan's last-second TD reception keeps the Browns in the playoff hunt.(AP)|
Davis has coached 29 games with the Browns. This was the 16th decided in the final minute.
Officials needed 90 seconds to review and uphold Morgan's 50-yard catch, and when that drama was complete, Phil Dawson kicked the extra point for the one-point margin.
Davis sprinted off the field with his son in his arms. Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin fell flat to the ground in disbelief.
"Comments are beyond me right now," Coughlin said.
The Browns (7-6) looked all but out of the playoff chase after a disheartening 13-6 loss to Carolina last week. But it's folly to count them out. Their victory, combined with Pittsburgh's surprising loss to Houston, pulled them within a half-game of the Steelers in the AFC North.
Morgan fought off tight coverage from Fernando Bryant on the final play. As the two fell to the ground, Morgan cradled Tim Couch's pass into his body with his right hand.
Side judge Bill Spyksma signaled touchdown. The ball looked as if it might have touched the ground as Morgan hit the turf -- in fact, Coughlin insists he saw it hit the ground -- but after the review, referee Ron Winter said there was no indisputable evidence to overturn the play.
"This is what makes this game so amazing," Morgan said. "Any play can occur on any given Sunday."
It was a fitting finish to a rivalry that has served up a number of memorable moments.
Last year in Cleveland, Morgan had a catch overturned by replay on the decisive play in Jacksonville's 15-10 victory. Cleveland fans responded by throwing bottles and debris onto the field.
"I told 'Q' that just pays them back for what they did to us last year," Kevin Johnson said.
Unlike the Cleveland fans, Jacksonville fans didn't throw anything onto the field. Instead, they shuffled out of Alltel Stadium in shock.
The Jaguars (5-8) lost their third straight and are guaranteed a non-winning record for the third straight year. Five of their eight losses have been by three points or less, but none have been like this.
Coughlin, whose job could very well hang in the balance in the last three games, will have to explain some of the coaching decisions that led to the loss.
Leading 17-14 with 2:30 left, the Jaguars looked as if they had sealed the game when Akin Ayodele intercepted Couch and returned it to the Browns' 24.
The Jaguars moved inside the Cleveland 10, but the Browns had all three of their timeouts left and stopped the Jaguars on three plays to force a big decision on fourth down.
Coughlin chose to kick the field goal and take the six-point lead, instead of making the Browns drive about 70 yards for a tying field-goal attempt with 50 seconds left. The decision backfired when kicker Danny Boyd, playing in his first NFL game, squibbed the kickoff off a Cleveland player and gave the Browns the ball on their 47.
After a sack and an 8-yard gain, Couch lined the team up, dropped back and threw the ball high to Morgan, who has a 3-inch height advantage on Bryant, who was, inexplicably, the only defender covering him.
Bryant said he wasn't shocked to be in single coverage on Morgan on the decisive play. Like Coughlin, he thought the ball hit the ground.
"The bottom line is, it was my play," Bryant said. "It doesn't matter what was called. I was there."
The fantastic finish added another to a series of wild games the Browns have been involved in since they returned to the league in 1999.
Coached by Sam Rutigliano, the exciting 1980 Browns team earned the nickname "Kardiac Kids." These Browns, however, have been doing this for four years, now.
In their 1999 expansion season, they earned their first victory when Couch hit Johnson for a 56-yard score on the last play against New Orleans.
In the season opener this year, they lost 40-39 to the Chiefs when Dwayne Rudd took his helmet off and threw it to celebrate on what he thought was the game's last play. He was penalized 15 yards and Kansas City kicked the winning field goal with no time left.
In Week 3, Cleveland scored with 12 seconds left to tie a game it had trailed by 14 with 2:30 left. The Browns beat Tennessee 31-28 in overtime.
The list goes on, although it never gets any weirder than when the Jaguars and Browns meet.
Last season's bottle-throwing debacle in Cleveland was preceded by a game that featured Gerard Warren's cheap shot on Mark Brunell.
In 2000, the Jaguars routed the Browns 48-0 in Jacksonville, a game that proved to be the last straw in Chris Palmer's short coaching tenure.
And the season before that, Cleveland offensive lineman Orlando Brown had his career ended when he was hit in the eye by a flag thrown by official Jeff Triplette.
"Yeah, just another day at the office," Davis said.
- Fred Taylor rushed for 145 yards, his fifth 100-yard game.
- The attendance of 46,267 was the second-lowest in Jaguars history. The only time they drew less was in 2000, when rain from Hurricane Gordon kept fans away.
- Browns RB William Green ran for 119 yards. He bruised his right triceps, but the injury did not appear serious.
The Associated Press News Service
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