Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) – David Garrard threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns and overcame three interceptions to lead Jacksonville over Cleveland, 24-20, at EverBank Field.
Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 132 yards on 24 carries, including the go- ahead score with 1:16 remaining, to help lift the Jaguars (6-4) to their third straight win.
Jones-Drew also caught three passes for 87 yards and Marcedes Lewis hauled in five passes for 66 yards and a score. Garrard completed 20 of his 34 throws.
“Coming into the game we talked a lot about our need to be able to run the football and our need to be able stop the run,” said Browns head coach Eric Mangini. "We didn’t do either one of those very well.
“Defensively we made a lot of plays. We forced six turnovers but we couldn’t stop them when we needed to.”
Colt McCoy threw for 241 yards on 17-of-28 passing with a touchdown, but was intercepted with five seconds left. Peyton Hillis caught six passes for 95 yards and a score for Cleveland (3-7), which has lost two straight.
Hillis rushed for 48 yards on 21 carries and Abram Elam returned a fumble for a touchdown in defeat.
After Phil Dawson kicked a 41-yard field goal to put the Browns up 20-17, the Jaguars got the ball back with 2:46 remaining with a chance for the win.
They started the drive at their own 13-yard line, but on the third play, Garrard connected with Jones-Drew for a short screen pass that the running back took 75 yards to the Cleveland one. After Rashad Jennings failed to punch it in, Jones-Drew went up the middle to give Jacksonville the 24-20 lead with 1:16 left on the clock.
McCoy had the Browns marching in the final minute in the no-huddle offense, and worked the ball to the Jacksonville 29 with 13 seconds left. But his first-down pass was picked off by Sean Considine, allowing the Jaguars to run out the clock.
“I think this football team has a flair for the dramatic,” head coach Jack Del Rio said of his team. "Another exciting win at home.
“This is a huge win for us. Our guys showed a lot of resiliency and I am proud of the fortitude they showed out there. The game never got away from us because we responded, we held our ground and didn’t let (Cleveland) take those turnovers and bury us.”
Cleveland punted on the game’s opening drive, and after starting at their own 38, the Jaguars put together a seven-play drive that culminated in a 47-yard Josh Scobee field goal.
The Browns had the ball in the final minutes of the first quarter and extended their drive into the second. On a 2nd-and-1, McCoy dropped back into the pocket and initially avoided a sack. He was then hit by defensive end Larry Hart, but tossed a dump pass to Hillis as he fell, and Hillis ran 11 yards to the right pylon for the score.
The play capped a 16-play, 92-yard drive that took nearly 10 minutes off the clock.
Cleveland had a chance to extend its lead with 8:05 left in the half, but Dawson’s 51-yard field goal attempt went wide right.
Garrard hit Mike Thomas for a five-yard score in the final minute of the half to cap a 13-play, 68 yard drive. Jacksonville held the 10-7 advantage heading to the locker room.
The Jaguars got the ball a few minutes into the third quarter after a Browns punt. But on the first play from scrimmage, Elam stripped Jones-Drew on a run up the middle, and the Cleveland safety took the ball 18 yards for the score.
It was the second turnover caused by Elam, who also picked off a Jones-Drew pass on an option play in the second quarter.
Garrard threw an interception on Jacksonville’s next two possessions, and Dawson added a 38-yard field goal off the second turnover to extend the Browns lead to 17-10 heading to the fourth.
Dawson missed a 51-yard field goal with under 10 minutes left to give Jacksonville the ball back at its own 41.
The Jaguars then evened the game with 3:34 left. Following Dawson’s miss, Jacksonville advanced to the Cleveland 14 before Garrard connected with Lewis in the middle of the end zone for the receiver’s eighth TD of the season.
Jones-Drew has rushed for 100 or more yards in three consecutive games for the first time in his career…Jacksonville has won nine of the last 13 meetings…The Jaguars committed six turnovers, compared to one for Cleveland…Jacksonville was without wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker (ankle)…The Jaguars led at the half for the third straight game, all wins…Jacksonville was 3-for-3 in red zone opportunities; Cleveland 1- for-3…Thomas finished with five catches for 36 yards for the Jaguars.