Jacksonville 28, Philadelphia 25

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Bobby Shaw scored on a 69-yard punt return in the fourth quarter Sunday as the surprising Jacksonville Jaguars downed the mistake-prone Philadelphia Eagles, 28-25.

Ravaged by the salary cap in the offseason that caused the departures of veterans Tony Boselli, Kevin Hardy and Keenan McCardell, the Jaguars were pegged by many to struggle this season.


After losing their season opener, the Jaguars have rebounded to win three straight games.

Stacey Mack scored on a one-yard run with 10:37 remaining to give the Jaguars a 21-10 lead and Shaw broke open the game less than four minutes later with his return.

"I was telling Bobby (Shaw) after the game that his return was probably one of the biggest in our history," Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell said. "The timing, considering the opponent and the situation we were in, that was one of the biggest plays we've had in our history. This game was big for this team, it just remains to be seen how big."


Donovan McNabb passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards and a score for the Eagles (3-2), who committed 10 penalties for 75 yards.

"We know what happened," Eagles Coach Andy Reid said. "It won't happen again. I'm not going to point fingers at anybody. Again, that's my responsibility to take care of that and it didn't get done."

Philadelphia also had wide receiver Antonio Freeman drop a potential 65-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and had another long pass play in the fourth quarter nullified on a holding penalty on tackle Tra Thomas.

Both of the Eagles' losses this season have come against teams from the AFC South. Philadelphia lost its season opener at Tennessee.

Holding a 7-6 lead late in the second quarter, the Eagles committed perhaps their biggest blunder after stopping the Jaguars on third and three at their own 47. But on the punt, the Eagles had 12 players on the field, giving the Jaguars a first down on a drive that eventually ended with a touchdown.

"That was huge," Jaguars Coach Tom Coughlin said of the penalty. "We had been sputtering, three-and-out, three-and-out, a dropped ball. There was frustration. That helped us tremendously and gave us a shot in the arm."


Mark Brunell found Jimmy Smith for 26 yards to the two and capped the drive by finding tight end Kyle Brady, who made a diving reception. On the two-point conversion, the Eagles had only 10 players on the field and used a timeout. But that did not help as Taylor caught the conversion for a 14-7 lead.

Brunell completed 13 of 23 passes for 197 yards.

"They (Eagles) did two things. They stopped the run and covered Jimmy Smith," Brunell said. "That is one of the toughest defenses we'll face all year. We were patient. We didn't make mistakes."

The Eagles nearly tied the game in the waning seconds of the half. From his own 45, McNabb scrambled out of the pocket and lofted a pass for Freeman, who ran under the ball before he dropped the ball as he hit the turf.

Philadelphia committed seven penalties for 50 yards in the first half.

In the third quarter, the Eagles drove inside the Jaguars' 15 but settled for David Akers' 31-yard field goal, leaving them behind, 14-10.

Even though he had a big statisitical game, McNabb was held relatively in check. McNabb completed 28 of 48 passes and was sacked five times. First-round pick John Henderson had three of the sacks.


"It was tough, we knew we had to get ready for him (McNabb)," Henderson said. "It was all about keeping him in the pocket and that's what we did. We did a good job. The ends and the tackles and the defensive backs covered well and just got back there."

"I'm fine now," said McNabb, who was sick during the game and vomited on the field in the fourth quarter. "Sometimes when you get into the heat of a battle like that, down in the trenches battling, things like that happen. It probably just caught up with me in the game."

Clinging to the 14-10 lead, the Jaguars got a big play in the pass game on the final play of third quarter. Brunell found Smith on the left side for what looked like a minimal gain, but Smith eluded cornerback Bobby Taylor and raced 47 yards down the sideline to the 21.

Brunell and Smith hooked up again to keep the drive going. On third and nine from the 20, Brunell found Smith over the middle for 10 yards. Smith had four catches for 91 yards, including his 600th career reception in the third quarter.

Jacksonville moved inside the two, but faced with a fourth and one. Coughlin elected to go for it and Mack powered over from goal line, making it 21-10 with 10:37 remaining.


"The decision to go for it and converting it into a touchdown rather than a field goal as it turned out was what we needed," Coughlin said. "It was just a gut feeling. Our players have to understand we're here to win."

The Jaguars never really got their ground game going. Fred Taylor rushed for just 48 yards on 21 attempts and Mack carried just three times for two yards.

After the Eagles picked up a first down before being forced to punt, Shaw put away the game.

Shaw took Sean Landeta's punt at his own 41, shook off a a pair of tackles and raced 69 yards to the end zone to make it 28-10 with 6:23 remaining.

It was the third straight game that the Eagles allowed a touchdown on special teams.

With the game out of reach, McNabb ran for a four-yard score and had an eight-yard touchdown pass to Freeman in the final 2:48 of the contest.

Duce Staley added 82 yards rushing for the Eagles, who lost despite holding a 406-267 edge in total yards.

McNabb also threw a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chad Lewis with 3:41 left in the first half, giving the Eagles a 7-6 lead. Hayden Epstein accounted for the first six points with field goals of 34 and 31 yards.


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