Jacksonville Jaguars: Top 5 Home Openers
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The Jacksonville Jaguars opened their 2012 home schedule against the Houston Texans this past weekend. With 11 wins and now seven losses during home openers, there are certainly games to look back on and feel better about the most recent loss to the division rival Houston Texans.
There were several games that did not make the cut, including the first meeting between the Jaguars and Tim Tebow, a 21-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2001, in which former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith hauled in eight receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns, and a David Garrard-led 24-17 win over Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys after being named the starting quarterback just days prior.
2005: Jaguars 26, Seahawks 14
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith, 9/11/2005, against the Seattle Seahawks
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Jimmy Smith led the team with seven receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns. The Jaguars were riding high on the play from Smith and quarterback Byron Leftwich on that day.
After this game, the mood was that this would be the year Leftwich would become the quarterback the Jaguars expected when they drafted him with the seventh overall pick in 2003.
Little did everyone know that Jimmy Smith would retire at the end of the year…and Byron Leftwich would be cut by the team before the 2006 season opener.
1996: Jaguars 24, Steelers 9
1996 Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback, Mark Brunell
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This win marked the first time in Jaguars history that the team started the season off with a winning record. The significance of winning this game was incomparable to many others.
This win was led by Mark Brunell throwing for 212 yards and two touchdowns, one of them to Keenan McCardell, who also hauled in four other receptions for 53 total yards.
James Stewart rushed 25 times for 77 yards and one touchdown.
2000: Jaguars 13, Bengals 0
I'm the man? No, Hardy Nickerson, you're the man!
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Few teams have done what the 1999 Jaguars did. They finished the season 14-2 and beat the Dan Marino-led Miami Dolphins 62-7 in the divisional round of the playoffs. But, they lost to the Tennessee Titans in the conference championship game, making the Titans the only team to beat the Jaguars that year for a third time.
Enter the 2000 Jacksonville Jaguars. After starting 1-1 on the road, they came home and hosted the Cincinnati Bengals. The most significant part about this win was that the Jaguars held Cincinnati running back Corey Dillon to less than two yards per carry.
But, it was a shutout, nonetheless, and holding an opponent scoreless in the NFL is a great achievement.
1997: Jaguars 40, Giants 13
"We are the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thank you for welcoming us into your city, Denver."
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The Jaguars made the playoffs as a wild-card team in 1996 following a missed Mort Anderson field goal as the final game ended. The miracle season continued on the road beating the Buffalo Bills and the 13-3 Denver Broncos.
The 1997 season began on the road, where the Jaguars recorded their first win against the Baltimore Ravens. In Week 2, they hosted the New York Giants, and won rather heavily. Running backs James Stewart and Natrone Means totaled 123 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
1999: Jaguars 41, 49ers 3
Donovin Darius made one interception in the big win against the 49ers.
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The biggest win to open the season at home came against the San Francisco 49ers. Jimmy Smith totaled six receptions for 139 yards. Keenan McCardell had eight receptions for 78 yards. Defensively, the Jaguars held the 49ers to 203 yards and recovered two fumbles on three forced.
Neither Steve Young nor Jeff Garcia could break the 100-yard passing plateau and they combined for three interceptions. One of those interceptions was thrown to Jaguars cornerback Aaron Beasley, who returned in 90 yards for a Jaguars touchdown.