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Browns stun Jags with 50-yard TD as time expires

12/8/2002

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The old Kardiac Kids were downright
boring compared to these new Cleveland Browns.

Question on the Browns: Any chance they can win the AFC North or are they just too up-and-down?
Cleveland would have to play more consistently, for sure. But Pittsburgh, with its QB problems, can be beaten. To win the division, the Browns would likely have to win out and would still need help from one of the Steelers' opponents.

Question on the Jags: Is Tom Coughlin still the right man or does another close loss like this jeopardize his future?
I think there's a question about whether he wants to stay. Coughlin has had a good run, missing out on the Super Bowl several years ago when the Jags had a dominant team. He might be interested in going back to the college ranks. He's a good NFL coach, but it might be time for a change.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

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.

"I thought I had seen everything I could in football,'' coach
Butch Davis said. "I guess I hadn't.''

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.

Now, this.

"Yeah, just another day at the office,'' Davis said.

Game notes
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.