OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars didn't know
their season had ended until they made their way out of the rain
and into the long tunnel that leads to the visiting locker room.
That's when they learned that the Denver Broncos beat
Indianapolis 33-14 to knock them out -- the third and last scenario
that determined the Jaguars' fate on the season's final day.
Byron Leftwich looked out of sync in the muddy, rain-soaked
field, but did enough to send the Jaguars into the offseason on a
positive note with a 13-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on
Sunday for their first winning season in five years.
It was disappointing finish for a club that hoped to extend its
season the year Jacksonville hosts its first Super Bowl next month.
"That kind of put a downer on the day," coach Jack Del Rio
said of learning his team was eliminated. "I didn't see anything
on the board during the game."
Leftwich threw for 149 yards a week after sustaining a mild
concussion and Greg Jones scored on a 1-yard run for the game's
only touchdown, which broke a third-quarter tie.
The Raiders had a chance to send the game into overtime in the
final seconds, but Kerry Collins fumbled the snap on
fourth-and-goal at the 2, picked it up and was tackled for a loss.
"Guys have to make plays. Guys have to really commit themselves
as to what it is they really want to do," Oakland running back
Tyrone Wheatley said. "The last two years here, we've had some
guys who think they can just line up on Sunday and play football.
It doesn't work that way. You have to commit yourself and stop
thinking that your job is a sacrifice."
By beating the Raiders in the teams' first meeting since 1997,
the Jags established a winning road record for the first time since
the '99 season when they went 14-2, 7-1 away from home.
But Jacksonville (9-7) certainly will be haunted by last
Sunday's 21-0 home loss to the Houston Texans.
"Our season has been disappointing," Leftwich said. "We had
our opportunity to be playing last week. We had the opportunity
slip away. If I played better, we'd be playing next week at Indy."
Collins capped his up-and-down season with a statistically
disastrous finale: three interceptions, one lost fumble, no
touchdowns and a 17.3 passer rating.
"I made some stupid throws and some stupid decisions, things
that hurt us," Collins said.
Donovin Darius intercepted two passes by Collins, including one
in the end zone with 4:07 left in the game.
Zack Crockett had a big day for Oakland (5-11), which finished
with just one more victory than the team's flop a year ago that led
to the firing of coach Bill Callahan.
Crockett, a career short-yardage man, carried 11 straight times
in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 for a career-high 134
yards -- his most rushing attempts since the 2002 season finale
against Kansas City.
After making an 11-yard completion and being knocked down by
Oakland safety Marques Anderson -- who immediately flexed his
muscles -- receiver Ernest Wilford spiked the ball inches in front
of Anderson and was hit with a 12-yard taunting penalty.
Jacksonville punted four plays later.
But Wilford made up for it with a leaping, one-handed reception
for a 46-yard gain that set up Jones' touchdown.
It was a dreary homecoming for Del Rio, who grew up in nearby
Castro Valley rooting for the Raiders. This was his first time in
the Oakland Coliseum as an NFL head coach.
Collins threw interceptions on consecutive passes in the second
quarter, sending the drenched fans into a booing frenzy.
"The only people that don't respect us are opposing teams,"
Raiders safety Ray Buchanan said. "The only way you get that is by
going out there and fighting against them."
The Jaguars couldn't capitalize on either turnover and didn't
exhibit a sense of urgency expected from a team fighting for a
Collins also fumbled three times, including deep in Oakland
territory in the third quarter that was recovered by John
Henderson, giving the Jags the ball on the 21. Josh Scobee kicked a
22-yard field goal five plays later that made it 6-6. Scobee also
had a 26-yard field goal.
Jacksonville again struggled without star running back Fred
Taylor, who missed the last two games with a knee injury.
Collins finished the season with 3,495 yards passing, the
sixth-highest single-season total in franchise history despite not
playing in the first two games. ... Crockett's 47-yard run in the
fourth quarter was the longest of his career. ... Sebastian
Janikowski kicked two field goals for Oakland.
Snoop Dogg is ready to collaborate with Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell on a hip-hop album, provided the Steelers star's surgically repaired knee is fully mended.
Jason Vander Laan, a record-breaking quarterback at Division II Ferris State, will get a shot at making the Jets as a tight end.
Will Smith's wife accepted a degree from the University of Miami's inaugural MBA program for artists and athletes on the slain former Saints defensive end's behalf Thursday.
With all six draft picks signed, the Falcons are the first NFL team to have its entire 2016 class under contract.
The Rams bolstered their roster by signing 19 undrafted free agents, including Ian Seau -- the nephew of Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau.
Cornerback Brandon Williams didn't see his daughters, now 7 and 2, much during college, but hopes being drafted by the Cardinals means a change there.