NFL Playoffs

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  Saturday, Jan. 15 12:30pm ET
Jag-gernaut flattens Miami 62-7

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars can sing it loud. They are a legitimate Super Bowl threat.

Fred Taylor
Fred Taylor turns the corner on Patrick Surtain and breaks loose for a record 90-yard TD run.
In the second-most overpowering performance in NFL playoff history, the Jaguars routed the Miami Dolphins 62-7 Saturday to move one victory away from the Super Bowl they've been pointing toward all season and singing about the past week.

With Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson stumbling through possibly their last game, the Dolphins (10-8) didn't offer much of a challenge. Still, for at least one day, those who doubted the Jaguars (15-2) because of their soft schedule and ridiculed them for their Super Bowl rap song can give it a rest.

Among the stars were Fred Taylor, who had two highlight-reel touchdowns, and defensive lineman Tony Brackens, who recovered a fumble and literally danced his way into the end zone.

"This was one of those games where things are going well, you get confidence, you get it rolling and you start making a lot of plays," Jaguars offensive lineman Ben Coleman said. "Then we didn't let up. We made play after play after play and all of the sudden, we're running away."

To say the least.

Only the 1940 Chicago Bears, who beat the Washington Redskins 73-0 for the NFL title, have scored more points in the playoffs. The 55-point margin also is the second-largest in playoff history. The 62 points were the most the Dolphins have allowed -- ever.

Why the Jaguars won:
1. On the Mark. Mark Brunell had great protection and was able to engineer a couple of touchdown drives before heading to the bench in the second quarter to rest his injured left knee. Brunell completed five of nine passes for 105 yards and two TDs. He was flawless on a 73-yard drive to open the game that put Jacksonville in early control.

2. Taylor-made offense. Fred Taylor made life easy for Brunell and the Jaguars offense. Running through huge holes and then making the Dolphins miss, Taylor ran for 135 yards on 18 carries. He also set an NFL playoff record with a 90-yard TD run and caught a 39-yard TD pass.

3. Terrific in the trenches. Jacksonville physically punished Miami at the point of attack. Despite missing Pro Bowl tackle Tony Boselli, the offensive line paved the way for a 257-yard rushing performance. The defensive front held the Dolphins to 21 rushing yards on 18 attempts.

Why the Dolphins lost:
1. They couldn't tackle. The Miami defense, which returned to its dominating ways last week at Seattle, again looked like the floundering unit from the end of the regular season. The Dolphins couldn't wrap up on the Jaguars, especially on Taylor's two touchdown runs.

2. They couldn't hang onto the ball. The Dolphins fumbled six times, losing five. Dan Marino threw two interceptions. That's seven turnovers, and the ineptness extended to the offense, defense and special teams.

3. They couldn't move the ball. By the time Marino completed his first pass to a teammate, Miami trailed 38-0. The Dolphins finished with just 131 total yards and 10 first downs -- six of which came by penalties.

Game ball goes to:
Taylor. Jacksonville's game-breaking tailback proved that he's completely healthy and broke the game open with his two big plays in the first half.

Up next:
The Jaguars will host the AFC Championship Game next Sunday against the winner of the Titans-Colts contest.

It might have been the most embarrassing loss for Johnson and Marino in their storied careers. It was punctuated by a cold blast of water from the sprinkler system in the south end zone soon after a Jaguars touchdown made it 55-7.

"I've never experienced a game like this in my life," said Marino, 38, who deflected questions about his retirement. "Even as a kid, I've never had a game like this."

Marino was 11-for-25 for 95 yards before Johnson pulled him early in the third quarter. More telling: By the time gimpy Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell was lifted with a 38-0 lead, Marino had thrown two interceptions, no completions and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

It was all part of a stunning 20-minute period in which the Jaguars pulled off enough spectacular plays to stake their claim as not only a Super Bowl favorite, but an exhilarating one at that.

It should bring an end to the issue of the soft schedule.

And the Super Bowl rap?

"We knew if we lost, that would be hanging over our heads," said one of the singers, defensive lineman Gary Walker. "That got taken out of proportion. I guess they can take it to the team that wins tomorrow and get it started again."

The Jaguars will play host to the winner of Sunday's game between Indianapolis and Tennessee next week in the AFC Championship Game. They'll have trouble topping this.

"When you look at who we've got -- Brunell, Taylor, McCardell, Smith -- you know you're going to put points on the board," Walker said. "But I can't say we expected that many."

Jacksonville's most memorable play might have been Taylor's 90-yard touchdown run, the longest in NFL playoff history.

The second-year running back appeared all-but-tackled behind a picket line of Dolphins defenders. Somehow, he stutter-stepped his way around the line to break into the open. Then, with a trademark burst of speed, Taylor won a 70-yard foot race with Brock Marion for a 17-0 lead.

Two plays later, Brackens provided another memory.

Sweeping in from the right side, he stripped Marino and recovered the fumble. He got up and started strutting, mobbed by teammates who thought the play was over. Noticing Brackens hadn't been touched down, linebacker Bryce Paup shoved his teammate toward the end zone. By the time Brackens figured out what was happening, he had crossed the goal line.

On Jacksonville's next possession, Taylor took a screen pass and outmaneuvered four more flailing Miami defenders for a 39-yard score and a 31-0 lead.

Taylor finished with 135 yards rushing and 39 receiving. He sat out the second half and couldn't match his 162-yard rushing performance in his postseason debut last season.

"I've been saying all week I was ready to play," said Taylor, hampered most of the year with a sore hamstring. "I got tired of sitting around watching other games. I guess I was ready to go."

Complementing the big plays were a 25-yard touchdown run by James Stewart, a blocked punt by Corey Chamblin and an 8-yard touchdown pass from Brunell to Jimmy Smith.

The biggest margins of victory in NFL postseason history:

73: Chicago 73, Washington 0, 1940, NFL Championship.

55: Jacksonville 62, Miami 7, 2000, AFC Divisional Playoff.

49: Oakland 56, Houston 7, 1969, AFL Divisional Playoff.

48: Buffalo 51, L.A. Raiders 3, 1991, AFC Championship.

46: Cleveland 56, vs. Detroit 10, 1954, NFL Championship.

46: N.Y. Giants 49, San Francisco 3, 1987, NFC Divisional Playoff.

45: San Francisco 55, Denver 10, 1990, Super Bowl.

In the second half, backup quarterback Jay Fiedler hit Smith for a 70-yard touchdown and followed with a 38-yard scoring pass to Alvis Whitted for a 55-7 lead. That's when the sprinklers came on, blasting the Dolphins huddle with cold water to pile on to an already humiliating day.

"It's tough to describe," Dolphins center Tim Ruddy said. "We made some blunders at the start, and it went downhill from there."

The Jaguars led 41-7 at halftime, tying the postseason record for most points in a half.

Jacksonville held a 24-0 advantage after one quarter, leaving Johnson to spend most of the game with arms folded, staring blankly at the field, seemingly emotionless despite the humbling loss.

"I guess this thing is full-circle," Johnson said, sounding like a coach who has had enough. "I was on the other side of one of these where we got about seven takeaways from an opponent in the Super Bowl. It was a runaway, but I've never been on this side before."

The Dolphins committed seven turnovers. They closed the season losing seven of their last 10, fueling thoughts somebody has to go -- either the coach, the quarterback or both.

Marino is undecided about his future, but there has been widespread speculation he'll retire after he missed five games with a neck injury and finished with the worst quarterback rating (67.4) of his storied 17-year career.

Meanwhile, all Johnson has to show for his four seasons in Miami are two playoff victories, hardly memorable considering the way the Dolphins have exited the last two years: This loss comes on top of last year's 38-3 thumping at the hands of Denver last season that led Johnson to quit for one day.

Game notes
Brunell, who went 5-for-9 for 105 yards, said he didn't take any major hits to his injured left knee. ... Taylor's 90-yard touchdown run was the longest in NFL history. It surpassed an 80-yard run by Roger Craig of the San Francisco 49ers in a Jan. 1, 1989, playoff victory over Minnesota. ... Jaguars kicker Mike Hollis made a 45-yard field goal to extend his streak of successful field goals in the playoffs to 14. He followed with a miss from 39 yards. ... Jacksonville's 24-0 lead after one quarter matched the largest first-quarter playoff lead ever. San Diego led Miami by the same score in their 1981 playoff classic, a Chargers' 41-38 overtime win. ... Second-year receiver Alvis Whitted scored the first offensive touchdown of his career, a 38-yard touchdown pass from Jay Fiedler. ... James Stewart left with a sprained ankle after rushing 11 times for 62 yards and a touchdown. ... Fiedler finished 7-for-10 for 172 yards. ... Autry Denson and Stanley Pritchett led the Dolphins in rushing with 10 yards each.


NFL Scoreboard

Miami Clubhouse

Jacksonville Clubhouse

Johnson stepping down as head coach of Dolphins

Marino endures day to forget in possible finale

Jaguars prove point ... and then some

Jags use Taylor-made attack

Dolphins (10-7) at Jaguars (14-2)

 Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin talks about his team's 62-7 victory.
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 Dan Marino has never experienced a game like this.
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 Tom Coughlin is thankful for the homefield advantage.
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 Jimmy Johnson says that he didn't keep the team fresh.
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