CLEVELAND – The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t miss Byron Leftwich as much as they feared.

David Garrard, making his fourth career start, threw two touchdown passes in the second half and made a crucial scramble for a first down in the final minutes as the Jaguars rallied for their fifth straight win, 20-14 over the Cleveland Browns.

With Leftwich out at least four weeks with a broken ankle, the Jaguars (9-3) have put their playoff hopes in the hands of Garrard, a four-year veteran with no big-game experience in the pros. But he came through in the clutch against the Browns (4-8), tossing two TDs – the second a 12-yarder to Jimmy Smith late in the third quarter – as Jacksonville overcame a 14-3 halftime deficit. He finished 11-of-20 for 116 yards and one interception.

As the Jaguars were trying to run out the clock near midfield, Garrard took off on third-and-19, picking up 28 yards at the 2-minute warning. The Jaguars closed out their third straight road win as some Browns fans peppered the field with snowballs.

Jacksonville has twice gone 3-0 on three-game trips since 2001 – the only NFL team to do so.

Browns rookie quarterback Charlie Frye, making his first career start in place of injured Trent Dilfer, threw two touchdown passes in the first half to Braylon Edwards.

But Frye was sacked five times after halftime, and Edwards was helped off the field in the fourth period with a right knee injury.

Jacksonville’s defense held the Browns to 55 yards in the second half after giving up 243 in the first. Frye finished 13-of-20 for 226 yards.

Another bright spot for the Browns was running back Reuben Droughns, who became the first Cleveland back to break 1,000 yards in a season since 1985. He finished with 88 yards on 30 tries.

Trailing 14-3 at halftime, Garrard drove the Jaguars to a field goal on their first possession after halftime. The next time he got the ball, Garrard tossed a 9-yard TD pass to tight end George Wrighster.

The Browns went three-and-out, and following a 46-yard pass interference call against Cleveland, Garrard completed a 17-yard pass to Kyle Brady before hitting a wide-open Smith in the end zone.

Browns safety Brian Russell picked off Garrard’s pass late in the second quarter, and Frye capitalized. He hit Edwards over the middle for 23 yards and tight end Aaron Shea for 13 more.

Droughns went over 1,000 yards on Cleveland’s next play, and Frye capped the drive with his second scoring pass to Edwards, a 17-yarder that put the Browns ahead 14-3.

Two defensive calls against the Jaguars, one on a third-down roughing penalty, kept the Browns’ first scoring drive alive. Facing a third-and-3 at Jacksonville’s 34, Frye drew the Jaguars offside, but continued the play. Rolling right, he lofted a pass off his back foot into the end zone for Edwards, who fought off two defensive backs for the 34-yard touchdown.

Edwards quickly handed the souvenir of his first career TD pass to Frye, his roommate during training camp.

Josh Scobee kicked a 24-yard field goal in the first quarter and his 29-yarder in the third for the Jaguars .

AP-ES-12-04-05 1637EST


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