Jacksonville defensive coordinator Dom Capers arrived at Ericsson Stadium yesterday with a new team. Fortunately for him, that team includes Mark Brunell and Lonnie Marts.
Brunell passed for 147 yards in the second half and Marts batted away a two-point conversion pass with 31 seconds remaining to give the Jaguars a 22-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Brunell completed 20 of 32 passes for 214 yards as Jacksonville gave Capers a triumphant return to Charlotte. Capers spent the last four years as Carolina's first coach, but he was fired after last season and subsequently hired by the Jaguars.
"It's nice to know we can come through in the clutch like this, especially coming back with Dom," Marts said. "Dom's probably pretty excited."
Capers's defense did not surrender a touchdown last week in Jacksonville's 38-point victory over San Francisco, but Carolina scored twice in less than two minutes in the second quarter to go up, 14-6.
But the Jaguars' defense stepped up after Steve Beuerlein threw his second scoring pass to Wesley Walls, a one-yarder that gave the Panthers a chance to tie with 31 seconds remaining. Beuerlein's short conversion toss to Walls near the goal line was slapped to the ground by Marts, securing the Jaguars' third consecutive 2-0 start.
James Stewart rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yarder with 1 minute 48 seconds to go. Stewart helped the Jaguars make up for playing most of the game without top rusher Fred Taylor. Limited in practice by a sore left foot, Taylor carried five times in the first quarter before leaving with a slightly pulled left hamstring.
49ERS 28, SAINTS 21: San Francisco might be nearing the end of two decades of success. But that doesn't mean it can't beat New Orleans.
Steve Young threw two touchdown passes to Terrell Owens, including the tying score with 2:03 remaining, and safety Lance Schulters--who replaced the released Merton Hanks--won it with a 64-yard interception return with 1:31 left as the 49ers won at home.
SEAHAWKS 14, BEARS 13: Mike Holmgren continued his mastery of Chicago as Seattle scored two touchdowns in the second half to earn the road win.
Holmgren, who went 12-2 against the Bears as coach of the Green Bay Packers, has won 11 straight against Chicago. The Bears (1-1) had a chance to win, but rookie Brian Gowins's 48-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right with 20 seconds left.
CHARGERS 34, BENGALS 7: Jim Harbaugh threaded a 29-yard touchdown pass between two defenders and Gerald Dixon returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown less than a minute later as San Diego won on the road.
Coach Mike Riley won his debut as the Chargers took advantage of five turnovers, scoring 34 consecutive points after a slow start.
BUCCANEERS 19, EAGLES 5: Visiting Tampa Bay got six of its nine sacks against Donovan McNabb, who made his NFL debut. Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott rushed 15 times for 64 yards and caught three passes for 33 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown that made it 19-5 in the third.
TITANS 26, BROWNS 9: Neil O'Donnell, filling in for the injured Steve McNair, completed 31 of 40 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown as Tennessee rolled at home. Eddie George scored on a pair of one-yard runs for the Titans.