Sept. 8, 1996: Houston Oilers 34, Jaguars 27 | Click here to download the gamebook.
This flashback goes all the way back to the Oilers’ final season in Houston and Jacksonville’s second year with a football team. The third-ever meeting between the Titans/Oilers and Jaguars franchises is highlighted by the first pro touchdown by Eddie George, the longest run of his career and a wild finish.
|Eddie George scored his first NFL touchdown and had a 76-yard rush (the longest of his career) for the Oilers against the Jaguars in 1996.|
The rookie first-round draft pick tied the game at 10 with a 1-yard touchdown with 48 seconds left in the first quarter to cap a 31-yard drive that was set up by a 62-yard kickoff return by Mel Gray.
The Oilers forced a quick three-and-punt by the Jaguars, and Chris Chandler connected with Malcolm Floyd for a 63-yard TD pass and a 17-10 lead early in the second quarter. After the Jaguars drove for a field goal, the Oilers added another touchdown before halftime on a 7-yard pass by Chandler to Frank Wycheck. Brad Hopkins preserved the drive inside the Jacksonville 20-yard line and the two-minute warning by recovering a fumble by George. The Oilers led 24-13 at halftime, despite having the ball for less than eight minutes of the first half.
The Jaguars drove but missed a 31-yard field goal to open the second half, and George rumbled for a 76-yard gain after a penalty created a first-and-20 at the Houston 11. Chandler hit Willie Davis for an 11-yard touchdown two plays later for a 31-13 lead with 7:08 left in the third quarter.
Jacksonville responded with a touchdown drive, and Houston added the second field goal of the day by Al Del Greco for a 34-20 lead with 7:27 left in the fourth quarter. That possession lasted 16 plays and 10:20.
The Jaguars drove to the Houston 15 and completed a 13-yard pass, but Blaine Bishop forced a fumble that was recovered by Rafael Robinson at the 7 with 3:08 left in the game. Jacksonville, however, forced a punt and returned it 46 yards to set up a short TD pass from Mark Brunell to Keenan McCardell with 2:33 remaining and recovered an onside kick.
Marcus Robertson delivered late heroics for the Oilers when he recorded his second interception of Brunell at the Houston 6 on the first play inside the two-minute warning. Robertson returned it 17 yards, and the Oilers were able to run out the clock. Bishop led the Oilers with 11 tackles, and Robertson was second with nine.
George finished with 17 carries for 143 yards, Chandler was 14-of-22 passing for 226 yards, and Floyd led receivers with 90 yards on three catches. George went on to score a franchise best 74 touchdowns (63 more rushing and 10 receiving).