Jaguars 23, Cowboys 17, OT

Monday, October 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Beasley tackles SMith.

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Alvis Whitted turned a short pass from Mark Brunell into a 37-yard touchdown on the first drive of overtime as the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Dallas Cowboys 23-17 Sunday to end their five-game losing streak.

Whitted, playing for the injured Jimmy Smith, also caught a 3-yard touchdown pass that put Jacksonville (3-6) ahead 17-7 just before halftime.

Brunell finished 20-of-24 for 231 yards and three TD throws.

The Cowboys (3-5) once again failed in a bid to win consecutive games, and are facing new questions about quarterback Troy Aikman's health. Aikman threw a 13-yard touchdown pass on Dallas' first drive, but re-injured his sore back early in the series after being slammed to the turf by defensive end Tony Brackens.

Aikman, who received six painkilling shots last Monday, took himself out of the game during the next possession and went to the locker room. He returned to the bench with 10 seconds left in the third quarter, but never went back into the game.

Brunell directed the Jaguars on three straight second-quarter scoring drives, two set up by Dallas turnovers. It was quite a change for the Jaguars, who came into the game with a league-worst 21 turnovers.

Donovin Darius began the rally by intercepting a pass from Dallas backup Randall Cunningham, leading to a 42-yard field goal by Mike Hollis. After the Cowboys went three-and-out, an 80-yard Jaguars drive was capped by Brunell's 3-yard TD pass to Kyle Brady.

Jacksonville got the ball back with 32 seconds left in the second quarter when rookie Paul Spicer forced Cunningham to fumble. Tony Brackens returned it to the Dallas 21, and with 9 seconds left in the half Whitted ran under a lob in the end zone.

The Jaguars' 17 points at halftime were more than they had scored in an entire game since Week 2, and they finished without a turnover for the first time in 12 games dating to last season.

The Cowboys cut into the lead at the start of the third quarter. After a Jacksonville replay challenge wiped out a 1-yard touchdown run by Emmitt Smith, the Jaguars defense held on third down, and Dallas settled for a 19-yard field goal by Tim Seder that made it 17-10.

Smith, who ran for 102 yards, fumbled with 6:24 left, but Jacksonville's ensuing drive stalled, giving the Cowboys another chance.

Cunningham moved Dallas 71 yards in seven plays, diving over the top for the final yard to tie the game with 1:01 left. Jacksonville then drove to midfield, but its only shot at the end zone was tipped away by cornerback Ryan McNeil.

The Jaguars won the coin toss in overtime and drove in for the winning score, avoiding what would have been their first loss this season to a sub-.500 team.

Brunell had an impressive day even without Smith, who blossomed into one of the league's top receivers after being released by Dallas following a brief tenure plagued by injury and illness. The Cowboys helped Brunell by not sending extra rushers at him, a curious strategy considering Jacksonville had allowed a league-high 38 sacks.

Brady was Brunell's favorite target for a second straight week, catching 10 passes for 138 yards, including a 36-yarder — all career highs. Fred Taylor ran 31 times for 107 yards, his third straight 100-yard game.