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Jaguars complete biggest comeback ever, beat Giants

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On a day when the Jacksonville Jaguars recognized their best players in history, the current team provided three notable franchise firsts.

And an even bigger second.

Blake Bortles notched his first game-winning drive. The defense scored twice in the same game for the first time.

And the Jaguars managed their largest comeback ever, rallying from a 21-point deficit to beat the New York Giants 25-24 on Sunday for their second victory of the season.

"It was an unbelievable way to win it," Bortles said. "It's awesome to be a part of this team and see how much fight they have. ...We weren't sharp in some situations, but we were sharp when we needed to be, and that was good."

Bortles completed four passes and used two keepers to put Jacksonville in field-goal range in the final minute, and Josh Scobee delivered a 43-yarder with 28 seconds remaining that turned out to be the difference.

The Jaguars (2-10) ended a four-game losing streak and dealt the Giants (3-9) a seventh consecutive loss that could raise more questions about the future of New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

"It's a loss that we feel we should have won," Coughlin said. "We've done this too many times. We just helped somebody beat us. Instead of forcing them to beat us, we helped them. ... I'm upset with everything. And I'm upset with me. I start with me."

The Giants dominated the first half, scoring 21 points in the second quarter and looking like they would notch their first victory since early October.

But Jacksonville played like a different team after the break, especially on defense. Veteran defensive end Chris Clemons may have ignited the turnaround with a fiery tirade on the sideline.

His teammates certainly responded. Linebacker Geno Hayes forced Eli Manning to fumble in the third quarter, and teammate J.T. Thomas recovered in the end zone. The Jaguars forced another turnover in the fourth when rookie cornerback Aaron Colvin returned Larry Donnell's fumble 41 yards for a score and a 22-21 lead.

"One thing that you can't take away from this football team is that we're fighters," Thomas said.

In between those defensive gems, Bortles threw a perfect, 30-yard TD pass to rookie Marqise Lee.

"He can flat out fly and made a great play," Bortles said.

Jacksonville nearly wasted the comeback. Manning & Co. got some things going later, and Josh Brown's 33-yard field goal put the Giants ahead 24-22 with 3:26 to play.

But Bortles took over after that, driving the Jags 55 yards while taking all but 28 seconds off the clock. Bortles used identical keepers to hurt the Giants for 11 and 20 yards.

"We have to find a way to finish games and get wins," Giants linebacker Devon Kennard said. "It's not like we don't have a talented group and not hungry for a win. There are close games coming down to the last drive and we are just not finishing. We have to find a way to finish games and get wins."

The Giants had one final chance to win, but Manning fumbled on first down. New York managed just 75 yards in the second half.

Injuries were a factor. Right tackle Geoff Schwartz, playing in place of starter Justin Pugh, injured his left ankle and left on a cart. His replacement, James Brewer, also left with a concussion. Running back Rashad Jennings went down with an ankle injury.

After the game, Coughlin talked to his players about "staying together, fighting."

"I didn't even use the term 'giving up,' " said Coughlin, whose team also faltered late in losses to Seattle, San Francisco and Dallas. "There's not going to be any of that. This is a tremendous test for all of us."

The final drive was a good test for Bortles, who has been shaky most of the season.

He completed 21 of 35 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown. He also ran five times for a team-high 68 yards. His performance capped "Alumni Weekend," where the Jaguars recognized nearly 50 former players, including retired stars Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, Fred Taylor and Tony Boselli.

"You've got to overcome personal miscues at the quarterback position to be able to win games," Bortles said. "You're not always going to play as well as you want to, but you have to play well enough to put your team in a winning position. I think we did that and obviously came out with the outcome we were looking for."

Notes: In the past two games, the Jaguars have nine sacks, eight forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries. ... Coughlin said X-rays were negative on Schwartz's ankle but he does have tendon damage. Giants LB Terrell Manning (ankle) and DE Robert Ayers (pectoral) also left the game. ... Jaguars DE Andre Branch re-injured a groin muscle that kept him out the previous four games. ... RT Austin Pasztor left with a hamstring injury.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

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