JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tired of watching his team grind and kick field goals, Tom Coughlin took a well-timed gamble that helped the Jaguars to their ninth straight victory Thursday night.
The Jaguars defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-6, gaining the first sweep of their AFC Central rivals and improving the NFL's best record to 11-1.
Losses by Kansas City and New England Sunday would give the Jags the AFC's first playoff spot.
With his offense moving but not scoring much, Coughlin opted to go for a fourth-and-1 at the Steelers 24, bypassing a field goal that would have given the Jaguars a 9-6 lead late in the third quarter.
He sent James Stewart off tackle for the first down. Then, after a penalty pushed Jacksonville back, Mark Brunell made his best throw of the night, a 27-yard touchdown to Jimmy Smith that looped just over the outstretched hands of a leaping Dewayne Washington for a 13-6 lead.