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Shorts catches late TD to give Jaguars 32-28 win

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm •  Published: December 1, 2013
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CLEVELAND (AP) — This was the way Cecil Shorts always imagined it would happen: game on the line, ball in the air, his chance to the hero.

The Jacksonville receiver replayed it in his mind countless times.

On Sunday, all of it came true. And, it happened in the best place possible — his hometown.

A Cleveland kid who grew up cheering for the Browns, Shorts caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne with 40 seconds left, rallying the rejuvenated Jaguars to a 32-28 win on Sunday.

On third-and-9, Henne lofted a perfect pass to the left corner for Shorts, who had beaten Browns star cornerback Joe Haden. Shorts got both feet down in the end zone before tumbling out of bounds and celebrating with his teammates.

It was an unforgettable moment for Shorts, who earlier this week said "I'm all Cleveland" and talked about the excitement of returning to play in front of family and friends.

"For that play to happen in this game, in that situation, and the hometown," he said. "It's a dream come true."

After the Jaguars (3-9) gave up Brandon Weeden's 95-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon and fell behind 28-25, Henne drove them 80 yards in nine plays for the winning TD as Jacksonville continued its stunning turnaround after losing its first eight games, all by at least 10 points.

The Jaguars are 3-1 since their bye with all three victories on the road.

"We're building confidence and we're getting better each and every day," Henne said. "And these wins and on the road, playing in a hostile environment, the guys are starting to feel it a little bit."

For the Browns (4-8), their sixth loss in seven games stung deeply.

Three weeks ago, there was actually playoff talk in Cleveland. There's none now.

"I can't stand losing," said Haden, who fought back tears during a sometimes vulgar postgame tirade. "It hurts. I go out there and put my heart out there every time. And we end up coming up short. It was my fault on the touchdown. You're going to come with the same questions every week and we're going to give you the same answers — 'We're going to get better next week.'

"Until we do it then there's nothing else to talk about. Straight up."

Before Shorts' catch, it appeared as if Weeden would shake off a mixed performance during which he threw three touchdown passes, two interceptions just before halftime, fumbled, and had to kick a high snap out of the end zone for a safety.

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