JACKSONVILLE, Fla. >> With Jacksonville on the verge of its first win of the season, the team mascot dived into one of the pools at EverBank Field.
Denard Robinson and the Jaguars’ defense could have done the same. Then again, they had already made a huge splash.
Robinson ran for a career-high 127 yards and a touchdown, the defense came up big in the red zone, and the Jaguars snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 24-6 victory against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Jacksonville (1-6) won for the first time since beating Houston on Dec. 15, 2013.
“The last time I carried the ball 20 times I was in college,” said Robinson, a star quarterback at Michigan. “It’s a great feeling. We knew it was coming. We’ve just got to stack them and up and get back to work.”
Blake Bortles connected with fellow rookie Allen Robinson for a 31-yard score and the game’s first touchdown. It was really all the Jaguars needed on a day in which coach Gus Bradley’s defense delivered time and time again.
The Browns (3-3) settled for field goals in two trips inside the 20-yard line and failed to convert on fourth-and-1 at the 24. Equally frustrating for Cleveland was managing just three points off Bortles’ three interceptions.
“When you get turnovers, you’ve got to turn them into points, not field goals,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “When you’re only kicking field goals, you start to press.”
Cleveland, which entered the game with the league’s third-best rushing attack, was held in check most of the day. The Browns ran 30 times for 69 yards, including 36 by Ben Tate.
“You build your game plan off the run,” Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks said. “If you can run the ball, you can impose your will on them and do almost anything you want to. So that’s big for us to go out and stop them, knowing they’re a running team.”
Jacksonville, meanwhile, ran 35 times for 185 yards — the most in Bradley’s two seasons.
Robinson’s 8-yard TD scamper in the fourth quarter provided some cushion, and rookie Storm Johnson added a 4-yard scoring run a few minutes later — the exclamation point in Jacksonville’s third home victory in the last three seasons.
“We felt like in previous weeks we were within reach of getting wins,” Jaguars left tackle Luke Joeckel said. “We talked all week about finishing. We had to make plays at the end of the game, finish it and go win it.”
The Browns certainly helped.
Jordan Poyer fumbled a punt return with about six minutes remaining, and Jacksonville’s LaRoy Reynolds recovered for the team’s best field position of the day. Robinson scored on the next play.
Brian Hoyer lost a fumble that led to a field goal in the third quarter and threw an interception in the fourth. He completed 16 of 41 passes for 215 yards, perhaps rekindling debate about how long first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel will stay on the sideline. Hoyer had been solid all season, but that was with a dynamic running game.
The Browns made two changes along their offensive line in an effort to replace Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. Mack broke his left leg last week and had season-ending surgery. Right guard John Greco slid to center, and Paul McQuistan, who was with Seattle last season, stepped in at guard.
The Jaguars took advantage, getting steady pressure up the middle.
“When you don’t have the best center in the NFL, you have someone that’s less than the best,” Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said. “But if we had played to our standard, I think we would have been OK.”
Jacksonville seized momentum late in the second quarter with a fourth-down stop at the 24-yard line. The Browns oddly opted to throw on fourth-and-1. Red Bryant pressured Hoyer, who floated the ball to tight end Jordan Cameron. He couldn’t come down with it, and Jacksonville needed just three plays to go 76 yards the other way.
Bortles connected with Robinson twice, the second going 31 yards for his first career touchdown.
So instead of heading into the locker room up 9-0 or maybe 13-0, the Browns trailed 7-6.
“This is disappointing,” Thomas said. “That’s the nature of this league. You win one game and you’re crowned Super Bowl champions. You lose a game and you’re announced as the worst team in the league. I hope we have the perspective to know that’s the way it goes in the NFL.”
NOTES: Browns failed to score 21 points for first time this season. … Jaguars have allowed two touchdowns in their last three games. … Jaguars DE Andre Branch (groin) left the locker room on crutches. … Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny will have an MRI on his right shoulder.