(Aug. 25)—That wasn't A.J. Feeley or Brian Griese the Jaguars were playing against in the first half of tonight's game at Alltel Stadium. That was Michael Vick and Vick humbled a proud Jaguars defense with a four-possession effort that produced 13 points. The Falcons led the Jaguars, 20-7, at halftime.
Vick was scintillating running and passing in the Falcons' seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter. Running back Warrick Dunn ripped off a long run to set up Vick's 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Jenkins, who appeared to have beaten rookie cornerback Scott Starks on an inside move.
Vick went right back to work on the Falcons' next possession. He quickly moved the Falcons from their 25-yard line to the Jaguars' 25 on a pass interference penalty against Jaguars cornerback Kenny Wright. Todd Peterson capped the drive with a 40-yard field goal that gave the Falcons a 10-0 lead with 2:35 to play in the first quarter.
Jaguars first-round pick Matt Jones brought the crowd to its feet late in the quarter with a one-handed grab of a 46-yard pass from Byron Leftwich. LaBrandon Toefield scored the first-team offense's first touchdown of the preseason on a four-yard run with 14:20 to play in the second quarter.
Fred Taylor's first carry of the preseason gained 13 yards and ended with Taylor taking a helmet on his left knee without incident. One play may be all coach Jack Del Rio needed to see to know his star running back is ready to start the regular season.
Taylor retired to the bench after four rushing attempts for 18 yards and two pass receptions for eight yards. Taylor, of course, spent the offseason recovering from knee surgery and hadn't tested his left knee in live action until tonight.
Leftwich had the offense on the move in its first possession but the drive stalled after crossing midfield. Leftwich hit wide receiver Jimmy Smith with two nice strikes but Smith dropped the first one.
The Jaguars had a chance to cut the lead inside the two-minute warning, but Josh Scobee missed a 38-yard field goal attempt, wide to the left.
Deke Cooper immediately intercepted a Matt Schaub pass that deflected off a Falcons receiver's hands and Cooper returned the ball to the Atlanta 28-yard line, but Leftwich had the ball swatted out of his hand by linebacker Michael Boley as Leftwich attempted to pass. The Falcons recovered the fumble and moved into Jaguars territory when cornerback Chris Thompson was flagged for interference on a deep pass.
Atlanta scored with 11 seconds to play in the half on a four-yard pass from Schaub to Jenkins.
Vick completed five of 10 passes for 44 yards and one touchdown, and rushed four times for 30 yards.
Leftwich completed eight of 15 passes for 116 yards.