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Jags catch fire late


FOXBOROUGH, Mass.—Ready or not, here comes the regular season. The Jaguars are headed for a Sept. 12 opener in Buffalo, following a 31-0 win over the New England Patriots on Thursday night that left the Jaguars at 3-1 for the preseason.

The Jaguars would've certainly liked to have been more effective on offense this summer, but coach Jack Del Rio is not panicking that his first-team offense finished the preseason without having scored a touchdown.

"I'm not really concerned," Del Rio said of his offense's ineffectiveness. "You would like to be a little more explosive in the preseason games, but, overall, I think we're going to have a good offense."

Quarterback Byron Leftwich and the Jaguars' first-team offense turned in an especially disappointing performance. Leftwich and company failed to cross midfield in three first-quarter possessions. They gained only two first downs and Leftwich completed just one pass of any significance, a 14-yard strike to first-round draft choice Reggie Williams.

Leftwich was four of eight for 24 yards and was sacked once, which resulted in a fumble. He finished the preseason having completed 25 of 48 passes for 239 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and a 57.6 passer rating.

David Garrard replaced Leftwich following an interception by cornerback Rashean Mathis with 1:22 to play in the first quarter. But it wasn't until late in the third quarter that Garrard was able to move the ball with any consistency.

Rookie kicker Josh Scobee booted a 31-yard field goal attempt with 8:03 to play in the third quarter, giving the Jaguars a 3-0 lead. The kick capped an eight-play, 58-yard drive that featured two big plays: an 18-yard pass from Garrard to rookie wide receiver Ernest Wilford, and a 27-yard run by running back David Allen.

Scobee followed his field goal with a touchback on the kickoff. With those back-to-back efforts, he may have won a spot on the Jaguars' opening-day roster. If he has, it would mark the third consecutive year the Jaguars will have opened the season with a rookie kicker.

Until that flurry in the third quarter, the game was sorely lacking in excitement. Both offenses struggled, though the Patriots had an excuse: They played none of their starters. Plus, the Patriots play their best football when it's snowing.

Garrard led the Jaguars on a 12-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter, completing a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Troy Edwards.

A 23-yard pass from Garrard to Edwards late in the first half allowed Scobee a 51-yard field goal attempt, and Scobee appeared to have converted, but a holding penalty against Akin Ayodele nullified the score.

Garrard completed 16 of 26 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown in two-and-a-half quarters of action. Garrard was 35 of 56 for 369 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and an 87.6 passer rating in the preseason.

Quinn Gray replaced Garrard in the fourth quarter and promptly threw a pass to Wilford that went for 68 yards. On third-and-goal, Gray completed a five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jermaine Lewis.

Gray tacked on two more scores, throwing touchdown passes of 12 yards to Wilford and 17 yards to wide receiver Cortez Hankton. That left Wilford with six catches for 122 yards and one touchdown. Gray completed five of six passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns in less than a quarter of action.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was resting his starters for his team's regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Thur., Sept. 9.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio held defensive end Paul Spicer out of action due to a leg bruise Spicer sustained a week ago, and starting strong safety was a surprise scratch, which Del Rio termed a "coach's decision." Tight end Chris Luzar sustained a right ankle sprain and safety Deke Cooper sprained his left knee.

Cornerback Juran Bolden killed the Patriots' only scoring opportunity, pulling the ball away from wide receiver Bethel Johnson in the end zone, on a deep pass from Rohan Davey.

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