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Sleeping Giants offense awakens


E. RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Aug. 16, 2001) — Kerry Collins, Jason Garrett and Jesse Palmer threw touchdown passes and the New York Giants beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-5 Thursday night, snapping a seven-game preseason losing streak.

"We just wanted to have more positive plays," Collins said after the Giants (1-1) won their first preseason game since beating Jacksonville 27-20 on Aug. 21, 1999. "Last week we didn't have any positive plays."

Jaret Holmes kicked two field goals, the Giants defense didn't allow a touchdown and Collins and company gained 313 yards in total offense less than a week after being held under 100 by New England in a 14-0 loss.

"Our emphasis this week was to play quick and I'm happy that's what we did," Giants coach Jim Fassel said. "Our passing game seemed to have timing and rhythm."

This one was pretty much over by halftime as Collins threw a six-yard touchdown pass to fullback Greg Comella late in the first quarter and Garrett tossed a four-yard pass to Joe Jurevicius on the final play of the half to give the defending NFC champions a 20-0 lead.

Palmer added a 44-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie draft pick Jonathan Carter in the fourth quarter. It came two plays after the Jaguars' third turnover.

Mike Hollis, who kicked six field goals in Jacksonville's 18-16 win over Carolina in its preseason opener, kicked a 41-yarder early in the fourth quarter. He missed from 48 in the second quarter. A blocked punt gave the Jaguars a fourth-quarter safety.

It marked the second straight week the Jaguars have failed to score a touchdown.

"We didn't play well," a visibly annoyed Tom Coughlin said. "We don't have any excuses. I thought the first half was very poor football. Our offensive team was poor all night long. Our quarterbacks were rattled. We didn't play well at that position."

Mark Brunell didn't argue with his coach after going 2-of-7 for 16 yards.

"We really struggled," the quarterback said. "There were no surprises out there. We expected them to blitz a lot and they did. We didn't execute. We've got to turn this around. In two short weeks, it will be real bullets."

The game lacked the drama of last year's preseason meeting between the teams, a 16-13 Jaguars' win.

Giants rookie linebacker Jack Golden made the ultimate blunder in that game, stripping the ball from a teammate following an interception near the goal line. Jacksonville recovered for a game-winning touchdown.

New York, which was held to 92 total in the loss to New England on Friday, outgained the Jaguars 191-60 in the first half.

Collins was 8-of-11 for 89 yards. Halfback Ron Dayne rushed for 43 yards on 12 carries and Jurevicius, filling in for the injured Ike Hilliard, had seven catches for 68 yards.

An 11-yard punt return by Amani Toomer, who left the game with a sprained ankle, and four runs by Dayne for 18 yards set up Holmes' 45-yarder on New York's first series.

Collins hit Jurevicius on passes of 10 and 24 yards on the 54-yard drive that he capped with the pass to Comella.

"The more he plays the better he is getting, and he is getting the time with Ike Hilliard out," Garrett, who was 5-of-10 for 38 yards, said of Jurevicius. "We controlled the line of scrimmage and Kerry had a great night."

A 22-yard punt return by Will Allen, the Giants' first-round draft pick, set up Holmes' second field goal.

Garrett's fourth-down touchdown pass capped an eight-play, 44-yard drive run as a two-minute drill.

Giants tight end Howard Cross sprained his left knee and will be sidelined about two weeks.

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