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American Football: Patriots get shut out in preseason ender

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posted on Sep, 3 2004 @ 08:38 AM
The Super Bowl champs ended their exhibition season with a three-game losing streak and a 31-0 setback.

Hey, at least they should be rested for their regular-season opener.

None of the New England Patriots' 22 first-stringers played on Thursday night when the Jacksonville Jaguars beat them with four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

Coach Bill Belichick gave the regulars a breather because they played an unusually long time just five days earlier in a 20-17 loss at Carolina and they'll play the season opener against Indianapolis next Thursday night.

"The guys that we didn't play" spent the past few days preparing for the Colts, Belichick said. "We put in a number of things we wanted to get going with them."

The Patriots go into that game with a 15-game winning streak in regular and postseason games, three short of the NFL record set by Miami in 1972 and 1973.

"Any time you have the Colts coming to town it's not a bad thing to get some rest," said defensive end Richard Seymour, who sat out.

New England ended the exhibition season 1-3 with its first exhibition home loss since 2000. Jacksonville was 3-1, but the Jaguars' first-string offense failed to produce a touchdown.

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

Byron Leftwich went 4-for-8 for 24 yards in three series in his final tuneup for the opener Sept. 12 at Buffalo.

"We could have executed some things a little better," he said. "Now is the time to sharpen some things up for Buffalo."

Josh Scobee kicked a 31-yard field goal with 8:03 left in the third quarter before David Garrard threw one touchdown pass, and Quinn Gray threw three - all in the fourth quarter.

Garrard hit Troy Edwards with a 25-yarder, and Gray connected with Jermaine Lewis for 4 yards, Ernest Wilford for 12 and Cortez Hankton for 17. Wilford, a fourth-round draft pick this year from Virginia Tech, led receivers with six catches for 122 yards.

"I want to be an asset to this team, whether it's special teams or on offense," Wilford said. "I'm going out there to make the team."

With Tom Brady charting plays on a clipboard, Rohan Davey played all but the Patriots' final series. The offensive player of the year in NFL Europe went 13-for-25 for 104 yards and two interceptions, but Belichick praised him.

"Rohan did some good things," Belichick said. "He managed the game well. I thought he made a couple (of) good throws that we weren't able to come up with."

While Corey Dillon rested, Mike Cloud led New England rushers with 93 yards on 19 carries. But the Patriots had five turnovers to none for the Jaguars.

"The two things I'm most excited about coming out of this preseason are turnovers and special teams," Del Rio said.

The Jaguars are coming off a 5-11 season, their fourth straight without a playoff berth. And Leftwich would have liked to play against the Patriots' top defenders.

"You want to compete against those guys because when you leave the game you will be better," Leftwich said, but "you understand because they've got a game in a week."

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