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Jaguars hammer Panthers

Published Sep. 29, 2005

George Seifert was back on the sideline. Dom Capers was on a different one. One thing stayed the same: the smooth-running Jaguars offense.

Keenan McCardell caught two long touchdowns and second-year quarterback Jonathan Quinn threw for 144 yards and two scores Friday night to lift the Jaguars to a 35-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in the preseason opener for both.

Jacksonville's offense has struggled in training camp against the new defense being installed by Capers, who became defensive coordinator after Carolina fired him as head coach last season. Against the Panthers, however, the Jaguars had little trouble.

Seifert returned to coaching two years after quitting at San Francisco and saw early signs that his .755 winning percentage, the best in NFL history, could take a hit.

The team that went 4-12 last season, leading to Capers' departure, managed only one play of more than 10 yards with the first-unit offense playing.

Mark Brunell led Jacksonville, last year's AFC Central champion, on a 67-yard drive to open the game, capping it by hitting McCardell in stride down the sideline for a 43-yard touchdown pass.

On the next drive, George Jones used Tony Boselli's block to break a 32-yard run and Brunell zipped a 5-yard pass to Jimmy Smith in tight coverage to give the Jaguars third and goal from the 2. The Jaguars failed on the next two running plays, but that was about the only low point for the offense.

One drive later, Quinn hit McCardell for a 44-yard touchdown down the other sideline. The Jaguars closed the first half with a 28-7 lead and 306 yards in offense.

Carolina's only touchdown came with the help of a 74-yard kickoff return by Michael Bates and a pass interference penalty that moved the ball to Jacksonville's 1.

Quarterback Jeff Lewis, competing with Steve Beuerlein for Carolina's starting job, left after taking a hit to the knee late in the second quarter. The team said the injury was nothing more than a cut, but Lewis did not return.

The injury created a playing opportunity for Dameyune Craig, the quarterback who recorded a 611-yard performance last spring in an NFL Europe game. He finished 1-for-3 with an interception against the Jaguars.

Second-round draft pick Larry Smith backed up his good camp with an exceptionally good night, finishing with one sack and the pressure that set up another.

Jaguars running back Fred Taylor did not play because of a mild rib injury he suffered last week. Carolina's starting receivers, Rae Carruth and Muhsin Muhammad, also were held out with injuries.

SAINTS 26, DOLPHINS 14: Ricky Williams rushed for 44 yards before a minor shin bruise sidelined him late in the first quarter of his debut, and visiting New Orleans beat Miami in the preseason opener for both teams.

Dolphins rookie Cecil "the Diesel" Collins also looked impressive, although he ran against second- and third-team defenders. Collins came off the bench to carry 17 times for 93 yards, including a 9-yard TD run in the fourth.

The Saints built a 20-0 lead in the second quarter, stopping the Dolphins without a first down on Dan Marino's three series. Fred Weary recovered a fumble at the goal line on a Miami kickoff return for a touchdown, and Troy Davis scored on a 5-yard run.

Doug Brien kicked field goals of 43, 47, 25 and 47 yards for New Orleans.

In the trial of Dolphins WR Tony Martin, a defense lawyer argued Martin was trying to help a hometown friend, not launder money, when he offered to pay a convicted drug dealer's legal expenses.

Bledsoe twists ankle

Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe twisted his right ankle against the Redskins and left after one quarter in Foxboro, Mass.

It was not clear if Bledsoe would have played any longer if he had not been injured. His last pass was an interception that rookie cornerback Champ Bailey returned 46 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0.

Bledsoe finished 7-for-10 for 87 yards.

Replay TD for Steelers

Pittsburgh used instant replay to gain a touchdown against visiting Chicago when coach Bill Cowher successfully challenged an out-of-bounds call on an end zone fumble.

Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala of the Steelers blocked Todd Sauerbrun's punt into the Bears' end zone, where Hines Ward fell on the ball just before it reached the end line.

The officials initially ruled that Ward slid out of bounds as he recovered the ball, a safety. Referee Johnny Grier reversed the call after watching a replay on a TV monitor set up behind the Steelers' bench.

Rather than leading 9-7, the Steelers went ahead 14-7 on Ward's touchdown with 3:51 left in the first quarter, his second of the quarter. He scored earlier on a 45-yard touchdown catch.

Instant replay returned to the NFL in March with a system that allows coaches to challenge two calls per game.

Replay was in effect from 1986 until 1991, but was voted out in 1992, in large part because it was delaying games.

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