Final

Falcons 23

(3-1, 1-0 away)

Jaguars 7

(2-1, 1-1 home)

8:00 PM ET, August 25, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 10 10 0 323
JAX 0 7 0 07

Atlanta 23, Jacksonville 7

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Michael Jenkins took advantage of his team's depleted receiving corps Thursday night.

With Peerless Price, Roddy White and Dez White on the sideline, Jenkins showed he can be Atlanta's No. 1 receiver.

Jenkins caught four passes for 35 yards and scored twice, helping the Falcons beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-7 in a rain-drenched, penalty-filled preseason game Thursday night.

"Nothing special for me tonight," said Jenkins, a first-round draft pick in 2004 who caught just seven passes as a rookie. "It just happened that I got open and was able to catch the ball when it came to me. I just wanted to make plays when the opportunities came to me."

Fred Taylor ran four times for 18 yards in his preseason debut for the Jaguars (2-1) and showed signs of being able to recover from knee surgery.

But Atlanta looked primed for another run at the NFC championship game.

The Falcons (3-1) moved the ball with ease against Jacksonville's vaunted defense and scored on three of their first four possessions.

Warrick Dunn ran eight times for 65 yards, including a 42-yard scamper that set up a touchdown.

Michael Vick was 5-of-10 passing for 44 yards with a touchdown and did even more damage on the ground. He scrambled four times for 30 yards.

T.J. Duckett looked sharp, too, gaining 18 yards on four carries.

But the scoring was left to Jenkins and kicker Todd Peterson.

After Dunn's long run, Vick found Jenkins on a slant pattern for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Peterson then kicked two 40-yard field goals, making it 13-7.

Jenkins found the end zone again with 11 seconds remaining in the first half. He caught Matt Schaub's pass that was intended for tight end Alge Crumpler and tipped by a defender.

"It was just a matter of being at the right place at the right time," Jenkins said.

Jenkins got plenty of work early, especially with Atlanta's injury woes at the receiver position.

Roddy White, the team's first-round draft pick, has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain since the preseason opener.

Price, the team's former No. 1 receiver who was demoted this year and is in danger of being cut, sat out after sustaining a concussion last week against Tennessee.

Dez White, third on the team last season with 30 catches for 370 yards, sprained his knee and did not return.

"It's too early to know anything about injuries," Falcons coach Jim Mora said.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, had just two bright spots: a one-handed catch by first-round pick Matt Jones and Taylor's return.

Outside of them, Jacksonville fumbled three times, threw an interceptions and finished with 13 penalties for 170 yards.

Had it not been for Jones' 48-yard reception on third-and-7 in the first quarter, the Jaguars might not have scored. The first-team offense didn't score a touchdown in either of its first two preseason games.

Jones snared Byron Leftwich's pass over the middle for a 48-yard gain, and LaBrandon Toefield scored four plays later from 4 yards out.

"He's got a gift for catching the ball," coach Jack Del Rio said. "That's just a phenomenal catch. You're going to see a lot of that. He's the kind of guy that's going to have plays on ESPN. He's that kind of player."

Jacksonville had little else go right on offense or defense.

Leftwich was 11-of-20 passing for 179 yards, 47 of which came on a desperation pass to end the first half. Ernest Wilford caught the ball at the 2-yard line as time expired.

The defense gave up several big plays to Vick and company.

Taylor was the other bright spot.

His first run in more than eight months provided a 13-yard gain for Jacksonville's offense and an even bigger boost for his confidence.

The oft-injured Taylor added two receptions for 8 yards.

"It felt good," said Taylor, who injured his left knee Dec. 19 against Green Bay and missed the final two games of last season. "It was a good start. It was a confidence builder. Physically, I felt OK and I didn't have any setbacks. It is a good sign, so far."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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