Saturday, August 24, 2002

Jaguars 24, Bears 16

The Associated Press

        CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — David Garrard wants the job as Mark Brunell's backup. He knows it's an apprenticeship that can only make him a better player. “I hope I made another step toward that because I'd really like to be behind him and learn from him and maybe follow in his footsteps one day,” Garrard said Friday night after guiding the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 24-16 comeback preseason win over the Chicago Bears.

        “I thought our reserves did a great job of responding to the pressure,” said Garrard, a fourth-round pick from East Carolina who completed 9 of 18 passes for 165 yards after replacing Brunell in the second quarter. “I haven't had a win since my third game last year in college, so that was great to get past.”

        Garrard capped a quick 68-yard drive and gave the Jaguars (1-2) a 17-16 lead with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Henry Douglas with 7:35 left.

        The Jaguars then put the victory away with 3:05 remaining when John Henderson sacked Bears' fourth-team quarterback Ken Mastrole, forcing a fumble that Javor Mills recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

        “We had some things we felt we needed to accomplish and of course winning was one of them,” said Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin, who earlier suggested his team has less “raw talent” than the 1995 version that went 4-12.

        “Garrard showed better poise. He's getting close to grasping the speed of this league,” the coach added.

        The Bears (1-2) remained winless in two games at Memorial Stadium, where they are playing this season while Soldier Field is rebuilt. A crowd of 36,535 watched Friday night's game.

        With Jacksonville trailing 13-0 at halftime, Stacey Mack's 33-yard run and a pass interference penalty helped the Jaguars get back in the game in the third quarter. Garrard threw a 5-yard TD pass to Bobby Shaw, breaking a six-quarter Jags' scoring drought.

        Hayden Epstein's 45-yard field goal after a 33-yard Garrard-to-Damon Gibson pass cut Chicago's lead to three points after three quarters.

        Marcus Robinson, who missed all but five games last season after tearing knee ligaments, caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Chris Chandler to give Chicago the 13-0 lead.

        “I didn't have any doubt. The biggest thing is cutting and coming out of the breaks,” said Robinson, who set Chicago's single-season record of 1,400 receiving yards three years ago.

        “You're going to have contact. When the football is in the air, you jump and you catch it,” Robinson said. “I just didn't think about it.”

        Bears coach Dick Jauron viewed Robinson's return this way: “Marcus looked like Marcus,” he said.

        Robinson finished with four catches for 55 yards.

        “It just feels great to come out and play football like I did,” Robinson said.

        Paul Edinger's third field goal of the game, a 50-yarder, gave Chicago a 16-10 lead with 11:17 left.

        Edinger kicked first-half field goals of 38 and 45 yards and both hit the left upright before falling through.

        The Jaguars appeared to get a break in the first quarter, when Detron Smith came up with a punt return fumble by Nate Jacquet at the Chicago 17. But the Bears won a video replay challenge, keeping the ball when officials ruled Smith didn't have possession as his shoulder hit the sideline.

        Bears receiver Marty Booker left the game in first quarter with a chest contusion and Jacquet left after spraining his ankle on the punt return.

        Jacksonville linebacker T.J. Slaughter was forced out after dislocating his elbow in the second quarter, and Gibson was on the ground for five minutes before leaving the game in the third after his 33-yard catch. Wide receiver Darnay Scott also had to leave with a shoulder injury and was in a sling after the game.


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