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- Pats Begin Title Defense With Dominating Win

tlentz January 7, 2006

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The champs began their defense Saturday with a dominating 28-3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.

New England dominated in every aspect of the game, with Tom Brady throwing three touchdowns and Willie McGinest setting a record with four and a half sacks in one game.

The game didn't start out with that kind of domination, however. The first quarter was sluggish, with both teams feeling one another out. The Patriots had driving within the 35 twice in the first quarter, but failed to score any points both times.

The Jaguars weren't able to take advantage of New England's missed opportunities, however. Their running game never got started, and the returning Byron Leftwich started the game showing a little rust. Leftwich had missed the final five games of the regular season with an ankle injury.

New England began to put things together in the second quarter as they got on the board first, thanks to a Tom Brady touchdown pass to Troy Brown. Brown also played a lot of defensive back in the game, as Jacksonville tried to spread out the depleted Pats secondary with three and four wide sets. Brown recorded four tackles along with his touchdown reception.

Leftwich began to get things going late in the second quarter as he led the Jaguars inside the Patriots 20 yard line. But he was unable to get them into the endzone, and the Jags had to settle for a Josh Scobey field goal. It would be the only points Jacksonville scored, as they entered halftime down 7-3.

New England opened the second half with Tom Brady leading the Pats 81 yards on 12 plays capped with a three yard touchdown pass from Brady to David Givens to put the Pats up 14-3. It was Givens sixth straight playoff game with a touchdown reception.

After a quick Jacksonville possession, Ben Watson put the dagger into the Jaguars' hearts when he took a pass from Tom Brady and went through three Jacksonville defenders on his way to a 63 yard touchdown.

New England scored once more on an Asante Samuel interception return to give them the 28-3 victory.

New England will travel to either Indianapolis or Denver next week in the divisional playoff round.

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