Atlanta keeps Jacksonville offense in check

Friday, August 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tony Brackens and Tony Boselli aren't the only Jacksonville Jaguars who need to hurry themselves into playing shape.

Jacksonville's starting offense got another sobering dose of reality Thursday night in a 31-20 exhibition loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Chris Chandler connected with Terance Mathis on a pretty 37-yard scoring play as the Falcons (4-1) closed their preseason with a victory and a confidence boost for their hurting defense.

Jamal Anderson didn't fare as well. Continuing the road back from last season's knee injury, the Falcons running back rushed for 18 yards on seven carries. He's averaging 1.5 yards per carry this preseason.

Mark Brunell of Jacksonville (3-1) completed all five of his passes for 111 yards. But he took a beating behind a line that struggled, even when Boselli, recovering from a knee injury, was in for his first 10 snaps of the preseason.

Brackens, expected to sign a six-year contract on Friday, returned to the defense and had four tackles in 10 plays.

New England 29, Carolina 21: At Foxboro, Mass., in an experimental role as a short-yardage quarterback, Michael Bishop relieved Drew Bledsoe and ran for a touchdown.

Cornerback Otis Smith intercepted a pass to set up another touchdown and added a sack – just one day after he was signed by the Patriots (3-2). The Panthers (0-4) also finished the 1997 preseason 0-4 before going 7-9.

Indianapolis 32, Minnesota 30: At Indianapolis, Jamel White rushed for one touchdown and returned a kickoff 96 yards for another, and Danny Kight kicked a 43-yard field goal as the game ended.

Minnesota (1-3) took the lead with just more than a minute to go on a 4-yard pass from backup Bubby Brister to Matthew Hatchette. But a 48-yard kickoff return by rookie Payton Williams and a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Vikings' Lemanski Hall took Indianapolis (3-2) to the Minnesota 28.

Jim Finn ran 2 yards, and three plays later Kight kicked the winning field goal.

Oakland 20, Seattle 0: At Oakland, Calif., Andre Rison, charged earlier in the day in Missouri with passing bad checks, caught two passes for 49 yards in his first game with Oakland.

Buffalo 16, Philadelphia 12: At Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb spent most of the night wearing a baseball cap and Rob Johnson didn't even dress for the game.

It was an uneventful evening for the starting quarterbacks. Philadelphia's McNabb was on the field for just four plays, completed one pass and threw an interception. Johnson, meanwhile, wore shorts, stood on the sidelines and joked around with teammates.