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Jaguars spoil Coughlin's return to Jacksonville

Nov 21, 2006 - 5:11 AM JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Fred Taylor and rookie Maurice Jones-Drew spoiled Tom Coughlin's homecoming.

Taylor and Jones-Drew each rushed for a touchdown as the Jacksonville Jaguars posted a 26-10 victory over the New York Giants.

The game marked a return to Jacksonville for Coughlin, who helped build the Jaguars from their inception in 1995 and guided them to two AFC championship games. He was facing the Jaguars for the first time since becoming Giants coach in 2004.

"My emotions were geared on playing well and winning," Coughlin said.

Coughlin went up against the man who replaced him after the 2002 season in Jack Del Rio, who was dressed for the affair as he donned a black suit with a teal tie. San Francisco coach Mike Nolan also wore a suit Sunday against Seattle.

"I've talked all week that I have a lot of respect for Tom Coughlin," Del Rio said. "He's a great coach."

Dressed for success, Del Rio watched his Jaguars (6-4) undress Coughlin's Giants (6-4), who lost their second straight game to fall into a first-place tie with Dallas in the NFC East.

"There were an awful lot of plays being left on the field," Coughlin said. "We came in here with a lot at stake and didn't play well."

Taylor and Jones-Drew took took advantage of a Giants defense that was missing Pro Bowl ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora along with linebacker Brandon Short and cornerback Sam Madison.

Taylor rushed for 79 yards on 24 carries, including a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter than snapped a 3-3 tie.

Jones-Drew scored on a three-yard run with 12:36 remaining to give the Jaguars a 23-10 lead. He finished with 45 yards on nine carries.

"We had two great running backs coming into this game and really thought that whoever was able to run the ball and win that battle would get a leg up, have a big advantage," Del Rio said. "I was proud of the fact that we're able to get that done."

The Jaguars also received enough plays in the passing game from David Garrard, who outplayed Eli Manning.

Garrard completed 19-of-32 passes for 249 yards without a turnover. He also rushed for 34 yards, 17 of them coming on 3rd-and-5 run in the third quarter in which he avoided a sack by linebacker Reggie Torbor. The scamper led to Josh Scobee's 23-yard field goal that made it 16-10.

Scobee also kicked field goals of 39, 24 and 48 yards.

Manning, who failed to lead the Giants to their initial first down until the second quarter, went 19-of-41 for 230 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.

"We wanted to take away the run and make them one-dimensional, which is what we did," Jaguars defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said. "We got them off the ball and the rest was on them."

Manning's 25-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter pulled the Giants within 13-10.

But on the Giants' ensuing possession, Manning overthrew Burress, who came wide open down the middle of the field. Burress made a diving attempt that initially was ruled a catch before being overturned by replay.

The miss swung back the momentum to the Jaguars, who rebounded from last week's disappointing home loss to Houston.

Jacksonville also received a stellar performance from its defensive front, which stymied Tiki Barber, who was limited a season-low 27 rushing yards on 10 carries.

"It's a pitiful performance all the way around," Barber said. "We made a lot of mistakes and it's unacceptable. It's very frustrating and there is no explanation for it. We just have to regroup and come back next week."

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