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Brunell faces former team for first time

Sep 26, 2006 - 11:16 PM Jacksonville (2-1) at Washington (1-2) Sunday 4:15 pm EDT

LANDOVER, Maryland (Ticker) -- Mark Brunell holds every major passing record for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He will face his former team for the first time on Sunday when the Washington Redskins host the Jaguars.

Brunell started 120 games for the Jaguars from 1995-2003 and led the franchise to two AFC championship games and four playoff appearances.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Brunell is the Jaguars' all-time leader in passing yards (25,698), completions (2,184), attempts (3,612) and touchdowns (144). He also holds the franchise mark for passing yards in a single season (4,367 in 1996).

But after Jacksonville selected quarterback Byron Leftwich in the first round in 2003, it appeared that Brunell's days were numbered. In March 2004, Brunell was traded to Washington for a third-round pick.

The 36-year-old Brunell led the Redskins to the playoffs last season, but they lost in the divisional round to Seattle. He is trying to become the fourth different quarterback to win a Super Bowl for Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.

Gibbs won Super Bowl titles in 1982, 1987 and 1991 with Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien as his starting quarterbacks, respectively.

Brunell struggled in the first two games this season - losses to Minnesota and Dallas - but bounced back with a record-setting performance in a 31-15 win at Houston last week. He completed his first 22 passes of the game to eclipse Rich Gannon's single-game NFL record of 21 consecutive completions for Oakland in a November 11, 2002 game against Denver.

However, Houston has the league's worst defense and the Redskins took advantage, compiling 495 yards in offense. Brunell finished 24-of-27 for 261 yards and Ladell Betts and Clinton Portis combined to rush for 210 yards on 32 carries.

Getting yards against Jacksonville's defense will be far more difficult. The Jaguars held Willie Parker to 20 yards on 11 carries in a 9-0 shutout of Pittsburgh in Week Two and yielded just two touchdowns to high-powered Indianapolis in a 21-14 loss last week. One of the Colts' touchdowns came on an 82-yard punt return by Terrence Wilkins.

Peyton Manning, a two-time MVP, completed just 14-of-31 passes against the Jaguars, marking just the fourth time in his last 115 regular-season games that he has completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Two of those games have come against Jacksonville.

However, Leftwich struggled against the Colts, throwing for just 107 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.

Rookie Maurice Jones-Drew, a second-round pick out of UCLA, rushed for a season-high 103 yards on 13 carries and also caught four passes for 32 yards in the loss to Indianapolis. The combination of the quick Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor gives Jacksonville two intriguing change-of-pace backs.

The Jaguars hope wide receiver Matt Jones will return on Sunday. He missed last week's contest with a groin injury.

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