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Del Rio sticks with QB Garrard for third straight game

Nov 8, 2006 - 12:10 AM Houston (2-6) at Jacksonville (5-3) Sunday 1:00 pm EST

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Byron Leftwich did not fare too well the last time the Jacksonville Jaguars faced the Houston Texans. Now it's David Garrard's turn.

Coach Jack Del Rio will start Garrard for a third straight week when the Jaguars host the Texans in a battle of AFC South rivals.

Leftwich has been hobbled by a sprained left ankle and completed just 14-of-28 passes for 125 yards in a 27-7 loss at Houston on October 22. After that game, Del Rio decided to rest Leftwich and start Garrard.

On October 29, Garrard threw for just 87 yards in a 13-3 victory at Philadelphia. Then last Sunday, Garrard started again and threw three touchdown passes in a 37-7 victory over Tennessee.

The latest performance convinced Del Rio to stick with Garrard, who went 4-1 as a starter last season when Leftwich was sidelined with a broken left ankle.

One of those wins came at Houston, 38-20, last December 24 as Garrard threw for 292 yards and a touchdown and ran for 40 yards.

"David is in a rhythm," Del Rio said. "I'm more comfortable with his decision-making right now and that makes me more comfortable to stick with it. He's proven to his teammates and coaching staff he can move the football team and lead the football team."

The Jaguars rushed for 173 yards and intercepted rookie Vince Young three times in their rout of Tennessee. Cornerback Rashean Mathis had two of the interceptions and nickel back Scott Starks scored on a 55-yard interception return.

David Carr threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns in Houston's win over the Jaguars last month.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, Carr has passed for 1,801 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight career games against the Jaguars.

"When we play Jacksonville, we always play with a lot of confidence," Carr said. "In the past couple of years, we've matched up against them very well."

Andre Johnson caught eight passes for 93 yards and a touchdown and rookie Wali Lundy rushed for 93 yards and a score in the win over the Jaguars.

The third overall pick in 2003, Johnson leads the NFL with 65 receptions for 752 yards and four touchdowns. Last year, he finished with 63 catches for 688 yards and two scores.

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