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New Quarterback--and Same Result

September 08, 1997|From Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE — They took a quarterback who had only thrown seven passes in two seasons and won. They claimed another off waivers whose only professional start came in Amsterdam and won again.

What are the Jacksonville Jaguars going to be like when Mark Brunell, their $31.5 million quarterback, gets healthy?

Steve Matthews, their second quarterback to make his first NFL start in as many weeks, played with poise, and the Jaguars played with purpose in a 40-13 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.

It was the highest point total in the three-year history of the Jaguars, and it came at the direction of a quarterback who just more than two weeks ago was unemployed and hoping to get a phone call.

"They brought me in here with one week of practice and said, 'Hey, you're going to be our No. 2 guy.' That just doesn't happen in the NFL," said Matthews, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 252 yards. "I wasn't going to let them down."

A week ago, Rob Johnson made his first regular-season start and threw for 294 yards in a comeback victory over Baltimore.

On Sunday, Matthews benefited from a defense that shut down the Giants (1-1) from the start, and a dominant offensive line.

"I heard the offensive line coach--I wish I knew his name --give a talk to them this morning," Matthews said. "In the second half, it was their game to win or lose, and they obviously won it."

Natrone Means ran for two touchdowns, including a nine-yard score on fourth-and-1, and James Stewart finished it off his second touchdown--a 12-yard run. The Jaguars (2-0) had the ball for nearly 40 minutes.

The Giants, who had nine sacks last week, had only one on Matthews.

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