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Patriots Stop Harrington

October 09, 2006|From the Associated Press

Miami's Joey Harrington didn't fare much better than the quarterback he replaced. It just didn't hurt as much.

New England's Asante Samuel intercepted two passes by the Dolphins' substitute starter after 21 sacks in four games sidelined Daunte Culpepper because of a bruised shoulder, and the Patriots beat Miami, 20-10, Sunday at Foxborough, Mass.

"We've been going for too many games here at the start of the season without any turnovers," Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said. "Those turnovers are huge. It puts us on a short field."

The Patriots (4-1) had only one takeaway in the first three games and three for the season before coming up with three against Miami. Harrington, playing for the first time this season, might have been rusty but was sacked only once as he delivered the ball quickly. But he probably should have held it rather than throwing two passes that ended up being intercepted. Those pickoffs set up two touchdowns.

"He got me. Bill Belichick got me," Harrington said, but "we did a great job of protecting."

The Dolphins (1-4) continued to fall far short of preseason hype that came with their acquisition of Culpepper, who sat out his last nine games with Minnesota last season because of a knee injury.

"He'll put his career on the line for this team. You have to admire that in the guy. So when he says he wanted to play, I know he did," Miami Coach Nick Saban said of Culpepper.

But the coach quickly added that he was responsible for the decision to start Harrington.

"I don't know if it was right or not, but it was a decision we had to make," Saban said.

Belichick planned for Harrington. "We talked about him all week," Belichick said.

Concerned about Culpepper's shoulder and mobility, Saban wouldn't say when he would play again.

There was no quarterback decision to be made by Belichick. Tom Brady was 6-4 against Miami, compared with 21-2 against the rest of the AFC East. He completed 16 of 29 passes for a season-low 140 yards as the Patriots were outgained, 283 yards to 213.

Still, Brady said: "We're finishing the games when we needed to, making critical plays."

Jacksonville 41, New York Jets 0 -- The host Jaguars scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions, quickly rebounding from consecutive losses by shutting out the Jets.

Maurice Jones-Drew ran for two touchdowns, Fred Taylor added another and Byron Leftwich capped the fast start for the Jaguars (3-2) with a one-yard touchdown pass to George Wrighster.

The Jets (2-3) provided plenty of help along the way. Chad Pennington threw two interceptions that Jacksonville turned into touchdowns, Ben Graham had a punt blocked that resulted in a score and two questionable roughing-the-passer penalties made it even worse.

The result was exactly what the Jaguars wanted after losses at Indianapolis and Washington. The offense, almost nonexistent in the second half against the Colts, came up with several big plays against New York's defense. Jacksonville's defense, embarrassed after giving up 481 yards and 36 points to the Redskins, clamped down on the Jets.

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