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JACKSONVILLE 24, DALLAS 17

Owens Can't Save the Cowboys

September 11, 2006|From the Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Terrell Owens gave the Dallas Cowboys almost everything they wanted in their opener: big plays, a touchdown and no surly behavior.

The only thing missing was a victory.

Byron Leftwich threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score, Fred Taylor had 115 combined yards and the Jacksonville Jaguars spoiled Owens' Dallas debut with a 24-17 victory.

"I was hoping he wouldn't even score a touchdown," said Taylor, who also had a three-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes 13 seconds to play.

Owens finished with six receptions for 80 yards and a score, but the Jaguars held him without a catch through much of the second half. Still, he keyed all three of Dallas' scoring drives, including a 21-yard touchdown reception with 1:54 left that cut the lead the 24-17.

Jacksonville recovered the onside kick and was forced to punt. The Cowboys got the ball back with 51 seconds to play, but Drew Bledsoe's third-down pass was intercepted by linebacker Mike Peterson.

It was Bledsoe's third interception of the game.

"Too many mistakes," Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells said. "We had our chances. We just couldn't get it all together there."

Dallas missed several chances, most of them early.

The Cowboys scored on their first two possessions -- a touchdown and a field goal -- and were looking to make it 17-0 in the second quarter. But Bledsoe overthrew Owens, who was wide open near the goal line. The Jaguars kicked a field goal on the ensuing possession. Then, instead of running out the clock after a holding penalty with less than two minutes to play in the first half, Bledsoe tried to throw downfield and was picked off for the first time.

Four plays later, Leftwich found Reggie Williams in the end zone for a six-yard touchdown pass play that tied the score. Williams appeared to push Anthony Henry's head down before the ball arrived, but officials didn't throw a flag.

"Once we let them hang around, we started making mistakes," said Bledsoe, who completed 16 of 33 passes for 246 yards and was sacked twice.

"I don't like coming in and starting with a loss, but by no means are we down on ourselves," said Owens, who said all the right things after his Cowboys debut.

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