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Graham Explodes In Giants Win


The New York Giants may have finally found a big-play offense to go along with their defense.

Kent Graham passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns in a 304-yard, 24-point first half that led the Giants to a 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in an exhibition game Saturday night that featured 11 lost fumbles.

"I told our offense, it's definitely Super Bowl material," Giants safety Sam Garnes said after watching it gain 494 yards. "If we play our part, we have a chance to go a long way in the playoffs. Our offense gave us so much time to sit, they converted key third downs and Kent is doing so great and receivers are making the plays, This is great."

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Game Summary

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  • New York (2-0) did its best to hand the game away in the second half, losing fumbles on its first six possessions. It lost seven in the game.

    "We would have been better off punting on first down, the way we were fumbling in the second half," Giants coach Jim Fassel quipped.

    Despite great field position, the Jaguars (1-1) only got 13 points off the mistakes, highlighted by Mike Logan's 37-yard touchdown return in the third quarter.

    The game also seemed to include a mistake by the NFL's new instant replay.

    New York seemed to ice the game by recovering a fumble by Jacksonville receiver Lenzie Jackson at its 8-yard line with 1:27 to go. However, a review overturned the call with referee Jeff Triplette saying the receiver did not get both feet down before losing the ball. A stadium replay showed that to be wrong.

    "Don't even talk to me about that, I'll get into trouble," said Fassel, who screamed at the officials after the recovery was wiped out. "Holy smoke, you have to be kidding me."

    The Jaguars eventually got to the Giants 15-yard line before losing the ball on downs.

    "I'm very disappointed," Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin said. "There are a lot of things that concern me. Our performance on offense and defense in the first half was not what it should be. We didn't tackle well, didn't take care of the ball or execute. I don't think we made any progress tonight."

    Putting up big numbers and points for the second straight week, Graham finished 14-of-23, including TDs of 4 yards to Amani Toomer and 40 yards to former Jaguars tight end Pete Mitchell late in the second quarter.

    "It's a good first two games, but it's too early to tell," said Graham, who threw for 145 yards and two TDs last week on 15 plays. "Whether you play good or bad in the preseason, it doesn't mean anything. We'll have to wait and see."

    Halfback Sean Bennett, the fourth-round draft pick who continues to surprise, also scored on a 4-yard run and Brad Daluiso kicked field goals of 35 and 34 yards for the Giants, the last coming with 4:02 to play following Jacksonville's fourth giveaway on a damp, drizzly night.

    Mark Brunell, who played only two series, threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to former Jet Kyle Brady and Mike Hollis kicked field goals of 33 and 30 yards for the Jaguars, who also allowed five sacks.

    The Giants, who had only six pass completions of 40 yards or more last season, had three in the second quarter and four in the game.

    A 53-yard catch and run by Ike Hilliard set up Daluiso's 35-yard field goal, which gave New York a 10-7 lead.

    Graham later stepped up in the pocket on a third-and-23 play and hit David Patten on a 47-yard pass to the Jacksonville 22. Four plays later, Graham avoided a pass rush and found Toomer in the back of the end zone for a 17-7 lead.

    Mitchell's touchdown capped a three-play, 68-yard drive that started with passes of 9 and 19 yards to halfback Tiki Barber.

    Bennett had opened the scoring by capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive that stated after Fred Taylor fumbled after the Jags reached the Giants 12. Brunell came right back and led Jacksonville 60 yardin 10 plays, finding a wide-open Brady for a TD pass he almost dropped.

    "There were too many turnovers and we weren't effective in the red zone," said Brunell, who was 3-of-4 for 81 yards. "Even though it's the preseason, you still want to win. Next week we have to come out with more fire and get back on track."

    Jacksonville got a little banged up in the game with backup tight end Damon Jones (knee), nickel linebacker Bryan Schwartz (hamstring) and cornerback Dee Moronkola (knee) being forced to leave the game.

    Patten (ribs) sat out the second half for New York, which beat Minnesota 36-21 last week.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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