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Jacksonville Goes Easy On Itself for Once

Monday, December 13, 2004; Page D11

JAGUARS 22

BEARS 3

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 12 -- Byron Leftwich took a knee for the last two plays, an unusual ending for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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The Jags had been a perfect example of NFL parity for much of the season, with 11 of their 12 games decided in the closing minutes and several on the final play. They were able to relax for the first time on Sunday.

Leftwich threw two touchdown passes and the defense constantly harassed Chad Hutchinson in a 22-3 victory over the injury-depleted Chicago Bears.

"That's the best play in football -- the kneel down," linebacker Mike Peterson said. "We'd like to have those more often."

The Jaguars (7-6) ended a three-game losing streak and remained a game back in the crowded AFC wild-card race. The Bears (5-8), with yet another poor offensive outing, hurt their slim chances of gaining a playoff berth in the lackluster NFC.

"They had their backs up against the wall and they played better than we did," Bears Coach Lovie Smith said. "It's as simple as that."


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