The quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons appeared comfortable in the new West Coast offense, calmly using his mobility to avoid pressure and then finding open receivers.

Michael Vick's backup sure was impressive.

Matt Schaub threw three touchdown passes in relief of Vick, leading the Falcons to a 27-24 preseason victory over the visiting Minnesota Vikings last night. The rookie from Virginia completed 16 of 19 passes for 205 yards and no interceptions.

Daunte Culpepper and Gus Frerotte each had long touchdown tosses for the Vikings (1-1), who jumped to leads of 17-0 and 24-13 before the Falcons rallied behind Schaub and the rest of the reserves. Randy Moss caught three passes for 89 yards for Minnesota, including a 67-yarder for a score in the second quarter.

After replacing Vick midway through the second quarter, Schaub connected on his first pass, an 11-yard screen to Warrick Dunn. He fooled the defense with a pump fake on the next play and lofted a perfect pass to Michael Jenkins down the left sideline, and Jenkins sprinted into the end zone untouched for the 47-yard score.

"Matt Schaub continues to impress," Atlanta Coach Jim Mora said. "He does not look like a rookie to me."

* JAGUARS 14, BUCCANEERS 6: Jacksonville's defense showed why the team has a chance to be much improved this season.

John Henderson set the tone for a dominating first half by intercepting a pass on the first play from scrimmage, and the Jaguars shrugged off early mistakes on offense and special teams at home.

Quinn Gray threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Hatchette, and Rich Alexis ran one yard for another touchdown for Jacksonville, which missed three field goals and failed to take advantage of two turnovers deep in Bucs territory in the first quarter alone.

Tampa Bay was limited to 21 yards on 19 offensive plays in the first half, yet only trailed 7-0 at that point because of Jaguars' miscues.

The Bucs were held without a first down until Chris Simms completed a 15-yard pass to Will Heller midway through the third quarter. The second-year quarterback led two scoring drives in the last 25 minutes, with Martin Gramatica finishing both with field goals of 43 and 44 yards.

Byron Leftwich completed 4 of 11 passes for 55 yards and one interception for the Jaguars, who failed to produce points while he was in the game for the second straight week.

* BILLS: Running back Willis McGahee has asked the team to trade him if he is not their starter on opening day, a source told the Associated Press.

McGahee's request was not issued as an ultimatum, but the player made clear he won't be happy playing backup to incumbent Travis Henry, said the source, who is close to McGahee and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said, "There is no truth to that whatsoever."

McGahee was not available to comment, as the Bills were off yesterday.

* DOLPHINS: The team has asked Ricky Williams to return $8.6 million they say the running back owes because he has decided to retire.

The request and the amount were confirmed by a league source, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

It was first reported in yesterday's editions of the Miami Herald.

* SAINTS: Linebacker Sedrick Hodge has been suspended for four games by the NFL for violating its substance abuse policy.