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Jaguars take down Pats in opener

The Associated Press

Jaguars wideout Dede Westbrook, top, celebrates his TD catch with Corey Grant, Cam Robinson, center, and Chris Reed in the second half of Thursday’s game against the Patriots.

The Associated PressFOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo missed his chance at an on-field audition when he was injured during Tom Brady’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension last season.

So this might be his best chance to show the Patriots — or another team that wants to trade for him — that he’s ready to be an NFL starter.

“Coach always has us guessing,” the heir apparent said Thursday night after completing a Brady-like 22 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-24 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“You never know if you’re going to play a little or a lot,” said Garoppolo, who played two quarters and then went out for two more series in the second half while coach Bill Belichick sat the reigning Super Bowl MVP out. “When he put me back in, I was happy to get back out there with the guys.”

Chad Henne hit Keelan Cole on a 97-yard touchdown pass, Corey Grant scored on a 79-yard run and the Jacksonville Jaguars feasted on a Patriots lineup without Brady and Rob Gronkowski — or much defense at all — to beat the defending NFL champions in their exhibition opener.

Garoppolo completed 13 straight passes at one point, finding Austin Carr on a 3-yard touchdown pass at the end of the first half and then K.J. Maye from 5 yards out to start the second and make it 17-17.

But the New England defense followed by giving up another one-play scoring drive — this one Grant’s run down the left sideline to make it 24-17.

“One of our basic plays. Coach called the play.

“The O line did their job. And then it was up to me to make that one guy miss,” Grant said. “And then it was off to the races.”

Jaguars starter Blake Bortles completed 3 of 5 passes for 16 yards in two offensive series that resulted in one field goal. Henne came on with one play left in the first quarter and went 5 of 6 for 139 yards.

Goodell makes appearance

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell watched the Patriots’ exhibition opener.

It was his first game in New England since suspending quarterback Tom Brady in the scandal that came to be known as “Deflategate.”

Goodell was in Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s luxury suite as the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars started, according to a photograph posted on Twitter by The Boston Globe. Patriots spokesman Stacey James confirmed to the AP that Goodell was at the game.

Goodell suspended Brady four games after an NFL probe concluded he conspired to use illegally underinflated footballs in the 2015 AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.Speech

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