NFL will hear it from Del Rio
By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff | January 8, 2006
FOXBOROUGH -- Was Red Auerbach in the house?
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Auerbach, known for his tricks to make Celtics opponents uncomfortable when they'd come into the Boston Garden, probably would have got quite a kick out of the malfunction in the Jaguars' communication system in the first half. It wasn't funny to Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, who directed his frustrations to the officials during the game to no avail.

The malfunction cost the Jaguars at least one delay-of-game penalty and a few rushed snaps.

'After the first or second series we had problems," Del Rio said. 'The coach-to-quarterback system and my system were malfunctioning. I asked the officials to take away [the Patriots'] communications while it was being repaired and they said there was nothing in the league rules that would mandate that [would even things up]. It was clearly an advantage for the Patriots."

Del Rio said he wanted the officials to report the malfunction in their game reports and he wants the league to either clarify the situation in the offseason or change the rules.

Quarterback Byron Leftwich was most affected by the malfunction because he had to get plays signaled to him from offensive coordinator Carl Smith from the sideline. 'I'd rather not talk about it," Leftwich said. 'The NFL might fine me."

Del Rio said that when the teams came back for the second half, the communications had been repaired. He joked that the Jaguars played their worst football in the second half and wished it hadn't been repaired.

Chance encounter

Del Rio thought the Patriots had as good a chance as anyone in the postseason, but noted that 'they're [probably] going to be on the road the rest of the way. Every team left has a chance. I really believe that." . . . The Jaguars were 1 for 12 on third-down conversions . . . The Jaguars got a big night out of rookie receiver Matt Jones, who caught six passes for 94 yards. Clearly the most disappointing player was veteran Jimmy Smith, who dropped a pair of passes in crucial situations including a third-and-9 play on the Jacksonville 32 that could have extended a drive. Instead, the Jaguars had to punt and the Patriots wound up scoring their third touchdown to put the game away.

All on the line

Jaguars defensive line coach Ray Hamilton felt the game got away from them early in the third quarter. 'That was it in the nutshell," said Hamilton. 'The Patriots did a great job. Their offensive line did a nice job with their blocks and kept us off [quarterback Tom] Brady just enough for him to make some plays." . . . The Jaguars were able to sack Brady four times, but he was able to escape near-sacks much to the frustration of some Jaguar players. 'It seemed as though we were close a couple of times, but Brady made the plays," said Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis . . . Leftwich said afterward, 'I'm a big Tom Brady fan. Any time he's in there they have a chance. They have a good football team and when Brady's making plays, they're going to be very tough to beat."