Friday, August 31, 2018

Osweiler makes bid for backup QB job, Dolphins top Falcons

Dolphins coach Adam Gase won't be shopping elsewhere for his backup to starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
"It's going to be one of those two guys," Gase said after watching Brock Osweiler and David Fales split the playing time in Miami's final preseason game.
Osweiler enjoyed the more impressive final audition, leading three first-quarter touchdown drives in the Dolphins' 34-7 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.
Osweiler completed each of his first six passes for 65 yards, including a 1-yard scoring pass to Buddy Howell , on Miami's opening drive. He added a 14-yard scoring pass to Francis Owusu on the final play of the third quarter.
Osweiler said he didn't think Gase and his staff would need the preseason game to evaluate his potential as the team's backup.
"I think I've started enough games in this league to be able to see what I'm capable of doing, you know what I mean?" Osweiler said. "I don't think the coaches are going to look at just one game, but you'd have to ask them what they're really trying to look for."
Osweiler completed 16 of 25 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns for the Dolphins (1-3). He had 25 career starts in 42 games in six seasons with Denver and Houston before signing a one-year deal with Miami.
Fales completed 13 of 20 passes for 94 yards and one interception.
Gase was impressed by the first-half production of the offense, led by Osweiler, Howell and running back Kalen Ballage, who had a 9-yard scoring run . Howell also ran for a touchdown.
"They had a good tempo going," Gase said. "They took advantage of some of the calls versus the coverages they ran. They got some explosive plays. It was good to see."
Each team rested most starters in the final preseason game.
The Falcons (0-4) had little offense with their starters, including quarterback Matt Ryan, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Julio Jones, watching on the sideline. Atlanta was held to nine first downs and 185 yards.
"Obviously not the night that we wanted and not the energy that is needed and certainly not the energy that our fans deserve," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said.
The Falcons also finished 0-4 in the 2017 preseason before advancing to the playoffs.
Kurt Benkert played most of the game at quarterback and may have lost ground in his effort to win a roster spot behind Ryan and Matt Schaub. He threw two interceptions while completing only 10 of 25 passes for 103 yards.
Benkert's first pass of the second half was intercepted by Jordan Lucas on a deflection off the hands of receiver Reggie Davis.
Linebacker Stephone Anthony's interception of Benkert's pass late in the first quarter set up a 1-yard scoring run by Howell.
A rare offensive highlight for Atlanta came late in the first quarter when Benkert completed a short pass to running back Malik Williams, who jumped over Lucas for a 16-yard gain. That possession ended when Williams was stopped on fourth down.
Benkert's 13-yard pass to Devin Gray set up Williams' 8-yard scoring run with 25 seconds remaining in the half.
"That's the big back we were hoping to see when we saw him coming out of Louisville," said Quinn of Williams, an undrafted rookie.
INJURIES
Dolphins WR Rashawn Scott suffered an ankle injury in the first half and did not return.
For Atlanta, Williams and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson left in the second half with shoulder injuries.
NATIONAL ANTHEM
Dolphins wide receivers Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills embraced after each took a knee during the national anthem, continuing their protests of social injustice through the preseason. All Falcons players stood during the anthem.
ROOKIE KICKERS
Miami's Jason Sanders, competing with Greg Joseph in a competition of rookies, kicked a 56-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
OPEN-AIR FOOTBALL
Mercedes-Benz Stadium's roof was open for the game. The roof was closed for every game after the Falcons' opener in the 2017 debut for the $1.5 billion stadium. The complicated camera lens-type design on the roof has been fine-tuned and is ready for more action this season.
NEXT UP
Dolphins: Miami opens its regular season with a home game against Tennessee on Sept. 9.
Falcons: Atlanta opens its season on Sept. 6 at Philadelphia. The Eagles beat the Falcons in the playoffs on their way to winning the Super Bowl.

Mayfield sharp as Browns roll over Lions 35-17

 Even if he doesn't play again for a while, Baker Mayfield has given Cleveland a glimpse.
Mayfield threw for 138 yards in a dominant first half for the Browns, who wrapped up the preseason with a 35-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night. Mayfield completed a 41-yard pass to Devon Cajuste on the first play from scrimmage, and the top overall pick in this year's draft looked sharp throughout his two quarters directing the offense.
"I just think he improved every week," coach Hue Jackson said. "I thought tonight, making plays down the field with the ball, the accuracy of the ball. Throwing the ball away in some key situations in the scoring zone I thought was huge. I think he's growing every day."
With Tyrod Taylor atop the depth chart at quarterback, the Browns are likely to bring Mayfield along slowly. This was a nice note for the rookie to finish on before the start of the regular season.
"Came out fast, we set the tone. Played well early," said Mayfield, who made his first start of the preseason. "We wanted to stress that, and we made sure of that."
Nick Chubb and Matthew Dayes ran for touchdowns for Cleveland in what was generally a battle of backups.
The Lions closed out an uninspiring preseason under new coach Matt Patricia. They were booed off the field at halftime by the sparse crowd at Ford Field with the score 25-0.
"We obviously didn't play very well," Patricia said. "We have to do a better job of coaching and playing, but the positive is that we had some things come up now instead of in the regular season. That gives us a chance to work on them between now and the first game."
Jake Rudock did little to distinguish himself in the competition to back up quarterback Matthew Stafford. When Rudock was taken out late in the second quarter, the Lions had been outgained 261-40 and had only two first downs - and both of those came on Cleveland penalties.
Matt Cassel took over at quarterback and led Detroit down the field in the 2-minute drill. Then, defensive lineman Nate Orchard made a leaping interception near the line of scrimmage and ran it back 64 yards for a touchdown with 28 seconds left in the half.
Cleveland went for 2, and the Lions were called for roughing the passer. Detroit was then called for having 12 men in formation. Dontrell Hilliard eventually ran the ball in to make it 25-0.
Dayes had 77 yards on eight carries, although he ended up with an ankle issue. His touchdown came from 42 yards out in the second quarter.
The Lions had 2 yards rushing in the first half.
Rudock returned to the game in the second half, but it was more of the same for Detroit until the Lions finally scored a couple touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
"At this point, there's nothing I can do. I can say that I'm not going to worry about it, but it is human nature," Rudock said. "There are 90 guys in here, and there are only going to be 53 here. Obviously, I want to be one of them, but I've done what I can. Now it is out of my hands."
The Lions were outscored 68-16 in the first half this preseason.
HIGHLIGHT
Orchard's touchdown could be a big play for the 25-year-old lineman. A second-round draft pick in 2015, he started 11 games that season but has only two starts since.
"He made a play. He made a real big-time football play right before half," Jackson said. "Everything's going to be evaluated for our players. The most important thing is we put the right 53 guys on this team."
NO RUSH
The Lions finished the preseason with just two sacks in four games. Christian Ringo had one Thursday just before the 2-minute warning in the second half.
MOVING ON
The Browns released linebacker Mychal Kendricks on Wednesday night, hours after he was charged by federal prosecutors in Philadelphia with insider trading.
"It's a disappointment, any time you lose a good player. He's a good player," Jackson said. "He's not on our team anymore, so I don't want to talk about him. We're going to do everything we can to improve the position as we move forward."
INJURIES
Browns: Linebacker James Burgess left in the first half with a concussion. Linebacker Justin Currie injured his knee.
Lions: Safety Rolan Milligan (chest) was injured on the first play from scrimmage. Running back Zach Zenner (back) and tackle Corey Robinson (foot) were also hurt during the game. Safety Marcus Cromartie went down near midfield in the fourth quarter and walked off gingerly with a hip injury.
ANTHEM UPDATE
Nobody appeared to be kneeling for the national anthem.
UP NEXT
Browns: Host Pittsburgh on Sept. 9.
Lions: Host the New York Jets on Sept. 10.

Bowles won't name starting QB after Jets lose 10-9 to Eagles

 Sam Darnold watched the preseason finale from the sideline like most starters, but Jets coach Todd Bowles isn't ready to name the rookie his No. 1 quarterback.
"I haven't made a decision or talked to anybody about it," Bowles said after New York's 10-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson also wouldn't say whether Carson Wentz or Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles would be under center for Philadelphia in Week 1. Wentz is still recovering from knee surgery last December and is waiting for medical clearance to play though he's taking reps in practice.
"I've got the rest of the team to prepare and whoever it is, we have to prepare the same way," Pederson said.
Darnold had an impressive camp after competing with Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown. Bridgewater was traded to New Orleans on Wednesday.
"If I'm the starter, I'll be really comfortable," Darnold said. "I feel really comfortable with the offense, really comfortable with the guys in this locker room. Just excited for whatever opportunity comes my way. If not, I'll be the best backup I can be."
The final tuneup was for players mostly competing for roster spots instead of starting jobs.
Philadelphia's Christian Hackenberg tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble, but Joe Callahan threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Matt Jones with 18 seconds left to help Philadelphia (1-3) avoid a winless preseason.
Hackenberg didn't take a snap in two seasons with the Jets after he was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. He signed with the Eagles earlier in the month as the fifth quarterback and has no chance to make the roster so he was playing for his next job.
"There are some things I'm disappointed in and there are a lot of good takeaways," Hackenberg said.
After replacing Callahan in the first half, Hackenberg threw two picks on his first three drives. He drove the Eagles from the 1 to the Jets 20 in the final 90 seconds of the first half, but ran out of time after a 19-yard scramble.
The former Penn State star also lost a fumble and finished 7 of 16 for 69. He ran for 66 yards.
Callahan returned to play the fourth quarter and threw an interception in the end zone with 4:02 left. But he completed his last seven passes, including the TD to Jones.
Jason Myers kicked field goals of 58 and 43 yards for the Jets (1-3). New York's defense didn't allow a touchdown in August until the final drive.
Jake Elliott nailed a 55-yarder for Philadelphia's only points in the last two games.
McCown started for New York and John Wolford played the final 2 1/2 quarters. McCown was 3 of 8 for 26 yards.
Wolford was about to accept an internship at an equity firm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina before the Jets offered him a job on Sunday. He participated in rookie minicamp in May and practiced with the team for three days this week before seeing his first action. Wolford finished 8 of 20 for 89 yards and one interception.
TRADING TEDDY
Bowles said the decision to trade Bridgewater was made because the Saints made an offer too good to refuse. The Jets received a third-round pick and also sent New Orleans a sixth-rounder.
"We love Teddy, but it was good value," Bowles said.
INJURIES
Eagles: WR Alshon Jeffery will be activated from the physically unable to perform list on Friday and his status is day to day, though it's unlikely he'll be ready for Week 1 after offseason shoulder surgery.
IT'S A NEW YEAR
After meeting with team leaders, Pederson has decided to have the Super Bowl champions sign in Philadelphia's locker room removed because players want it to be clear this is a new season.
GOAL-LINE STAND
Philadelphia's Aziz Shittu stopped Thomas Rawls on fourth down at the Eagles 1 late in the second quarter. The Jets began the drive at the 8 after J.J. Wilcox intercepted Hackenberg's pass and returned it 25 yards.
LEG UP
Myers could've solidified his roster spot by going 2 for 2. He was competing with Taylor Bertolet for the job after being claimed off waivers last week from Jacksonville. Bertolet made a 19-yarder.
ANTHEM
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins waited in the tunnel during the anthem.
UP NEXT
Jets: at Detroit on Monday night Sept. 10.
Eagles: host Atlanta in a playoff rematch in the NFL opener next Thursday night.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Peterson, Cards take 27-3 preseason win as Cowboys stars sit

Patrick Peterson hasn't faced a starting quarterback in the preseason.
The three-time All-Pro cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals is getting himself in regular-season form anyway.
Peterson returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown after Dallas decided to sit quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott in what was supposed to be the dress rehearsal, and the Cardinals rolled to a 27-3 exhibition victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night.
The Cardinals (3-0) forced eight turnovers to give them 16 takeaways in the preseason. That included two muffed punts by Dallas (0-3), the second recovered for a touchdown by Trent Sherfield to open the scoring in the first quarter.
Prescott's absence made it three straight weeks that Arizona didn't face the opposing starter. San Diego's Philip Rivers skipped the opener, and Drew Brees sat for New Orleans last week.
"I definitely wish we would have seen some A-1 talent at the quarterback position," Peterson said. "But we still know if we play sound defense, that can happen to any of them."
Sam Bradford led two largely ineffective series for the Cardinals after completing all seven of his passes in the first two preseason games. Playing without running back David Johnson and receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Bradford was 1 of 4 for 6 yards as Arizona generated just one first down.
Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick and likely backup to Bradford in the regular season, didn't play after injuring the thumb on his throwing (right) hand in practice last week. Mike Glennon directed a drive to Phil Dawson's 42-yard field goal in three second-quarter possessions, finishing 8 of 10 for 35 yards.
"We wanted to see a little bit more of Glennon but also didn't want to take a chance of re-injuring that thumb," coach Steve Wilks said. "We'll re-evaluate it this week and determine if we'll allow him to play in that last preseason game."
The Cowboys were missing center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin, part of the reason Prescott didn't play. The other reason was a longer-than-planned touchdown drive of 16 plays on Prescott's final possession of the second preseason game against Cincinnati.
Owner Jerry Jones said last week he didn't need to see Elliott, the 2016 NFL rushing leader as a rookie, in a preseason game. It figures to be the first time in three seasons that Elliott, who is healthy, will miss the entire preseason since starters are generally expected to sit in the finales.
"We know we are trying to evaluate players out here," Jones said. "In general, our fans don't want us to run and take unnecessary risk. That's what you saw tonight. It was almost comical, relative to the turnover situation."
EARLY CELEBRATION
Peterson stepped in front of Cooper Rush's pass to Tavon Austin along the sideline and held the ball in the air most of the way on the easy stroll to the end zone. Rush, who won the backup job as a rookie with a strong preseason last year, was 11 of 17 for 93 yards with two interceptions.
Peterson also forced a fumble by toppling Rod Smith when the running back tried to hurdle him. Smith was originally ruled down, but replay showed the ball coming out before his arm hit the ground. The Cardinals intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles, not counting the muffed punts.
ANOTHER MILESTONE
Dallas defensive end Randy Gregory had another milestone in his return after missing last season on a substance-abuse suspension. Gregory, who made his preseason debut last week, easily beat starting left tackle D.J. Humphries with a spin move to sack Bradford on Arizona's third offensive play.
ANOTHER MISSING STAR
Johnson sitting likely signaled the end of his preseason at eight carries for 50 yards with a touchdown. Chase Edmonds had 55 yards on 11 carries. T.J. Logan, a fifth-round pick last year before spending the entire season on injured reserve, ran 59 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
A moment of silence was held before the national anthem for the late Sen. John McCain, with his hometown Cardinals on the sideline. Fitzgerald looked up to see the image of McCain on the huge video board hanging over the center of the field, and the crowd cheered afterward. McCain died Saturday.
INJURIES
Cardinals: RB D.J. Foster, listed third in the depth chart, injured a knee during a touchback on a kickoff and didn't return.
Cowboys: Already thin at safety, Dallas lost Kavon Frazier to a left shoulder injury in the first quarter. He was starting in place of Xavier Woods, who injured a hamstring last week against Cincinnati.
NATIONAL ANTHEM
There were no apparent protests during the pregame playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
UP NEXT
Preseason finales for both teams Thursday night: Cowboys at Houston; Cardinals at home against Denver.

Dalton enjoys warm welcome in Bengals' 26-13 win over Bills

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton doesn't believe he could have scripted a better visit to Buffalo on Sunday.
The donation he made to Buffalo's Roswell Park Cancer Institute to open the day was special. The two standing ovations he received from Bills fans before the preseason game were chilling.
And Dalton was able to keep his emotions in check on the first snap from scrimmage to hit John Ross for a 57-yard touchdown pass in leading the Bengals to a 26-13 victory.
"It was a good day. I think the way it started was the best part," Dalton said. "The game went well, too."
The Bills could not say the same about their offense, and a three-way quarterback competition that remains unsettled.
Rookie Josh Allen struggled in his first preseason start , while getting little protection from an offensive line that allowed five sacks in the first half alone. He finished 6 of 12 and was sacked for more yards (39) than he had passing (34).
"I didn't do a good enough job getting the ball out on time," the first-round pick said. "I've got to do a better job, but there's a lot to learn from."
Dalton eased whatever concerns the starters raised with their sputters in last week's 21-13 win at Dallas by producing three scoring drives - two touchdowns and a field goal - over five series against the Bills.
Dalton finished 11 of 16 for 180 yards and two touchdowns - including a 14-yarder to A.J. Green - to celebrate the warm reception he received in Buffalo nine months after playing a key role in the Bills making the playoffs and ending a 17-year playoff drought.
It happened in the final minute of the season finale against Baltimore on New Year's Eve. Dalton's 49-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Tyler Boyd sent the Bengals to a 31-27 win, and eliminated the Ravens from playoff contention.
Bills fans responded immediately by making over $450,000 to Dalton's charitable foundation.
"It's a crazy story, and it's been fun to be on this side of it," Dalton said. "The best part is all the money that was raised."
Buffalo's offense continues to raise concerns two weeks before opening the regular season at Baltimore.
Allen generated just three first downs before being forced out of the game in the final minute of the first half. He was escorted off the field to be evaluated for a possible concussion after being tackled by Carlos Dunlap in the end zone.
Though Allen was cleared to return, he stayed on the sideline while Nathan Peterman finished the game.
This was a week after the starters went three-and-out in four series and starter AJ McCarron was sacked once and hit several other times before being sidelined with an injury to his right throwing shoulder in a 19-17 win at Cleveland.
"It's disappointing," Bills coach Sean McDermott said. "We're going to make sure we're helping him with protection and catching the football and not beating ourselves with penalties. Let's just start there."
SACK ATTACK
Linebacker Carl Lawson had 2 1/2 of the Bengals five sacks in the first half, and nearly had an interception. He was in position to pick off Allen's underthrown pass up the right sideline only to have tight end Charles Clay break it up.
PETERMAN TIME
The Bengals led 23-0 before the Bills mounted a comeback with two scores late in the third quarter.
Peterman hit Jason Croom for a 17-yard touchdown, and then Travaris Cadet scored on a 1-yard run on a drive set up by Rafael Bush intercepting Bengals backup Matt Barkley's pass. Peterman finished 16 of 21 for 200 yards, and upped his preseason total to 33 of 41 for 432 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
WELCOME BACK
Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert had one catch for 11 yards while targeted three times in making his preseason debut. The Bengals' 2013 first-round draft pick is coming off back surgery and was limited to playing just two games last year.
INJURIES
Bengals: Left tackle Cordy Glenn stood on the sideline, but did not return after hurting his right shoulder in the first quarter. Coach Marvin Lewis said Glenn was fine. Guard Christian Westerman (back) and running back Jarveon Williams (left knee) did not return.
Bills: Backup linebacker Julian Stanford did not return after hurting his nose in the first half. RB LeSean McCoy (hip/groin) and left tackle Dion Dawkins (hip) did not play after being injured in practice this week.
ANTHEM UPDATE
The Bengals stood together along the sideline except for Dunlap, who stood on the field at the 45 with his hand on his chest. No member of the Bills appeared to protest.
UP NEXT
Bengals: Host Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.
Bills: At Chicago Bears on Thursday night.

Saints cap productive week with 36-7 win over Chargers

 After a valuable week of joint practices with the Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton felt comfortable extending that open approach to their preseason game by calling everything from a fake punt to multiple 2-point conversions.
Alvin Kamara ran for a 2-yard touchdown, and the Saints capped a productive visit to Southern California with a 36-7 preseason win over the Chargers on Saturday night.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees was 7 of 9 for 59 yards with an interception in three series, while Philip Rivers was 5 of 7 for 29 yards in a brief tuneup appearance for the Chargers.
This was the second consecutive year the Chargers hosted the Saints in a preseason game at StubHub Center following practices between the teams in Orange County. While the workouts came later in training camp than usual, the Saints built off two productive days with a strong performance in the traditional dress rehearsal for the regular season.
"It benefits both of us and I think both teams understand that," Payton said. "The relationship between the staffs is good, and you see it in the type of work we got. It's something that benefits both teams, so hopefully it's something we can continue to do."
Third-string quarterback and special teams contributor Taysom Hill became the embodiment of Payton's willingness to experiment, giving New Orleans its initial first-down late in the first quarter by running a direct snap on a fake punt around the left side. That helped set up Kamara's short touchdown plunge seven plays later.
The Saints took an 8-7 lead on a 2-point pass from Brees to Michael Thomas, one of four 2-point attempts called by Payton and the last throw Brees would make before giving way to Tom Savage.
Hill did it all for New Orleans, completing 7 of 8 passes for 66 yards with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith in the fourth quarter. Hill also rushed for 35 yards and a touchdown scramble, adding a 2-point conversion on a keeper, and had one tackle on special teams.
"Imagine the load that's on you as a quarterback, and then couple that with being a four core special-teams guy," Brees said. "There's a lot on that guy's plate, and he has handled it as well as anybody can handle it."
Wil Lutz kicked field goals of 25 and 35 yards in the final two minutes of the first half, and cornerback Marcus Williams added a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, which came seven plays after a pass interference penalty against Williams negated a ricochet TD return by linebacker Craig Robertson.
But the start of the game belonged to the Chargers, with first-round draft pick Derwin James intercepting a pass from Brees on the first possession of the game. James, the safety from Florida State, picked off a third-down throw by Brees that he admitted forcing into double coverage with Desmond King defending Ted Ginn Jr.
The ensuing possession did not end in points, but Los Angeles fared better on its second possession, with rookie Detrez Newsome scoring on a 5-yard run off left tackle. That marked the end of game action for Rivers, replaced by Cardale Jones early in the second quarter.
"The second half, that's a different story," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. "I thought our reserves, I thought we got outplayed. We couldn't run on third downs. We couldn't stop them on third downs. We've got a lot of work to do right there."
DAVENPORT DEBUT
Saints first-round draft pick Marcus Davenport had three tackles in his first preseason action, getting credit for a half-sack as one of four New Orleans defenders to drop Jones late in the second quarter. The defensive end from UTSA missed three weeks of training camp because of an unspecified injury and also had surgery on his thumb in June.
EKELER EXCITES
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler finished with 50 yards rushing on six carries and added three receptions for 13 yards. With starter Melvin Gordon not with the team because of a family matter, Ekeler ripped off runs of 21 and 12 yards to his first two carries to get the Chargers moving on a drive that ended at the Saints 4.
"He's arguably the strongest guy, pound for pound, on our team," Rivers said. "So he's definitely a between-the-tackles guy, and he and Melvin really complement each other well."
ANTHEM UPDATE
There were no apparent protests during the national anthem.
INJURIES
Saints: DE Trey Hendrickson was able to return after hobbling to the sideline early in the first quarter. A second-year player from Florida Atlantic, Hendrickson has been a pleasant surprise in training camp as the Saints look to bolster their pass rush.
Chargers: DE Joey Bosa (foot) did not play, but went through a series of agility drills prior to the game. Lynn said Bosa, who has not practiced since sustaining the injury to his left foot on Aug. 7, would have been available if it was the regular season. . Jones was removed from the game earlier than planned because of a minor groin strain. Lynn said Jones, who was 1 of 3 for 13 yards as he competes with Geno Smith to back up Rivers, will play in the preseason finale.
UP NEXT
Saints: Finish the preseason at home against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday.
Chargers: Finish the preseason at the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Rookie Lamar Jackson helps Ravens rally past Dolphins 27-10

First-round pick Lamar Jackson led touchdown possessions of 84, 62 and 73 yards against mostly deep reserves, and the Baltimore Ravens rallied past the Miami Dolphins 27-10 Saturday.
Jackson entered the game at the start of the second half and had his best performance yet for the Ravens. He went 7 for 10 for 98 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 39 yards on three carries, including a 19-yard scoring run.
"My decision-making is getting better," Jackson said. "I'm working my way up. I feel like I'm doing pretty good, but there's still room for improvement."
Kenyan Drake sparked one scoring drive with a 30-yard run and another with a 36-yard reception for the Dolphins, whose starters reached the end zone for the first time this preseason.
Ryan Tannehill fumbled twice early, and the Dolphins drew boos from the small crowd when they went three-and-out on the first series. But the offense began to click in the second quarter against a mix of Ravens starters and reserves, and Tannehill finished 11 of 16 for 115 yards.
Danny Amendola made a nifty cutback to juke past two defensive backs and score on a 16-yard pass from Tannehill. It was the first touchdown by Miami's starters during the preseason in 10 possessions.
On the next series, Tannehill hit Drake deep for a big gain to set up a field goal, and the Dolphins led 10-3 at halftime before both teams emptied their benches.
Tannehill said the offense is on track for the start of the season.
"It was good to finally get the ball in the end zone," he said. "We're heading in the right direction."
While starters for Miami saw their most extensive action this month, among those not playing for the Ravens were quarterback Joe Flacco, their top three wide receivers, three offensive linemen, safety Eric Weddle, and linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley.
Robert Griffin III, battling to make the Ravens' roster, played the first half. He went 9 for 15 for 66 yards and carried five times for 41 yards while playing with a mix of starters and reserves.
Baltimore's Alex Collins carried one time for 7 yards. Third-stringer De'Lance Turner scored on a 65-yard run.
Jackson's touchdown pass covered 21 yards to another third-stringer, DeVier Posey.
The Dolphins' offense started badly. Tannehill fumbled on the first play and lost 7 yards. Miami newcomer Frank Gore made his exhibition debut on the next play and lost 2 yards.
Tannehill, who wasn't hit in Miami's first two games, hopped up quickly after a jarring sack by Patrick Onwuasor. Tannehill missed all of last season because of a knee injury.
BACKUP BATTLE
Brock Osweiler and David Fales, battling for the Dolphins' backup QB job, both struggled and threw an interception.
"There's room for improvement for sure," coach Adam Gase said. "But it's hard to put it all on them when you get the ball and you're not expecting it, or we're not blocking guys. That's why it's hard to evaluate quarterbacks at times in preseason games."
KICKING
Ravens: Justin Tucker was wide left on a 51-yard field goal try and had another 51-yarder blocked. The most accurate kicker in NFL history is 0 for 4 beyond 50 yards during the exhibition season.
Dolphins: Jason Sanders, battling for a job with fellow rookie Greg Joseph, made a 33-yard field goal.
NATIONAL ANTHEM
Robert Quinn and Dolphins WRs Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson again protested social injustice during the anthem. Quinn raised his right fist, and Stills and Wilson kneeled in front of their bench.
INJURIES
Ravens: TE Hayden Hurst, the team's top draft pick, will undergo surgery for a stress fracture in his foot, and he's expected to be sidelined three to four weeks. He missed the game. ... Starting DT Willie Henry had hernia surgery and will be sidelined several weeks. ... Rookie S DeShon Elliott broke his left forearm, and the injury could be season-ending. ... Rookie OL Greg Senat left the game with a foot injury.
Dolphins: WR Jakeem Grant suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Chuck Clark, who drew a penalty.
UP NEXT
Ravens: Baltimore plays its final exhibition game Thursday at home against Washington.
Dolphins: Miami plays its exhibition finale Thursday at Atlanta.

Jaguars WR Lee injures knee in 17-6 victory against Falcons

The Jacksonville Jaguars might have lost their No. 1 receiver for the season.
Marqise Lee, who led the team in receptions in 2017, injured his left knee in a 17-6 victory against Atlanta in the preseason Saturday night and could be out for the year.
Lee was carted off the field in the first quarter after Falcons cornerback Damontae Kazee twisted his leg making a tackle. Lee fumbled on the play, but it was overturned because Kazee was flagged for tackling with his helmet.
Teammates and coaches offered well-wishes to Lee as he left the field. Nonetheless, it was the kind of preseason injury that leaves players, coaches and fans shaking their heads.
It also reaffirmed Falcons coach Dan Quinn's decision to rest two of his biggest offensive stars, receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman.
Lee had 56 catches for 702 yards and three touchdowns last season. He signed a four-year, $34 million contract in March that included $16.5 million guaranteed.
A second-round draft pick from USC in 2014, Lee has 171 catches for 2,166 yards and eight touchdowns. He missed games because of various injuries in three of his four seasons.
If Lee misses extended time in 2018, the Jaguars would rely on second-year pros Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook, one-year rental Donte Moncrief, and rookie DJ Chark to pick up the slack.
Jacksonville wants to run the ball and play stout defense, an old-school philosophy that got the team to the AFC championship game last season. That style helped the Jags control the first half against Atlanta, although they only led 10-6 on the scoreboard.
Coach Doug Marrone's team outgained the Falcons 236-96 in the opening 30 minutes.
Matt Ryan completed 5 of 12 passes for 57 yards. Tevin Coleman ran seven times for 38 yards, with 22 of those coming on one scamper.
Leonard Fournette carried 10 times for 57 yards and a touchdown for Jacksonville. Fournette's 21-yard run in the second quarter was the only traditional touchdown of the night.
The Jags scored again in the fourth, when backup quarterback Cody Kessler fumbled a snap, picked up the loose ball and bulldozed his way across the goal line .
Blake Bortles played into the third quarter and finished 17 of 23 for 204 yards. But he also threw two interceptions, one on a tipped ball and another on a pass that sailed wide of a receiver.
ANTHEM PROTEST
Jaguars All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Pro Bowl linebacker Telvin Smith remained in the locker room during the national anthem. Smith has skipped the anthem in each of the team's three preseason games. Ramsey was suspended for last week's exhibition at Minnesota, not for anything related to the anthem.
PRESEASON DEBUT
Falcons placekicker Matt Bryant made his preseason debut after sitting out the first two games with an undisclosed injury. The 43-year-old Bryant drilled a 47-yard field goal to cap the opening drive and later added a 33-yarder.
The Jaguars had two players make their preseason debut. 2017 All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell (calf) and defensive lineman Taven Bryan (abdomen), a first-round pick from Florida, missed the first two exhibitions. Bryan's best play was batting down a pass in the closing minutes.
SITTING OUT
Receiver Marvin Hall, guard Ben Garland, cornerback Desmond Trufant, safety Ricardo Allen and linebacker Deion Jones sat out for Atlanta with minor injuries.
The Jaguars were without six players: cornerback A.J. Bouye (illness), center Brandon Linder (knee), safety Ronnie Harrison (hamstring), linebacker Donald Payne (hip), defensive tackle Eli Ankou (knee) and defensive end Dawuane Smoot (foot).
UP NEXT
Atlanta hosts Miami to end the preseason Thursday.
Jacksonville plays at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Luck's sharper touch helps lead Colts past 49ers 23-17

Andrew Luck keeps checking off the boxes.
On Saturday, he got the Indianapolis Colts' offense in sync, bounced back from yet another big hit and led them to a go-ahead touchdown before leaving in the second quarter.
Yes, five days after a mediocre performance in his first home start in more than 19 months, Luck looked much sharper as the Colts hung on for a 23-17 victory over San Francisco.
"I really wanted to feel like we created some type of rhythm and we did," he said. "We put a sustained drive together, and the other ones, we made some mistakes. But getting in rhythm was something I really wanted to see."
He was in good company.
Coach Frank Reich and Colts fans also wanted to see improvement in what's likely Luck's final action of the preseason.
The results were better.
Luck scrambled for a 15-yard run on third-and-13 then threw a 15-yard TD pass to a leaping Eric Ebron on the next play to give Indy a 7-3 lead midway with 8:47 left in the first half. He finished 8 of 10 with 90 yards and took one sack.
Christine Michael's 1-yard TD plunge late in the third quarter made it 14-9, a lead Indy never relinquished.
Otherwise, it was a tough day for the Colts, who struggled to establish the run - and couldn't stop San Francisco's physical ground game in the first half.
"They did a nice job running the ball and just like offensively in the run game, we need to improve defensively in the run game," Reich said after his defense allowed 126 yards rushing.
Somehow, the Colts kept the 49ers out of the end zone until the final minutes and took advantage of Jacoby Brissett's 53-yard pass play to Seantavius Jones late in the third quarter. Two plays later, Michael scored to give Indy a 14-9 lead.
It was enough to give Luck his first home win since Jan. 1, 2017.
Jimmy Garoppolo, meanwhile, couldn't get the ball into the end zone. He was 9 of 19 for 135 yards, leading the 49ers to only two field goals before departing in the third quarter. Alfred Morris carried 17 times for 84 yards, doing the bulk of his work in the first half.
Former Colts receiver Pierre Garcon had two catches for 62 yards.
"We ran the ball very well, but I was just saying this to the team - running the ball well doesn't (automatically) get you points," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "We were 0 for 3 in the red zone."
Robbie Gould's 32-yard field goal gave the 49ers a 9-7 lead late in the third quarter.
But all San Francisco could manage the rest of the game was Nick Mullens' 1-yard TD run and Jeremy McNichols' 2-point conversion run with 4:07 left, spoiling the return of cornerback Richard Sherman .
"There were some good plays, there were some other plays I felt rusty on, but overall I felt pretty good," said Sherman, who is coming back from a torn Achilles tendon. "I would have preferred (defending a deep ball)."
Ebron caught five passes for 54 yards for Indy, which got starting safety Malik Hooker back. He missed the second half of his rookie season after tearing two ligaments in his right knee.
NATIONAL ANTHEM
When the 49ers visited Indianapolis in October, nearly two dozen players demonstrated by kneeling during the national anthem - prompting Vice President Mike Pence to walk out of Lucas Oil Stadium. This time, nobody took a knee while the anthem played. The only demonstration came from San Francisco receiver Marquise Goodwin, who raised his fist again.
INJURIES
49ers: Linebacker Reuben Foster did not return after being diagnosed with a concussion in the third quarter, and cornerback Jimmie Ward left in the first half with a quadriceps injury. Shanahan said he doesn't expect to Foster in the preseason finale. Receiver Marquise Goodwin also left in the first half with a hand injury but returned. San Francisco played without running backs Jerick McKinnon (knee), Matt Breida (shoulder) and Joe Williams (ribs) or backup offensive linemen Erik Magnuson (hamstring) and Gary Gilliam.
Colts: Defensive end John Simon (neck), safety Ronald Martin (shoulder), offensive lineman Denzelle Good (knee) and safety T.J. Green (hamstring) all left in the second half. None of those four retuned. Indy was already missing cornerbacks Quincy Wilson (hand) and Nate Hairston (hamstring), linebacker Anthony Walker (groin), defensive linemen Denico Autry (lower leg) and Tyquan Lewis (foot), running backs Marlon Mack (hamstring), Robert Turbin (ankle), newly acquired back Brandon Oliver and Tion Green, and receivers James Wright (knee) and K.J. Brent (knee).
UP NEXT
49ers: Wrap up the preseason at home Thursday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Colts: Close out the preseason at Cincinnati.