Pats prevail 34-22 in preseason opener
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. >> Jimmy Garoppolo made his preseason debut, spreading the ball around for 168 yards, and Jamie Collins added a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown to help the New England Patriots beat the New Orleans Saints 34-22 on Thursday night.
Garoppolo played the entire first half as he preps to start the first four games of the regular season with Tom Brady suspended for his involvement in the "Deflategate" case. Brady was not in the building Thursday, excused by the team to attend memorial services for a family member.
Saints running back Mark Ingram had an early fumble, but also had two 1-yard touchdown runs in an extended night that saw him play most of the first half. Second-year quarterback Garrett Grayson threw an early interception, but completed a few long passes to finish 10 for 16 for 133 yards.
Defensive end Kasim Edebali had two first-quarter sacks.
After a slow start, Garoppolo completed several long passes and finished 11 of 18.
Trey Flowers added a 17-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, scooping up the loose ball created by his sack of Luke McCown.
BRONCOS 22, BEARS 0
Mark Sanchez made a strong opening argument for Denver's starting quarterback job, throwing for 99 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter in the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos' victory over Chicago.
Sanchez came through with just the sort of performance he needed if he's going to beat out Trevor Siemian. The former Jets quarterback completed 10 of 13 passes in the first quarter and led a game-opening 76-yard touchdown drive. He had a pass intercepted by Jerrell Freeman on the Broncos' second possession.
Sanchez maintained his cool against Chicago's pressure and kept the opening drive going by completing three third-down passes — including a 32-yard TD to a wide open Demaryius Thomas along the right side.
As for Siemian, the former Northwestern star looked comfortable throwing short passes and was 7 of 12 for 88 yards in the second quarter.
Chicago starter Jay Cutler threw for 18 yards and got sacked twice in the first quarter. Brian Hoyer threw for 81 yards in the second period, but was sacked three times.
RAVENS 22, PANTHERS 19
Cam Newton directed a 68-yard drive in his only series, then stepped aside in Carolina's loss to Baltimore.
The NFL MVP was 5 for 6 for 36 yards before being replaced by 33-year-old Derek Anderson.
Graham Gano kicked four field goals for the Panthers. They went 15-1 last year and won the NFC championship before falling to Denver in the Super Bowl.
Baltimore was without quarterback Joe Flacco as he returns from a knee injury. Running back Justin Forsett, wide receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman, and linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil were also held out of the game.
Anderson threw a TD pass to Devin Funchess for a 10-0 lead before the Ravens answered with touchdowns by Terrance West and Javorius Allen.
JETS 17, JAGUARS 13
Blake Bortles led Jacksonville on two scoring drives, the second capped by Chris Ivory's 1-yard run against his former team, in a loss to New York.
Bortles finished 6 of 7 for 105 yards in his two series, Allen Robinson caught three passes for 80 yards and the Jaguars took a quick 10-0 lead with their starters in the game. Ivory, who signed with Jacksonville as a free agent after three seasons in New York, capped the second drive with his TD.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who re-signed with the Jets just before training camp after a long contract stalemate, also went two series with the starters and was 3 of 4 for 72 yards. Bilal Powell capped the second drive, which included catches of 26 and 43 yards by Quincy Enunwa, with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Geno Smith replaced Fitzpatrick with 9:49 left in the second half on the one-year anniversary of the punch that changed the Jets' season — and possibly Smith's career. The former starting quarterback had his jaw broken by a punch from then-teammate IK Enemkpali in the locker room, sidelining Smith and pushing Fitzpatrick into the job. Smith finished 8 of 14 for 79 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass to seventh-rounder Charone Peake that gave the Jets a 14-13 lead with 22 seconds left in the opening half.
FALCONS 23, REDSKINS 17
Matt Schaub made a successful return to his first NFL home, passing for 179 yards and leading three scoring drives in Atlanta's victory over Washington.
The 35-year-old Schaub began his career with the Falcons as Michael Vick's backup from 2004-06. He played seven seasons as Houston's starter and the past two years with Baltimore and Oakland.
After starter Matt Ryan was 0 for 4 and could not manage a first down on two possessions, Schaub moved the offense by finding Aldrick Robinson for passes of 47 and 68 yards. Schaub completed 10 of 15 passes for 179 yards, giving Atlanta a 13-3 halftime lead.
Falcons rookie J.D. McKissic returned a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown to open the second half.
Redskins starter Kirk Cousins completed each of his five passes for 39 yards on his only possession. Washington third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld led two touchdown drives.
EAGLES 17, BUCCANEERS 9
Philadelphia needed 1:37 to score its only touchdowns in beating sloppy Tampa Bay.
The Eagles covered 27 yards on their two drives to the end zone, with each series lasting three plays after Tampa Bay fumbles. Ryan Mathews had a 5-yard run to make it 7-0 after Tampa Bay fumbled the opening kickoff, and Chase Daniel scooted 3 yards for the second score after Jameis Winston had the ball stripped.
No. 2 overall draft pick Carson Wentz played just more than a half at quarterback for the Eagles. Perhaps his most noteworthy play came when he went flying acrobatically on a fourth-quarter run after a tackle by rookie cornerback Javien Elliott.
Winston threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.