Fields stars as Bears beat Dolphins; Broncos rout Vikings
CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie quarterback Justin Fields settled in and the Chicago Bears saw the playmaking ability they dreamed about on draft day.
Fields rallied Chicago back Saturday from a 13-0 deficit in his preseason debut by throwing for a touchdown and running for one in a 20-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
In just over two quarters of playing time, Fields was 14 of 20 for 142 yards and was at his best rolling outside the pocket and throwing.
Fields’ passing also helped the Bears get on the scoreboard for the first time with a 53-yard Cairo Santos field goal on the final play of the first half. Until that possession, the Bears hadn’t picked up a first down as Miami dominated play early.
With Soldier Field fans chanting “Let’s Go Fields,” the former Ohio State passer replaced starter Andy Dalton with 12:11 left until halftime but needed a few drives to get warmed up. Fields did fumble during a scramble following a spin move in the second quarter before the rally began, but the ball went out of bounds.
The Bears put away the win with Brian Johnson’s 44-yard field goal following a 51-yard run by Artavis Pierce in the fourth quarter after Fields left the game.
CHARGERS 13, RAMS 6
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Darius Bradwell rushed for a touchdown in the third quarter and the Los Angeles Chargers beat the Los Angeles Rams in the first NFL game with fans at SoFi Stadium.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s palatial football arena welcomed his team and its co-tenants for a well-attended preseason opener with 68,791 tickets distributed. Although neither team played any of its stars, the crowd still filled up the terraces, concourses and party areas for the first time throughout SoFi, which will host the Super Bowl in one day less than six months.
The Chargers shut out the Rams in the second half to win the head coaching debut of Brandon Staley, who took charge less than five years after he was the defensive coordinator at Division III John Carroll. The 38-year-old Staley spent last season with the Rams, where he led the league’s No. 1 defense in his only year as an NFL coordinator.
Chase Daniel went 15 of 24 for 104 yards in the first half for the Chargers. Easton Stick quarterbacked the Bolts’ only touchdown drive, finding Jason Moore Jr. for an 18-yard gain before Bradwell’s scoring run.
Devlin Hodges started at quarterback for the Rams, who didn’t play new franchise QB Matthew Stafford or his backup, John Wolford.
VIKINGS 33, BRONCOS 6
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Drew Lock passed for 151 yards and two touchdowns in three possessions in a crisp first audition for Denver’s open quarterback competition. Teddy Bridgewater was sharp, too.
Broncos first-round draft pick Pat Surtain II scored on a 30-yard interception return after a misdirected throw by Vikings backup Jake Browning, who was then pulled for rookie Kellen Mond.
K.J. Hamler had 105 receiving yards, including an 80-yard catch, sprint and score from Lock on the first play after a safety against the Vikings. Trinity Benson had two touchdowns, one from each of the quarterbacks vying to be the starter for September.
All of Minnesota’s important players, including quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Dalvin Cook, wide receiver Justin Jefferson and a host of others, watched from the sideline without pads after two full days of practice against the Broncos.
RAVENS 17, SAINTS 14
BALTIMORE (AP) — Tyler Huntley ran for a 7-yard touchdown with 6:35 remaining, and the Baltimore Ravens extended their preseason winning streak to 18 games.
The Ravens haven’t lost in the preseason since 2015. They struggled to move the ball Saturday with quarterback Lamar Jackson held out, but New Orleans couldn’t overcome its six turnovers. Huntley, who took over for Trace McSorley at quarterback in the second half, capped a 12-play, 79-yard drive with the Ravens’ only touchdown of the game.
Jameis Winston threw for 96 yards and a touchdown for New Orleans, but he and Taysom Hill each threw an interception in some immediate growing pains for the Saints in the post-Drew Brees era. New Orleans also lost three fumbles.
Brees’ retirement left the New Orleans quarterback situation in a state of uncertainty. Hill started Saturday and played the first three series. Then Winston played the rest of the first half. Hill went 8 of 12 for 81 yards, and Winston was 7 of 12 for 96 yards.
BROWNS 23, JAGUARS 13
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence’s professional debut opened with a sack and a fumble, hardly ideal but not too concerning for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft rebounded, delivering a couple of impressive throws and somewhat salvaging his first preseason game.
Lawrence completed 6 of 9 passes for 71 yards in two series. The most important part for Jacksonville: The former Clemson star left TIAA Bank Field healthy. There had to be some worry after Lawrence was sacked on the team’s first play.
Lawrence was taken down again on his second drive but responded with his best throw: a 35-yarder to Marvin Jones on third down. Lawrence failed to lead Jacksonville to points. The biggest takeaway was his offensive line, a veteran unit that failed to handle Cleveland’s backups.
The Browns held out most of their starters, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Nick Chubb, receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., cornerback Denzel Ward, and defensive ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. But they led 13-0 at halftime and could have been up bigger had coach Kevin Stefanski called for a chip-shot field goal from the 6-yard line. Instead, third-string quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw incomplete on a fourth-and-goal play.
Lauletta completed 19 of 27 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns in relief of second-team QB Case Keenum.
JETS 12, GIANTS 7
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall draft pick, was efficient in his first NFL preseason game, going 6 of 9 for 63 yards and leading the Jets to a field goal against the Giants’ backups on defense.
Robert Saleh, making his head coaching debut for the Jets, pulled Wilson and the projected offensive starters — as expected — after the second series stalled early in the second quarter.
Fans were back in MetLife Stadium for a Giants home game for the first time since Dec. 29, 2019, because of the coronavirus pandemic — but with Daniel Jones and most of their team’s starters sitting out, the main attraction was Wilson on the other side.
Wilson was 2 for 4 for 18 yards, including a 9-yard completion to Corey Davis on third-and-6 while marching the Jets downfield. But the drive fizzled after Wilson threw incomplete to Davis, and the Jets got a 30-yard field goal by Chris Naggar to take a 3-0 lead.
On his second series, Wilson looked comfortable while not making any high-risk throws. He led the Jets to three first downs.
Clayton Thorson threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Damion Willis with 7:05 left. Thorson was shaken up with 1:39 left when he was sacked in the end zone by Jonathan Marshall and Hamilcar Rashed. The quarterback stayed down for a few moments before walking gingerly straight to the locker room with trainers.
BENGALS 19, BUCCANEERS 14
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers opened the NFL preseason with a loss.
Chris Evans finished a long drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and kickers Evan McPherson and Austin Seibert combined for four second-half field goals for the Bengals, who played without quarterback Joe Burrow. They also didn’t see much of Brady or the rest of Tampa Bay’s regulars, either.
With Brady and his talented supporting cast sitting after playing just six snaps during the lone series the 44-year-old quarterback worked, veterans Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin and second-round draft pick Kyle Trask ran the offense the remainder of the night.
Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and the first overall selection in last year’s draft who’s coming off major reconstructive knee surgery, did not dress. The Bengals got extended looks at Brandon Allen and Kyle Shurmur at quarterback.
TEXANS 26, PACKERS 7
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Tyrod Taylor went 4 of 4 for 40 yards in his lone series and rookie quarterback Davis Mills led a couple of scoring drives for Houston.
Although the circumstances surrounding Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Houston’s Deshaun Watson have been two of the NFL’s biggest offseason stories, neither played Saturday as the spotlight shifted to the other quarterbacks on each team.
Taylor, the Texans’ likely starter if Watson isn’t available, led a 53-yard drive that resulted in one of Ka’imi Fairbairn’s four field goals.
Green Bay’s Jordan Love went 12 of 17 for 122 yards with a touchdown pass and a fumble in his first game appearance since the Packers traded up four spots to take him out of Utah State with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft.
Mills, the Texans’ third-round pick from Stanford, went 11 of 22 for 112 yards and an interception. He led one drive that ended with Scottie Phillips’ 5-yard touchdown run and another that led to a field goal.
Watson, who had an NFL-leading 4,820 yards passing last season, returned to practice Monday after not taking part in workouts for a week. Watson asked for a trade in January before 22 women filed lawsuits alleging that he sexually assaulted or harassed them. Houston police and the NFL are investigating the allegations, but no charges have been filed.
CHIEFS 19, 49ERS 16
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Trey Lance threw an 80-yard touchdown pass that led to loud cheers from San Francisco fans, and also showed some rookie traits in his preseason debut in the 49ers’ loss.
The Niners traded three first-round picks to draft Lance third overall in April to be their quarterback of the future. But they also still have incumbent Jimmy Garoppolo, so how soon that future comes remains to be seen.
Lance had an up-and-down first performance with a a few off-target throws, three sharp passes that were dropped by his receivers, and four sacks behind a spotty offensive line.
Chad Henne threw a TD pass to Byron Pringle after a short cameo by Patrick Mahomes to begin the game and rookie Shane Buechele scored on a 1-yard keeper with 1:14 to play to win it for Kansas City.
RAIDERS 20, SEAHAWKS 7
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman completed 29 of 38 pass attempts for 246 yards.
With starter Derek Carr predictably skipping the opener, and backup Marcus Mariota nursing a leg injury, Peterman looked solid while playing nearly the entire game. Peterman targeted 12 players and connected with 11. He also threw one interception.
DJ Turner had seven receptions, Keelan Doss hauled in six passes, and Zay Jones and Trey Ragas each had three. Ragas also rushed for 62 yards on 13 attempts.
With a lot of talk at the start of training camp about improving in the red zone, the Raiders showed spunk in their four trips inside Seattle’s 20-yard-line, with two touchdowns and two field goals.
The Raiders were playing in front of a home crowd for the first time since relocating from Oakland. Las Vegas played in front of a crowd in just three road games last season and went 2-6 inside its empty 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium with fans barred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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