The NFL preseason kicked off in full on Thursday with six games. Here’s everything you need to know about the games, in which projected starters mostly made only fleeting appearances.
Redskins 23, Patriots 6
After a shaky week of practice with New England, the Redskins cruised past the Patriots in Jay Gruden’s debut as head coach. Washington’s starting offense was on the field for 10 snaps, five of them runs by Alfred Morris that gained 27 yards. Grain of salt alert: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola didn’t play for the Patriots. For more, check out Steinberg’s Best and Worst.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 8, 2014
Also, there were three interception returns for a touchdown and one punt return for a touchdown in the first 33 minutes of the game. Andy Dalton, his pockets stuffed with new-found big-contract money, completed 3 of 5 passes for the Bengals, including a 53-yard pass to A.J. Green that set up Cincinnati’s opening field goal. But he quickly gave way to Jason Campbell, who threw both of the Bengals’ pick-sixes.
Baltimore running back Ray Rice — who will be suspended for the team’s first two regular season games after receiving a much-derided punishment from the NFL for hitting his wife — said the ovation he received from Baltimore’s fans “means the world to me.” Rice had three carries for 17 yards before he and the other Baltimore starters took the rest of the night off. Bernard Pierce, who likely will start in Rice’s place to begin the season, rushed for 37 yards and a score on the team’s efficient opening drive. The 49ers also moved the ball when their starters were in, with Colin Kaepernick marching them 66 yards for a field goal.
Hey, look who still has a some giddy-up at age 34: It’s Michael Vick!
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, meanwhile, led Indianapolis on a 12-play drive that ended in a field goal on his only series. But the Colts’ much-maligned offensive line took another hit when starting center Khaled Holmes left the game with an injured ankle. His replacement, rookie Jonotthan Harrison, then proceeded to snap the ball over Luck’s head on third and goal.
Denver got the tiniest bit of revenge for its Super Bowl pantsing by the Seahawks in a game that was delayed 46 minutes by lightning and slowed to a slog by 25 penalties — five of them coming on five consecutive snaps in the second half. Both teams’ starting offenses staged long touchdown drives, with Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning completing 9 of 11 passes for 63 yards. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was 4 of 6 for 37 yards but was sacked twice.
San Diego running back Ryan Mathews looked to be in midseason form when he fumbled at the goal line on the Chargers’ opening drive, leading to a Cowboys touchback. Brandon Weeden, starting in place of Tony Romo, played the entire first half for Dallas and completed 13 of 17 passes for 107 yards.