Welcome to the NFL, rookie.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones fumbled twice, but also led two scoring drives Friday against the Chicago Bears. It came a night after Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray looked uncomfortable against the blitz of the Oakland Raiders.
Josh Allen goes 9-for-11 with just over 100 yards passing as the Bills handle the Panthers in their second preseason bout.
Efficient offense and stifling defense defined preseason game No. 2 for the Bills, who built a 24-3 lead in the first half. Josh Allen fed Cole Beasley often, completing all five of his throws to the former Cowboy; Allen finished 9-for-11 for 102 yards, leading a pair of scoring drives. Isaiah McKenzie (one catch, 37 yards) and Duke Williams (three catches, 38 yards, touchdown) seem to have surpassed Ray-Ray McCloud on the depth chart at wide receiver. Defensively, Buffalo’s first unit dominated a Carolina offense missing Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey and Greg Olsen. Kevin Johnson‘s pick-six will stand out at the tail end of a week in which the Bills sent one cornerback to injured reserve (E.J. Gaines) and signed another (Captain Munnerlyn). — Marcel Louis-Jacques
When recently asked what he’s looking for in a backup to quarterback Cam Newton, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said, “Somebody who can win.” Nothing Kyle Allen or Will Grier has shown through two preseason games indicates either can consistently do that. Allen got the start Friday with the first team, minus running back Christian McCaffrey. He was a dreadful 4-for-11 for 32 yards, including two passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. Grier’s second pass was intercepted and returned 70 yards for a touchdown. He almost threw another pick and finished 10-for-19 for 75 yards. It’s not unreasonable to think Taylor Heinicke, who has been the forgotten man in this battle, might have earned a right to be considered after his fourth-quarter performance. As good as Newton has looked in practice at times, as much quality work as he got against Buffalo’s first-team defense on Tuesday and Wednesday, he still hasn’t faced live action as the Panthers remain cautious following his second shoulder surgery. Allen and Grier have gotten their chances, and as of now the backup job has to be a toss-up. — David Newton
Eli Manning completes all four passes he attempts on his only drive, including a touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler.
Preseason football has almost no real value to Bears coach Matt Nagy. Chicago announced about an hour before kickoff that 26 of its key players would not play a single snap against the Giants, including quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and pass-rusher Khalil Mack. The Bears didn’t even suit up rookie third-round running back David Montgomery, who probably won’t see any more live action until the regular-season opener versus the Packers on Sept. 5. Look for more NFL teams to follow Nagy’s lead and hold controlled scrimmages during training camp, as opposed to risking injuries to important players in preseason contests. — Jeff Dickerson
It was Eli Manning‘s turn to be perfect while rookie Daniel Jones had his ups and downs in his second game. Manning went 4-for-4 with a touchdown pass against the Chicago backups before giving way to Jones, who fumbled twice in his first three ineffective drives. But the rookie bounced back before he was done, and feathered a perfectly placed fade to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown on his final possession. Overall, Jones finished 11-of-14 for 161 yards with a touchdown pass and two fumbles. It was enough to remind everyone he still needs some work, but there is hope he can be the star franchise quarterback the Giants envision. — Jordan Raanan
Josh Rosen completes 10 of 18 pass attempts for 102 yards in the Dolphins’ loss vs. the Buccaneers.
Josh Rosen got his first start with the Dolphins and another big opportunity to make his push for the starting quarterback job. He flashed his ability on a few throws while playing the whole first half and also made a poor decision that should’ve been a pick-six. Ultimately, it was just an OK day for the young quarterback (10-of-18, 102 yards). Fortunately for Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick (3-of-9, 20 yards) did even less, other than running over a Buccaneers safety, in just over a quarter of action. Fitzpatrick has been the leader in the clubhouse all spring and summer, and nothing Rosen did Friday changes that, but this battle should still be up for grabs as we head into the all-important third preseason game. — Cameron Wolfe
Offensive line depth is a concern right now, with the Bucs surrendering 11 quarterback hits and three sacks. Jameis Winston‘s sack on the opening drive was the result of a busted protection, which allowed Jerome Baker to rush completely unblocked (O.J. Howard ran to the flat). Bucs quarterbacks were under duress a lot Friday. No one has stepped up as a bona fide backup tackle — Cole Boozer struggled mightily against Charles Harris and Tank Carradine, and Caleb Benenoch looked extremely inconsistent. On the other side of the ball, the defense made a nice stop after Andre Ellington‘s fumble (kudos to Deone Bucannon, Will Gholston and Beau Allen here). After dropping an easy interception in the first half, cornerback Jamel Dean got a pick in the end zone in the fourth quarter, while Shaquil Barrett, Kevin Minter, Jack Cichy, Devante Bond, Demone Harris, Patrick O’Connor all made key plays, so it was a much better night for Bucs backups on defense.— Jenna Laine
Carson Wentz should not touch the field this preseason. The QB injuries are piling up for Philadelphia. Cody Kessler was knocked out of the game in the first quarter Thursday because of a concussion, one week after backup Nate Sudfeld went down because of a broken wrist. Coach Doug Pederson has been ratcheting up the intensity at practice to give the first team quality work in a controlled environment. He should continue on that path and keep Wentz out of harm’s way until the regular-season opener against Washington. The Eagles will probably have to add another arm in the coming week with Kessler in concussion protocol. — Tim McManus
QB Gardner Minshew needed a bounce-back performance after really struggling in the preseason opener and he delivered: 19-for-29 for 202 yards in three quarters despite being under pressure from the edge pretty much the entire night. Minshew did lose a fumble after getting hit (right tackle Leonard Wester got beaten badly) and also saw a touchdown pass called back because of a block-in-the-back penalty by tight end Ben Koyack. Minshew also put together a solid two-minute drive at the end of the first half that resulted in a field goal, giving the Jaguars their first points of the preseason. Minshew was clearly much more comfortable than he was last week. He was decisive and got the ball out quickly, which are encouraging signs for the Jaguars — who again sat the majority of their starters — because they’re counting on him to be the backup to Nick Foles. His performance Thursday night pretty much cemented that. — Mike DiRocco
Sam Darnold links up with Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson before Ty Montgomery plunges in for a 1-yard TD run.
Playing behind a makeshift offensive line, QB Sam Darnold opened with a TD drive for the second consecutive week. The tempo was fast, and Darnold was in command. It’s early, but he seems to have a firm grasp of the new offense. Big concern: RT Brandon Shell injured his knee in warm-ups, becoming the third offensive lineman to go down because of an injury. Chemistry will be an issue in Week 1. — Rich Cimini
There has to be concern about the offensive line during Matt Ryan‘s first appearance this preseason. Ryan was sacked three times and threw under duress too much while completing 10 of 14 passes for 118 yards. Ryan absorbed some good hits, something you never want to see in the preseason. Right tackle Ty Sambrailo didn’t look like a starter, and backup center Wes Schweitzer, among others, had some issues. The Falcons are playing without two injured players who were thought to be on track to start: left guard James Carpenter (quadriceps) and rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary (heart procedure). Jamon Brown could start at left guard, and McGary, if healthy, should surpass the struggling Sambrailo at some point. — Vaughn McClure
Rookie Ryan Finley made a strong case to be Cincinnati’s No. 2 quarterback this season. The fourth-round pick out of NC State followed up his preseason debut with another strong performance. Excluding a spike at the end of the first half, Finley was 20-of-25 passing for 150 yards and two touchdowns. The rookie steadied the Bengals after a start riddled with miscues. He led Cincinnati’s second unit on a 12-play, 93-yard drive that took 7 minutes, 36 seconds off the clock in the first half. From there, the entire team found its rhythm, as the visitors scored 23 of the final 30 points. Halfway through the preseason, the rookie has completed 75% of his passes for 259 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. — Ben Baby
The Redskins hoped the preseason would identify their No. 1 quarterback, but after two preseason games, that hasn’t happened. Colt McCoy can’t yet play because of issues with his leg, and Case Keenum has been ordinary in two starts. He’s still adapting to the offense and getting in sync with his receivers, but being in a competition makes it tougher to build that chemistry. And rookie Dwayne Haskins shows more big-play potential — as evidenced by his 55-yard touchdown pass to Robert Davis. He’s not afraid to challenge down the field, but he also hasn’t shown enough to seriously challenge more experienced players. But with what those players have shown, it’s hard to believe Haskins won’t be used at some point this season. — John Keim
It might be too soon to say the Packers have a serious problem with their run game — after all, neither Aaron Jones nor Jamaal Williams (both have hamstring issues) has played a snap in the preseason — but the installation of new coach Matt LaFleur’s outside-zone-oriented scheme has been a rough go. The Packers totaled just 7 yards rushing on seven attempts in the first half a week after they had only 38 yards in 13 carries in the first half against the Texans. That’s 45 yards in 20 carries when the opponents were playing starters or key backups. Any hope that sixth-round rookie Dexter Williams could serve as a change-of-pace back looks bleak given his inability to hang onto the ball (he dropped a pass and couldn’t secure a handoff in which a fumble was charged to the quarterback). Tra Carson has been the starter in the absence of Jones and Jamaal Williams, but he’s averaging just 1.7 yards per carry. As much as LaFleur’s offense centers on the run game and what it can do for play-action, he needs to know if the lack of production is because he doesn’t have his top backs or because the scheme hasn’t taken hold. — Rob Demovsky
Lamar Jackson breaks free for an 18-yard touchdown, but it is nullified because of Willie Snead IV’s illegal blindside block.
Lamar Jackson continues to improve as a passer, but — as the Ravens’ starting quarterback showed and said Thursday night — he’s still at his most dangerous when running with the ball. On third-and-10, Jackson saw his receivers covered and took off, faking out Tramon Williams in the open field before leaping over Jaire Alexander to reach the end zone. The spectacular 18-yard touchdown run was nullified by Willie Snead‘s illegal block, but that doesn’t erase another highlight-reel moment that will keep defensive coordinators up at night. “The four-man rush gave me a lane,” Jackson said, “and I just did what I do best.” Jackson finished 6-of-10 passing for 58 yards, leading the Ravens to field goals on both of his drives. — Jamison Hensley
Rex Ryan contends that Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense are going to get smoked in Week 1 of the season.
The Raiders’ defense, with a cast of new characters headlined by middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict, looks much improved. At least it did in this second preseason outing for both teams, with Oakland harassing No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray into a 3-for-8 passing night for 12 yards, and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner sacking the nimble Murray for a safety. In four series, the Raiders’ starting defense let Murray run only once — for 4 yards. In fact, Joyner’s safety came on the third consecutive blitz dialed up by defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. At one point, the Raiders had outgained the Cardinals 231-12 in total yards. Also, rookie Josh Jacobs looks primed to be the Raiders’ feature back, starting and carrying the ball four times for 21 yards on their opening touchdown drive with Derek Carr under center, as the Raiders’ starting offense played only one series. — Paul Gutierrez
Thursday night was one to forget for Kyler Murray. The rookie quarterback went 3-for-8 for 12 yards with a 4-yard run and looked out of sync in the four possessions he played, which went into the second quarter. He was flagged twice for false starts because of his clap snap and once for delay of game, and went down in the end zone to avoid a sack for a safety. While, yes, it’s still the preseason and the Cardinals are running a vanilla offensive scheme, there were still some issues Murray and the Cardinals need to clean up. — Josh Weinfuss