Saturday's roundup: Bradford, Murray look sharp in Eagles’ win
Philadelphia — The first hit Sam Bradford took was an illegal one and he wasn’t happy about it.
Bradford and DeMarco Murray had successful debuts, Kenjon Barber returned another punt for a score, and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Baltimore Ravens 40-17 Saturday night.
Bradford went 3-of-5 for 35 yards and led the Eagles (2-0) on an 84-yard drive in his only series. He played his first game since tearing his left ACL for the second time in 11 months on Aug. 23, 2014.
He survived a late hit by Terrell Suggs, who lowered his helmet and tackled his knees for a roughing penalty. Bradford also took a hard shot from Brandon Williams that bloodied his lip, but stayed in to complete the drive.
“I was a little upset. Not sure I can repeat what I said to him,” Bradford said of Suggs’ shot.
Murray had a 2-yard TD run, Ryan Mathews had a 14-yard TD run and Barber took a punt 68 yards to the end zone a week after a 92-yard TD return in a 36-10 win over Indianapolis.
Joe Flacco threw interceptions on his first two drives and the rest of the Ravens (1-1) didn’t fare much better against a team they practiced with the previous three days. Flacco finished 3-of-7 for 23 yards in three series.
“I just told the team we’ll learn from this,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
Suggs didn’t apologize for his hit on Bradford. “When you run the read-option, you have to know the rules,” he said. “If you want to run the read-option with your starting quarterback that’s had two knee surgeries, that’s on you. That’s not my responsibility to update you on the rule. I could’ve hit him harder on that. I didn’t. I eased up.”
Tim Tebow got another loud ovation from Eagles fans when he entered in the fourth quarter. He was 2-of-5 for 13 yards and ran for 31 yards, including a 26-yard scamper. Tebow is competing with Matt Barkley for the No. 3 job behind Bradford and Mark Sanchez.
“I love it,” Tebow said of Kelly’s up-tempo offense. “The more I play the more comfortable I feel.”
New England 26, (at) New Orleans 24: Brandin Cooks caught all four passes thrown his way for 117 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown from Drew Brees, and New Orleans raced to a 21-0 lead before New England rallied for a victory.
Brees, a healthy scratch last week when New Orleans (0-2) lost at Baltimore, was 8-of-10 for 159 yards and two TDs, the other going to veteran tight end Ben Watson.
After Tom Brady failed to move New England (1-1) for a first down on three series, backup Jimmy Garoppolo led five scoring drives, starting with his scramble and 24-yard scoring pass to Chris Harper.
Dion Lewis added an 11-yard TD run and James White scored from 3 yards. New England finally pulled in front on Stephen Gostkowski’s second field goal, a 35-yarder with 14 seconds left.
(At) N.Y. Giants 22, Jacksonville 12: Blake Bortles had another impressive preseason outing for Jacksonville, leading the Jaguars to three field goals in his only drives in a loss to New York.
Bortles, who was 11-of-15 in a preseason opener, hit 8 of 16 passes for 98 yards. His chances for scoring touchdowns were hurt by poor offensive line play at times, a holding penalty in the red zone and a drop.
Josh Scobee capped the first drive for the Jaguars (1-1) with a 52-yard field goal and Jason Myers converted from 51 and 49 yards.
Eli Manning and the Giants (1-1) struggled for the second straight week, with the two-time Super Bowl MVP finishing 4-of-14 for 46 yards in three series. Odell Beckham Jr. was targeted five times, had no catches and one red-zone drop.
(At) Minnesota 20, Oakland 12: Charles Johnson and Chase Ford each caught touchdown passes in the second quarter for Minnesota, which came back from an hour-plus weather delay to defeat Oakland.
Teddy Bridgewater finished 10-of-14 for 89 yards, including the crisp 10-yard throw into Johnson’s outstretched hands in close coverage to finish the third drive by Minnesota’s starters.
In three exhibition games, Bridgewater is 22-of-28 for 219 yards and no turnovers. Some of his early passes sailed high, but he settled in and again found a rhythm with short and intermediate routes by his receivers.
Derek Carr, the other member of the NFL’s 2014 quarterback class who started to hit his stride in his first year on the job, completed half of his eight passes. But he had the throw of the night, a beautiful back-shoulder fade to rookie Amari Cooper for a 40-yard gain.
Denver 14, (at) Houston 10: Peyton Manning couldn’t score in more than a quarter of work in his preseason debut before Denver’s reserves rallied late to help the Broncos to a win over Houston.
Manning led the team on four drives that all ended with punts before he was replaced by Brock Osweiler with 11 minutes left in the second quarter. The 39-year-old Manning was 8-of-14 for 52 yards.
Ryan Mallett, competing with Brian Hoyer (Michigan State) to be Houston’s starting quarterback, opened the game on Saturday. He failed to move the offense, and the Texans punted on his two possessions. Hoyer was also unable to get into the end zone in his four drives.
Osweiler gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead on a 57-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell early in the second quarter.
(At) Carolina 31, Miami 30: Ryan Tannehill completed 12 of 15 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, Damien Williams scored twice for Miami in a loss to Carolina.
Williams scored on a 1-yard touchdown run and caught an 11-yard TD pass on a slant route from Tannehill.
Williams nearly had a third touchdown, but Dolphins coach Joe Philbin errantly challenged an official’s call that the second-year running back was stopped before the goal line after diving for the pylon.
When officials reviewed the play, they determined Williams actually fumbled the ball into the end zone.
Instead of the Dolphins taking a 20-0 lead — or having a second-and-goal at the Carolina 1 had Philbin not challenged — the Panthers got the ball at the 20 after the touchback.
Carolina’s Cam Newton struggled in his first game without wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, finishing 4-of-10 for 42 yards with an interception.
Chicago 23, (at) Indianapolis 11: Jimmy Clausen’s two second-half touchdown drives trumped Jay Cutler’s three first-half field-goal drives.
Chicago’s backup quarterback threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Bellamy to give the Bears the lead midway through the third quarter, then took advantage of a Colts turnover to lead the Bears to another TD.
First-year coach John Fox has won his first two preseason games, though this was hardly a beauty. The Bears finished with seven penalties, one turnover and were 3-of-12 on third-down chances.
Plus, Cutler got his team inside the Colts 10-yard line twice before mistakes forced Chicago to settle for field goals.
For the Colts, it was another dismal exhibition game. Indy has lost seven straight since winning in the preseason on Aug. 24, 2013, against Cleveland.
San Diego 22, (at) Arizona 19: Arizona rookie David Johnson rushed for 66 yards in 13 carries in his NFL debut, San Diego had six first-half sacks, and rookie Josh Lambo kicked a 42-yard field goal as the game ended for the win.
Johnson, a fourth-round pick from Northern Iowa who had been out most of training camp with a hamstring injury, also caught two passes for 15 yards.
Melvin Ingram sacked Carson Palmer twice.
Palmer, playing less than one quarter, completed a 57-yard pass to rookie speedster J.J. Nelson to set up his 17-yard TD pass to John Brown.
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers sat out the game.
Rookie quarterback Phillip Sims directed the Cardinals to 10 fourth-quarter points to tie it at 19 before Lambo won it.