Cincinnati — For the second year in a row, the Bengals lost a backup quarterback in the final preseason game.
Matt Barkley’s left knee was injured by a low hit after he threw a pass during Cincinnati’s 27-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, giving Jeff Driskel the inside track for the backup spot.
“It’s a bummer Matt went down,” said Driskel, who knows how it feels.
Last year, Driskel broke the thumb on his passing hand during the final preseason game at Indianapolis, sidelining him for the season. He and Barkley were competing for the No. 2 job heading into the final game. The Bengals (3-1) also have seventh-round pick Logan Woodside.
Coach Marvin Lewis had no further information about Barkley’s injury after the game.
It was the most high-profile job up for grabs in a game that featured few starters. The Colts’ Andrew Luck and the Bengals’ Andy Dalton watched as reserves competed for roster spots.
The No. 2 quarterback job hadn’t been an issue for the Bengals since they drafted AJ McCarron in 2014. He led them to the playoffs the following year when Dalton broke the thumb on his passing hand. The Bengals asserted McCarron was still under contract for 2018 because he was hurt during his rookie season, but McCarron won a grievance and became a free agent, going to Buffalo. The Bengals then signed Barkley.
On Cincinnati’s second possession, Kemoko Turay hit Barkley in the legs after he threw a pass, drawing a roughing-the-passer penalty. Barkley came to the sideline to have the knee examined and walked to the locker room. He didn’t return.
Driskel finished the first half and went 14-of-20 for 116 yards with a 20-yard touchdown and a passer rating of 101.2.
“I felt like I did a good job seeing the field,” Driskel said. “I know what I was trying to get done. I need to be ready to let it rip, and I think I did that tonight.”
Jacoby Brissett — Luck’s backup — was 8-of-12 for 68 yards with a passer rating of 109. He led the Colts (3-1) on an 18-play, 79-yard drive that took 9 minutes, 33 seconds and culminated in his 2-yard touchdown pass.
Luck is ready for his first regular-season game in more than 20 months, the result of a long recovery from surgery on this throwing shoulder. He sat out practice on Monday with a sore foot that isn’t a concern.
“He’ll practice on Monday,” coach Frank Reich said. “He’s good to go. It’s week one, he’s starting and we feel good where we’re at. We really appreciate his leadership.”
Luck said his shoulder felt strong during his preseason appearances, and the Colts are counting on him staying healthy so they can try to break their streak of three straights seasons without a playoff appearance.
More NFL preseason
Miami 34, (at) Atlanta 7: Brock Osweiler made a strong final bid for Miami’s backup quarterback job, leading three first-quarter touchdown drives. Osweiler is competing with David Fales to be Ryan Tannehill’s backup. Osweiler completed each of his first six passes for 65 yards, including a 1-yard scoring pass to Buddy Howell on Miami’s opening drive. He added a 14-yard scoring pass to Francis Owusu on the final play of the third quarter.
Osweiler completed 16 of 25 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns for the Dolphins (1-3). Fales completed 13 of 20 passes for 94 yards and one interception.
The Falcons (0-4) had little offense with its stars, including quarterback Matt Ryan, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Julio Jones, watching on the sideline. Atlanta was held to nine first downs and 185 yards.
(At) Philadelphia 10, N.Y. Jets 9: Christian Hackenberg had a rough audition for an NFL roster spot, tossing two interceptions, but the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles rallied.
Joe Callahan threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Matt Jones with 18 seconds left to lift Philadelphia (1-3).
Jason Myers kicked field goals of 58 and 43 yards for the Jets (1-3). New York’s defense didn’t allow a touchdown in August until the final drive.
Eagles quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld watched from the sideline, while Jets rookie Sam Darnold also was a spectator. Darnold is expected to be New York’s starting quarterback in Week 1 at Detroit. Wentz is still recovering from knee surgery last December and is waiting for medical clearance to play. Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, would start the opener next Thursday night if Wentz can’t go.
Hackenberg didn’t take a snap in two seasons with the Jets after he was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft. He signed with the Eagles earlier in the month as the fifth quarterback and has no chance to make the roster so he was playing for his next job.
Jacksonville 25, (at) Tampa Bay 10: Fourth-stringer Tim Cook ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns, and Carroll Phillips returned a fumble for another TD to help Jacksonville.
Cook scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards, while Phillips picked up a fumble by rookie quarterback Austin Allen and ran it back 28 yards during a 19-point third quarter that turned a 10-3 halftime deficit into a 12-point lead.
Regulars for both teams sat out the finale in mostly empty Raymond James Stadium. A total of 34 players did not dress for the Jaguars, including every starter on offense and defense.
Tampa Bay’s starters had the night off, too, as did suspended quarterback Jameis Winston, who must sit out the first three games of the regular season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
New England 17, (at) N.Y. Giants 12: Third-stringer Danny Etling tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ralph Webb early in the second half and iced the game with an 86-yard run late.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning chatted with receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the first half, while Tom Brady sat next to the New England water coolers and relaxed.
There wasn’t much action on the field, with the biggest play coming late after an Alex Tanney-led drive from the New York 1 stalled at the Patriots 14 with New England ahead 10-6. Etling faked a handoff and ran an option around right end and scored untouched to give the Patriots a 3-1 preseason record. The Giants finished their first preseason under new coach Pat Shurmur at 2-2.
Minnesota 13, (at) Tennessee 3: Rookie Daniel Carlson kicked field goals of 39 and 22 yards, and Kyle Sloter added a 24-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Carlson rebounded from missing a pair of 42-yarders wide left a week ago after beating out Kai Forbath for the job. Carlson connected from 39 yards late in the first half, tying it 3-3. He added a 22-yarder midway through the third quarter, giving the Vikings (3-1) a 6-3 lead.
The Titans finished first-year coach Mike Vrabel’s first preseason winless, though he made clear protecting starters for the regular season mattered more than notching an exhibition victory.
The starters who did play were the kickers, and the Titans kept Pro Bowl punter Brett Kern very busy. He punted five times before his backup took over.
(At) Baltimore 30, Washington 20: Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for a touchdown while backup Robert Griffin III spent the entire game on the sideline as Baltimore completed its third consecutive unbeaten preseason.
Jackson played the first half and led Baltimore (5-0) on three scoring drives. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft pick is sure to make the team, but coach John Harbaugh has not yet revealed whether he will keep Griffin, who’s currently No. 2 on the depth chart behind starter Joe Flacco. Griffin, a five-year veteran, went 27 for 41 during the preseason and showed no rust after sitting out last year.
Kevin Hogan played the entire game at quarterback for the Redskins (1-3), going 22 for 38 for 272 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in his bid to unseat Colt McCoy as the backup to Alex Smith.
His first interception was returned 23 yards for a touchdown by Kai Nacua to make it 27-7.
(At) Pittsburgh 39, Carolina 24: Josh Dobbs put together a compelling case to be on someone’s NFL roster next week, throwing for a touchdown and running for another.
Dobbs, fighting for one of the backup quarterback jobs behind Ben Roethlisberger, vaulted into the end zone for a 3-yard scoring run to cap Pittsburgh’s first drive. He added a 27-yard strike to Tevin Jones later in the opening quarter and finished 8-of-12 for 151 yards to cap an impressive training camp.
It just might not be enough for the 2017 fourth-round pick to stick around. Dobbs, veteran Landry Jones and rookie Mason Rudolph are all vying for a spot behind Roethlisberger. Jones, who has played well while filling in for Roethlisberger over the last three seasons, is likely safe. So too is Rudolph, a third-round pick this spring.
Carolina’s Taylor Heincke played well in his bid to be the top backup behind Cam Newton. Heincke started and was 7-of-12 for 68 yards and a 6-yard touchdown to Mose Frazier. Garrett Gilbert came on in the second quarter and was 4-of-7 for 23 yards.
(At) Houston 14, Dallas 6: Houston rookie running back Terry Swanson rushed for a 37-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to lift the Texans. The undrafted rookie running back out of Toledo, who served as an understudy to the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt in college, found a hole with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to put the Texans up two scores. Swanson finished with 69 yards on 17 carries.
Both teams rested their starters.
Houston took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter after third-round pick safety Justin Reid intercepted Cooper Rush’s pass to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Alfred Blue. Blue, competing for the backup job behind Lamar Miller, rushed for 18 yards on four carries, while Troymaine Pope rushed for 21 yards on five carries.
The Cowboys scored on two field goals from backup kicker Brett Maher, one on their opening drive from 57 yards and one late in the fourth quarter from 41.
(At) Buffalo 28, Chicago 27: AJ McCarron made a shaky case for a roster spot, leading a surge in the fourth quarter after struggling for most of the game.
With both teams holding out their starters and few key reserves playing, the focus was on McCarron. He ran for a touchdown and threw for three more in the fourth — including a 6-yarder to Keith Towbridge in the closing minute. That capped an 84-yard drive aided by two roughing-the-passer calls, including one against Isaiah Irving on a fourth down at the Buffalo 3.
McCarron was 13-of-34 for 156 yards and had an interception returned for a touchdown in the early going.
Tyler Bray made a case for the Bears to keep three quarterbacks. With Mitchell Trubisky and backup Chase Daniel not playing, Bray was 19-of-29 for 180 yards and an interception. Ryan Nall ran for 79 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown.
(At) New Orleans 28, L.A. Rams 0: Cameron Meredith caught two passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. The former Bears wide receiver was one of the top free agents signed by the Saints, who brought him in even though he had major knee surgery last fall. Meredith’s rehab from the injury has gone well, but he was limited in training camp and didn’t catch a pass in the first three preseason games.
Meredith caught a 56-yard pass from Taysom Hill to set up rookie Boston Scott’s 4-yard touchdown run for the game’s first score. Hill threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Meredith for a 12-0 halftime lead.
Hill targeted Meredith throughout the first half, overthrowing him on a 2-point conversion attempt and a third-down pass into the end zone before Wil Lutz’s 34-yard field goal. That made it 15-0 for the Saints (3-1) and they coasted.
(At) Kansas City 33, Green Bay 21: Rookie safety Armani Watts intercepted two passes, while Makinton Dorleant returned another pick for a touchdown for Kansas City.
Chad Henne (Michigan), Matt McGloin and Chase Litton were all solid under center for Kansas City while Patrick Mahomes watched from the sideline. Harrison Butker was perfect on four field-goal attempts.
The Chiefs’ Byron Pringle, an undrafted free agent who’s had a strong preseason, caught four passes for 122 yards before leaving early in the second half with a hamstring injury.
DeShone Kizer started for Green Bay and was 5-of-7 for 57 yards with a touchdown and a pick. A 2017 second-round draft choice of the Browns, Kizer is expected to back up Aaron Rodgers after this week’s trade of erstwhile backup Brett Hundley to the Seahawks.
Aaron Jones, who will begin the season serving a two-game suspension, ran for 34 yards and a touchdown as the Packers built a 21-10 lead. But the Chiefs’ third-string offense moved the ball at will, and Dorleant’s pick-6 early in the fourth quarter put an exclamation mark on their comeback.
Denver 21, (at) Arizona 10: Paxton Lynch made his case for backup quarterback — or at least staying on Denver’s roster — with a near-perfect second half. Lynch completed 14 of 15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns and was not intercepted.
Chad Kelly, who seemed to have a tenuous hold on the backup job behind Denver starter Case Keenum entering the game, played the first half and went 12 of 19 for 126 yards and no touchdowns with one interception.
Lynch had TD passes of 16 yards to Jordan Leslie in the third quarter and 10 yards to Matt LaCosse on the first play of the fourth.
Mike Glennon, the subject of some trade speculation as Arizona’s No. 3 quarterback behind Sam Bradford and rookie Josh Rosen, played the entire first half, going 8 of 10 for 69 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Arizona finished the preseason 3-1 and Denver 2-2.
L.A. Chargers 23, (at) San Francisco 21: Roberto Aguayo kicked a 26-yard field goal on the final play. Aguayo is in a battle with Caleb Sturgis to win the kicking job for the Chargers (2-2) and got the opportunity for the winner against San Francisco. Coach Anthony Lynn had rotated his kickers during the game, with both making 36-yard field goals and extra points before Aguayo got the final chance after a 63-yard kick return by Detrez Newsome set up the winning drive.
The kick spoiled a storybook night for San Francisco’s Jack Heneghan. Heneghan was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Dartmouth as a camp arm for the Niners (1-3), joining the franchise his father, Lal, used to work for as a lawyer.
Heneghan never got the chance to take snaps in team drills in practice this summer or in the three exhibition games. But with most of the regulars sitting out Thursday, coach Kyle Shanahan gave him a chance and Heneghan made the most of it. He went 8-for-9 for 58 yards and ran twice for 17 yards to lead the two TD drives.
Jeff Wilson scored on a 2-yard run and Jeremy McNichols had a 6-yard TD with 2:58 to play.
Cardale Jones threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Andre Patton and Terrell Watson scored on a 4-yard run on the final play of the first half for the Chargers.
Oakland 30, (at) Seattle 19: E.J. Manuel made a strong bid to be Oakland’s backup quarterback, throwing for 255 yards and three touchdowns. Manuel completed 18 of 22 passes in the competition with Connor Cook to be Derek Carr’s backup. He hit Keon Hatcher on both of his touchdowns in the first half and added a 45-yard TD to Saeed Blacknall in the third quarter.
Hatcher caught a 45-yard TD in the first quarter when he spun off Seattle’s Justin Coleman as he was being tackled to the ground, never touched the turf and completed the catch-and-run score that was upheld on review.
Manuel found Hatcher again on a 19-yard TD strike late in the second quarter. Raiders coach Jon Gruden was unhappy with the performance of both Manuel and Cook after last week’s game.
Cook came on late in the third quarter and threw a 22-yard TD to Hatcher in the fourth quarter. Hatcher had eight catches for 128 yards.
Oakland finished the preseason 3-1, while Seattle went 0-4, its first winless preseason in franchise history. The teams will meet in Week 6 in London.
Vikings receiver charged
Vikings wide receiver Cayleb Jones has been charged with misdemeanor domestic assault and other counts after an argument and physical confrontation with his girlfriend.
Authorities say the incident happened early Tuesday at an Eagan hotel. Jones’ girlfriend told police he pushed and shoved her, interrupted her 911 call and smacked her phone out of her hand. The complaint says officers noticed rug burns, a scratch on her neck and a broken fingernail.
Jones also is charged with felony theft and a gross misdemeanor count of interfering with an emergency call.
Rob Gronkowski’s agent says the Patriots star is the NFL’s highest paid tight end after New England reworked his contract to add $4.3 million this season.
... An arbitrator is sending Colin Kaepernick’s grievance with the NFL to trial, denying the league’s request to throw out the quarterback’s claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests.