Saturday's NFL: Ravens tie NFL record with 19th straight preseason win
Charlotte, N.C. — Many of the Baltimore Ravens players weren’t aware they’d made NFL history until coach John Harbaugh walked into the locker room after Saturday night’s 20-3 win over the Carolina Panthers and told them.
Tyler Huntley threw for 187 yards, and the Ravens tied an NFL record with their 19th straight preseason win.
Nate McCrary and Ty’Son Williams rushed for touchdowns for the Ravens, who equaled the mark set by Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, who had a 19-game winning streak in exhibitions from 1959 to 1962.
“It’s a good feeling to have because you can see the type of culture we have as an organization,” said Huntley, who played almost the entire game. “We strive to win every time we step on the field. It shows you how much depth you have.”
Harbaugh said while some critics may discard the accomplishment because it’s the preseason, he doesn’t.
“I believe everything in life has meaning,” Harbaugh said. “… It’s something only one other team has done, the Vince Lombardi Packers and I think that is notable.”
Lamar Jackson did not play for the Ravens.
McCrary ran for 64 yards and Williams 47 yards, including a grinding 20-yard score, as the Ravens outgained the Panthers 167-33 on the ground.
Huntley started slow, missing on his first four passes, including the pick. But he started to heat up against Carolina’s second-team defense, completing 15 of his next 16 pass attempts.
“I just had to get into a rhythm and get us on track,” Huntley said.
Sam Darnold had his first action at quarterback for Carolina, but left after one seven-play series.
Darnold started the drive at the Baltimore 33 after Derrick Brown tipped Huntley’s pass at the line of scrimmage and edge rusher Haason Reddick, who had dropped back in coverage, grabbed the easy interception.
But after a 16-yard completion from Darnold to former New York Jets teammate Robby Anderson and a 9-yard run by Chuba Hubbard, the Panthers drive quickly stalled. With a first-and-goal at the Ravens 6, Darnold threw one pass away while under pressure and the Ravens stuffed three Hubbard running plays to take over on downs. DeShon Elliott came up with the big stop on fourth-and-goal at the 1 after Hubbard appeared to make a bad cutback.
“We just were going to run our base stuff,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule said. “We didn’t have our goal-line packages out there and all of those little things.”
Darnold said that didn’t matter.
“We should be able to score with our base plays,” Darnold said. “We should have punched it in.”
The Panthers didn’t play running back Christian McCaffrey, who has 29 touchdowns rushing in 51 games.
Darnold said it was good to get his feet wet in a game and hopes to play more in Carolina’s third preseason game.
“We just want to continue to build off that first drive – obviously score touchdowns – but just continue to see a good operation, getting in and out of the huddle and making the right checks and everyone being together and then punching it into the end zone,” Darnold said.
Will Grier relieved Darnold and played into the third quarter, completing 11 of 14 passes for 144 yards. P.J. Walker finished up for Carolina, and was 1 of 8 for 8 yards, further clouding Carolina’s No. 2 quarterback situation.
Grier said the Ravens defense threw a lot of blitz packages at the Panthers.
“They do a lot of different things, probably more exotic than anything I have seen in the preseason,” Grier said.
Carolina’s offensive struggles continued in the red zone, where it is 1 of 7 scoring touchdowns in the preseason.
More Saturday preseason games
Indianapolis 12, (at) Minnesota 10: Jacob Eason passed for 132 yards and directed two field goal drives. Troy Dye returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown to highlight a sharper showing by Minnesota’s backups, one of two deflected-then-picked-off passes thrown by Indianapolis rookie Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger got the start and led two field goal drives in the first half.
Dye snagged the ball that was tipped at the line by Armon Watts and glanced off Parris Campbell’s hands in the first quarter, running it in for the only touchdown the Vikings have in their two exhibition games.
Eason went 16 for 27 without a turnover for the Colts, strengthening his hold on the No. 2 spot ahead of Ehlinger as the potential fill-in starter if Carson Wentz isn’t ready for the regular season. Ehlinger was 8 for 13 for 70 yards, playing with about half starters and half backups. He was also intercepted by undrafted rookie defensive tackle Jordon Scott, who grabbed the ball after it glanced off wide receiver Ashton Dulin.
Playing three safe series behind the starting offensive line, Kirk Cousins had his first and likely only action of this preseason for the Vikings and finished 5 for 7 for 23 yards. He was sacked once by first-round draft pick Kwity Paye, who beat left tackle Rashod Hill off the edge.
The Vikings failed to convert 11 of their 12 third downs. Greg Joseph missed a 51-yard field goal wide right, the only time Cousins and company were in scoring range. Joseph later made a 49-yard try, after a possession with backup Jake Browning behind center.
Browning went 6 for 15 for 82 yards, and rookie Kellen Mond was 6 for 12 for 61 yards.
N.Y. Jets 23, (at) Green Bay 14: Zach Wilson directed three scoring drives and threw his first two touchdown passes of the preseason. Wilson went 9 of 11 for 128 yards, including a pair of 18-yard scores to Tyler Kroft, to continue an encouraging preseason for the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Facing a Green Bay defense that rested most of its starters, Wilson led the Jets to two TDs and a field goal in his four series. The only Wilson-led drive that didn’t result in points came when the Jets opted to punt on fourth-and-1 from their own 49-yard line.
This represented a clear step forward for Wilson, who went 6 of 9 for 63 yards last week in a 12-7 preseason victory over the New Yok Giants. In that game, Wilson operated two drives that produced three points.
Corey Davis caught four passes from Wilson for 70 yards. Davis signed a three-contract with the Jets worth $37.5 million after spending his first four seasons with Tennessee.
The Packers didn’t play reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers or backup quarterback Jordan Love, who hurt his throwing shoulder last week while making his pro debut in a 26-7 preseason loss to the Houston Texans.
That left Green Bay relying on Kurt Benkert, who made his first NFL start since the Atlanta Falcons’ fourth and final preseason game in 2018.
Benkert played all but the last Packers series and went 18 of 25 for 151 yards with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jace Sternberger and an interception. He engineered a 19-play, 81-yard touchdown drive that lasted over 10 minutes.
Buffalo 41, (at) Chicago 15: Even if it was a preseason game, Buffalo quarterback Mitchell Trubisky gained possibly a small measure of satisfaction. Trubisky led the Bills on four touchdown drives in their first four possessions against his former team.
Greeted by Chicago fans with a mix of both boos and cheers, Trubisky finished 20 of 28 for 221 yards with a touchdown and played the entire first half. He led six scoring drives in all and the Bills (2-0) went into the locker room leading 34-6.
Trubisky’s TD pass in the first half was a 4-yarder rolling right to Jake Kumerow. The Bills also had a 14-yard TD run by Devin Singletary and two 1-yard TD runs by fullback Reggie Gilliam in the first half and tacked on a 79-yard punt return for a TD by Marquez Stevenson in the third quarter.
Chicago GM Ryan Pace made Trubisky the second pick of the 2017 draft and he guided their offense during two playoff games in the past three years.
However, the Bears (1-1) decided not to pick up Trubisky’s fifth-year contract option and let him leave in free agency after the 2020 season.
Chicago moved on to sign quarterback Andy Dalton in free agency and selected Justin Fields 11th overall in the draft.
On Saturday, Dalton threw a 73-yard TD pass to Rodney Adams, but also threw an interception to Nick McCloud just before halftime to give the Bills a chance at Tyler Bass’ 41-yard field goal. Bass also added a 33-yarder.
Dalton finished 11 of 17 for 146 yards with a TD and interception. He played the entire first half.
Fields was 9 of 19 for 80 yards and ran for 46 yards.
Tennessee 34, (at) Tampa Bay 3: Briean Boddy-Calhoun returned a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown and the Tennessee Titans beat the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who played without Tom Brady and several starters. Tampa Bay’s Tanner Hudson had a 26-yard catch on a pass from Kyle Trask, but fumbled when he was hit by Bradley McDougald. Boddy-Calhoun scooped up the loose ball and went the distance to put the Titans up 20-3 in the third quarter.
After safety Clayton Geathers picked off a pass by Trask, Matt Barkley connected with Mason Kinsey on a 20-yard touchdown to make it 34-3 early in the fourth.
Tampa Bay’s lineup was mostly devoid of regulars, while the Titans had a number that started. Brady and his Tennessee counterpart Ryan Tannehill didn’t play. Brady played one series in last week’s opener, while Tannehill has sat out both Titans games.
The lack of starters was expected after the teams held joint practices Wednesday and Thursday that included Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown and Titans second-year defensive back Chris Jackson getting into one of several scuffles.
Caleb Farley and Elijah Molden, two key components of the rebuilt Tennessee secondary taken in this year’s draft, made their debuts.
Molden, taken in the third round, started and was credited with a fourth-down stop on Giovani Bernard that set up Tennessee late in the first quarter for the game’s first score. He had eight tackles.
Farley, a first-round selection, entered during the first. He was activated from the non-football injury list at the start of August after rehabbing a pair of back surgeries.