Bills’ backups stage big rally late, beat Vikings 27-23
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Undrafted rookie Tyree Jackson hit David Sills for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 8 seconds left in rallying the Buffalo Bills to a 27-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings to close the preseason Thursday night.
Victor Bolden recovered Jackson’s fumble in the end zone and Marcus Murphy scored on a 79-yard punt return as the Bills scored three touchdowns in the final 3:53 to overcome a 23-6 deficit. The Bills finished 4-0 for the first unbeaten preseason in team history.
Minnesota receiver Laquon Treadwell caught all three passes directed his way for 30 yards in what could be the 2016 first-round draft pick’s final appearance with the Vikings. While the Vikings rested their starters, Treadwell played the entire first half amid speculation he could be traded or cut by Saturday, when NFL teams are required to set their 53-player rosters. Treadwell has been passed on the depth chart by Chad Beebe, Jordan Taylor and Jeff Badet after three mostly unproductive seasons since the Vikings selected him with the 23rd pick in 2016.
Third-string quarterback Kyle Sloter hit Ameer Abdullah for a 15-yard touchdown pass, and De’Angelo Henderson scored on a 3-yard run for the Vikings (3-1).
COLTS 13, BENGALS 6
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Colts wrapped up an unsettling preseason, moving on from Andrew Luck with the victory in a game missing starters and fans.
Luck retired a week earlier after a 27-17 loss to Chicago, frustrated by his inability to get healthy. His postgame announcement severely dented the Colts’ playoff chances and elevated Jacoby Brissett — 4-11 as a starter with Indianapolis — to lead the offense.
Brissett had a lot of company as he watched from the sideline. There were large swaths of empty seats as both teams rested their starters and key backups for the final preseason game.
Colts third-round pick Parris Campbell made his debut and caught three passes for 42 yards. He missed most of training camp and the first three preseason games with a hamstring injury. His 31-yard catch and run set up a touchdown.
The Colts avoided their first winless preseason since 2014, when they eventually lost to New England in the AFC championship game.
FALCONS 31, JAGUARS 12
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Atlanta ended a 12-game preseason losing streak and seemingly found a solution to their kicking woes.
Matt Bryant is scheduled to try out for coaches and front office personnel at the team’s training facility Friday. Assuming the 44-year-old kicker is healthy, he’s expected to sign on for a 19th NFL season — his 11th with the Falcons. Bryant and the Falcons parted in the offseason, with the veteran leaving Atlanta as the franchise’s leading scorer (1,122 points). His 158 points in 2016 set the team’s single-season scoring mark.
Even before Giorgio Tavecchio missed his fifth field-goal attempt of the preseason, the Falcons had plans to bring Bryant back. Tavecchio was wide left from 53 yards late in the second quarter. He fell to 4 of 9 on field-goal attempts this preseason, also missing from 54, 52, 52 and 39 yards.
The Falcons (1-4) worked out three kickers — Elliott Fry, Younghoe Koo and Blair Walsh — last week and discussed the possibility of bringing in Bryant. They settled on Walsh, at least temporarily. Walsh made his lone attempt Thursday night, hitting from 46 yards.
Jacksonville (0-4) finished winless in the preseason for the first time in franchise history and scored its fewest points (29). The previous low was 59 in 2004.
STEELERS 25, PANTHERS 19
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Mason Rudolph and Kyle Allen turned in solid efforts and appeared to solidify their No. 2 quarterback roles for their respective teams.
Pittsburgh’s Rudolph continued to outperform Josh Dobbs, completing 7 of 11 passes for 125 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Holton. The second-year quarterback from Oklahoma State led three drives resulting in a touchdown, field goal and a missed field goal to give the Steelers a 16-10 halftime lead.
Dobbs started, but both of his possessions came up empty and he finished 3 of 5 for 21 yards for the Steelers (3-1).
Allen has been Cam Newton’s presumed backup in Carolina, starting three of four preseason games, and there was no reason to believe anything has changed in Ron Rivera’s mind. Allen led one drive, completing 4 of 6 passes for 41 yards while showing good pocket presence and the ability to escape pressure by slipping out of the backfield for a 13-yard run and a first down. The drive ended in a missed field goal.
Rookie Will Grier played the remainder of the first half for Carolina (2-2) and had mixed results.
JETS 6, EAGLES 0
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Taylor Bertolet kicked two field goals for the game’s only scores, but missed three other attempts in his bid to make New York’s roster.
The kicking job still appears up for grabs for the Jets (2-2) after a shaky summer from Bertolet, who replaced Chandler Catanzaro — who abruptly retired after the first preseason game.
Clayton Thorson, a fifth-rounder out of Northwestern, played the entire game at quarterback for the Eagles (1-3). He finished 12 of 26 for just 84 yards and an interception.
Carson Wentz sat out again with the rest of Philadelphia’s starters, while veterans Josh McCown and Cody Kessler didn’t play.
Trevor Siemian started at quarterback for the Jets with Sam Darnold and New York’s starters getting the night off. With the backup job wrapped up, Siemian went 5 of 5 for 37 yards in his only series before giving way to Luke Falk.
BUCCANEERS 17, COWBOYS 15
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Vincent Testaverde’s first NFL pass was badly overthrown on a simple toss in the flat, and the second was intercepted. At least the son of Vinny Testaverde could say he played in a preseason victory for the team that drafted his dad No. 1 overall in 1987.
The younger Testaverde was part of a touchdown drive after Ryan Griffin threw a scoring pass , though.
It was actually a matchup of two of Vinny Testaverde’s former teams. He spent his first six seasons with the Buccaneers and is still the club’s career leader in yards passing, although Jameis Winston should surpass 14,820 yards early in the season. The elder Testaverde spent one of his 21 seasons with Dallas, starting for the Cowboys in 2004.
The Cowboys pulled within two late in the fourth quarter on Jalen Guyton’s 69-yard catch and run for a touchdown from fourth-string quarterback Taryn Christion. But Christion’s 2-point conversion pass was incomplete.
BROWNS 20, LIONS 16
CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie Austin Seibert appeared to lock up Cleveland’s kicking job after a summer-long battle, and the Lions finished 0-4 in the preseason.
Seibert kicked field goals of 36 and 33 yards and made two extra points. The fifth-round draft pick has been competing with incumbent Greg Joseph, but Seibert, who got off to an abysmal start in training camp, separated himself by making all four field goal tries last week in Tampa and then didn’t miss against the Lions.
The Browns (3-1) are hoping to contend for a playoff spot this season and need a dependable kicker.
Lions QB Josh Johnson scored on a 1-yard sneak and threw a TD pass.
RAVENS 20, REDSKINS 7
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Dwayne Haskins completed 10 of 17 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown and showed flashes of why the Redskins consider him their quarterback of the future.
The Ravens finished the preseason undefeated for the fourth consecutive year and extended their exhibition winning streak to 17 games. Their previous preseason loss came Sept. 3, 2015.
The 15th overall pick out of Ohio State, Haskins was 4 of 5 for 70 yards on an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped off with a TD pass to receiver Steven Sims, who impressed on offense and special teams in his final showcase to make Washington’s initial roster.
Working behind a second-string offensive line, Haskins missed a handful of throws and had a few passes wiped out by penalties. But he got the snaps coach Jay Gruden wanted after selecting veteran Case Keenum as the Week 1 starting quarterback.
Far less-touted rookie Trace McSorley went 15 of 27 for 171 yards and a touchdown to make his case for Baltimore to keep another quarterback along with starter Lamar Jackson and backup Robert Griffin III.
GIANTS 31, PATRIOTS 29
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Rookie Jarrett Stidham bolstered his bid to be Tom Brady’s backup by throwing two touchdown passes for New England before New York scored on the final play.
Stidham, a fourth-round pick from Auburn, threw both of his TDs to Demaryius Thomas, for 35 and 3 yards. He played the entire night and saw most of the preseason game action in a competition with Brian Hoyer if New England (3-1) decides to keep only two QBs. He went 18 of 28 for 225 yards against the Giants and also rushed for 50 yards.
Receiver Josh Gordon played for New England, along with Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman — before Edelman left on the first drive following an injury scare to the same hand that caused him to miss the first three preseason games.
Kyle Lauletta drove the Giants (4-0) to the Patriots 14 before throwing a TD pass to Alonzo Russell on the final play to win it. The Giants players ran onto the field to celebrate.
PACKERS 27, CHIEFS 20
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — One play stood out during the Packers, and it happened on a dead ball in the fourth quarter.
After Packers running back Dexter Williams scored the deciding touchdown with 6:24 to play and Sam Ficken nailed the PAT, a fan raced onto the field as the two teams prepared for the ensuing kickoff. The fan ran about the length of the field and managed to take off his shirt before Kansas City safety Harold Jones-Quartey planted him at the 25-yard line.
The tackle earned the loudest cheer from the crowd of 73,803.
As for the game, Green Bay backup quarterback DeShone Kizer, with Aaron Rodgers looking on from the sideline, rebounded from a costly interception to finish with 77 yards and a touchdown on 8-of-15 passing.
DOLPHINS 16, SAINTS 13
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jake Rudock passed for 229 yards and one touchdown for Miami. The Dolphins announced after the game that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1.
Emmanuel Butler caught a 12-yard touchdown pass for New Orleans, demonstrating why Saints coaches appear to be preparing the 6-foot-4 undrafted rookie out of Northern Arizona for a regular role in the passing game. Butler’s score came on a pass down the right side from backup Teddy Bridgewater, who started while 40-year-old record-setting quarterback Drew Brees rested.
Veteran running back Jacquizz Rodgers, signed after training camp started, scored a touchdown to highlight his 33 yards on seven carries. He also caught a pass for 9 yards in his effort to latch on as a reserve behind Alvin Kamara
TITANS 19, BEARS 15
CHICAGO (AP) — Dalyn Dawkins rushed for 117 yards and caught two touchdown passes. With Derrick Henry sitting out for the Titans alongside other starters, Dawkins took advantage. With the Titans trailing 15-12, he sneaked out of the backfield and toward the sideline to catch a 3-yard TD pass from Logan Woodside on third-and-goal with 1:25 remaining.
Dawkins also caught a 9-yard TD pass from Woodside in the third quarter. Besides his 13 rushes, Dawkins also had four catches for 31 yards.
Woodside played the entire game in place of starter Marcus Mariota and backup Ryan Tannehill and completed 17 of 29 passes for 212 yards.
Ryan Succop made a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter to draw the Titans within 12-9 and added a fourth-quarter kick of 23 yards to cut the deficit to 15-12.
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro went 3-for-3 on field goals but also missed an extra point in his bid to secure a roster spot.
RAMS 22, TEXANS 10
HOUSTON (AP) — In the battle for Los Angeles’ third-string quarterback job, John Wolford played well and Brandon Allen struggled as the Rams closed out the preseason.
Los Angeles took a 15-10 lead late in the third quarter after an interception from Ramon Richards set up a scoring drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Justin Davis. Davis also added a 2-point conversion. He finished with 78 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Allen started but generally traded drives back and forth with Wolford. Jared Goff was on the sideline, as was backup Blake Bortles, who was in uniform but didn’t play.
Wolford went 8 for 15 for 105 yards and two touchdowns, while Allen was 12 for 17 for 120 yards and two interceptions.
For Houston, Joe Webb III made his final case for a roster spot as a versatile option behind starting quarterback Deshaun Watson and backup A.J. McCarron, who missed recent weeks with his right hand in a cast after hitting it on a helmet during practice. McCarron shed the cast during pregame warmups and was throwing passes but did not play.
BRONCOS 20, CARDINALS 7
DENVER (AP) — Malik Reed had a pair of sacks and Denver capped a strong summer by the second-string defense in front of a sparse crowd. Reed, an undrafted rookie from Nevada who earned a spot as Von Miller’s backup with a terrific training camp, finished the preseason with a team-best four sacks.
He dumped Brett Hundley for an 8-yard loss and Drew Anderson for 9 as the Broncos built a 10-0 halftime lead on the strength of Kevin Hogan’s 6-yard TD toss to Fred Brown .
Rookie linebacker Justin Hollins also had a big game for Denver, sacking Hundley on Arizona’s third snap and harassing Anderson with an unblocked pressure and a pass deflection on consecutive snaps.
Safety Su’a Cravens, who’s had some shaky moments this summer, forced and recovered a fumble by tight end Caleb Wilson for Denver, which finished 2-3 in a preseason dominated by backups.
SEAHAWKS 17, RAIDERS 15
SEATTLE (AP) — Geno Smith appeared to lock up the backup job in Seattle throwing a pair of first-half touchdown passes before limping off with a minor knee injury.
Smith threw a 39-yard TD pass to Terry Wright on Seattle’s opening possession and later hit Jacob Hollister on an 11-yard TD strike. Smith looked comfortable and poised running Seattle’s offense and seemed set to be Russell Wilson’s backup. But Smith had to be tended to on the field and walked off with a slight limp late in the second quarter after being sacked by Gabe Wright. The medical staff was looking at Smith’s left knee that underwent surgery earlier this month to have a cyst removed. Smith was on the sideline during the second half with ice on his knee.
Smith finished 4 of 7 for 107 yards and his health will be important as Paxton Lynch finished the preseason with a dud. After missing last week’s game due to a concussion, Lynch was 1 of 7 for 4 yards.
Oakland quarterback Mike Glennon played only the first quarter before giving way to Nathan Peterman. Glennon was 9 of 13 for 78 yards and led Oakland on a field-goal drive. Peterman was 20 of 27 for 158 yards. James Butler ran for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:43 left to pull Oakland within 17-15, but Branden Jackson sacked Peterman on the 2-point conversion attempt.
CHARGERS 27, 49ERS 24
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Cardale Jones led scoring drives on Los Angeles’ first four possessions in his bid to make the roster as the No. 3 quarterback. Jones got the start while Philip Rivers and Tyrod Taylor rested and led the Chargers (1-3) to a pair of field goals and two touchdowns. He scored the final one himself with a diving 2-yard run , stretching the ball just inside the pylon.
Jones played the first half, going 10 for 16 for 149 yards and adding 26 yards on the ground.
Rookie Easton Stick threw two interceptions in the second half before leading a winning drive to Derrick Gore’s 11-yard run with 1:17 to play.
C.J. Beathard threw one touchdown pass for San Francisco (3-1), but his best play might have been on a downfield block that sprung Jeff Wilson for a 41-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Beathard went 6 for 9 for 58 yards, connecting on a 21-yard score to a sliding Kendrick Bourne on his final pass of the night late in the first half.
Beathard has been in a competition with Nick Mullens to be the backup to Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco, although coach Kyle Shanahan said he plans to keep three quarterbacks on the roster.