Matt Cassel led a crisp touchdown drive with Minnesota's first-team offense, and the Vikings broke in their temporary new home stadium by beating the Oakland Raiders, 10-6, in the exhibition opener on Friday night at Minneapolis.
Teddy Bridgewater relieved Cassel at quarterback after two series, and the rookie's first name was rhythmically chanted during his first two snaps by a crowd eager to see the first-round draft pick in action. Playing into the third quarter, Bridgewater's debut was mixed at best: six for 13 for 49 yards, two sacks and one fumble the Vikings recovered.
Matt Schaub's first time in silver and black wasn't exactly smooth, either. The former Texan completed three of seven for 21 yards as the Raiders went three-and-out in his three possessions.
Blake Bortles was solid in his preseason debut, throwing for 117 yards and leading a second-half drive for a field goal to help the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 16-10. The third overall pick in this year's draft completed seven of 11 passes, including a 31-yarder down the middle of the field to Mike Brown to set up a 26-yard field goal that gave the Jaguars a 10-3 lead late in the third quarter. Tampa Bay's first-team offense sputtered in its debut under Coach Lovie Smith.
Miami's Ryan Tannehill and Atlanta's Matt Ryan produced touchdowns on their only possessions, Sean Renfree led two field-goal drives in the second half and the Falcons held off the Dolphins, 16-10. Tannehill was six for six for 62 yards, including a six-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson, to open the game. Ryan answered by completing all of his seven attempts for 53 yards on Atlanta's opening drive. Jacquizz Rodgers capped the drive with a two-yard scoring run.
Mark Ingram had eight carries for 83 yards and a 22-yard touchdown in the first half and the New Orleans Saints won their preseason opener without Drew Brees, beating the St. Louis Rams, 26-24. Sam Bradford didn't play either, held out by the Rams as a precaution coming off knee surgery.
Anthony Dixon ran for a touchdown, Dan Carpenter had two field goals and the Buffalo Bills defeated the Carolina Panthers, 20-18. EJ Manuel completed nine of 13 passes for 96 yards, but the Bills struggled to cash in on scoring opportunities for the second straight game. Panthers rookie Kelvin Benjamin had turned in the play of the game, a stumbling, diving 32-yard touchdown reception in his NFL debut.
Jay Cutler, Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen threw touchdown passes and the Chicago Bears beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 34-28. The Bears rattled Nick Foles in the early going, intercepting two passes, even though they were missing Jared Allen. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end and prized free-agent acquisition missed practices this week with his wife giving birth to a girl.
Reshad Jones has become the second Dolphins player this summer to run afoul of the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. Jones, a starting strong safety, was suspended Friday for the first four games of the regular season. He said he took a supplement that caused the violation. Defensive end Dion Jordan was suspended last month for the first four games after testing positive for a prohibited stimulant. Like Jordan, Jones is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. That included Friday night's exhibition opener at Atlanta.
New York Giants backup offensive lineman Eric Herman was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy. Herman said in a statement Friday that he tested positive for a stimulant. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Herman was listed as a third-string center, so his chances of making the team were already small.
Indianapolis' depth chart just keeps taking hits. On Thursday night against the New York Jets, starting center Khaled Holmes went down on the first series with an apparent ankle injury and rookie tackle Ulrick John left later with a lower right leg injury. Defensive lineman Jeris Pendleton (knee) and linebacker Daniel Adongo (biceps) also left the game. All four were scheduled for MRIs on Friday, but there was no immediate update from the team.
Tennessee Titans left guard Andy Levitre will play Saturday against Green Bay after having an appendectomy two weeks ago.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times