Sanchez sharp in Jets debut

Associated Press

Mark Sanchez completed a 48-yard pass to David Clowney on his first NFL play, and the Jets rookie engineered an early scoring drive in New York's 23-20 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Friday night.

Thomas Jones' one-yard touchdown dive capped Sanchez's only series of the game, but the Rams rallied to make a winner of Steve Spagnuolo in his head coaching debut.

Sanchez, selected with the fifth overall pick from USC, came in to a loud ovation with 28 seconds left in the first quarter. He took the snap and lofted a pretty pass down the right sideline into Clowney's hands for a big gain.

"As soon as he caught it, I was really excited -- and then I was looking for my mouthpiece because I dropped it, mid-cadence," Sanchez said, grinning. "I said, 'Green-30,' and boom, my mouthpiece came out and the defense was laughing. I thought, 'What an idiot.' "

Seven plays later, Jones took the handoff and leaped over the pile, the ball crossing the goal line before Todd Johnson knocked it out of Jones' hands. Spagnuolo challenged the call, but it was upheld by video review.

Sanchez, with several family members in attendance, completed three of four passes for 88 yards in Rex Ryan's first game as New York's head coach.

Minnesota 13, at Indianapolis 3 -- Sage Rosenfels led the Vikings on scoring drives on the first two series, helping them beat the Colts.

Rosenfels completed 10 of 13 passes for 91 yards to take the early lead in the team's quarterback duel. Chester Taylor scored the game's only touchdown on a five-yard run in the first quarter. Tarvaris Jackson, last year's starting quarterback, completed seven of 15 passes for 39 yards and led the Vikings to a field goal.

at New Orleans 17, Cincinnati 7 -- Carson Palmer completed seven of 11 passes for 133 yards for the Bengals in his first game since an elbow injury sidelined him early last season.

Palmer's only mistake came on Jonathan Vilma's interception. Palmer left the game late in the first quarter, moments after his quick sideline throw to Chad Ochocinco produced a 55-yard gain. Palmer twisted his left ankle on the play, but team officials said the injury was minor.

at San Francisco 17, Denver 16 -- Kyle Orton threw interceptions in his first three series during a disastrous debut for the Broncos, and the 49ers' two quarterback candidates were steady in the victory.

Alex Smith threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Brit Miller following Orton's third first-half pick. Starter Shaun Hill completed two crisp passes to tight end Vernon Davis for 41 yards while leading the 49ers on a 58-yard scoring drive to start the game.


A jury in Atlanta found Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall not guilty of misdemeanor battery against his former girlfriend, announcing its verdict after about an hour of deliberations.

Marshall had faced two counts of simple battery stemming from a March 4, 2008, argument with then-girlfriend Rasheedah Watley at the Atlanta condominium the couple shared.

"I'm just happy now that legally and emotionally we can move past this," Marshall said.

The Green Bay Packers signed first-round draft pick B.J. Raji, ending the defensive lineman's nearly two-week training camp holdout. . . . First-round draft pick Eugene Monroe ended a 12-day holdout by signing a five-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Monroe, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound left tackle, was picked No. 8 overall from Virginia. . . . New York Giants rookie running back Andre Brown tore the Achilles' tendon in his left leg and is out for the season.

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