NFL preseason: Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes leads TD drive in win over Bengals; 49ers defeat Cowboys
Patrick Mahomes took his first snap of the preseason, dropped back and set his feet, then threw a perfect pass down the sideline to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce for a big gain.
It’s was almost as if last season never ended.
The league MVP picked up where he left off from his record-breaking debut as the starter, leading Kansas City to a first-quarter touchdown in a 38-17 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday night in Kansas City, Mo.
Mahomes did a bit of everything on his only series with the first-team offense too. The gunslinger was four for four for 66 yards, added a wild 10-yard scramble in which he wisely slid at the goal line to avoid a big hit, and even induced an offside penalty with his barking cadence.
“I felt great. To get out there, make some throws, get the guys kind of rolling,” he said. “Run game, pass game, I thought it was a good drive to start everything off.”
It came after an equally impressive drive by the Cincinnati starters.
Rams backup quarterback Blake Bortles played the first two series in his team’s 14-3 preseason loss to the Raiders and looked comfortable in the offense.
Andy Dalton converted a series of third downs while leading the Bengals on a 14-play, 75-yard TD march to open the game . And he did it without the services of injured wide receiver A.J. Green or his top two running backs, Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard, who were given the night off.
“That’s how you want to start the game,” Dalton said. “We feel like we’ve got depth on this team. We’ve got talent. So for us to miss some of our guys that’ll be starting for us this year, not in there, I thought we did a great job.”
On that drive, perhaps. But first-year head coach Zac Taylor had a different assessment as a whole.
“You really look at a game like this, 38-17 final score, we had two turnovers on special teams, countless penalties on offense and a defensive pass interference that extended a drive that had a big stop,” he said. “That’s life in the NFL right now. We’ve got to correct those mistakes.”
The most interesting thing to happen in the game came late in the first half, when Kyle Shurmur was marching the Chiefs downfield. His throw to Byron Pringle down the sideline was picked by safety Brandon Wilson, scuttling the drive and giving Cincinnati a chance with the ball.
But under a rule change approved by NFL owners in March, pass interference calls can be reviewed — a response to the controversial on-call in the NFC title game last season. And when officials reviewed the play Saturday night, they decided that cornerback Tony Lippett had caused interference.
The penalty gave the Chiefs the ball back, and they wound up kicking a field goal.
In a delicious coincidence, the provision passed by a 31-1 vote of owners at the league’s annual meeting in Phoenix. The only team that voted against the rule was Cincinnati.
49ERS 17, COWBOYS 9
Dak Prescott completed all four of his pass attempts, caught one and led Dallas to a field goal in a brief cameo in the exhibition opener as the Cowboys went on to lose to the host San Francisco 49ers 17-9 on Saturday night.
Prescott and the bulk of the Dallas offensive starters played one series, moving the ball 65 yards in nine plays. The drive stalled when his third-down pass in the red zone was batted at the line by Sheldon Day right back to Prescott, who lost a yard on the play before Brett Maher kicked the first of his three field goals.
Dallas didn’t have its entire first-team offense on the field as star running back Ezekiel Elliott remains a contract holdout in search of a new deal. Rookie Tony Pollard got the nod and ran four times for 16 yards on his only drive of the game.
Chargers rookie linebacker Drue Tranquill paid tribute to former Cardinals safety Pat Tillman after making an interception in Thursday’s preseason game.
The Cowboys also played most of their starters on defense for the first two drives, while the Niners kept about 30 players out either with injuries or out of caution. Only a handful of projected starters played for San Francisco, with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo waiting until next week to make his return from knee surgery.
Despite that approach, San Francisco had three players go down with injuries in the first quarter with swing tackle Shon Coleman (right ankle), running back Raheem Mostert (concussion) and defensive tackle D.J. Jones (knee) all getting hurt.
Nick Mullens got the starting nod at quarterback and threw for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the first half in his attempt to win the backup job. C.J. Beathard threw for 141 yards, one TD and one interception in the second half before leaving with what appeared to be an injured hand.
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