Week one of the NFL preseason is in the books, which is fitting, considering most of the league’s top quarterbacks spent it reading on the sidelines. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo never even put on their helmets, and the rest of the elites made only quick cameos – like one series – in their games.
In short, we hope you enjoyed The Dan Orlovsky Show, Starring Dan Orlovsky.
There are some teams that are worth watching in the preseason, but they’re rarely the good ones: Instead, it’s franchises with young quarterbacks that are not quite ahead of the expected starters, like Blake Bortles in Jacksonville, Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota and (of course) Johnny Manziel in Cleveland. But at least it gives coaches a chance to see their young signal-callers…against second-string defenses.
But, hey, what better time for Peyton and Eli Manning – a.k.a. tha Manning Boyz, a.k.a. Khaki Konnection, a.k.a. Double Blanco – to drop another rap video:
Yeah. Let’s talk about the games.
Bears 34, Eagles 28
Most people seem to assume Nick Foles and the Eagles offense will regress this season, and perhaps they’re right. In his first appearance of the year, Foles threw two interceptions – the same number of picks that he threw all of last season – in limited action. Even more surprising: Jimmy Clausen looked good, throwing for 150 yards and two touchdowns, as he fights for a backup spot in Chicago.
Saints 26, Rams 24
Mark Ingram is supposed to be doing the carrying, but it’s the Saints that have carried him for most of his career. But, for one glorious preseason game, he put New Orleans on his back and gained 83 yards on eight carries with a touchdown, as the Brees-less Saints beat the Bradford-less Rams by two.
Vikings 10, Raiders 6
They say it’s the preseason but the Vikings and Raiders were in midseason form, with neither team scoring more than 10 points and both looking like potential candidates to pick first overall in 2015.
Jaguars 16, Bucs 10
The current starters for Jacksonville and Tampa Bay are Chad Henne and Josh McCown. This almost certainly won’t be the case in October. Henne and McCown both fumbled twice, and the latter added an interception. Bortles and Mike Glennon both looked better, albeit in week one of the preseason against dozens of near-future free agents.
Lions 13, Browns 12
Hey, have you heard about this Manziel kid? Yes, Johnny Football continues to be the biggest story in the NFL, though at least now we can talk about something he did on the field. He looked good in his debut, going 7-for-11 for 63 yards and adding 27 more yards on the ground. More importantly, he avoided using the Money Phone.
Browns WR Josh Gordon, currently in a battle to regain some of his 2014 season after being suspended for a failed drug test, played and had two catches. He had more receiving yards last season than any other player, including the Lions’ Calvin Johnson, who sat out. Of course.
Bills 20, Panthers 18
The Panthers need a receiver like Rita Ora needs a hit, and Kelvin Benjamin might be the guy to fill Steve Smith’s shoes. He came up with an impressive, stumbling 29-yard touchdown catch that showed he could remain focused even in a moment when everything could be falling apart. An attitude that might serve him well in Carolina.
Falcons 16, Dolphins 10
Both Matt Ryan and Ryan Tannehill connected on every pass attempt, then gave way to some other guys who are less likely to connect on all of their pass attempts. That included Dolphins backup-wannabe Seth Lobato, who fumbled the ball away inside the Falcons 10-yard line with less than three minutes to go to blow their best chance of winning a preseason game.
Chargers 27, Cowboys 7
It may only be the preseason, but it sure seems like the Cowboys defense is going to be really, really bad. Chargers quarterbacks combined to complete 14 of their 16 pass attempts and Kellen Clemens found a guy named Dontrelle Inman for a 70-yard touchdown in the third quarter.You know it’s a bad day in Dallas when Brandon Weeden is the lone bright spot.
Broncos 21, Seahawks 16
Some people in Denver might be saying some embarrassing things about how this is “revenge” for their Super Bowl loss to Seattle, but something tells me this preseason game didn’t count for as much. No one bothered to tell Broncos backup QB Brock Osweiler, as he played like a man possessed.
Chiefs 41, Bengals 39
Kansas City and Cincinnati combined for more points in the first half (51) than all but one other game had total. There’s probably a similar ratio for notable plays and highlights, with the Chiefs getting an 80-yard punt return touchdown from rookie De’Anthony Thomas immediately followed by an interception returned for a touchdown by Sean Smith. There were two other interceptions returned for scores in this game, and we still haven’t gotten to the fact that Bengals quarterback Matt Scott threw for two touchdowns and rushed for 68 yards, all while throwing up on the field.
Redskins 23, Patriots 6
“The Redskins beat the Patriots by a score of 23 to 6” could be a tagline for what the NFL preseason really is.
Ravens 23, 49ers 3
Jim and John Harbaugh have now faced off in the preseason, regular season and Super Bowl, and so far Jim is winless against his brother in the NFL. At least he’s not Blaine Gabbert, who was 3-of-11 for 20 yards with an interception in his audition to be the Niners’ backup QB. Somehow, that’s an improvement over his time in Jacksonville.
Jets 13, Colts 10
The familiar moment was Chris Johnson averaging 0.5 yards per carry, while the unfamiliar moment was Jets back-up kicker Andrew Furney nailing a 51-yard game-winner with just over a minute left.
Giants 20, Steelers, 16
The Giants got bad news when they found out that running back David Wilson’s career was over, though if Rashad Jennings continues to run like he did in this game, the G-Men might have a shot. Here’s his 73-yard touchdown rumble, which is probably the highlight of the 2014 preseason (hey, it’s either this or Matt Scott’s puke-and-rally).
Titans 20, Packers 16
“Preseason Heroes” is the name of my Charlie Whitehurst cover band. The man affectionately known as Clipboard Jesus shined once again when it mattered least, throwing for 94 passing yards and a touchdown, while Titans rookie Bishop Sankey had 75 total yards and a receiving touchdown.
Cardinals 30, Texans 0
The Bill O’Brien Era got off to a rousing start, as the Texans were blown out by the Arizona Cardinals. Most people have been expected Houston to get better and possibly Arizona to get worse, but it doesn’t look rosy for new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had two interceptions on 6-of-14 passing. Among friends, I’ve described Fitzpatrick’s throwing motion as the kinetic equivalent of a Martina Hingis grunt. Nothing has changed other than his uniform.
All three Cardinals quarterbacks threw a touchdown pass in this one, making the Texans defense look no better with top pick Jadeveon Clowney, who had one tackle and no sacks in his preseason debut.