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The Dallas Cowboys beat the Denver Broncos on a last-minute touchdown pass from QB Stephen McGee, his third touchdown pass of the game and second (almost third) consecutive come from behind victory for the young quarter
McGee's had a lot of different labels since the Cowboys picked him up in the 2009 NFL draft and none of those were "legitimate NFL starter" -- not yet at least. McGee still has work to do but he's clearly making folks in Dallas take notice of him, especially after Thursday night's 14-of-24, 208 yard and three touchdown performance against the Broncos.
Obviously, it's a pre-season game. But numbers like that should have Cowboys fans perking their ears. Of course, the five-yard hook pass that turned into a 76-yard TD reception by Dwayne Harris drives those numbers up, but even without that TD pass, McGee would have a 131.8 passer rating over the last four drives.
Yeah, he's not Tony Romo but that's OK. You go into a season hoping your quarterback can play all 16 games but realizing 14-15 games may be reality so you do need a competent backup.
Through at least one preseason game, McGee has demonstrated he may have what it takes to be the Cowboys No. 2.
The New England Patriots were without QB Tom Brady in Thursday night's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars but it didn't seem to matter. Backup QBs Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett did just fine in a total rout of the Jaguars, 47-12.
SB Nation's Pats Pulpit has an initial reaction to the game and runs down all the positives the Pats saw on Thursday night. The quarterbacks' play was the biggest story coming out of this game.
Brian Hoyer led the team to four straight scoring drives to close out the first half. He completed 15 for 21 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. Hoyer was accurate on his throws, and looked very poised in the pocket. Ryan Mallett completed 12 of his 19 throws for 164 yards and a touchdown. He showed a lot of zip on his throws, finding a groove and looking really comfortable for his first professional game.
As Pats Pulpit points out, all four of Mallet's drives (excluding the knee down) lead to touchdowns. He had the potential to be a major steal in the draft and the Patriots needed him to perform well in preseason. One game down, and he's looking pretty good.
If you're the Arizona Cardinals, you bring in a new quarterback like Kevin Kolb and say something like, 'This guy over here (points to Larry Fitzgerald), just throw it to him.' OK, maybe that's not exactly what you say to him but it wouldn't be bad advice.
Kolb, just a week after being traded from the Philadelphia Eagles, lined up in a Cardinals uniform for the first time on Thursday night facing the Oakland Raiders and things quickly went ugly as Kolb's first pass aimed at Fitzgerald was a miscommunication falling 10 yards short.
Things improved and he did find Fitzgerald twice for 60 yards -- 43 yards and 17 yards -- and had a decent performance overall, Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt says.
"For only having five practices, I though he performed well,"
Cardinalscoach Ken Whisenhunt said of Kolb. "There's a leadership quality to him that I'm excited to see."
That's what people need to remember. These veterans that signed a new deal this offseason, like Kolb, started practicing on Aug. 4, per the rules of the new CBA. So that's a week to prepare for the first preseason game which helps you understand some of the miscommunication out there.
So that's one game down for Kolb and he did what he should've done -- looked for Fitzgerald.
The Raiders scored first, with a field goal in the first quarter and another in the second quarter, but the Cardinals took a 7-6 lead into the locker room on an 18-yard touchdown pass from John Skelton to Stephen Williams as the first half came to a close.
The two teams traded field goals at the beginning of the third quarter, as Trent Edwards led the Raiders offense. After a fumble on a punt return by Andre Roberts, Edwards connected with David Ausberry for an 18-yard score, giving the Raiders a 15-10 lead. (The Raiders failed on their two-point conversion attempt.)
The Raiders regained the lead late in the fourth quarter on a 57-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.
Down a point with only two and a half minutes left to play, the Cardinals needed a miracle. So they turned to … Max Hall? Well, it is the preseason. Hall, who played in six games last season (mostly very badly), emerged from the … depth of the depth chart to go 4-for-4 with 66 yards, capping his drive with a 28-yard score to Isaiah Williams to complete the Cardinals’ 24-18 victory with 39 seconds to go.
All of the Cardinals’ quarterbacks – Hall, Bartel, Skelton and Kevin Kolb – fared well against the Raiders defense, accounting for 300 yards passing between them.
John Skelton’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Williams at the end of the first half gave the Cardinals a 7-6 lead, which they widened with a field goal. The Raiders responded with a field goal of their own, then added the Edwards touchdown pass after the Cardinals’ Andre Roberts fumbled a punt return. Chris Francis recovered it, giving the Raiders great field position at the Cardinals’ 18 yard line. The Raiders scored on the first play of the drive, then went for the two-point conversion, which failed.
Edwards has completed six of nine passes so far for 94 yards and the touchdown. For the Cardinals, Skelton is 6-for-10 with 96 yards and a score.
Eugene was injured in the third quarter of Oakland's preseason debut against the Arizona Cardinals. The 30-year-old was playing well, compiling a team-leading four tackles in limited action at the time of the injury. He was unable to leave the field under his own power, and was carted out by team doctors.
Undrafted out of Louisiana Tech, Eugene joined the Oakland Raiders in 2007. In four years with the team, he has served as a spot starter in the secondary while providing depth in nickel and dime packages. He signed a new contract to stay in Oakland over the off-season.
The Broncos took a 9-3 lead into half time thanks to three field goals, but the story of the half was Tim Tebow, who outperformed Kyle Orton by completing six of seven passes overall for 91 yards during a wild outing. But McGee completed a touchdown pass to Raymond Radway late in the third quarter to give the Cowboys a 10-9 lead.
The Broncos took a 16-10 lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to a 13-yard run by Jeremiah Johnson, but McGee quickly completed a 76-yard pass to Harris to tie the score. Dan Bailey’s extra-point attempt was no good for the Cowboys.
With six minutes to play, though, Brady Quinn completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Eron Riley to put the Broncos back on top. (And Quinn, by the way, ended the game with 8-for-14 passing for 120 yards and that one touchdown.)
McGee, though, mounted an impressively time-consuming drive that ended with another touchdown pass to Harris, this time for 13 yards, with just 15 seconds remaining. He then completed a two-point conversion with a pass to Martin Rucker.
Overall, McGee went 14-for-24 with 208 yards to go with three touchdowns and an interception. Harris had 127 yards receiving.
The beginning of the Kevin Kolb era in Arizona showed promise after the quarterback received limited action received Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders. After a quick incompletion, Kolb showed surprising speed, scrambling for a first down on a 3rd and 15, keeping the Cardinals first series alive.
While the drive eventually stalled, Kolb discovered the talents of his All-Pro receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, the next time out. The two hooked up multiple times on the Cardinals second drive, including a 43-yard bomb that brought the Cards all the way to the Oakland 35. The Redbirds offense eventually landed on the two-yard line, but Beanie Wells was stuffed three consecutive times for force the turnover.
That would be all she wrote for Kolb, who exited the game for John Skelton after two series. The new Cardinal signal caller left with a stat line of 3-for-6, for 66 yards, zero touchdowns, and zero picks.
In the meanwhile, Raiders mounted a few drives led by Jason Campbell's accuracy and Michael Bush's power running, but fell short each time. Sebastian Janikowski booted 25 and 39 yard field goals to give Oakland an early lead, but John Skelton answered right back with a 19 yard touchdown toss to Stephen Williams. The game enters halftime with Arizona up, 7-6.
Tarvaris Jackson and the Seahawks offense couldn’t get much at all going in the first quarter, and Charlie Whitehurst didn’t fare much better in the second. But Whitehurst stayed in the game in the third quarter and mounted a successful drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Leon Washington. The Seahawks’ next drive, also led by Whitehurst, resulted in a field goal, and Seattle tied the game 10-10.
After that came Bryan Walters’ improbable 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, putting the Chargers back in the lead. But Josh Portis threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Anthony McCoy late in the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks quickly forced a fumble by Scott Tolzien, leading to a 25-yard touchdown run by Thomas Clayton with three minutes left.
Whitehurst finished 14-for-20 with 115 yards, while Jackson went 3-for-5 with just 13 yards.
After three quarters, the Dallas Cowboys had a 10-9 lead over the Denver Broncos, but the Broncos scored their first touchdown early in the fourth quarter to take the lead. The Broncos entered the second half with a 9-3 lead, but the Broncos, with Brady Quinn at the helm, couldn’t make anything happen in either of their third-quarter possessions.
Stephen McGee and the Cowboys’ opening drive of the second half stalled out at midfield, but their second one featured a 26-yard pass to sixth-round pick Dwayne Harris, and ended with a six-yard touchdown pass from McGee to undrafted free agent Raymond Radway.
The Broncos got great field position to start the fourth quarter thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Quinn threw a 26-yard pass down the middle to Mark Dell, and then the Broncos took back the lead with a 13-yard touchdown run by Jeremiah Johnson, their first touchdown of the game.
Of all of the NFL preseason games taking place on Thursday night, the one between the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles was perhaps the least eventful. Michael Vick and Ray Rice both put in impressive shifts for their respective teams, but both - along with most of the other starters - were pulled after just one series. Neither team got to learn a whole lot about their second and third stringers in a relatively uneventful game as the Eagles won by a final score of 13-6.
Both Tyrod Taylor and Mike Kafka got extensive time at quarterback, with both having some extreme ups and downs. Taylor threw two interceptions while Kafka threw one, and they were truly bad interceptions. However, Taylor was 16/21 passing while Kafka was 13/19 and both were very effective with their legs.
Baltimore's second and third string defensive units were extremely effective, frustrating Kafka and completely shutting down the running game. Paul Kruger was especially effective for the Ravens, recording a tackle for a loss and a sack. Darryl Tapp was great for the Eagles off the edge, recording two tackles for a loss and two sacks.
I was willing to place hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a bet that not a single kickoff would be returned for a touchdown this season just minutes ago. Not anymore. The Chargers' Bryan Walters returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown against the Seahawks.
We at SB Nation have been commiserating all night about the atrocity the NFL committed by moving the kickoff yard line up five yards, as seemingly every kickoff was either out the back of the end zone or pretty much unreturnable.
Yet, here comes Bryan Walters, the formell Cornell WR and native of Juanita, Wash., housing a kickoff from three yards deep in the end zone against his hometown team, the first under the adjusted rules. Teams will be kicking off from the 35-yard line all season long (used to be the 30), so don't expect many more of these.
Yes, the most interesting thing about the preseason game between the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys has actually been the play of Tim Tebow. Imagine that: The story that everyone was hoping for has actually materialized in front of our very eyes. Tebow has been very effective despite playing like a crazy person, while Kyle Orton was not good in his only series. It's a quarterback controversy! Except probably not really, but Tebow is working on making it happen. At halftime, the Broncos lead by a score of 9-3.
Tebow is 5/6 for 85 yards passing and has two runs for 15 yards. He's had a couple of extremely eventful plays that were changed by penalties, but they still highlight his decision making or lack thereof. In his first series, Tebow threw an awful interception, only to have it called back for pass interference. In his final series of the half, he evaded defenders on a play that looked like the opening credits to The Benny Hill Show as he ran to one sideline, turned around as a defender tried to push him down, then ran back the other way before throwing a one-yard pass.
As for the Cowboys, the talking points are minimal. Felix Jones was great in his lone series while Tony Romo looked a tad bit rusty. The backups haven't done much of anything and Jason Garrett doesn't seem too concerned. It will get interesting in the next two games when Romo, Jones and others actually play multiple series.
It's just preseason but the New England Patriots look pretty good from top to bottom in the first preseason game. They lead the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-9 in the third quarter and they've done it without QB Tom Brady, who didn't play.
If anyone actually played preseason fantasy football, Patriots RB Stevan Ridley would be a guy to keep an eye on. Midway through the third quarter, he has three total touchdowns -- two rushing, one receiving -- and 91 combined yards.
The Patriots look really sharp even without OTAs or any sort of offseason program. So far, the lockout hasn't affected the Patriots (but they're not even playing with their starting quarterback).
Check out Pats Pulpit for live commentary during the game.
The Denver Broncos preseason circus is underway, with Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow looking predictably unremarkable. It would be pretty stunning to see anyone but Orton win the starting quarterback job at this point, but that won't stop the speculation from dominating your airwaves and internet space until Week 1 of the season. At the end of the first quarter of their preseason game, the Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys are tied up at 3-3, but the Broncos' field goal had nothing to do with quarterback play.
Orton was 2/6 for 37 yards before being taken out of the game, which would lead one to believe that the job is basically his right now. Tebow was 1/1 in his first series before the Broncos were forced to punt, but was lucky to have a bad interception called back for pass interference. He's been hit hard a couple of times and it looks like the Broncos line is doing their best imitation of that racist tight end from Remember The Titans.
On the other side, Felix Jones is looking like an absolute beast for the Cowboys. He had three carries for 33 yards and one reception for 17 yards on the Cowboys' opening drive. Some poor playcalling and execution kept them out of the end zone, but it's preseason so I think the fans can let it slide. Romo was 3/5 passing for 33 yards before being pulled out of the game for Jon Kitna.
New England Patriots fans who came out to see the team play the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't get a chance to see QB Tom Brady. He was in uniform on the field but didn't participate as QB Brian Hoyer took his place.
Hoyer has some solid numbers through the first half hitting on 15-of-21 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown in the first half. With those numbers, I don't think Brady needed to play.
The Patriots lead the Jaguars, 19-9, at halftime in Gillette Stadium.
The other story line in this game is the play of QB Blaine Gabbert. He was the Jaguars first round pick in the 2011 NFL draft and, with QB David Garrard dinged up, Gabbert got the nod on Thursday night. He hasn't had the night Hoyer has but completed 9-of-16 passes for 85 yards and no touchdowns in the first half.
If the first drive of the first preseason game is any indication, QB Philip Rivers has picked up right where he left off. The Chargers are hosting the Seattle Seahawks in their first preseason game and Rivers looked sharp completing 5-of-6 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown pass to Mike Tolbert.
WR Vincent Jackson, who returned to the team under the franchise tag after sitting out more than half of last season, caught two balls from Rivers for a total of 54 yards, including a 48-yarder.
The Chargers were one of the best offenses in the league last year. Rivers threw for over 4,700 yards, completed 66 percent of his passes and finished with 30 touchdown passes. If he's on, the Chargers are going to be competitive in the AFC West.
Starting quarterbacks Tom Brady and David Garrard are sitting out the first preseason games for the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars, meaning that fans are getting a good look at rookie Blaine Gabbert and Pats backup Brian Hoyer. Both have impressed early on, and the Patriots lead the Jaguars by a score of 16-9 in the second quarter.
The Jags are using a conservative gameplan, trying to get Gabbert into a rhythm and keeping him out of harm's way. He's throwing mostly short, conservative passes and was 3/5 passing on a good field goal drive. He's 5/10 on the night with a long of 15.
Hoyer is ripping up the Jags defense and is currently 8/11 passing for 115 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a nice eight play, 49 yard drive after a fumble in which Hoyer cut through the defense easily. The Patriots are struggling to establish the run, though, as neither Danny Woodhead or Stevan Ridley has gotten it going yet.
It's already a bad start for the Seattle Seahawks in their first preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. On the Seahawks first offensive series, starting LT Russell Okung suffered an ankle injury and was carted off the field. There's no word on how severe it is. He was replaced by Tyler Polumbus.
It's worrisome that Okung's ankle injuries cost him six games in his rookie campaign. The Seahawks selected him with the sixth pick so there are certainly some expectations on him. We'll see how serious it is.
Okung has had recurring problems but this is the type of injury that teams wanted to avoid. There weren't any OTAs or offseason programs because of the lockout so players have had about two weeks of training camp to prepare for the first preseason game. It's hardly ideal.
After a series and a half on the field for the Philadelphia Eagles, Michael Vick has already come off the field following a very good short outing. It's the first preseason game, Vick looked to be in a rhythm, and his performances last year were nothing short of fantastic, so it's no surprise that Andy Reid has chosen to remove him early. He took apart the Ravens defense on his first series and finished 4/6 passing for 74 yards and a touchdown pass to Brent Celek. Vince Young is now in the game, and he's already picked up one first down with his feet on a 3rd and 6 play.
Star cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugah and Asante Samuel are also done for the night after just one series. Both looked good, but a blown coverage on a screen pass during the Baltimore Ravens' first series allowed Ray Rice to pick up a big gain as the drive eventually lead to a Ravens field goal. At the end of the first quarter, the Eagles lead the Ravens by a score of 7-3 and most of the starters will probably be removed from the game shortly.
The Philadelphia Eagles host the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night in a preseason opener that marks the start of the season for a team some are calling a "Dream Team."
Over on the Ravens side there's no talk of Dream Teams. Baltimore is instead focusing on finding out who's going to fill in the spots directly behind their starting lineup.
One of the guys who will be closely watched is backup rookie QB Tyrod Taylor, who is expected to play at least two quarters of the game, and will be given every opportunity to earn the role as starting QB Joe Flacco's backup. Keep an eye on the wide receivers, who will be vying for roster spots as depth behind Anquan Boldin, rookies Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss. Also, watch the battle for the cornerback positions as well as who will end up starting at safety next to Ed Reed.
For the Saehawks, it's an important year at the quarterback spot. The post-Matt Hasselbeck Era begins and while Tarvaris Jackson is the starter, it's now or never for backup Charlie Whitehurst. Expect "Clipboard Jesus" to get the bulk of the snaps tonight.
I'm honestly a lot more interested in watching Charlie Whitehurst get some snaps than Josh Portis. I think Portis may have some potential down the line but I think Whitehurst offers more competition for Tarvaris Jackson this season. If Jackson struggles or gets hurt, it looks like Whitehurst is the guy so I'll be looking for him to look poised and comfortable in the offense. He likely won't look good with the shortened training camp and timeframe to install the offense, but that is something I'm looking forward to.
Of the many position that Chargers fans are curious about, inside linebacker is among the most worrisome.
I have yet to talk to a knowledgeable Chargers fan this preseason without hearing the phrase "I'm worried about the Inside Linebacker situation". I understand it, because I'm worried too. Not so much about Jonas Mouton or Donald Butler being a starter, but about the lack of depth there. If two of those guys get hurt, do you know who gets on the field then? I'm not even entirely sure. Kion Wilson, if he makes the team, would be my guess. The undersized Andrew Gachkar might be another option. Neither are very good ones.
As you might imagine, Denver fans, not to mention just about every other football fan, will be watching Tim Tebow's every move. Expect the second-year QB to get a lot of snaps and Mile High Report thinks these preseason games could go a long way towards determining his season and his future:
Tebow has been the talk of the preseason. He was wanted by most fans to be the starting quarterback and now he is at the point that the future of his career has been questioned. It looks like he will have another year to be evaluated and if he plays good in these preseason games, it could help determine his future.
Kyle Orton should get some time on the field as well, though it's assumed that Tebow will take many more snaps.
The New England Patriots meet the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium Thursday night for the first preseason game of the year. When they do, they'll be taking the field without starting quarterback Tom Brady, who will sit this one out according to reports.
Even without Brady in the game, ew England blog Pats Pulpit has a bunch of match-ups they're interested in keeping an eye on, including who emerges on the Pats defensive line.
Since the Patriots picked up both Mark Anderson and Andre Carter, I've said that I think only two of the three will make the Patriots final roster. Eric Moore isn't exactly a speed rusher, but with his performance at the end of last year, the Patriots are certainly expecting something from him. The real battle will come down to Mark Anderson and Andre Carter. However, I will also be paying attention to the rookies, both the undrafted free agents and sixth round pick Markell Carter. The Patriots picked up Christian Cox, Clay Nurse, Alex Silvestro, and Aaron Lavarias; perhaps one of those guys can stand out.
On the topic of unproven, the group of Jacksonville wide receivers will certainly be analyzed and scutinized. Third year receiver Mike Thomas is arguably the only receiver with any kind of rapport with the team strong enough to warrant the trust of the fans. The other expected starter, Jason Hill, has been a disappointment in camp thus far. Behind them is rookie Cecil Shorts, the oft-injured Jarett Dillard, special teams ace Kassim Osgood and a slew of undrafted rookies among others.
For Cardinals fans, it's all about Kevin Kolb tonight. Whether he takes one snap or plays the entire first half, fans will be watching his every move and scrutinizing every mistake. Cardinals blog Revenge of the Birds is urging caution tothose who want to jump to conclusions.
if by chance Kevin Kolb throws an interception or Patrick Peterson gets burnt on a fly route down the field, just remember that these games count for nothing. If the Cardinals don't win a single preseason game, it does not matter. The team will have gained chemistry and become more of a solid unit by the time it is all said and done.
Take a deep breath folks and I beg of you, save your inflammatory Kolb posts until after week one against the Carolina Panthers. After all, this is just the preseason.
Meanwhile, SB Nation Arizona has a couple of things Cardinals fans should be looking at besides Kolb, if you can believe it.
Offensive formations: I have speculated for a couple of weeks that the offensive looks will change with the tight end position now being a strength. How often will the offense come out in four-receiver sets? It was the most frequently used personnel package in 2010.
Over on the Raiders side of the ball, Oakland blog Silver And Black Pride has a list of things they'll be watching, including the play of center Stefen Wisniewski.
Stefen Wisniewski is likely to get a good long run at center tonight. I think we can expect him to play with the second unit, and then maybe even get some run at guard in the second half. While he is at center, it is going to be interesting to watch the QB/center exchange—especially in the shotgun formation. Wisniewski has been shaky with his shotgun snaps. Other than that, I want to see the push he gets in the run game, and the resistance he provides in the pass game. I am also anxious to see how he looks on the move. Is he going to be quick enough to block on the second level and effective when pulling?
The Broncos and Cowboys will square off in Week 1 of the 2011 preseason schedule on Thursday night and the biggest story line coming into this game is the Broncos quarterback situation. QB Kyle Orton is still on the team and the Broncos are expected to tab him the starter, assuming he isn't traded. QB Tim Tebow is behind him and will be competing for the job while QB Brady Quinn is in the mix for a backup job as well.
The Cowboys are trying to fix things after what went down last year. They were an 11-win team in 2009 and returned in 2010 getting off to a miserable start, which lead to the firing of Wade Phillips and hiring of Jason Garrett. They're a good team -- we know that. It's just a matter of proving it.
The Cowboys are three-point favorites -- as if you can predict preseason games -- and the matchup will be played at Cowboys Stadium.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 11; 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, Texas
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
The Jaguars and Patriots will kick off the 2011 preseason schedule in Gillette Stadium on Thursday night.
The Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals square off in their respective 2011 preseason openers. The Raiders will use the preseason to figure out their replacement for Nnamdi Asomugha, while the Cardinals need to find out if Kevin Kolb truly is the answer at QB. For more on the Raiders head over to Silver and Black Pride. For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens square off in their respective 2011 preseason openers. Both teams made the playoffs last year and will be looking to build on strong 2010 seasons. For more on the Eagles head over to Bleeding Green nation. For more on the Ravens, check out Baltimore Beatdown. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
The Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers square off in their respective 2011 preseason openers. The Seahawks have overhauled their offense for 2011 while the Chargers are simply tuning back up. For more on the Seahawks head over to Field Gulls. For more on the Chargers, check out Bolts from the Blue. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
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