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If the Washington Redskins' quarterback battle between Rex Grossman and John Beck was a heavyweight fight, you'd have to give Round 1 to the former Florida star. With Beck sidelined by injury, Grossman seized the starting job and looked very impressive in the Redskins' 16-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday night.
Grossman finished the first half having completed 19 of 26 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown, an eight-yard strike to veteran Santana Moss in the second quarter. He looked comfortable executing the Redskins' offense, which dominated with 452 yards in total on the day. Running backs Tim Hightower and Evan Royster combined for 110 yards on the ground and Graham Gano added three second-half field goals for the final margin.
The Steelers' only score game when Isaac Redman galloped 22 yards into the end zone in the second quarter. Otherwise, the Steelers mostly took it easy. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only played one series, and the Steelers' defense lifted many of its first-team members after Lawrence Timmons nearly suffered an injury on an early collision.
Mark Ingram carried the ball just six times, but it was an impressive 14-yard touchdown run that turned heads. Ingram's run was one of two rushing touchdowns on the night as the New Orleans Saints rolled over the San Francisco 49ers, 24-3. With Drew Brees seeing limited action, it's no wonder the rushing game took center-stage at times.
Chase Daniels saw the bulk of the snaps at quarterback, completing 13-21 passes for 129 yards. On the ground, Joique Bell led the way with nine carries for 52 yards, followed closely by Chris Taylor's 39 yards and a touchdown.
On the other side of the field, Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith spent their time running for their lives as the Niners offensive line struggled in pass protection. Kaepernick, with the bulk of the reps, completed 9-19 passes for 117 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Smith was 2-7 for 10 yards. Kaepernick led the Niners on the ground, as well, carrying the ball six times for 47 yards.
A few boos could be heard in Kansas City when the Chiefs’ game against Tampa Bay was done, and with good reason: The Buccaneers had just clocked KC in their home stadium, 25-0, and the Chiefs hadn’t looked great in losing.
Josh Freeman was 9-of-13 for 73 yards, a solid night for a starter in his first preaseason game, and scored Tampa Bay’s first points with a five-yard touchdown run. A three-yard Josh Johnson pass to Micheal Spurlock accounted for the Bucs’ only other touchdown.
Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi, meanwhile, went 8-of-16 for 68 yards for the Chiefs. Palko got sacked for a safety. Kansas City managed 137 total yards for the game. That’s an average of 2.3 yards per pass.
We’ve already covered the Julio Jones show that was the early part of the Falcons’ showdown with the Dolphins. But after that, the Falcons started to slowly fall behind the Dolphins, and Miami ends up with the 28-23 win.
Then again, preseason games aren’t about the scores, at least not now. The quarterback with the best night for the Dolphins was Matt Moore, who went 11-of-18 for 123 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Roberto Wallace had a nice night at receiver, catching three passes for 60 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown grab.
In addition to Jones, the Falcons got nice performances out of Matt Ryan — 6-of-10, 90 yards and a touchdown — and running back Michael Turner, who rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown on four carries. That’s about all you want your starters to do in the first preseason game.
There’s a reason that the Detroit Lions continue to be as patient as possible with the oft-injured Matthew Stafford — when Stafford plays, he displays some obvious talent. With his night over long ago, and as the fourth quarter opens in Detroit, the Lions quarterback was 6-of-7 for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
Stafford’s touchdown passes went to Nate Burleson on a 28-yard strike and Calvin Johnson on a 26-yard throw. Shaun Hill ran for a seven-yard score later in the game, and the Lions have tacked on another touchdown and a field goal along the way.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, is in midseason form. That is not a compliment for a team that went 4-12 last year. The Bengals have managed to scratch out 183 yards, turned the ball over twice and are getting blown out 31-3. By the Lions. They can take some small comfort in this being a a preseason game, but there’s not a lot the Bengals have done tonight to suggest that things will be different when the games count.
It didn't take long for Atlanta Falcons rookie Julio Jones to make an impact and turn heads on Friday night. As the Falcons opened their preseason schedule against the Miami Dolphins, all eyes were on Jones, the prized rookie wide receiver from Alabama. And he didn't disappoint.
Thought just over a quarter of play, Jones has two catches for 43 yards as the Falcons lead the Dolphins, 17-7. His routes have been crisp and he was able to pick up some yards after catch, breaking a short pass for a long gain in the first. It's just a small sample of his capabilities, but certainly an encouraging one for Falcons fans hoping he'd give Matt Ryan another game-breaking weapon on the outside.
Jones also has 12 yards rushing on the day, coming on one carry, as the Falcons demonstrate their offensive prowess early.
The Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons square off in their respective 2011 preseason openers. The Dolphins will give Chad Henne a chance to guide this team in 2011, while the Falcons are expecting big things from rookie Julio Jones. For more on the Dolphins head over to The Phinsider. For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins square off in their respective 2011 preseason openers. For more on the Steelers head over to Behind The Steel Curtain. For more on the Redskins, check out Hogs Haven. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
The New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers square off in their respective 2011 preseason openers. The Saints look to rebound from their stunning loss to the Seahawks in last year's wildcard playoffs, while the 49ers look to begin the Jim Harbaugh era on a strong note. For more on the Saints head over to Canal Street Chronicles. For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
The Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions square off in their respective 2011 preseason openers. Both teams look to build back towards consistency. For more on the Bengals head over to Cincy Jungle. For more on the Lions, check out Pride of Detroit. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiegs square off in their respective 2011 preseason openers. Both teams surprised some folks with strong 2010 seasons and will look to become consistent factors in their respective conferences. For more on the Bucs head over to Bucs Nation. For more on the Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
The NFL preseason schedule continues as five more games are on tap for Friday night.