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A trio of quarterback battles were no closer to being resolved in Friday night's NFL preseason games.
The Arizona Cardinals won their first preseason game of 2012 Friday, defeating the Oakland Raiders 31-27.
A few of the Raider starters, most notably Carson Palmer, got plenty of work Friday night. Palmer played the entire first half, leading the Raiders to three field goals. For the game, Palmer completed 13-of-24 passes for 107 yards and one interception. After getting just two carries in the Raiders preseason opener, Darren McFadden carried the ball nine times Friday for 34 yards.
The Cardinals starting quarterback battle continued with John Skelton and Kevin Kolb each seeing brief action. Kolb started the game and completed 3-of-6 passes for 22 yards. Skelton played just one series, but completed all three of his passes for 23 yards and a touchdown.
The game also marked the return of Ryan Williams. After tearing his patellar tendon in the second preseason game last year, Williams returned to game action for the first time Friday, rushing five times for 25 yards and a touchdown.
With the win, the Cardinals improve to 1-2 in the preseason while Oakland is still looking for their first win at 0-2.
Let's end our night with some good ol' fashion head trauma, shall we? Matt Leinart is heading to the hot tub after this.
All I've seen from the Raiders-Cardinals game is this and two GIFs of Carson Palmer being tripped by his own teammate. Again, Go Raiders!
Tannehill got off to a rough start, completing just 3-of-10 passes to begin the game, but he then completed his next five passes, leading the Dolphins starters to their lone touchdown. He finished the game 11-of-23 for 100 yards. Matt Moore, who is competing for the starting job with Tannehill, completed 5-of-15 passes for 57 yards running the second string. Reggie Bush was unable to do much during his brief stint, rushing for two yards on three carries.
Cam Newton was in top form for the Panthers, completing 8-of-11 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. It wasn't, however, all good news for the Panthers offense. Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart left the game during the second quarter with a leg injury.
With the win, Carolina evens their preseason record at 1-1 while the Dolphins fell to 0-2.
Friday's game between the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens was a matchup between teams with different strengths. The Lions are known for their offensive firepower while the Ravens have been one of the best defenses in the NFL over the last decade. Friday, the Lions offense was the one that came out on top with Detroit winning 27-12.
After being one of the most explosive offenses in 2011, the Lions' offense appears to be primed for another big season in 2012. Calvin Johnson was in midseason form Friday, catching five passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Stafford also played well, completing 12-of-17 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. After not scoring on either of their first two possessions, the Lions starters scored touchdowns on their final two series.
Baltimore's offensive starters were able to get points on two of their three series, although they had to settle for field goals both times. Joe Flacco completed 7-of-12 passes for 79 yards. After rushing for four yards on three carries in the preseason opener, Ray Rice gained 12 yards on five carries Friday night.
The Lions moved to 1-1 in the preseason while the Ravens fell to 1-1 after winning their preseason opener.
The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Buffalo Bills 36-14 in a Week Two exhibition game Friday night at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Vikings opened scoring in the first quarter when quarterback Christian Ponder connected on a one-yard touchdown pass to fullback Jerome Felton. A 22-yard Blair Walsh field goal -- the first of five Walsh field goals in the contest -- gave Minnesota a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Donald Jones early in the second period to bring the Bills within three points, but Buffalo never led in the contest. Audie Cole, a Minnesota seventh-round draft pick, intercepted two passes late in the fourth quarter and managed to return them both for touchdowns, extending the Vikings' final margin of victory to 22 points.
Buffalo starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played well into the second quarter, completing eight of eleven pass attempts for 58 yards and a touchdown. Backup Vince Young put in a solid performance, going 8/14 for 123 yards. The Bills managed just 68 yards rushing, though Fred Jackson was able to break a 20-yard run in the second quarter. Naaman Roosevelt caught six passes for 60 yards.
Much of the focus for the Vikings was on who was not playing: Halfback Adrian Peterson returned to practice this week, but was unavailable for tonight's game. Jared Allen and Percy Harvin returned to action after sitting out last week's game in San Francisco, with Harvin catching one pass for 21 yards. Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder completed ten of his thirteen pass attempts for 136 yards and a touchdown, though he was sacked twice. Backup quarterback Joe Webb was just 7/15 passing, but did manage to lead the team in rushing (64 yards on just two carries).
The win puts the Vikings at 1-1 in the exhibition season, while Buffalo drops to 0-2. Minnesota hosts San Diego next Friday. Buffalo returns home to face Pittsburgh.
Not sure there's anything more hilarious than this from Friday night. Here's Chad Henne fighting a defensive lineman:
I think he tried to pull guard and failed there. Either way, that's two for a takedown.
Jimmy Clausen is still in the NFL. We felt it was important that you be reminded of that occasionally.
Charlie Weis is not in the NFL.
The former Notre Dame quarterback entered the game in the third quarter. He was 4-for-8 for 29 yards with three minutes left in the game.
The Tennessee Titans handled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night, winning by a score of 30-7. The Bucs scored the first touchdown of the game early in the first quarter, but it was all Tennessee after that.
Chris Johnson was the story for the Titans. After struggling mightily last season, Johnson rushed for 46 yards and two touchdown scores on 10 rushing attempts.
For as good as their rushing attack was, the Titans continued to get inconsistent play from their quarterbacks. Jake Locker went 4-for-11 on his pass attempts, throwing for just 21 yards. He threw an interception and featured a QB rating of 7.0.
Matt Hasselbeck was better in limited action, completing four of his five attempts for 29 yards. Brad Smith was the bright spot for Tennessee, completing five of nine attempts for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Outside of their second drive, not much went right for the Bucs. The highlight was a two-yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to Mike Williams for an early 7-0 lead. Freeman threw for just 21 yards on 10 attempts, completing just four of them.
LeGarrette Blount rushed for only 11 yards on eight attempts out of the backfield.
Okay, there's two angles here. The first stands up by itself and is pretty funny to see. The second explains what happened and makes it even better.
I give you: Carson Palmer, flawless mechanics.
So what happened? Darren McFadden, that's what.
SWEEP THE LEG.
It wasn't a touchdown either. The play was overturned. Go Raiders!
This didn't count, which is a shame. Because if it did, it'd probably be one of those plays you see show on every highlight show. Instead, it's a decent return with a holding penalty. But we won't forget, Asa Jackson.
And there's the celebration, of course. Also pretty great.
X-rays on Jonathan Stewart's calf came back negative during Friday night's game against the Miami Dolphins. The Carolina Panthers running back left the game in the first half, taken back for a locker room examination.
Jonathan Stewart injured his calf in the first quarter, but team is saying it's nothing serious.— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) August 18, 2012
Avoiding disastrous injuries ranks among a team's top goals for the preseason. Stewart's injury did not appear serious when it happened, but judging an on-field injury through a television is hardly a Mayo Clinic approved standard. The Panthers get a real break with the news too. They signed him to a five-year contract extension worth $36.5 million earlier this month.
Stewart finished the game with eight rushing yards on five carries. He did score this leaping touchdown to get his name included on the highlight reel.
For more on the Panthers, check out Cat Scratch Reader.
It was fourth down, so this isn't as bad as it seems. It's still a full-on YOLO throw though.
Applaud the effort, I guess.
Dateline, Bizarro World, aka the NFL preseason. The Jacksonville Jaguars lead the New Orleans Saints by a score of 17-3. Suddenly, quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints offense remember who they are. Brees hit Devery Henderson for an 8-yard touchdown pass, a beauty of a pass at that. It was perfectly placed away from Henderson's body, right at his waist.
I have a feeling, just a hunch, that this game might look a little different in the regular season, with more of stuff like this.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' star LeGarrette Blount went down with a knee injury in the Bucs' preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on Friday night:
Rick Stroud had this to say on Twitter:
Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount hurts his left knee when he's hit by S Al Afalava. Looked fairly serious. Did limp off the field.
The Titans lead the game 20-7 and Blount's injury would certainly be a blow to the team. He was having a bad night thus far, however, with only 11 yards on eight carries in the game. Backup Doug Martin has been slightly more impressive with five carries for 21 yards.
Blount rushed for nearly 800 yards last season for the Bucs and is expected to carry the load in the backfield. It's unknown if Blount will return just yet.
Stay tuned to this Storystream for more details on the injury as they surface and check out SB Nation blog Bucs Nation.
Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart injured his calf against the Dolphins.
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is putting a lot of worried minds to rest with his work on Friday evening. Sure, it's only preseason, but CJ2K has looked very much like the man who once ran for 2,000 yards in 2009. Midway through the second quarter of Tennessee's Week 2 preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Johnson has accounted for both his team's touchdowns.
This is Johnson's second touchdown, an effortless one-cut 14-yard run that put the Titans up by a score of 17-7.
Johnson has had fantasy football general managers and Titans fans worried. He was mostly flat last year after an extended holdout through training camp. Last week, he was underwhelming in preseason play.
So far this week, Johnson has 46 yards on 10 carries with a pair of touchdowns. That sound you heard was the Titans' hopes rising.
For more on the Titans, visit SB Nation's Titans blog Music City Miracles.
The Carolina Panthers have a multifaceted running attack. Cam Newton might get most of the headlines, but Jonathan Stewart is no slouch himself. In fact, the Panthers thought highly enough of him to give him a five-year, $36.5 million contract extension. This leaping touchdown, over the mass of bodies in the trenches, might be a good indication of why they did such a thing.
He's up, and he's in!
Yeah, Jerome Simpson just doesn't care that it's preseason. He's still going to jump over people.
He's so fun to watch, you guys.
Blaine Gabbert would like to refute that whole "scared" in the pocket thing. On Friday night, he had Justin Blackmon to help him with that task. Gabbert found Blackmon for the second time to conclude a 90-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to the rookie receiver.
A couple things worth noting about the touchdown, which was Gabbert's third complete pass in three tries. 1) He made the throw with the pocket collapsing around him, something pundits have been saying he cannot do. 2) He hit Blackmon in a pretty tight window.
Credit Blackmon for a nice grab too.
He either overthrew one receiver by a lot or underthrew the other receiver by a lot. Either way, this was a terrible interception, Jake Locker.
And this is why quarterbacks are taught never to throw across their body, and across the field, like Locker just did.
The 2011 season was a bad one for Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars, no doubt. After a season in which Gabbert ranked as the worst rated passer out of the 33 qualifying throwers, there were certainly critics and plenty of them.
Michael Lombardi, perhaps the loudest of those critics, said he had never seen "a high first-round pick look as scared or as out of place" and that the Jaguars should admit their mistake and move on. But the Jaguars have continued to back Gabbert and are prepared to march him out as their starter in 2012 where he'll look to prove the critics, including Lombardi, wrong.
Talking to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, Gabbert spoke of his critics and how he has to deal with consistent doubters:
"I think that's part of our job description: Deal with the crap," Gabbert said Thursday evening at the Jags' French Quarter hotel, a day before the team's preseason game against the Saints. "But for people to say [I'm scared], I just don't understand it. They've never played in the NFL. They really don't know what goes on, or what happens."
"So that argument, I think, is just a copout for people to make because they're - I don't want to necessarily want to say jealous - but, they couldn't do my job. And that's the truth. They can't do my job. There are 31 other guys that can do my job, and that's it. And that's kind of the way that the quarterbacks look at it. Selfishly, I think it's the best job in the world, but that [requires] putting in an honest day's work on a daily basis to keep it."
In his first preseason game of the 2012 season, Gabbert took steps towards proving doubters like Lombardi wrong with a performance that drew positive reviews from coaches and media, including a 13-play, 89-yard touchdown drive on the Jaguars' opening possession.
While Gabbert's game ended unceremoniously with a sack/fumble in the second quarter, his teammates have been quick to come to his defense and say they're expecting big things from the second year quarterback.
Wide receiver Laurent Robinson, a free agent acquisition for the Jaguars during the 2012 offseason, told Silver:
"What I've seen so far, [Gabbert] looks great," Robinson said Thursday. "He's throwing the ball accurately, and he's composed and confident. I'm excited about his leadership. I feel like he has that 'it' factor in the huddle. He takes control, calls the plays, understands where the ball needs to go. He's making huge strides from where they said he was last year."
Linebacker Paul Posluszny also defended Gabbert, telling Silver that the quarterback is "really going to impress a lot of people this year."
The Jaguars and Gabbert will play in their second preseason game of the year on Friday night against the New Orleans Saints at 8 p.m. ET.
For the latest on the Jacksonville Jaguars, be sure to check out Big Cat Country and SB Nation Tampa Bay. Head over to SB Nation's NFL hub for even more NFL news. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for video commentary.
Donald Penn has been cleared to return to Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice.
Six more games are on the preseason schedule for Friday night, including three quarterback competitions.
Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick Ryan Tannehill will start at quarterback for the Dolphins in Friday night's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
Jacksonville will be looking for signs of life from their second-year QB when they play New Orleans on Friday night.
The Baltimore Ravens will host the Detroit Lions on Friday night in a nationally televised game on FOX.
Miami plays in their second game of the preseason when they face Cam Newton and Carolina on Friday night.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans go head-to-head in the second week of preseason action on Friday. Unfortunately for Bucs fans, they won't be able to see it live if they're in the area -- that's unless they have a ticket to the game.
The Raiders and the Cardinals continue to work out the kinks in a Friday night exhibition matchup.
The Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills will battle in Week 2 of the NFL preseason.
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