Here’s the full rundown of the preseason’s last hurrah. With few games featuring more than a glimpse of any team’s regular-season starters, there isn’t much national interest beyond a pair of games broadcast on the NFL Network. The rest of the slate will be boiled down to local television, leaving football fans at the whim of regional broadcasts Thursday night.
Thursday night results
Jacksonville Jaguars 13, Atlanta Falcons 7
Brandon Allen is firmly behind Blake Bortles and Chad Henne on the depth chart, and this end zone interception didn’t do much to help his cause.
Allen made up for that mistake with a 43-yard touchdown strike to Dede Westbrook.
The Falcons were held in check by Jacksonville, not scoring until the fourth quarter when the defense recovered a Jaguars fumble in the end zone. They failed to score any offensive points in the loss.
Buffalo Bills 27, Detroit Lions 17
Nathan Peterman is starting at QB and might have a chance to push the struggling Tyrod Taylor at some point this year. He led the Bills to a field goal on their first drive.
Jonathan Williams showed off some of his talent with a 21-yard touchdown run, extending the Bills’ lead early on.
In the third quarter, the Bills got out to a 17-point lead after a 1-yard touchdown by Joe Banyard. Jordan Johnson added another rushing score in the blowout win.
Detroit finally scored its first touchdown in style when Brad Kaaya hit Tion Green for a 74-yard catch-and-run.
Kaaya threw another TD pass to get the Lions within 10 points, but that’s as far as they got. Buffalo dominated the ground game with a combined 205 rushing yards on 45 carries.
Green Bay Packers 24, Los Angeles Rams 10
With Brett Hundley filling in for Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ offense had a slow start. The highlight play early was this neat catch by Geronimo Allison, even though it got called back by a penalty.
Hundley eventually got on the board with a 13-yard scrambling touchdown.
The Packers didn’t score again until the end of the second quarter, when Hundley hit Aaron Jones on a short touchdown. The Packers made it 24-3 with a 25-yard pass from Taysom Hill to Aaron Peck.
The Rams finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter when Dan Orlovsky hit Johnny Mundt from 19 yards out. Otherwise, Green Bay cruised in an easy win.
Indianapolis Colts 7, Cincinnati Bengals 6
Bad news already for the Bengals’ first-round pick.
John Ross leaves with a left knee injury.— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) August 31, 2017
The Colts failed to score until the fourth quarter when Phillip Walker found Jeremy Liggins in the end zone to finally get Indy on the board. Turns out that’s all the Colts needed, with Cincy never scoring a touchdown.
New York Jets 16, Philadelphia Eagles 10
Despite already being named the Week 1 starter, Josh McCown got the start in the final preseason game. Of course he got hurt, because Jets.
Josh McCown hurt. Took a shot to the midsection. You can't script this stuff.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 31, 2017
McCown stayed in the game for a little bit before Christian Hackenberg entered. He managed to get the Jets in the end zone with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Philly made it a one-possession game in the fourth with a 41-yard touchdown from Dane Evans to Marcus Johnson.
Hackenberg was mostly poor again, completing 10 of 16 passes for 105 yards and the touchdowns. But it was enough for a six-point win, and Hackenberg might make the final roster only by default with Bryce Petty nursing a knee injury.
New York Giants 40, New England Patriots 38
Jacoby Brissett started and got the Patriots on the board with a 9-yard strike to Cody Hollister.
The Giants answered back when Josh Johnson hit Matt LaCosse for a 25-yard score, and quickly took the lead with a pick-six by Kerry Wynn.
INTERCEPTION! Kerry Wynn with the Pick-6 and the Giants take the lead! pic.twitter.com/AQgyy7MQWT— New York Giants (@Giants) August 31, 2017
A 14-yard touchdown pass from Brissett to Austin Carr got the Patriots within three points.
Shaun Draughn scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to extend the Giants’ lead back to 10 points. New York soon turned this into a rout when LaCosse scored his second touchdown of the night.
Brissett threw a touchdown to Devin Lucien, his third touchdown pass of the game. He also ran in a touchdown in the fourth quarter and had his fourth TD pass, pulling the Pats within two points. They finished the comeback by making a field goal with less than a minute left.
Davis Webb drove the Giants back down the field and New York got the 48-yard field goal as time expired.
Washington 13, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s first-half stat line: 2-of-7 passing, 6 yards. He’s still in the league, somehow.
The Bucs’ offense was absolutely impotent all night, and Washington sealed the deal with a pick-six off Sefo Liufau in the fourth quarter. Liufau saved a little face with a touchdown pass later on.
Pittsburgh Steelers 17, Carolina Panthers 14
Fozzy Whittaker drew first blood for the Panthers with a 4-yard touchdown run.
The Steelers struggled to do much on offense for most of the first half, but Josh Dobbs got them the lead in the second quarter with a 58-yard bomb to Justin Hunter.
Damiere Byrd hooked up with Joe Webb for a 13-yard score to give Carolina the lead back.
Dobbs led the game-wining drive, leading the Steelers on a perfect two-minute drill and getting the victory with a 1-yard touchdown with just seconds left.
Cleveland Browns 25, Chicago Bears 0
Points were optional here. Neither team even scored until deep into the second quarter, when Cody Kessler threw a 27-yard touchdown to Rannell Hall.
Mitchell Trubisky was brutal in the first half, completing just 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards before making way for Connor Shaw. Mike Glennon has all but secured the Week 1 starting job.
Kevin Hogan iced the game with two late touchdown passes.
Miami Dolphins 30, Minnesota Vikings 9
Brandon Doughty got the start with Jay Cutler enjoying a night off. He drove Miami down the field on its opening drive, capped off with a 1-yard touchdown by Kenyan Drake.
David Fales broke the game open for the Dolphins with this 65-yard pass to Jakeem Grant.
Cayleb Jones got an 8-yard touchdown catch for the Vikings’ first points.
MarQueis Gray extended the Dolphins’ lead to 15 points with a touchdown and Miami sacked Taylor Heinickie in the end zone for a safety. A second touchdown pass by Fales all but ensured Miami the victory.
Baltimore Ravens 14, New Orleans Saints 13
Chris Moore got Baltimore’s first score with a touchdown catch from Ryan Mallett. Bobby Rainey added a second Ravens TD in the second quarter.
Josh Hill scored the Saints’ first points with a 16-yard touchdown catch from Chase Daniel. New Orleans nearly won it at the end, but Wil Lutz missed a 59-yard field goal with seconds left.
Kansas City Chiefs 30, Tennessee Titans 6
Patrick Mahomes is out here dropping dimes again.
The Chiefs managed their first points of the night when Jehu Chesson ran a punt back 76 yards.
Mahomes was totally dealing, by the way.
Second-half touchdown passes by Tyler Bray and Joel Stave further buried the Titans.
Denver Broncos 30, Arizona Cardinals 2
Trevor Siemian was put on ice and Paxton Lynch is out with a knee injury, so the Broncos started UDFA Kyle Sloter. He promptly got sacked in the end zone for a Cardinals safety.
Despite the inauspicious start, the Broncos scored 30 straight points with two field goals, two offensive touchdowns, and a pick-six. Arizona had no answers on offense — Blaine Gabbert went just 5-of-10 passing for 51 yards. Trevor Knight was even worse with an unfathomable 2-of-12 passing, throwing for only 19 yards ad an interception.
Seattle Seahawks 17, Oakland Raiders 13
The Seahawks took advantage of a Raiders fumble to get the opening field goal, and then Trevone Boykin hit Rodney Smith for a 34-yard touchdown and 10-0 lead.
Oakland got on the board with an EJ Manuel touchdown pass to Keon Hatcher in the second quarter, then added a pair of field goals in the second half for the lead.
Austin Davis found Kenny Lawler for a 16-yard strike with 1:15 remaining to give Seattle the win.
San Francisco 49ers 23, Los Angeles Chargers 13
The 49ers got a fast lead with two massive touchdowns, first a 62-yard run by C.J. Beathard and then a 92-yard punt return by Victor Bolden.
Tim Hightower piled on the points with a touchdowns of his own.
Before the games
The 2017 preseason comes to a close on Thursday, but at least it’s going out with a bang. Thirty of the league’s 32 teams will be in action on Aug. 31, closing out our last football-less month with a flurry of late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents.
While Thursday night’s games won’t include many starters — franchises across the NFL will rest their stars in order to avoid the injury risks that claimed the seasons of Julian Edelman and Spencer Ware — it should hold plenty of intrigue. Week 4 is the last chance for players on the 53-man roster bubble to state their case as worthy additions to NFL squads. While some of the names on the field Thursday might be unfamiliar, you can expect a whole new level of effort as players try to make one final impression on their coaching staffs.
There will be a few potential playoff previews in the mix as well. The Patriots will give Jacoby Brissett the reins as they take on familiar Super Bowl nemesis New York in Foxborough. The Steelers and Panthers will work out their depth charts as Pittsburgh looks to improve on last season’s AFC Championship appearance and Carolina tries to shake off a two-year Super Bowl hangover. Titans-Chiefs and Seahawks-Raiders will both feature some of the game’s most exciting playmakers.
One game we won’t see is a Lone Star State showdown between the Texans and Cowboys. That contest had originally been scheduled to take place in Houston, then moved to Dallas after Hurricane Harvey displaced hundreds of thousands of residents this week. On Wednesday, officials decided to cancel the game altogether, allowing Texans players to return to their hometown and work on recovery efforts.
Each club has gone of out its way to help everyone affected by the disaster. J.J. Watt has spearheaded a fundraising effort with a goal that started at $200,000 and quickly surpassed that, with a new aim of $10 million. Texans owner Bob McNair pledged $1 million to the Houston United Way. Jerry Jones added $100,000 in donations to the Salvation Army.