NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Highland High School graduate Taysom Hill had some ups and downs in the New Orleans Saints’ preseason opener Friday, throwing a touchdown but also a pick-six as the Saints lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 34-25.
Hill finished 8 of 14 for 80 yards and one touchdown on Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s 33-yard, tackle-breaking catch and run. His interception came early in the second half when tight end Dan Arnold was unable to secure a pass from Hill and the ball squirted straight into the arms of defensive back Nate Meadors, who easily returned his interception 30 yards for a touchdown.
Kirk Cousins was flawless in his lone series in Minnesota’s new offensive scheme, and backup Sean Mannion delivered a scoring pass under a heavy rush to give the Vikings the win.
The game marked the Vikings’ first test of their new offense directed by coordinator Kevin Stefanski and influenced by adviser Gary Kubiak. It looked effective for the lone series in which the first-team offense played.
Cousins drove the Vikings 81 yards in eight plays, completing all four passes for 65 yards. Cousins connected on a pair of short passes before finding Adam Thielen for 35 yards down the right side, setting up a 1-yard scoring pass to third-round draft choice Alexander Mattison.
Mannion was 7 of 13 for 102 yards, highlighted by his 18-yard touchdown pass to rookie Olabisi Johnson as Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson bolted into the backfield and hit the backup QB. Johnson, a seventh-round draft pick and a candidate for Minnesota’s No. 3 receiver, made the catch while leaping and reaching back over the shoulders of veteran defensive back Patrick Robinson to bring in the ball.
With Saints record-setting QB Drew Brees getting the night off, ex-Viking Teddy Bridgewater started. He played throughout the first half, completing 14 of 19 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown on an 18-yard pass to tight end Arnold.
Vikings second-year running back Mike Boone broke loose for a 64-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that put Minnesota up 34-25.
CHIEFS 38, BENGALS 17
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Patrick Mahomes picked up where he left off from his record-breaking debut as a starter, marching the Kansas City Chiefs downfield for a first-quarter touchdown in what became a 38-17 preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday night.
Mahomes did a bit of everything on the only series by the Chiefs’ first-team offense, going 4 for 4 for 66 yards while adding a 10-yard scramble and inducing an an offside penalty.
Andy Dalton was nearly as sharp for Cincinnati, going 7 of 9 for 80 yards while leading his team on a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown march to open the game. Dalton did it without the services of injured wide receiver A.J. Green or his top two running backs, Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard.
The most interesting thing to happen in the game came late in the first half, when Kyle Shurmur was marching the Chiefs downfield. His throw to Byron Pringle down the sideline was picked by safety Brandon Wilson, scuttling the drive and giving Cincinnati a chance with the ball.
But under a rule change approved by NFL owners in March, pass interference calls can be reviewed — a response to the controversial non-call in the NFC title game last season. And when officials reviewed the play Saturday night, they decided that cornerback Tony Lippett had caused interference. The penalty gave the Chiefs the ball back and they wound up kicking a field goal.
In a delicious coincidence, the provision passed by a 31-1 vote of owners at the league’s annual meeting in Phoenix. The only team that voted against the rule was Cincinnati.
49ERS 17, COWBOYS 9
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Dak Prescott completed all four of his pass attempts, caught one and led Dallas to a field goal in a brief cameo in the exhibition opener as the Cowboys went on to lose to San Francisco.
Prescott and the bulk of the Dallas offensive starters played one series, moving the ball 65 yards in nine plays. The drive stalled when his third-down pass in the red zone was batted at the line by Sheldon Day right back to Prescott, who lost a yard on the play before Brett Maher kicked the first of his three field goals.
Dallas didn’t have its entire first-team offense on the field as star running back Ezekiel Elliott remains a contract holdout in search of a new contract. Rookie Tony Pollard got the nod and ran four times for 16 yards on his only drive of the game.
Nick Mullens got the starting nod at quarterback for the 49ers and threw for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the first half in his attempt to win the backup job. C.J. Beathard threw for 141 yards, one TD and one interception in the second half before leaving with what appeared to be an injured hand.
RAIDERS 14, RAMS 13
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nathan Peterman scrambled 50 yards to set up his only touchdown throw and Oakland beat Los Angeles in the preseason opener for both teams.
Peterman entered in the third quarter and completed 9 of 12 passes for 66 yards. He also led both teams with 56 yards rushing.
A starter for Buffalo in Week 1 a year ago, Peterman is competing with Mike Glennon for the backup job to Derek Carr. Glennon, attempting to latch on with his fourth team in four years, started and went 17 of 25 for 200 yards, but threw two interceptions.
Peterman’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Keelan Doss on an inside slant came two plays after Peterman was forced out of the pocket on a third-and-4 play from the Oakland 42 and weaved his way through the defense to the 8. The throw to Doss was confirmed after a review.
Both teams held out of a majority of their starters after holding two joint practices at the Raiders’ training camp facilities in Napa.
Blake Bortles started for the Rams and played one series in place of Jared Goff. Bortles completed 3 of 8 throws for 50 yards and had a 59.4 rating. Glennon looked good early and threw three straight completions that gained 56 yards on Oakland’s opening drive. DeAndre Washington scored on a 7-yard run. Greg Zuerlein made a 36-yard field goal in the first half.
STEELERS 30, BUCCANEERS 28
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph led the offense on four scoring drives.
Two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger gave way to recent draft picks Dobbs and Rudolph to battle for the backup quarterback job.
Jameis Winston led the Bucs’ first-team offense to a touchdown in his only offensive series against a Steelers defense that featured few regulars.
Dobbs started and played two series, going 5 of 8 for 85 yards and throwing an interception that was nullified because of offsetting penalties. Dobbs, a fourth-round draft pick in 2017, also had two third-down scrambles for 44 yards, including a 36-yarder that set up a 33-yard field goal by Chris Boswell.
Rudolph entered on the third series and played into the third quarter. He finished 5 of 8 for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Rudolph, the Steelers’ third-round pick in 2018, completed all three attempts during his first series, including an 8-yard touchdown to James Washington, his college teammate at Oklahoma State. In the third quarter, a 59-yard catch-and-run by Johnny Holton set up a 3-yard score to Zach Gentry, the Steelers’ fifth-round pick.
Bruce Arians coached his first game for the Buccaneers, and he did it where he was an assistant coach from 2004-11, winning two Super Bowls. Arians, back on the sideline after a year of retirement, coached in Arizona for five seasons and, while in Pittsburgh, helped develop Roethlisberger into one of the league’s top quarterbacks.