America can relax. The 2015 NFL Season is almost back. No more sitting through unfunny sitcoms, sub-par dramas, and 8322 baseball games to tide ourselves over. I don’t want to hype the preseason too much, because I know by week four we will be watching guys who are headed for a UPS warehouse or worse. But for now I am jacked about pro football being back on the radar.
Here’s what went down this past week in case you missed anything, which is likely since the preseason schedule is pretty scattered.
Eagles 36 Colts 10
Big media was all over this game. Why? They love ratings and Tim Tebow is Mr. Ratings whether he is making an impact or not. Tebow saw time at QB along with Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley. Sam Bradford didn’t dress for this game. He and his teammates are soon to taste full blown Tebow craziness from the media.
Sanchez played well while his receivers had a few drops. Wide out Nelson Aguilar had a drop himself, but showed flashes of explosiveness. He had 3 catches for 57 yards and a score. The rookie should make a nice weapon for whoever ends up taking the snaps five weeks from now.
Falcons 31 Titans 24
Marcus Mariota found out he was not in Oregon anymore. He didn’t have an awful game, just the game you would expect from a rookie in his first NFL action. The Falcons defense hopes to do more of the same in 2015, as they had a good showing which is a huge change from recent memory.
Julio was dominant and Matt Ryan was perfect in his limited snaps. This was the type of preseason game worth buying a ticket for….lots of scoring a feeling that the contest meant something to both teams.
The ATL is fired up after Dan Quinn’s debut. Of course this was just one game and that doens’t define a season or even a preseason.
Packers 22 Patriots 11
Brady surprised most of us with his start. It had to be a good feeling to play a semi real game instead of being in court, answering questions about his suspension, or otherwise distracted.
Aaron Rodgers got in 19 passes, completing 11. That would be three times as many throws as I would allow the best QB in the game for an exhibition.
Jimmy Garoppolo got plenty of playing time after Brady exited. The possible starter for the first four games of the real season went 20-30 for 159 yards. He failed to throw a TD, but was not picked either. He did endure seven sacks however. Seven!
Redskins 20 Browns 17
Johnny Manziel seems to be embracing a more mature role this year. He had chances to showboat during this game, but checked himself. That’s exactly what he needs to do going forward if he has any hope of living up to his college potential.
RGIII didn’t win over any fans in this game, failing to put points on the board. I can’t imagine what kinds of things this man says during games, judging by the quotes he spits afterward. Nothing wrong with him having confidence, seeing himself as the “best QB in the League.” He might want to keep that one to himself though.
Kirk Cousins looked like he might be the best QB on the Redskins, but he showed flashes last year only to show his true mediocrity more consistency.
Bengals 23 Giants 10
Be sharp and you get to relax most of a preseason game. The Bengals starters did just that after Andy Dalton and his offense scored easily on the Giants defense. The Giants first team offense found no such rhythm and ended up playing longer than their counterparts.
Mohamed Sanu caught a touchdown pass, as he looks to be an even bigger part of the offense than he was in 2014.
Both teams’ backup QBs saw plenty of action. The Giants’ backup Ryan Nassib was 8 of 18 for 79 yards. The Bengals backup Josh Johnson was 11 of 21 for 175 yards and ran six times for 37 yards.
Bills 24 Panthers 25
Another decent preseason contest that was worth the price of admission. While the Bills tried to sort out their quarterback situation, the Panthers have no such worries. EJ Manual looks to be the odd man out while either Matt Cassel or Tyrod Taylor will likely be Buffalo’s QB1 once the regular season begins.
Cam Newton went 5 of 10 for 83 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin, who should make plenty of fantasy waves in his sophomore season. Backup Joe Webb led the Panthers to the win with a last minute touchdown to Brandon Wegher and followed that up with a two point conversion pass to Paul Browning.
LeSean McCoy didn’t wow the crowd in his Buffalo debut getting just 16 yards out of his six runs.
Steelers 21 Jaguars 23
Ben Roethlisberger looked like a veteran quarterback should as he led Pittsburgh’s offense to an opening drive score. Le’Veon Bell played enough to get in the action for 18 yards on two carries. That’s plenty for the kid that may just be the best running back in the League in 2015.
Jacksonville let second year QB Blake Bortles play most of the first half, going 11-15. He lost a key weapon when Julius Thomas went down with a broken hand. Thomas came over as a free agent from Denver where he wreaked havoc on defenses along with Peyton manning. Thomas will likely miss the rest of the preseason.
Raiders 18 Rams 3
Tavon Austin showed out in this one and has Rams fans hoping their team can get the kid the ball much more this season.
Derek Carr made it clear he and Amari Cooper intend to be a lethal duo this year, hitting the rookie from Bama three times.
Nick Foles played sparingly in his Rams’ debut. Todd Gurley saw no action as he continues to recover from his knee injury that ended his college career at Georgia. No point in rushing their top pick for this exhibition.
Cardinals 19 Chiefs 34
Alex Smith had a normal Alex Smith game, except for the interception. He went 6-10 for 42 yards. His backup, Chase Daniel, was more impressive, throwing for three touchdowns.
Arizona’s Carson Palmer played well as Arizona hopes to keep their QB1 healthy this year to avoid the playoff misery they endured in 2014 without a true option at QB once Palmer went down.
This game marked the return of Eric Berry who has battled cancer for the past year. This game also had two firsts, a female ref and a female coach.
Bucs 16 Vikings 26
Jameis Winston got a lot of snaps in an up and down performance. Clearly Tampa wants the rookie to have all the experience possible once the real action begins in four weeks. His biggest issue was staring down receivers which led to a 9-19 performance.
The Vikings Teddy Bridgewater had a nice outing as he continues to show he belongs as a reliable starter in the League. He had just one incompletion in this contest, which is what is expected out of a starter.
Texans 23 49ers 10
Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett are in a quarterback battle in Houston and Hoyer helped his cause versus San Fran by tossing a 58-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts III on the first drive. Mallet didn’t lead any touchdown drives but played well going 10-11.
The 49ers didn’t take any chances with Colin Kaepernick as he played just one ineffective series. The Niners can’t afford any QB injuries after losing so many defensive players in the offseason due to retirement and also the release of the troubled Aldon Smith.
The talk of the game was Former Australian professional rugby player Jarryd Hayne. He piled up some yards in his effort to make this team. His is a nice story so far, but one game does not make him safe from the roster cuts that are coming.
Broncos 22 Seahawks 20
Doesn’t it seem like these two teams played in a Super Bowl like forever ago? In reality it was just two years ago, but last year’s Super Bowl and Deflategate put a lot of miles between then and now.
Brock Osweiler could be the future for Denver. The fourth year QB led five scoring drives and threw one touchdown as Manning did not play.
Seattle didn’t do a great job of protecting Russell Wilson who spent most of his limited playing time scrambling. Sound familiar to most of last season?
Super Bowl standout receiver Chris Matthews left the game with a sprained shoulder.
Chargers 17 Dallas 7
A sloppy game from Dallas without many of its stars led to a Chargers’ win. San Diego benefited from Danny Woodhead’s return from last year’s broken ankle. Woodhead scored early in the game on a eight yard run.
Much of the conversation from this game centered on the Chargers’ impending move to L.A. Not exactly fan friendly chatter.
Dolphins 10 Bears 27
Ryan Tannehill looked like a quarterback deserving of the hefty contract he signed a couple months ago. In limited action he earned that money with an opening drive TD.
Despite the score, the Bears still have lots of work to do on defense. The starters were picked apart early and they don’t have the offensive firepower to get in shootouts this year.
Lions 23 Jets 3
After the week the Jets had, this score was no shocker. While the Jets’ starting QB was on the mend from a sucker punch, the Lions QB1 was lighting it up with Golden Tate.
Matt Stafford and Tate were not the only offensive highlights for Detroit. Rookie running back Ameer Abdullah impressed fans and Jets coach Todd Bowles alike, who said “He’s about as quick as Barry Sanders.” High praise for the kid out of Nebraska.
Ravens 30 Saints 27
Joe Flacco handled his business early before making a quick exit. His one series was more than Drew Brees who sat this one out. Flacco took his team down the field for an 80 yard touchdown drive before grabbing the sideline clipboard from Matt Schaub.
The Saints got off to a horrendously slow start on offense without Brees. They later managed to put points on the board with 14 in the second then ten more in the fourth period.