Mal­lett does enough to help Ravens beat Red­skins, 23-3

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL -

BAL­TI­MORE — Ryan Mal­lett strug­gled in place of in­jured quar­ter­back Joe Flacco, throw­ing for only 58 yards while play­ing the en­tire first half, and the Bal­ti­more Ravens beat the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins 23-3 on Thurs­day night in a sloppy pre­sea­son opener.

The Ravens scored 13 points while Mal­lett was in the game, in­clud­ing a 2-yard touch­down run by Ter­rance West fol­low­ing two costly penal­ties by the Red­skins: pass in­ter­fer­ence for 23 yards on a third-and-8 and an il­le­gal for­ma­tion on a field goal try that hit the left up­right.

Flacco has yet to take a snap this summer be­cause of a bad back. That left Mal­lett to run the first-team of­fense; he went 9 for 18 and was sacked once.

In his de­fense, Mal­lett was oper­at­ing be­hind a makeshift line and with­out his top three re­ceivers.

But he didn't give the Ravens any rea­son to lose in­ter­est in adding free agent quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick.

The Red­skins, sim­i­larly, had very lit­tle suc­cess mov­ing the ball. Start­ing quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins went three-and­out on his two pos­ses­sions, com­plet­ing 1 of 2 passes, and Wash­ing­ton man­aged only 47 yards on 27 plays while fall­ing be­hind 13-0 at half­time.

Though Bal­ti­more's of­fense sput­tered, its up­graded de­fense proved to be as good as ad­ver­tised. Free agent de­fen­sive backs Tony Jef­fer­son and Bran­don Carr teamed with Jimmy Smith and Eric Wed­dle to seal the back end.

The big­gest play of the first half was the last one: Justin Tucker kicked a 59-yard field goal for a 13-0 lead.

JAGUARS 31, PA­TRI­OTS 24

Chad Henne hit Kee­lan Cole on a 97-yard touch­down pass, Corey Grant scored on a 79-yard run and the Jack­sonville Jaguars feasted on a Pa­tri­ots lineup with­out Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski — or much de­fense at all — to beat the de­fend­ing NFL cham­pi­ons 31-24 on Thurs­day night in their ex­hi­bi­tion opener. With the reign­ing Su­per Bowl MVP sit­ting out, Jimmy Garop­polo com­pleted a Brady-like 22 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two touch­downs. The Pa­tri­ots’ heir ap­par­ent com­pleted 13 straight passes at one point, find­ing Austin Carr on a 3-yard touch­down pass at the end of the first half and then K.J. Maye from 5 yards out to start the sec­ond and make it 17-17.

VIK­INGS 17, BILLS 10

Quar­ter­back Teddy Bridge­wa­ter need not rush back from in­jury af­ter Case Keenum showed glimpses of be­ing a ca­pa­ble backup in the Min­nesota Vik­ings’ 17-10 pre­sea­son-open­ing win over the Buf­falo Bills on Thurs­day night. Tak­ing over for starter Sam Brad­ford, Keenum went 11 of 16 for 121 yards. The sixth-year player en­gi­neered a pair of scor­ing drives — both set up by passes to rookie re­ceiver Stacy Co­ley. Keenum hit Coo­ley in stride over the mid­dle on a cross­ing pat­tern for a 38-yard catch to set up Kai For­bath’s 36-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 late in the sec­ond quar­ter.

DOL­PHINS 23, FAL­CONS 20

Now the NFL’s high­est-paid run­ning back, Devonta Free­man looked the part in a brief ap­pear­ance Thurs­day night, scor­ing on a 15-yard re­cep­tion from Matt Ryan as the At­lanta Fal­cons lost to the Mi­ami Dol­phins 23-20. Free­man, who agreed to terms Wed­nes­day on a $41.25 mil­lion, five-year con­tract ex­ten­sion, scored to cap the Fal­cons’ first pre­sea­son pos­ses­sion. New of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Steve Sarkasian’s unit drove 36 yards for the touch­down af­ter a 39yard punt re­turn by new­comer An­dre Roberts. The Dol­phins’ ex­hi­bi­tion sea­son be­gan badly. Sec­ond-round draft pick Raek­won McMil­lan, the front-run­ner to start at mid­dle line­backer, hurt his right knee on Roberts’ punt re­turn and walked to the locker room ac­com­pa­nied by train­ers.

BRON­COS 24, BEARS 17

Mitch Tru­bisky threw for 166 yards and led three scor­ing drives af­ter Mike Glen­non strug­gled for Chicago, be­fore the Den­ver Bron­cos scored two long touch­downs in the clos­ing min­utes to beat the Bears 24-17 in the pre­sea­son opener on Thurs­day night. Though the Bears have in­sisted Glen­non is their starter, Tru­bisky just might have cre­ated a quar­ter­back con­tro­versy. Den­ver’s Trevor Siemian did noth­ing to hurt his stand­ing as the leader for the start­ing quar­ter­back job, while Pax­ton Lynch did lit­tle to close any ground. Third-stringer Kyle Sloter threw a 47-yard touch­down pass to Isa­iah McKen­zie with about six min­utes left in the game, and De’An­gelo Hen­der­son ran for a 41-yard score with just un­der two min­utes re­main­ing to put the Bron­cos on top 24-17. But the big­gest de­vel­op­ment in this game was Tru­bisky show­ing ex­actly why gen­eral man­ager Ryan Pace traded up a spot with San Fran­cisco to draft him with the No. 2 over­all pick.

BROWNS 20, SAINTS 14

Myles Gar­rett showed flashes of dom­i­nance in his NFL ex­hi­bi­tion de­but, and Cleve­land rookie quar­ter­back DeShone Kizer threw a late touch­down pass and the Browns beat New Or­leans 20-14 on Thurs­day night while Saints stars Drew Brees and Adrian Peter­son watched. The No. 1 over­all pick in this year’s draft, Gar­rett had a tackle for loss and blazed off the edge to pres­sure Saints backup QB Gar­rett Grayson in the first half. The Browns haven’t solved their end­less QB dilemma, but Gar­rett ap­pears to be a long-term an­swer at de­fen­sive end. Kizer com­pleted a 45-yard TD pass to Jor­dan Pay­ton with 1:52 left as the Browns ral­lied for their first pre­sea­son win in two sea­sons un­der coach Hue Jack­son.

PACK­ERS 24, EA­GLES 9 Quar­ter­back Carson Wentz had a perfect pre­sea­son de­but for the Philadel­phia Ea­gles. The Green Bay Pack­ers might need to keep work­ing on tack­ling, though they’re off to a good start in cre­at­ing turnovers. Wentz went 4 for 4 for 56 yards and a score on his first se­ries, elud­ing a po­ten­tial sack and burn­ing the Pack­ers on third and fourth downs in Philadel­phia’s 24-9 loss on Thurs­day night. He did his best im­pres­sion of elu­sive Pack­ers quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers, who was a healthy scratch for the first pre­sea­son game of the year.

AP/PA­TRICK SEMANSKY

Ravens quar­ter­back Ryan Mal­lett throws to a re­ceiver Thurs­day dur­ing a pre­sea­son game against the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins in Bal­ti­more.

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