Mallett does enough to help Ravens beat Redskins, 23-3
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.
Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett throws to a receiver Thursday during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in Baltimore.