Detroit Lions 28, Buffalo Bills 23
Recovering from ACL surgery, Lions running back Kevin Smith showed he can still make plays…Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is ready to start preparing for the Bears…The 2010 Lions “have an excellent chance at OKness“, writes Michael Rosenberg.
The Bills starters built up an early lead before hitting the sidelines…Bills first-round running back C.J. Spiller got the night off entirely…Bills quarterback Brian Brohm had a less-than-stellar night in his bid for the top back-up job.
Cincinnati Bengals 30, Indianapolis Colts 28
Four players on the Bengals’ bubble may have wrapped up a roster spot…Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson played the entire game last night…Bengals kicker Mike Nugent’s long distance field goals may give him an edge in the competition.
Colts quarterback Tom Bradstater’s three touchdown passes to Brandon James weren’t enough to overcome an early deficit…Colts first-round defensive end Jerry Hughes enjoyed his busy night…32 Colts players did not play in the finale.
New York Giants 20, New England Patriots 17
Giants quarterback Eli Manning was efficient in engineering an 86-yard touchdown drive…Giants running back Brandon Jacobs isn’t happy about being a back-up…Giants running back Andre Brown could miss the season-opener with a turf toe.
The Patriots defense had another shaky outing…After two weeks on the shelf, Patriots running back Laurence Maroney led the team with 32 yards rushing…Patriots second-round tight end Rob Gronkowski is emerging as a red zone threat.
Jacksonville Jaguars 13, Atlanta Falcons 9
Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox was the only starter on the field for both teams on the opening drive…Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew took on the false reports about his knee…Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union offers his observations on the pre-season finale and roster cuts.
Several Falcons took advantage of their increased playing time…Falcons head coach Mike Smith explained the decision to rest his starters…Falcons first-round linebacker Sean Weatherspoon started at weak-side linebacker, an indicator that he might be starting the regular season-opener.
New York Jets 21, Philadelphia Eagles 17
Recently released Jets quarterback Kevin O’Connell has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder…Back-up quarterback Mark Brunell rallied the Jets to a win over the Eagles…Plenty of questions linger for the Jets.
Eagles seventh-round safety Kurt Coleman had a pair of big plays, which may help him make the 53-man roster…Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is curious about his role…Eagles running backs benefited from the expertise of Duce Staley, who spent part of training camp with the team on minority coaching fellowship.
Pittsburgh Steelers 19, Carolina Panthers 3
Huge concern in Pittsburgh, as quarterback Byron Leftwich sprained his left knee…Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension is not expected to be fewer than 4 games…The Steelers first-team defense played well on Thursday night.
The Panthers accomplished their main goal and escaped injury-free…Panthers third-round wide receiver Armanti Edwards adds intrigue to an otherwise plain offensive attack, writes Tom Sorensen…Panthers right tackle Jeff Otah won’t be ready for the regular season-opener.
Cleveland Browns 13, Chicago Bears 10
Browns second-round running back Montario Hardesty’s injured left knee casts a shadow over a win in the pre-season finale…Browns quarterback Colt McCoy showed improvement last night…Terry Pluto has a hard time believing that linebacker David Bowens will be cut.
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo acknowledged that cuts may be tougher to make this year…Injuries at the safety position will make Angelo’s job more difficult…Bears quarterback Todd Collins appears to be the solid back-up to Jay Cutler the team has been looking for.
Dallas Cowboys 27, Miami Dolphins 25
The Cowboys have some interesting roster decisions to make…Cowboys wide receiver Patrick Crayton’s agent plans to ask for his release…Cowboys first-round wide receiver Dez Bryant and Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland made amends before last night’s game.
Seeing Jake Long limping and Chad Henne on the ground was enough for Tony Sparano to pull his starters from the pre-season finale…Long said his left knee was fine after the game…Dolphins linebacker Cameron Wake had a strong outing.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24, Houston Texans 17
Buccaneers second-round wide receiver Arrelious Benn had a breakout game…Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman threw before the game to test his injured right thumb…Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black is earning more playing time.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is still mulling his decision at kicker…Texans quarterback Dan Orlovsky’s play may have the Texans looking for a back-up to Matt Schaub…The Texans were 4-of-5 on fourth downs.
Kansas City Chiefs 17, Green Bay Packers 13
The Chiefs have learned a few things about themselves this pre-season…Chiefs running back Jackie Battle led the team in rushing this summer…Chiefs defensive tackle/fullback Derek Lokey stated his case for a roster spot last night.
A dozen Packers’ starters did not play or even dress for the pre-season finale…The Packers may be trading guard/center Jason Spitz…Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is not looking forward to the worst time of his year.
Minnesota Vikings 31, Denver Broncos 24
Boos be damned, Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson remains the #2 quarterback…Vikings cornerback Lito Sheppard is in position to start the regular season-opener…Vikings sixth-round quarterback Joe Webb is a fan favorite.
In his last six pre-season quarters, Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton led the offense to 52 points…Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady started with the first-team offense…Injuries continue to haunt the Broncos.
St. Louis Rams 27, Baltimore Ravens 21
Rams first-round quarterback Sam Bradford is making Steve Spagnuolo’s decision an easy one…The Rams offensive line is showing signs of gelling…Rams running back Keith Toston led the Rams in rushing this pre-season.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was not happy with linebacker Dannell Ellerbe’s touchdown celebration…Kevin Van Valkenburg looks at the five things that were learned in the Ravens’ pre-season finale…Deciding on a kicker might be the toughest decision Harbaugh & Co. make before 6pm ET on Saturday.
Tennessee Titans 27, New Orleans Saints 24
Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt dropped two passes and was then parked on the bench…Titans running back Chris Johnson was given the night off…The Titans running game looks ready for the regular season.
Aside from running back Chris Ivory, the Saints emerged from the pre-season unscathed…Saints quarterback Patrick Ramsey hopes he’s done enough to earn the back-up job…Saints running backs Ladell Betts and DeShawn Wynn battled for a roster spot, and experience may be the deciding factor.
Arizona Cardinals 20, Washington Redskins 10
Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth nearly played the entire game to get into game shape…Redskins rookie wide receiver Brandon Banks brings excitement to the return game…Redskins linebacker Robert Henson had a game-high 7 tackles, but injured his right knee.
Oakland Raiders 27, Seattle Seahawks 24
Most of the Raiders’ regulars got the night off…Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski proved he’s the most capable back-up to Jason Campbell…Raiders running back Michael Bush could miss 4-to-6 weeks of the regular season.
Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh did not play last night and is aware of the trade rumors involving him…Seahawks wide receiver Deon Butler’s fine pre-season continued, catching 7 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown…Seahawks seventh-round linebacker/defensive end Dexter Davis may have surpassed Nick Reed on the depth chart.
San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers 14
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle looks what was learned during the 49ers’ undefeated pre-season…49ers quarterback Nate Davis is not assured of a roster spot…The 49ers’ first-team defense was not given the night off against the Chargers.