Bortles solid in debut

The Associated Press Published:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Blake Bortles was solid in his preseason debut, throwing for 117 yards and leading a second-half drive for a field goal to help the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-10 on Friday night.

The third overall pick in this year's draft completed 7 of 11 passes, including a 31-yarder down the middle of the field to Mike Brown to set up a 26-yard field goal that gave the Jaguars a 10-3 lead late in the third quarter.

The Bucs were penalized for a late hit on the rookie from Central Florida, tacking on another 15 yards.

Tampa Bay drove 85 yards to make it 10-10 on Mike Glennon's 6-yard scoring pass to Tommy Streeter, but dropped its first game under coach Lovie Smith when a defense that had done a good job of keeping Jacksonville's offense out of the end zone faltered in the fourth quarter.

Denard Robinson's 23-yard TD run put the Jaguars ahead for good with under seven minutes remaining. Jacksonville also scored on Winston Guy Jr.'s 68-yard interception return in the first quarter.

Tampa Bay's first-team offense sputtered while playing into the second quarter. In addition to throwing the interception that was returned for a TD, Josh McCown was sacked twice and lost a fumble.

Chad Henne started for the Jaguars and played four series before being replaced by Bortles, who has yet to take a snap with Jacksonville's first-team offense in training camp.

The rookie received a nice ovation from the announced crowd of 59,100 at EverBank Field before completing his first pass for 24 yards to Allen Hurns.

Two plays later, he rolled out of the pocket to his left and showed he has a sense of when he needs to take a little off his throws with a nice flip to fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou for a 12-yard gain.

Smith and first-year general manager Jason Licht spent in free agency to bring in four new starters for Tampa Bay's defense and also rebuild an offensive line that did not protect McCown well Friday night.

The 35-year-old quarterback, a career backup who began training camp as a projected starter for the time in a decade, was hurried into a couple of bad throws and also took a hard hit at the end of a 9-yard scramble.

Henne, meanwhile, completed 4 of 7 for 30 yards. The Jaguars hurt themselves with a pair of bad snaps that sailed over the quarterback's head in shotgun formation. The second one rolled 21 yards on fourth down, helping set up the 44-yard field goal for Tampa Bay's first points of the game.

McCown finished 2 of 4 for 20 yards with one interception. He rushed for 13 yards on two carries.

The Jaguars played without starting running back Toby Gerhart and receivers Cecil Shorts III and Allen Robinson. Safety Dashon Goldson and cornerback Alterraun Verner, one of Tampa Bay's key offseason acquisitions, did not dress for the Bucs.

BILLS 20, PANTHERS 18

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Anthony Dixon ran for a touchdown, Dan Carpenter had a pair of field goals and Buffalo defeated Carolina in a preseason game.

EJ Manuel completed 9 of 13 passes for 96 yards but the Bills struggled to cash in on scoring opportunities for the second straight game. Buffalo's first-team offense reached Carolina territory on its first three possessions but managed just three points.

Rookie Kelvin Benjamin had no such problem finding the end zone.

Carolina's first-round draft pick turned in the play of the game, thrilling fans with a stumbling, diving 32-yard touchdown reception in his NFL debut.

SAINTS 26, RAMS 24

ST. LOUIS -- Mark Ingram had eight carries for 83 yards and a 22-yard touchdown in the first half and New Orleans won its preseason opener without Drew Brees, beating St. Louis.

Sam Bradford didn't play either, held out by the Rams as a precaution coming off knee surgery.

Greg Zuerlein was barely wide left on a 59-yard field goal attempt on the final play after missing a 46-yard attempt with just under six minutes remaining.

Rookie Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, made a solid debut as a reserve defensive end for St. Louis.

Luke McCown started in place of Brees, limited by a left oblique injury the past week. First-round pick Brandin Cooks caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from third-stringer Ryan Griffin in the third quarter.

FALCONS 16, DOLPHINS 10

ATLANTA -- Miami's Ryan Tannehill and Atlanta's Matt Ryan produced touchdowns on their only possessions, Sean Renfree led two field-goal drives in the second half and the Falcons held off the Dolphins in the preseason opener for both teams.

Rookie quarterback Seth Lobato led Miami to the Atlanta 5-yard line with less than 3 minutes remaining before fumbling a shotgun snap. Defensive end Nosa Eguae recovered for Atlanta.

Tannehill was 6 for 6 for 62 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson, to open the game.

BEARS 34, EAGLES 28

CHICAGO -- Jay Cutler, Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen threw touchdown passes and Chicago beat Philadelphia in its preseason opener.

The Bears rattled Nick Foles in the early going, intercepting two passes, even though they were missing Jared Allen. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end and prized free-agent acquisition missed practices this week with his wife giving birth to a girl.

Tight end Martellus Bennett remained suspended by the team for his role in an altercation with cornerback Kyle Fuller at practice Monday. The Bears also were missing right guard Kyle Long (ankle) and right tackle Jordan Mills (foot), but even with several starters out, they had no trouble moving the ball.

VIKINGS 10, RAIDERS 6

MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Cassel led a crisp touchdown drive with Minnesota's first-team offense, and the Vikings broke in their temporary new home stadium by beating Oakland in their exhibition opener.

Teddy Bridgewater relieved Cassel at quarterback after one series, and the rookie's first name was rhythmically chanted during his first two snaps by a crowd eager to see the first-round draft pick in action. Playing into the third quarter, Bridgewater's debut was mixed at best: 6 for 13 for 49 yards, two sacks and one fumble the Vikings recovered.

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