Tampa Bay starts fast


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald provided quarterback Josh McCown and the rebuilt Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense a hand in helping run up the score on the slow-starting Buffalo Bills.

McDonald returned a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown and McCown directed two scoring drives in a 27-14 preseason win Saturday.

Doug Martin scored on a 1-yard run and McCown hit first-round pick Mike Evans on a perfectly placed 24-yard fade pass to the right corner in helping the Bucs (1-2) build a 24-0 first-half lead.

McDonald's touchdown came 1:37 after Connor Barth hit a 43-yard field goal to put Tampa Bay ahead 10-0.

With Buffalo facing first-and-20 at its 22, Adrian Clayborn burst around the left side to sack EJ Manuel and force the ball loose. McDonald scooped it up and rumbled into the end zone.

McCown finished 13-of-16 for 112 yards, with a touchdown and interception in playing the first half. Evans, drafted seventh overall, had three catches for 44 yards

The announced sold-out crowd that came to get its first glance at the $130 million in renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium also got a look at a team that still needs plenty of polish.

The Bills (1-3) spent much of the first half extending their preseason-long struggles on offense.

Manuel played three quarters and finished 19-of-28 for 198 yards with an interception and a 14-yard touchdown to Mike Williams. He's the former Buccaneers receiver acquired by Buffalo in a trade last spring.

It was the first touchdown Bills starters scored this preseason after being limited to four field goals on their previous 18 possessions.

The touchdown, however, came against Tampa Bay's second-string defense midway through the third quarter.

Fred Jackson scored on an 8-yard run on the Bills' second possession of the third period.

The Manuel-led offense spent much of the first 30 minutes going backward, and was booed off the field at halftime. Buffalo managed just 82 yards and six first downs through eight first-half possessions, and never got beyond the Bucs 43.

Manuel struggled, completing nine of his first 18 attempts for 67 yards, with two turnovers.

Running back C.J. Spiller also coughed up the ball when he was struck by linebacker Mason Foster while making a catch over the middle at midfield.

Discipline was an issue, too. The Bills were flagged three times over a five-play stretch. Add in Jackson being stopped for a 5-yard loss, and it led to Buffalo facing one third-and-40.

Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas wasn't impressed by his former team's offensive output midway through the second quarter. Thomas posted on his Twitter account that the starting offense "should play the entire game."

Van Noy says his injury is a bit of a mystery

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions linebacker Kyle Van Noy says it's hard to pinpoint the injury that kept him out of Friday night's preseason win over Jacksonville.

Van Noy says he's waiting on further evaluation of the injury, which the team said was an abdominal problem. The Lions drafted the rookie from Brigham Young in the second round this year.

Detroit put wide receiver TJ Jones on the reserve-physically unable to perform list Saturday. The Lions also released guards Alex Bullard and A.J. Dalton, defensive tackle Greg Hickman, running back Steven Miller, defensive end Kris Redding and wide receiver Conner Vernon.

Giants' defense taking too many pentalties

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin studied the films of Friday night's 35-24 preseason victory over the New York Jets and saw a glaring problem.

With officials calling the game closely, the Giants' defense gave up too many penalties for Coughlin's liking.

"That's the charge the officials have been given," Coughlin said during his conference call with reporters after his defense was called for 10 penalties. It was the third straight preseason game where the Giants were flagged at least 10 times.

"We have to clean up the hands to the face penalties. No matter how you look at it, that's a foul. Once an official sees that, it's a penalty. There are illegal contact penalties where there was no disruption in the route. Contact happens when one turns in one direction and the other was a little behind.

Added Coughlin: "We're still trying to understand and clean it up. Quite frankly, it's a concern if the officials are going to continue calling it into the regular season. We must do something about this to have a chance to compete.

"If you're going to win at this level, you have to do a great job of reducing penalties. It is a true concern, because we're down to one preseason game. Officials, coaches and players all have to see things the same way."

Keisel happy to be back with Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel didn't know what was in his NFL future.

The 35-year-old Keisel played out the final season of a five-year contract for the only team he's ever known and spent the offseason training, hoping for an opportunity to prolong his career.

That chance came last week when the Steelers re-signed the long-time veteran in an effort to bolster a reconfigured defensive line that has struggled through three preseason games.

"The unknown is hard and there were times when I was like 'well I don't know what's going to happen, it might be over for me," Keisel said. "There were also a lot of times when I felt like I still could play and something was going to happen.

"That's what kept me focused, more the positive than the negative, and that's why I think I'm here right now."

It's a relief for the Steelers' fan favorite, who is known for his thick, bushy beard. He was just glad to be back with the team that drafted him in the seventh round in 2002.

"It's great to be back in the locker room, it's great to be around my teammates, it's great to just come to work," Keisel said. "I enjoy the drive to work from my house, going through the city and seeing the sights. Just knowing that I have work to do is a great feeling."

The Steelers initially parted ways with Keisel in the offseason, opting for a youth movement along the defensive line by drafting Stephon Tuitt in the second round and signing 27-year-old Cam Thomas as a free agent.

Smith has Jets' QB job

NEW YORK -- The formal announcement was a surprise to no one.

Not the New York Jets fans. Not the media. And, especially, not Geno Smith.

Rex Ryan finally made it official after the Jets' 35-24 preseason loss to the Giants on Friday night, announcing that Smith will be the starting quarterback in Week 1.

And, now comes perhaps the toughest part for Smith: keeping the job. Especially with a still very effective Michael Vick on the sideline, accepting of his backup role but hungry for any chance he gets.

While Ryan refused to publicly acknowledge Smith would be the starter, it had been evident for months. Smith capped his final preseason appearance -- he won't play at Philadelphia next Thursday -- by going 9-of-14 for 137 yards with a touchdown.

Bills debut stadium renovations

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills unveiled $130 million in renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium at their sold out preseason home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night.

The upgrades include new fan-friendly amenities, such as larger concessions stands, a sports bar, easier access into the stadium and wider concourses.

While not entirely completed, the key renovations include 53 more points of entry, two new video boards, 3 million feet of linear cable to improve communications and technology in the stadium.

The Bills had an extra week of training camp because the facility was not yet ready. Renovations began shortly after the 2013 season ended in January.

Palmer faces old team, tough defense in Bengals

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In the days leading up to tonight's preseason game with Arizona, Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis had some nice things to say about Carson Palmer.

Time seems to have healed the wounds from the now-Cardinals quarterback's acrimonious separation from the Bengals three years ago.

"He's gone, we've gone on and everybody's happy," Lewis said. "He played his tail off last year. He's impressive to watch. He's still Carson."

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