Twelve teams were in action on Thursday, August 18 in NFL preseason matchups. Below we break down the games that were, and talk about the best performances, the biggest meltdowns, and how each team is looking going forward to Week 3 of the preseason.
Philadelphia Eagles 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 0
In the NFL preseason battle for bragging rights in Pennsylvania, one thing was clear: Pittsburgh needs to find a new backup quarterback. Landry Jones threw four interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger sat out the game, as did LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown, and DeAngelo Williams.
The Eagles’ Nolan Carroll took Jones’ first interception back 38 yards for a touchdown six minutes into the game. That turned out to be all the points the Eagles would need. They added a 40-yard Cody Parkey field goal and a 5-yard Kenjon Barner run later.
Sam Bradford played the first half for Philadelphia and completed 14 of 19 passes for 115 yards.
Minnesota Vikings 18, Seattle Seahawks 11
The Minnesota Vikings took an 18-11 NFL preseason victory Thursday night. Marcus Sherels won the game for the Vikings by intercepting a Trevone Boykin pass and returning it 53 yards for a touchdown. The pick came with 1:23 to play and gave Minnesota a seven-point lead.
Down 11-0 through three quarters, Seattle drew even on a Troymaine Pope touchdown run and a 49-yard field goal. Earlier it looked like placekicker Blair Walsh had seen a ghost. With the score tied at 11, missed from 47 yards out with 2:09 to play.
Russell Wilson started the game and played the whole first half but was very uneven. He completed just 5 of 11 passes for 77 yards. He was sacked four times. Pope continued to open eyes as a runner, notching 86 yards on 10 carries. Christine Michael added 55 yards on 10 carries.
Neither Teddy Bridgewater nor Adrian Peterson played for Minnesota.
New England Patriots 23, Chicago Bears 22
Jimmy Garropolo made his second successful start as quarterback for the Patriots, completing 16 of 21 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots led 23-11 after three quarters. The Bears scored a meaningless touchdown and two-point conversion at the end of regulation to account for the 1-point difference.
The Bears led 11-0 early thanks to a 5-yard Jeremy Langford run and a two-point conversion pass by Jay Cutler.
New England scored the next 23 points in a row with a 1-yard run by LeGarette Blount, a 16-yard touchdown pass, and three Stephen Gostkowski field goals.
Cincinnati Bengals 30, Detroit Lions 14
The Cincinnati Bengals scored 30 of the game’s first 36 points, never letting their foot off the accelerator to rout Detroit 30-14 in the Motor City on Thursday.
Both Andy Dalton and AJ McCarron played well for the Bengals, combining to complete 17 of 24 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. The Bengal defense picked off two Detroit passes, with Derron Smith returning his 60 yards for a touchdown.
Alex Erickson, the Bengals’ star rookie from their Week One game, added a 30-yard punt return in this one. Free agent Marvin Jones led the Lions with 65 yards on four receptions.
Atlanta Falcons 24, Cleveland Browns 13
The Atlanta Falcons’ passing game was marvelous for a second straight week, throwing for 274 yards and a touchdown in a 24-13 win over the Cleveland Browns. Matt Simms was 10-of-13 for 136 yards and a touchdown, Matt Ryan was 6-of-11 for 78 yards, and Matt Schaub was 8-of-12 for 78 yards.
The Falcons were just as impressive on the ground, rushing for 224 yards on 41 carries. The Brown didn’t get the win, but Robert Griffin III looked sharp, completing 6 of 8 passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns and rushing three times for 36 yards.
Green Bay Packers 20, Oakland Raiders 12
The Green Bay Packers used a powerful rushing attack to stymie the Oakland Raiders and move to 2-0 in the NFL preseason. The Packers rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries. The Packer defense held the Raiders out of the end zone for the entire game. Oakland scored a special teams touchdown late in the game on a blocked punt.
Derek Carr started for the Raiders and completed 6 of 9 passes for 38 yards and an interception. The Raiders managed just 187 yards of total offense.