Thursday night finally brought us some football. It’s time for dynasty owners across the globe to rejoice as you finally get to see more game action to evaluate your rosters. Stevan Ridley of the Patriots was the star of the night, but there were many other storylines as well. We’ll take it game by game and highlight the performances that stood out the most from night one of NFL action.
Patriots 47, Jaguars 12
Leave it to the Pats to be the first team to run up a score in preseason action as they whipped up on the Jags. A few performances like this and Jacksonville fans will be happy to see them go to Los Angeles.
For the Patriots, Stevan Ridley showed his practice hype was no joke as he finished with 64 yards on 16 carries and another 47 yards on seven receptions. Oh, and he also scored THREE times. In fact, he could have had four touchdowns if he wasn’t stopped at the two yard line after a sixteen yard gain and was replaced for the next play. Ridley showed surprising elusiveness and proved he’s more than just a power back. This was a great start, but remember, there were very few starters in the game.
Ridley wasn’t the only star for the Pats, though. Taylor Price had five catches for 105 yards and a score. Both backup quarterbacks looked sharp. Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett combined for 335 passing yards, two touchdowns and zero interception.
For the Jaguars, all the talk is going to revolve around Blaine Gabbert. He finished 9-for-16 for 85 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He didn’t look comfortable, but didn’t look overwhelmed, either. His grade for the night was likely a “B,” but you can see he does have the ability to command an offense.
Eagles 13, Ravens 6
For the Eagles, Michael Vick completed 4-of-6 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. He’s still pretty good. Ronnie Brown did most of the heavy lifting at running back and finished with 22 yards on 9 carries.
As far as the Ravens go, the one thing that was very evident is the tight end battle to replace Todd Heap is far from over. Dennis Pitta finished with four catches for 47 yards while playing with the first team offense.
Seahawks 24, Chargers 17
The big news from the Chargers side has everything to do with Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews. They both suited up and played, but it’s obvious to anyone who watched this game that this is going to be a time share situation. In fact, Tolbert looks like running back 1A right now. Yikes.
As far as Seattle goes, Tarvaris Jackson looked awful. He only played a short while, but did nothing to make Seattle fans forget that Andrew Luck will be available in the draft. Charlie Whitehurst completed 14-of-20 passes for 115 yards and actually looked like the much better quarterback. To make matters worse, it looks like Russell Okung has a high ankle sprain again.
Cowboys 24, Broncos 23
For Dallas, the star of the night was sixth round rookie Dwayne Harris who had five catches for 127 yards and two scores. He’s worth keeping an eye on in subsequent weeks. Stephen McGee also threw three touchdown passes.
For the Broncos, they have to feel good about their running attack as Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee combined for 40 yards rushing on the first series. Both looked rejuvenated after disappointing seasons.
Tim Tebow actually played fairly well and finished with 91 passing yards on 8-for-9 passing. He also had an impressive rushing touchdown called back by a penalty. Keep in mind there was an interception called back because of a penalty as well. While Tebow did nothing to close the gap to Kyle Orton, he still showed his trademark athletic ability and seemingly played much better in the game than in any practice thus far.
Cardinals 24, Raiders 18
Kevin Kolb made his Cardinals debut and finished 4-for-7 for 68 yards. One thing is certain – he’s going to force feed the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. Beanie Wells finished with 22 yards on six carries, but got stuffed on the straight goal line chances. Andre Roberts didn’t exactly sew up the second receiver job as he caught just one pass for nine yards, then fumbled it away. Ryan Williams made his debut and had a nice night with a combined 44 yards on five touches.
Two of our suggested players to watch played in this game as well. Denarius Moore led the Raiders with three catches for 37 yards in limited action. DeMarco Sampson of the Cardinals had 47 yards on two catches.
Before we put a cap on night one, there are a few wide receiver news and notes items to get out of the way.
- Jerricho Cotchery has signed on with Pittsburgh. While it may seem significant, it really isn’t. The only thing Cotchery may do in Pittsburgh is stunt the growth of Antonio Brown. He’s no threat to Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders or even Hines Ward.
- Lee Evans is rumored to be on the move. It looks like he could be sent away in the next 48 hours. Teams like the Ravens, Cardinals, Titans and Browns are said to be interested. So, that means he should be traded to Philly by around noon tomorrow.
- David Gettis has torn his ACL and is out for the season. Tough break for a kid who likely could have nailed down a starting gig. That’s going to open the door for either Legedu Naanee or Brandon LaFell to start for a team who may never actually throw them the ball. Gettis can be dropped in pretty much every league.
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