ex-BYU star steers Cardinals to victory
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – With the controversy swirling ahead of him on the Arizona quarterback depth chart, Max Hall wrapped up his preseason with a big night.
The undrafted rookie from BYU completed 7 of 9 passes for 126 yards and scored on a 6-yard run in the Cardinals’ 20-10 victory Thursday night over Washington.
Hall directed Arizona to two TDs and a field goal in his three possessions. Derek Anderson, starting for the second week ahead of Matt Leinart, played a series, completing 2 of 3 for 47 yards. Leinart played the next two, going 3 of 5 for 14 yards.
Leinart, expected to replace the retired Kurt Warner when training camp began, started the first two preseason games. A week ago, though, coach Ken Whisenhunt made the surprising announcement that Anderson would start against the Bears in Chicago. Both quarterbacks threw touchdown passes in that game, won by Arizona 14-9.
After practice Monday, Leinart complained to reporters that he had outplayed Anderson and didn’t know what else he could do to deserve the starting job. He said the problem with Whisenhunt is “probably away from football.”
That led to a meeting Tuesday between the disgruntled quarterback and coach and a flurry of reports that the Cardinals were making calls about possible trades for Leinart and might even release the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Rams 27, Ravens 21
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Top overall draft pick Sam Bradford made another favorable impression, going 6 for 6 for 68 yards and a touchdown for St. Louis.
A.J. Feeley’s thumb injury gave Bradford his starting shot last week, and the rookie may have done enough to get the nod in the opener against Arizona.
The Ravens (3-1) held out all of their starters, plus backup quarterback Marc Bulger in his return to St. Louis after getting released by the Rams (3-1) in April, denying fans a shot to either cheer or boo a player who was the starter from 2003-09.
Vikings 31, Broncos 24
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Denver rookie Tim Tebow outplayed Minnesota’s Tarvaris Jackson in the backup quarterback comparison, but the Vikings forced four first-half turnovers and beat the Broncos.
Tebow fumbled his first snap, Erin Henderson found the ball and scooted into the end zone from 35 yards out for the Vikings. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft pick from Florida then threw a wobbler over the middle that Tyrell Johnson easily intercepted and returned for 41 yards to set up a field goal.
Tebow was 12 for 16 for 167 yards and one touchdown and also ran for 21 yards on four carries. His favorite target was Matthew Willis, who caught five passes for 122 yards and a score. Minnesota native Eric Decker had 10 catches for 114 yards.
The Vikings held out 20 of their 22 starters. Brett Favre watched in a T-shirt, shorts and sneakers.
Giants 20, Patriots 17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Rhett Bomar may have nailed down the job as New York’s backup quarterback, throwing a 60-yard scoring pass to Duke Calhoun with 1:49 to play as the Giants rallied to beat New England.
The winning score came just minutes after Darnell Jenkins put the Patriots ahead 17-12 by catching a short pass from Brian Hoyer and turning it into a 66-yard scoring play with one move and a burst of speed.
The good news for the teams, both 2-2 in exhibition play, was they came out the preseason finale relatively healthy.
Steelers 19, Panthers 3
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Byron Leftwich, expected to replace Ben Roethlisberger during his suspension, injured his left knee in the second quarter and Pittsburgh (3-1) beat starter-less Carolina (1-3).
Carolina’s offense ended the preseason the way it began with no touchdowns as No. 3 quarterback Hunter Cantwell and No. 4 Tony Pike took all the snaps in a game both teams played with the intent of not getting any key player hurt.
Leftwich, tuning up for his anticipated start Sept. 12 against Atlanta, completed an 18-yard pass to rookie Emmanuel Sanders before being knocked off his feet as running back Mewelde Moore and safety Marcus Hudson collided near him.
Jets 21, Eagles 17
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Michael Vick led Philadelphia to a field goal in two series in his first start in four years, and Kurt Coleman scored on two fumble returns, but New York (2-2) beat Philadelphia (2-2).
Mark Brunell’s 51-yard touchdown pass to former Pittsburgh Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes in the fourth quarter put the Jets ahead to stay.
Neither team used its starters. Kevin Kolb and New York’s Mark Sanchez watched from the sideline while backups saw plenty of action.
Cowboys 27, Dolphins 25
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – David Buehler kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired, lifting Dallas (3-2) past Miami (2-2).
The kick capped a convincing night for Buehler, who handled only kickoffs as a rookie last season. He also made field goals of 51, 45 and 40 yards.
Third-string quarterback Stephen McGee played the entire game for Dallas. He threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Sam Hurd against Miami’s starters, then led the winning drive in the final 2 minutes.
Titans 27, Saints 24
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Alvin Pearman had a 5-yard touchdown run with 3:18 left to help Tennessee (2-2) beat Super Bowl champion New Orleans (2-2).
Vince Young threw a scoring pass, and LeGarrette Blount also ran for a score.
The Saints’ Harry Coleman recovered the ball off the first of two blocked punts for a TD, and Chase Daniel had a 35-yard TD pass to Adrian Arrington. Daniel tried to pull out the victory, but his pass to Tyler Lorenzen was intercepted by Gerald McRath in the final seconds.
49ers 17, Chargers 14
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Manny Lawson and rookie Taylor Mays each had interceptions and rookie Anthony Dixon ran 46 yards for a first-half touchdown to help San Francisco complete its first unbeaten preseason in 18 years.
Jehuu Caulcrick caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Nate Davis with 8:41 left and Joe Nedney added a 25-yard field goal. San Francisco (4-0) went undefeated in its exhibition schedule for the first time since 1992.
Jeremy Williams returned a punt 93 yards for a touchdown, then caught a 29-yard pass to set up Curtis Brinkley’s 2-yard TD run late for San Diego (1-3).
Browns 13, Bears 10
CLEVELAND (AP) – Montario Hardesty, Cleveland’s highly touted rookie running back whose career at Tennessee was slowed by knee injuries, hurt his left one in the second quarter of the Browns’ victory.
Fellow rookie Colt McCoy got his first pro start and went 13 of 13 for 131 yards in two-plus quarters. The former Texas star fumbled his first snap, but finally showed some potential in easily his best performance for the Browns (2-2).
Todd Collins, recently signed by Chicago to back up Jay Cutler, completed 10 of 15 for 139 yards and a 15-yard TD pass to tight end Greg Olsen for the Bears (0-4).
Bengals 30, Colts 28
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Cedric Peerman had a 93-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and reserve Jordan Palmer – starter Carson Palmer’s brother – completed 10 of 14 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns for Cincinnati (3-2).
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning didn’t play, and most of Indy’s starters took the night off. Curtis Painter got the start and completed nine of 20 passes for 114 yards. Tom Brandstater was 10 of 18 for 177 yards and three TDs, all to Brandon James.
Indianapolis was 0-4 in the preseason.
Chiefs 17, Packers 13
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Matt Cassel and Brodie Croyle each led touchdown drives and Kansas City (1-3) won for the first time in the preseason since 2008.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a host of other Green Bay starters didn’t suit up for the final tuneup. Backup Matt Flynn played into the third quarter, completing 23 of 37 passes for 304 yards. The Packers were 2-2 in exhibition play.
Buccaneers 24, Texans 17
HOUSTON (AP) – Rudy Carpenter threw two TD passes to Arrelious Benn, and Corey Lynch returned one of his two interceptions 91 yards for a score to help Tampa Bay (2-2) beat Houston (1-3).
Carpenter completed 15 of 22 passes for 203 yards and played into the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay rested starter Josh Freeman and backup Josh Johnson.
Houston backup Dan Orlovsky started and threw both interceptions to Lynch. Third-stringer John David Booty played the second half and threw touchdown passes to Bobby Williams and Derek Fine. Booty completed 17 of 37 passes for 209 yards.
Raiders 27, Seahawks 24
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Bruce Gradkowski threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter, and Kyle Boller also threw a scoring pass and Swayze Waters kicked two field goals for Oakland (3-1).
Charlie Whitehurst threw a touchdown pass and former Raider Louis Rankin scored on a 99-yard kickoff return for the Seahawks (1-3). Olindo Mare kicked three field goals.
Lions 28, Bills 23
DETROIT (AP) – Third-stringer Drew Stanton threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes for Detroit after Matthew Stafford had an interception returned for a touchdown.
Stafford’s second pass was picked off by Drayton Florence and Detroit (3-1) punted on his second and last drive. Buffalo’s Trent Edwards was 4 for 4 for 66 yards – including a 50-yard pass to Lee Evans – on his only drive to set up the first of Rian Lindell’s three field goals. The Bills finished the preseason 2-2. Jaguars 13, Falcons 9
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Fullback Brock Bolen scored on a 16-yard run, and Josh Scobee kicked two field goals for Jacksonville (2-2).
Jacksonville’s Luke McCown filled in for David Garrard and completed 5 of 12 passes for 39 yards. Chris Redman, starting in place of Matt Ryan for Atlanta (2-2), completed 15 of 22 passes for 142 yards.