CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw for 60 yards and a touchdown on Kansas City’s first possession, then watched as the Chiefs lost to the Chicago Bears 19-14 in the preseason opener Saturday.
The game was the first for Chicago’s Matt Eberflus as a head coach. It also marked the return to Soldier Field for predecessor Matt Nagy, now the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach. He was fired in January after leading the Bears to a 34-31 record in four seasons, then reunited with Andy Reid after previously working for him in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
Chiefs safety Justin Reid showed he could be an emergency kicker, nailing an extra point after Justin Watson caught a 22-yard touchdown from Shane Buechele in the closing seconds of the first half. Reid, who made a 65-yard field goal in a training camp practice, sent the kick right down the middle to make it 14-0.
Mahomes had no trouble playing on a chopped-up field. He also picked apart a defense missing its two best players, with linebacker Roquan Smith in a contract standoff and the Bears holding out star pass rusher Robert Quinn.
Mahomes was 6 of 7 passing on a 72-yard drive after Chicago went three-and-out on the game’s first possession. The four-time Pro Bowler dumped the ball off to Blake Bell for a 5-yard TD, capping an 11-play possession — then called it a day.
Chicago’s Justin Fields, trying to build on a shaky rookie season, was 4 of 7 for 48 yards. He played three possessions before veteran Trevor Siemian replaced him.
RAMS 29, CHARGERS 22
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Third-string quarterback Bryce Perkins threw a pair of touchdown passes to Lance McCutcheon and the Rams held off the Chargers in a preseason game in which most of the starters for both teams did not play.
Perkins played the entire game with Matthew Stafford and John Wolford not dressed. He completed 9 of 16 passes for 126 yards and also finished as the Rams’ leading rusher with 39 yards on eight carries, including a 1-yard TD midway through the third quarter.
McCutcheon finished with five receptions for 87 yards. He also had a reception for a 2-point conversion following Perkins’ rushing touchdown.
Chase Daniel threw for a pair of first-half touchdowns. The Chargers received the opening kickoff and scored in nine plays as Joe Reed split the Rams’ secondary and hauled in a 41-yard TD pass less than four minutes into the game.
After getting only one first down on the next three drives, Daniel was able to lead the Bolts on a late scoring drive in the second quarter to tie it at 14 going into halftime. The 13-year veteran looked off a Rams’ defensive back and found Michael Bandy for a 16-yard score with 37 seconds remaining.
Daniel finished 11 of 17 for 117 yards.
STEELERS 32, SEAHAWKS 25
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kenny Pickett threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Vaughns with 3 seconds to play and Pittsburgh beat Seattle.
Pickett, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in 2022, is competing with Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph to replace retired two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger as the Steelers starting quarterback.
Pickett, the former University of Pittsburgh standout, played the second half and finished 13 of 15 for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Pickett was sacked, forcing a turnover on downs, but had a chance to win the game when Pittsburgh’s Mark Robinson sacked Seattle’s Drew Lock and forced a fumble on the next play.
Pickett responded with a five-play, 43-yard drive capped by his touchdown pass to Vaughns. He received a loud ovation and chants of “Kenny, Kenny, Kenny” when he first took the field in the third quarter and before the eventual winning drive.
Lock and Geno Smith are in a competition to replace Russell Wilson as Seattle’s starting quarterback. Wilson was traded to Denver in the offseason. It’s the first quarterback competition for the Seahawks since 2012, when Wilson won the job as a rookie.
Smith and Lock didn’t have DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett on Saturday. Smith played the first half, going 10 of 15 for 101 yards and a rushing touchdown. Lock was 11 of 15 with 102 yards and two scores, but a crucial fumble that led to Pittsburgh’s winning touchdown.
PANTHERS 23, COMMANDERS 21
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Sam Darnold threw a touchdown pass and Baker Mayfield was solid aside from a fumbled snap in the latest stage of Carolina’s quarterback competition, a preseason-opening victory at Washington.
Mayfield started and completed four of seven passes for 45 yards. He scurried for 3 yards on one play and botched the exchange with center Pat Elflein just inside the red zone, contributing to the first drive stalling and ending with a field goal.
Darnold took over with Carolina in the red zone after a fumble by Washington’s Antonio Gibson and completed a play-action fade pass under pressure to Rashard Higgins for an 8-yard TD. After coach Matt Rhule said he expected each QB to play one series and get six to eight snaps, Darnold went back for a second drive, threw incomplete on third down and finished 2 of 3 for 16 yards.
There’s no such competition in Washington for the first time in years, and Carson Wentz looked good in his debut for the franchise that played its first game as the Commanders. In his first exhibition action with his third different NFL team in as many years, Wentz was 10 of 13 for 74 yards and led a 14-play, 82-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown run by rookie Brian Robinson Jr.
BILLS 27, COLTS 24
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Matt Ryan’s pass attempts were much like his Indianapolis preseason debut: relatively short and efficient in a loss to Buffalo.
Tyler Bass made a 46-yard field goal as time expired as Buffalo scored on three consecutive possessions in the final 8:10 to rally from a 14-point deficit. Matt Barkley oversaw the comeback in finishing 18 of 24 for 224 yards, with Raheem Blackshear rushing for touchdowns of 1 and 3 yards over a span of 4:19 to tie the game.
Buffalo won its ninth straight preseason outing, which ranks as the NFL’s second-longest active streak behind the Baltimore Ravens who have won a league-record 21 in a row.
With Von Miller and the rest of the Bills’ starting defense watching from the sideline, Ryan finished 6 of 10 for 58 yards, with two incompletions occurring on fourth-down attempts. On the bright side, Ryan didn’t commit a turnover during a first half in which the teams combined for six overall.
Ryan’s backup, Nick Foles threw an interception and lost a fumble, which was returned 69 yards for a touchdown by Bills rookie linebacker Terrel Bernard.
With Buffalo also resting Josh Allen and its entire starting offense, Case Keenum struggled in throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble. Receiver Jake Kumerow also lost a fumble.
BRONCOS 17, COWBOYS 7
DENVER (AP) — Journeyman Josh Johnson threw a pair of first-half touchdowns and Denver beat penalty-prone Dallas.
Johnson, who’s 36 years old and playing for his 14th NFL team, was signed in the offseason to compete with Brett Rypien for the job backing up new Broncos starter Russell Wilson.
Wilson sat this one out, as did Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, leaving the passing duties to backups.
Rypien was 8 of 18 for 113 yards. Cooper Rush got the start for Dallas and was 12 of 20 for 84 yards and an interception. Ben DiNucci (9 of 16 for 112 yards) finally got the Cowboys on the board with a 12-yard TD toss to Simi Fehoko with just under five minutes remaining, capping a 16-play, 95-yard drive.
The Cowboys committed a whopping 17 penalties for 129 yards 48 hours after Dallas’ first-string offense was dominated by Denver’s front-line defense in a chippy joint practice that featured a half-dozen skirmishes.
Johnson overcame a slow start to throw for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-23 passing. He hit Seth Williams from a yard out and added a 24-yarder to Kendall Hinton. Williams’ grab followed a 40-yard reception by rookie Brandon Johnson, son of former Colorado Rockies catcher Charles Johnson.
The game marked Nathaniel Hackett’s debut as an NFL head coach and the introduction of the Broncos’ new Walton-Penner ownership group, which purchased the team from the Pat Bowlen Trust for a record $4.65 billion, and new team president Damani Leech.
DOLPHINS 26, BUCCANEERS 24
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Miami third-stringer Skylar Thompson threw for 218 yards and one touchdown to help the Dolphins open the preseason with a victory over Tampa Bay.
Jason Sanders kicked four field goals, including a 53-yarder that put the Dolphins ahead for good with just under seven minutes remaining.
Kyle Trask drove the Bucs into position to potentially win the game, but Jose Borregales’ 49-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright and bounced away as time expired.
With Tom Brady taking what Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles described as a pre-planned break from training camp for personal reasons, Trask and No. 2 quarterback Blaine Gabbert shared playing time against the Dolphins.
Gabbert, a 12th-year pro who backed up Brady the past two seasons, started Saturday night and worked two series. His 23-yard touchdown pass to Jaelon Darden gave the Bucs an early lead. Trask extended it by completing five of six passes for 67 yards on a long drive Ke’Shawn Vaughn finished with a 1-yard scoring run.
Trask followed that up with a pair of costly turnovers: an interception on an ill-advised pass intended for rookie running back Rachaad White, and a fumble that Miami linebacker Sam Eguavoen returned 32 yards for a second-quarter TD. The Dolphins also converted the interception into points, with Thompson tossing a 22-yard TD pass to Lynn Bowden Jr.
TEXANS 17, SAINTS 13
HOUSTON (AP) — Andy Dalton threw a touchdown pass on his only possession in his debut with New Orleans, but the Saints fell to Houston after a touchdown in the final minute.
Dalton, who joined the Saints after spending last season with the Bears, started with Jameis Winston out after he injured his foot in practice Monday.
Dalton was a perfect 5 for 5 for 51 yards. He threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Washington to put New Orleans up 7-0 early.
Houston quarterback Davis Mills was 3 for 3 for 14 yards in two drives where the team failed to get a first down.
Jeff Driskel threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to rookie Johnny Johnson III in the final minute to lift Houston to the win.
Chase Hansen led the Saints with six tackles, including two for losses, and returned an interception 44 yards to set up a field goal in the second quarter.