• Get the Blackhawks Championship Package
    Get the Blackhawks Championship Package
  • Give the Gift of SI
    Give the Gift of SI
Posted: Thursday August 9, 2012 11:22PM ; Updated: Friday August 10, 2012 1:55AM

Roundup: Griffin leads Redskins

Story Highlights

Robert Griffin hit Pierre Garcon for the game's lone TD as the Redskins prevailed

John Kasey missed a 41-yard field goal late as the Patriots edged the Saints 7-6

Alex Henery's 51-yard field goal with :12 left gave the Eagles an emotional victory

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Three was the key for Robert Griffin III.

The Washington Redskins rookie quarterback needed only three passes on his third and final drive to show glimpses of stardom in his much-anticipated NFL preseason debut Thursday night.

After a muffed handoff and no first downs in his first two series, RG3 found his rhythm by completing his final three passes for 58 yards, capped by a 20-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon in a 7-6 win over the Buffalo Bills .

Garcon celebrated by doing a front-first somersault in the end zone. And he was quickly joined by Griffin, who raced over to congratulate him with a leap in the air. With 5:54 left in the first quarter, it was the go-ahead score after the Redskins (No. 25 in the AP Pro32) fell behind 3-0.

It was an eventful cameo appearance for the Heisman Trophy winner, who was drafted with the No. 2 pick out of Baylor. Griffin finished going 4 of 6 for 70 yards and a lost fumble.

"It felt extremely good to come out and play," Griffin said. "Coach did a good job calling plays, got me in a rhythm and helped get the offense in a rhythm on that third drive."

Defensive end Mario Williams made a debut of his own for the Bills (No. 19) in his first game since signing a six-year, $100 million contract in free agency in March. Williams, the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, and the Bills' new-look defensive front was solid in limiting the Redskins to 11 yards and no first downs in the first two series.

The trouble for Buffalo came on offense, which was sloppy and lacked finish.

Starter Ryan Fitzpatrick went 6 for 14 for 61 yards, and squandered a scoring opportunity when the Bills got the ball at the Redskins 21 following Griffin's fumble. The Bills were undone by a false start penalty and an illegal formation that negated what would've been a 20-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson .

Buffalo instead settled for Rian Lindell hitting a 43-yard field goal.

"I thought it was really poor, but luckily it's the preseason," Fitzpatrick said. "We've got a lot to work on."

The offense did no better under backup Tyler Thigpen , who hit 3 of 8 attempts for 38 yards. Thigpen failed to score despite six snaps from inside the Redskins 10-yard line. And the Bills then came away empty when Lindell pushed a 22-yard attempt wide left.

Lindell also hit a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter.

The Bills were penalized 14 times for 134 yards.

Griffin's only real miscue was the fumble, which was credited to him because he was the last player to have possession. Replays, however, showed running back Evan Royster was also to blame because he never closed his hands on the ball.

Patriots 7, Saints 6

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Will Smith crunched Tom Brady from behind, forcing a fumble in the first quarter. It may be the Saints defensive end's biggest play for a while.

One of four players punished in New Orleans bounty scandal, Smith was suspended for the first four regular-season games. So Thursday night's sack of New England's star quarterback was a highlight in the Patriots lackluster win in their exhibition opener.

John Kasay had a chance to give the Saints (No. 9 in the AP Pro32) the lead, but his 41-yard field goal attempt went wide to the right with 3:07 left.

The game followed two days of joint practices between the teams and was the first for the Patriots (No. 2) since their 21-17 loss in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants .

Brady left after two series and 15 plays - plus two holding penalties against new left tackle Nate Solder - and banged his helmet on the ground in anger when he returned to the bench. He finished with four completions in seven attempts for 30 yards and the 11-yard sack from which he got up slowly on his first possession. Smith came around the left tackle position filled by Solder after Matt Light retired.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees also played two series, lasting just six plays. He was 1 of 4 for 4 yards in his second exhibition game. In last Sunday's 17-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame game, Brees was 4 for 5 for 41 yards on his only drive, resulting in a touchdown.

Second-year running back Shane Vereen was a bright spot for the Patriots as he and Stevan Ridley compete for playing time as replacements for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who signed with Cincinnati. On the first series of the third quarter, Vereen gained 62 yards on seven carries and caught a 10-yard pass.

The drive covered 97 yards, capped by Brian Hoyer 's 3-yard scoring pass to Britt Davis, a long shot to make the team at the crowded wide receiver position.

Vereen rushed for only 57 yards all last season when injuries limited him to five games and 15 rushes.

Eagles 24, Steelers 23

PHILADELPHIA -- Andy Reid was welcomed back to the sideline with a standing ovation and chants of "Andy! Andy! Andy!"

Then the Philadelphia Eagles gave their grieving coach a small reason to smile.

Alex Henery kicked a 51-yard field goal with 12 seconds left to lift the Eagles to a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in their preseason opener.

After the Steelers went up on Daniel Hrapmann 's 42-yarder with 1:57 left, Trent Edwards led the Eagles (No. 8 in the AP Pro32) back on an 11-play drive to set up Henery's kick.

Reid coached the Eagles just two days after his 29-year-old son's funeral. Garrett Reid, the oldest of five children for Andy and Tammy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his dorm room at Lehigh University where he was assisting the team's strength and conditioning coach during training camp.

Andy Reid returned to the Eagles for a walkthrough Wednesday morning, saying it was "the right thing to do" and his son would've wanted him to coach.

Fans who chanted "Fire Andy!" during a lopsided loss to the New England Patriots last November showed their compassionate side.

Rookie Nick Foles threw two long TD passes to help the Eagles overcome a 13-0 third-quarter deficit.

Ben Roethlisberger was sharp in his only series for the Steelers (No. 7 in the AP Pro32). He led the offense on a 16-play scoring drive in the first game under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Michael Vick 's results weren't quite so good.

Vick escaped injury after banging his left thumb on center Jason Kelce 's helmet, and took a seat on the bench after the offense went three-and-out in his only two drives.

Vick got hurt on his final throw and was wincing in pain when he came off the field. X-rays on Vick's thumb were negative.

Chargers 21,Packers 13

SAN DIEGO -- Shannon Eastin became the first woman to officiate an NFL game and the San Diego Chargers slogged to a sloppy victory.

Eastin broke the NFL's on-field gender barrier by serving as the line judge for the seven-man crew of replacement officials.

She helped oversee a predictably ugly preseason opener by both teams, filled with fumbles, interceptions and missed assignments.

Philip Rivers had a touchdown, an interception and a fumble in limited action for the Chargers (No. 16 in the AP Pro32). Rookie Jarrett Lee got most of the action, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown.

Aaron Rodgers had an interception and a fumble in three series for the Packers (No. 1).

Ravens 31, Falcons 17

ATLANTA -- Baltimore backup Curtis Painter threw three second-half touchdown passes to lead the Ravens to a win over the Falcons.

Atlanta's Matt Ryan led two touchdown drives, including a scoring pass to Julio Jones , before Painter took over.

Ryan completed 9 of 13 passes for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was 5 for 5 for 71 yards, including the 7-yard touchdown pass to Jones, on the opening drive for Atlanta (No. 13 in the AP Pro32).

Joe Flacco completed 9 of 12 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown for Baltimore (No. 5). The Falcons led 14-0 before Flacco threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson midway through the second quarter.

Each starting quarterback left the game in the second quarter.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
SI.com
Hot Topics: Boston Marathon NBA Playoffs NHL Playoffs LaMarcus Aldridge Dwyane Wade Carlos Gomez
TM & © 2014 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines, your California privacy rights, and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint