ATLANTA (AP) Tennessee rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, whose first two drives ended with an interception and a fumble, recovered to lead a touchdown drive in the Titans’ 31-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in a preseason opener Friday night.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan completed all six passes for 86 yards on his only possession, including a 13-yard touchdown to Julio Jones.
With the assistance of Mariota’s early turnovers, the Falcons led 17-0 behind new coach Dan Quinn before the Titans pulled even at 24. Michael Ford’s 1-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter snapped the tie.
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Mariota, the No. 2 overall draft pick, went 7 of 8 for 94 yards. Paul Worrilow returned Mariota’s fumble 14 yards for a touchdown.
PANTHERS 25, BILLS 24
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Joe Webb’s short pass to running back Brandon Wegher led to a 42-yard touchdown with 54 seconds left and Carolina won it on a 2-point conversion.
The Panthers’ third-string quarterback hit Paul Browning for the 2-pointer to seal the victory, as coach Ron Rivera went for the win rather than have an exhibition game decided in overtime.
The loss spoiled new Bills coach Rex Ryan’s first game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Fired by the New York Jets at the end of last season, he was hired by Buffalo to replace Doug Marrone, who stepped down abruptly on Dec. 31.
The Bills were in a position to win after EJ Manuel put them ahead 24-17 by hitting receiver Deonte Thompson in stride for a 51-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.
BENGALS 23, GIANTS 10
CINCINNATI (AP) – Andy Dalton completed all three of his passes, and the Bengals’ starting offense was impressive in its only drive. Dalton was 3 for 3 for 31 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu. Coach Marvin Lewis decided that was enough, resting his starting offense after only 2 minutes, 55 seconds on the field.
Dalton had completions of 12, 16 and 3 yards, and Jeremy Hill ran twice for 15 yards.
It was much different for the Giants’ starters. Eli Manning and the rest of the offense stayed on the field until early in the second quarter, managing only one first down and 38 yards in four series.
The teams practiced against each other for two days last week without incident.
JAGUARS 23, STEELERS 21
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Ben Roethlisberger threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant on the opening drive, and Pittsburgh was much more proficient in its second preseason game.
The Jaguars (1-0) were the real losers, though. Tight end Julius Thomas injured a finger on his left hand on the team’s second play and did not return.
The Steelers (0-2) managed just three points and 191 yards in a 14-3 loss to Minnesota in the Hall of Fame game last Sunday. Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, receiver Antonio Brown and several other starters sat out. The trio came up big in just six plays of work against the Jaguars.
Roethlisberger completed all three passes for 59 yards, including a perfectly lobbed deep ball to Bryant on third down. Bell carried twice for 18 yards. And Brown caught the only ball throw in his direction.
RAIDERS 18, RAMS 3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Derek Carr completed three passes to Oakland rookie receiver Amari Cooper on an opening field-goal drive and the Raiders won their exhibition opener under new coach Jack Del Rio.
Carr kept looking for Cooper and threw an interception to Trumaine Johnson in the end zone on the second drive before leaving for the night.
Nick Foles drove the Rams to a field goal on his first drive, but that’s all St. Louis could generate.
Backup Christian Ponder threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Andre Holmes and third-stringer Matt McGloin connected on a 16-yard TD to Brice Butler as Del Rio became the first Raiders coach to win his exhibition debut since Lane Kiffin in 2007.
BRONCOS 22, SEAHAWKS 20
SEATTLE (AP) – Brock Osweiler completed 15 of 20 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown, leading Denver to scores on all five first-half possessions.
Starting in place of Peyton Manning – who went through pregame warmups but was just a spectator – Osweiler finished with a 112.7 rating. He capped his night with a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Virgil Green late in the first half for a 19-10 Broncos lead. Denver’s offense finished with 240 yards in the first half, although much of that came with most of Seattle’s starting defense standing on the sideline.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was in for two series and completed his lone pass attempt, a 12-yard connection with new tight end Jimmy Graham. Seattle’s biggest highlight was rookie Tyler Lockett’s 103-yard kickoff return for a TD.
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