Bills’ backups stage big rally late, beat Vikings 27-23
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Undrafted rookie Tyree Jackson hit David Sills for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 8 seconds left in rallying the Buffalo Bills to a 27-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings to close the preseason Thursday night.
Victor Bolden recovered Jackson’s fumble in the end zone and Marcus Murphy scored on a 79-yard punt return as the Bills scored three touchdowns in the final 3:53 to overcome a 23-6 deficit. The Bills finished 4-0 for the first unbeaten preseason in team history.
Minnesota receiver Laquon Treadwell caught all three passes directed his way for 30 yards in what could be the 2016 first-round draft pick’s final appearance with the Vikings. While the Vikings rested their starters, Treadwell played the entire first half amid speculation he could be traded or cut by Saturday, when NFL teams are required to set their 53-player rosters. Treadwell has been passed on the depth chart by Chad Beebe, Jordan Taylor and Jeff Badet after three mostly unproductive seasons since the Vikings selected him with the 23rd pick in 2016.
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Colts wrapped up an unsettling preseason, moving on from Andrew Luck with the victory in a game missing starters and fans.
Luck retired a week earlier after a 27-17 loss to Chicago, frustrated by his inability to get healthy. His postgame announcement severely dented the Colts’ playoff chances and elevated Jacoby Brissett — 4-11 as a starter with Indianapolis — to lead the offense.
Brissett had a lot of company as he watched from the sideline. There were large swaths of empty seats as both teams rested their starters and key backups for the final preseason game.
Colts third-round pick Parris Campbell made his debut and caught three passes for 42 yards. He missed most of training camp and the first three preseason games with a hamstring injury. His 31-yard catch and run set up a touchdown.
The Colts avoided their first winless preseason since 2014, when they eventually lost to New England in the AFC championship game.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Atlanta ended a 12-game preseason losing streak and seemingly found a solution to their kicking woes.
Matt Bryant is scheduled to try out for coaches and front office personnel at the team’s training facility Friday. Assuming the 44-year-old kicker is healthy, he’s expected to sign on for a 19th NFL season — his 11th with the Falcons. Bryant and the Falcons parted in the offseason, with the veteran leaving Atlanta as the franchise’s leading scorer (1,122 points). His 158 points in 2016 set the team’s single-season scoring mark.
Even before Giorgio Tavecchio missed his fifth field-goal attempt of the preseason, the Falcons had plans to bring Bryant back. Tavecchio was wide left from 53 yards late in the second quarter. He fell to 4 of 9 on field-goal attempts this preseason, also missing from 54, 52, 52 and 39 yards.
The Falcons (1-4) worked out three kickers — Elliott Fry, Younghoe Koo and Blair Walsh — last week and discussed the possibility of bringing in Bryant. They settled on Walsh, at least temporarily. Walsh made his lone attempt Thursday night, hitting from 46 yards.
Jacksonville (0-4) finished winless in the preseason for the first time in franchise history and scored its fewest points (29). The previous low was 59 in 2004.
Pittsburgh’s Rudolph continued to outperform Josh Dobbs, completing 7 of 11 passes for 125 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Holton. The second-year quarterback from Oklahoma State led three drives resulting in a touchdown, field goal and a missed field goal to give the Steelers a 16-10 halftime lead.
Dobbs started, but both of his possessions came up empty and he finished 3 of 5 for 21 yards for the Steelers (3-1).
Allen has been Cam Newton’s presumed backup in Carolina, starting three of four preseason games, and there was no reason to believe anything has changed in Ron Rivera’s mind. Allen led one drive, completing 4 of 6 passes for 41 yards while showing good pocket presence and the ability to escape pressure by slipping out of the backfield for a 13-yard run and a first down. The drive ended in a missed field goal.
Rookie Will Grier played the remainder of the first half for Carolina (2-2) and had mixed results.
The kicking job still appears up for grabs for the Jets (2-2) after a shaky summer from Bertolet, who replaced Chandler Catanzaro — who abruptly retired after the first preseason game.
Trevor Siemian started at quarterback for the Jets with Sam Darnold and New York’s starters getting the night off. With the backup job wrapped up, Siemian went 5 of 5 for 37 yards in his only series before giving way to Luke Falk.