Quarterback Carson Wentz had a perfect preseason debut for the Philadelphia Eagles under less than ideal conditions against the Green Bay Packers.
The ball was a little slick because of the humidity on Thursday night. Players on both sides were shaking off the rust in their first preseason game of the season.
But Wentz still managed to go 4-for-4 for 56 yards and a score on his first series, eluding a potential sack and burning the Packers on third and fourth downs in Philadelphia’s 24-9 loss on Thursday night.
“I wouldn’t say perfect, first of all,” the second-year quarterback said. “We had a couple sloppy plays, but we stayed on the field.”
And Wentz stayed out of trouble, doing his best impression of elusive Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was a healthy scratch.
The Packers’ defense might need to keep working on tackling, though they’re off to a good start in creating turnovers.
“Lot to learn from there … I thought the work for us was excellent and we took a step tonight as a football team,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think all of us agree we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Philadelphia is looking to improve a pass offense that ranked 24th in the NFL last season.
Free-agent addition Alshon Jeffery didn’t play on Thursday. Nelson Agholor, who is having a good camp, didn’t have a catch. But Wentz found rookie Mack Hollins, the team’s fourth-round draft pick, for a 38-yard touchdown pass on third-and-13 with 6:33 left in the first quarter after the quarterback eluded rushing linebacker Clay Matthews’ grasp.
“I thought his escapability was right on point,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said about the 6-5 Wentz.
Cornerbacks Quinten Rollins and Kevin King each missed tackles as Hollins crossed right-to-left across the field on his way to the end zone. The Packers had problems at the cornerback position last season.
While no defender likes to miss a tackle, players on both teams were getting their first chances to tackle someone in another uniform after two weeks of camp.
“I think this is kind of a normal first night,” McCarthy said.
The Eagles got off to a nice start against Green Bay’s first-string defense, though they did turn the ball over three times in the second quarter with backup quarterback Matt McGloin behind center.
Wentz was done after his opening series, while backup Brett Hundley started at quarterback for Green Bay with Rodgers sitting out. Hundley picked up the pace after a sluggish start as the Packers defense started forcing turnovers.
Hundley pump-faked before finding Jeff Janis in stride down the right side of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 14-6 lead with 8:25 left in the second quarter. The Packers capitalized after cornerback LaDarius Gunter forced tight end Trey Burton to fumble at the Eagles 40.
Hundley finished 8-for-15 for 90 yards before sitting out the second half.
THAT’S SPECIAL: The Packers may have found a new threat in the return game in speedy second-year receiver Trevor Davis, who ran a punt back 68 yards in the second quarter for a touchdown. Davis also had a 26-yard punt return in the third quarter. “I don’t think I won a job or anything like that,” Davis said. “I was just happy to help my team win.”
ROOKIE WATCH: Eagles: DE Derek Barnett, the 14th overall pick in the draft out of Tennessee, had two sacks in the first half. “We’ve been practicing and we really couldn’t hit the quarterback. So, we got the green light tonight, so it was fun to get back out there in a game situation and just play,” Barnett said. Packers: King, the team’s second-round draft pick out of Washington, backed up his reputation as a physical cornerback with two hard open-field tackles in the second quarter. He was also credited with a forced fumble.
SCARY MOMENTS: Packers rookie WR Malachi Dupre was taken off on a stretcher after fumbling on a reception following a hard hit to the chest by Eagles safety Tre Sullivan with 14:14 left in the game. The Packers said that Dupre had movement and feeling in his arms and legs. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and McCarthy said initial testing was positive. CB Damarious Randall left in the first quarter with a concussion after getting blocked by Eagles WR Bryce Treggs. McCarthy said he did not have a good view of either it, but that the team would review them. “I’m sure we’ll react and handle things accordingly,” McCarthy said.
VIKINGS 17, BILLS 10
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater need not rush back from injury after Case Keenum showed glimpses of being a capable backup in the Minnesota Vikings’ 17-10 preseason-opening win over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.
Taking over for starter Sam Bradford, Keenum went 11-for-16 for 121 yards. The sixth-year player engineered a pair of scoring drives — both set up by passes to rookie receiver Stacy Coley.
Keenum hit Coley in stride over the middle on a crossing pattern for a 38-yard catch to set up Kai Forbath’s 36-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 late in the second quarter.
On the opening drive of the second half, Keenum rolled to his right and hit Coley, a seventh-round pick out of Miami, who made a sliding catch at the Bills 2.
Fullback C.J. Ham scored on the next play to put Minnesota ahead 10-3.
“Fine,” was the one-word answer Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said in assessing Keenum’s performance.
The Vikings signed Keenum in April as insurance with Bridgewater still recovering from a serious left knee injury sustained a year ago.
The Bills’ starting defense was stout in two series, while their offense struggled moving the ball under new coach Sean McDermott. Jerry Hughes and backup defensive end Eddie Yarborough each sacked Bradford, who played just two series.
Buffalo starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor played three series and hit 5 of 8 attempts for 46 yards.
Taylor also avoided a scare when he came up limping after Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen fell on him for an 11-yard sack on Buffalo’s opening drive. Taylor completed the series and was evaluated under a tent on the sideline before being cleared to return.
He showed no signs of being hurt three plays later when scrambling away from Griffen and Danielle Hunter before running out of bounds for a 2-yard gain. Buffalo’s starting offense accounted for five first downs and 89 yards, including a seven-play, 37-yard drive that ended with Stephen Hauschka hitting a 42-yard field goal.
Vikings third-string quarterback Taylor Heinicke hit Rodney Adams for a 2-yard touchdown catch.
The Bills made it close with 10 minutes left when rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman hit Dezmin Lewis on a fade route in the left corner for a 1-yard touchdown.
Bills receiver Anquan Boldin did not play after participating in just one practice after signing a one-year contract on Monday.
SITTING OUT: Vikings: LT Riley Reiff (back), RBs Latavius Murray (ankle) and Jerick McKinnon, WR Laquon Treadwell (leg). Bills: RB LeSean McCoy (rest), LT Cordy Glenn (left foot), CB Kevon Seymour (foot) and DE Shaq Lawson (groin).
ROOKIE WATCH: Vikings: Running back Dalvin Cook finished with five carries for 13 yards and had four catches for 40 yards in accounting for nearly half of the 127 yards Minnesota gained in the first two quarters. Cook, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday, was drafted in the second round out of Florida State and pegged to take over as the Vikings’ starter. Bills: First-round pick CB Tre’Davious White’s open-field tackle limited Cook to a 6-yard reception on third-and-12 to end the Vikings’ second possession.
THEY SAID IT: Vikings: “You can really get going and play football once you get that first carry out of the way. It was fun getting that first carry. It was good,” Cook said of his preseason debut. “As each week goes, we’re going to get better and better. We just can’t take a step backward.” Bills: “I like where he is at this point in training camp in terms of getting himself ready to play for the season,” McDermott said of his decision to rest McCoy.
QB COMPARISON: Vikings: Bradford hit 5 of 7 for 35 yards and Heinicke finished 3-for-8 for 20 yards and an interception. Bills: Backup T.J. Yates went 6-for-11 for 48 yards and Peterman finished 13-for-25 for 112 yards and lost a fumble on a botched snap on Buffalo’s final possession.
INJURIES: Vikings: Starting CB Trae Waynes did not return after hurting his left shoulder early in the first quarter. RB Bishop Sankey had difficulty putting weight on his right leg in being helped off after a 14-yard run on the opening drive of the third quarter. Sankey was on crutches and his right knee in a brace in the locker room. Bills: RB Jonathan Williams, competing for the No. 2 job behind McCoy, hurt his hamstring and finished with 39 yards rushing and a 7-yard catch. Rookie LB Tanner Vallejo did not return after hurting his shoulder late in the second quarter.
PENALTIES: Buffalo was flagged 10 times for 106 yards, including a pair of 15-yarders on special teams in the opening 16 minutes.