GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Eddie Lacy’s powerful running early on helped propel the Green Bay Packers to a 20-12 win over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.
Lacy had nine carries for 45 yards, capped by a 1-yard touchdown dive on third-and-goal, to highlight a 14-play, 74-yard drive to start the game as the Packers again played without quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“It shows what we’re capable of doing,” Lacy said. “And as long as we’re all on the same page, we can pretty much have a lot of drives like that.”
The night was over at that point for Lacy, who made Mike McCarthy happy in the offseason by slimming down after the coach was critical of the lead back’s playing weight at the end of last season.
With a healthy Rodgers again held out of game action, second-year backup Brett Hundley made the start in his preseason debut.
But after directing the early touchdown drive, which used more than half of the clock in the first quarter, Hundley left the game early in the second quarter after he reinjured his left ankle.
McCarthy said the team’s medical staff doesn’t consider the setback to be as bad as the original injury that sidelined Hundley for two weeks before he returned to practice this week.
The Packers’ rushing attack carried the offense with 145 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown run by third-string back John Crockett.
Derek Carr ran Oakland’s offense for a half Thursday, but wasn’t effective.
The third-year starter completed 9 of 13 passes for just 38 yards and had an underthrown pass to standout receiver Amari Cooper picked off by Damarious Randall.
Raiders running back Latavius Murray had six carries for 19 yards against a Green Bay defense that was without three key starters, including linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.
Matthews and Peppers, who have yet to play in the preseason, have been threatened with suspensions by the NFL if they don’t cooperate with the league’s investigation of the players’ alleged link to performance-enhancing drugs.
A day after the Packers activated Jordy Nelson from the physically unable to perform list, the star receiver suited up for and participated in pregame warmups.
“It was good to get back out there,” Nelson said. “Obviously, it’s another step in the right direction.”
Nelson was out since the start of training camp with an injury to his left knee, which he called “a hiccup.”
After he missed the 2015 season because of a torn ACL in his right knee, it’s uncertain if Nelson could play Green Bay’s next exhibition game, Aug. 26 at San Francisco, when Rodgers expects to have extended playing time.
All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack had a big first half for the Raiders in pressuring the pocket.
One of Mack’s two quarterback hits forced Hundley to leave the game after Hundley managed to complete a pass of 31 yards to Davante Adams.
Mack later dominated Packers backup rookie left tackle Jason Spriggs on back-to-back plays with a sack of Joe Callahan and then pressuring Callahan into an intentional-grounding penalty.
Raiders: Starting DE Mario Edwards Jr. (hip) and TE Gabe Holmes (ankle) are out indefinitely after getting hurt in the preseason opener last week. Undrafted rookie RB Jalen Richard (knee) missed a second straight game.
Packers: Veteran S Morgan Burnett remains sidelined because of a back injury that flared up before last week’s first game. Micah Hyde again made the start in Burnett’s absence.
Raiders: “Not the kind of sharp showing we’re looking for. A lot of things we can learn from and move on. That’s what we have to do.” — Coach Jack Del Rio on the team’s performance.
Raiders: QB Connor Cook, the team’s fourth-round draft pick, went 6 of 9 for 101 yards. He had a fourth-quarter pass intercepted by Josh Hawkins.
Packers: DE Dean Lowry, a fourth-round draft choice, started in Green Bay’s base defense for the second straight game.
Raiders: Top backup Matt McGloin was 2 of 5 for 2 yards before giving way to Cook late in the third quarter.
Packers: Hundley went 5 of 7 for 67 yards before leaving with the injury. . Callahan, who started the first preseason game, was 9 of 17 for 65 yards. Fellow undrafted rookie Marquise Williams finished, but didn’t throw a pass.
Justin McInnes was the line judge for the game, marking the first time a current Canadian Football League official worked an NFL game.
McInnes was part of an eight-man crew led by referee Bill Vinovich on Thursday.
Two other CFL officials are working NFL exhibition games this week as part of the two leagues’ officiating development program.
VIKINGS 18, SEAHAWKS 11
SEATTLE (AP) — Marcus Sherels intercepted Trevone Boykin’s pass and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown with 1:23 left and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Seattle Seahawks 18-11 on Thursday night.
With Boykin trying to lead Seattle to another late comeback for a second straight week, Sherels stepped in front of his pass intended for E.Z. Nwachukwu and went untouched for the deciding score. Seattle had pulled even at 11-11 when Troymaine Pope scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 12:49 left after his 27-yard run got the Seahawks deep in Minnesota territory and Steven Hauschka’s 49-yard field goal later in the fourth quarter.
Boykin got Seattle to the Minnesota 5 in the closing seconds, before taking a sack and was unable to connect with Antwan Goodley in the end zone on the final play.
Adrian Peterson was a spectator for Minnesota, as expected. So too, unexpectedly, was quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, given the night off by the choice of coach Mike Zimmer. Shaun Hill started and played nearly the entire first half, leading the Vikings to their only offensive touchdown on Jerick McKinnon’s 1-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.
Blair Walsh was perfect on a 27-yard field goal, after missing from the same distance in the NFC wild-card game and costing the Vikings a playoff victory. But Walsh missed wide left from 47 yards with 2:09 left that would have given the Vikings the lead.
Seattle’s overhauled offensive line struggled after a decent debut last Saturday against Kansas City. Russell Wilson played the entire first half and was sacked four times, getting pulled down awkwardly on the last sack. Wilson was 5 of 11 for 77 yards.
The bright spot for Seattle’ starting offense was again running back Christine Michael. Projected as the No. 2 running back when the season begins, Michael finished with 55 yards on 10 carries.
PRESEASON FOR EVERYONE
It’s preseason for everyone, including the officials. Referee Ed Hochuli had a slip in the third quarter when the Vikings called timeout, but he announced, “Time out Baltimore,” before correcting himself.
Vikings: QB Joel Stave played the entire second half and was 6 of 14 for 67 yards.
Seahawks: DT Jarran Reed was disruptive against both the Vikings’ starting offense and their reserves. Reed had three tackles, but gave Seattle a scare in the third quarter when he stayed down on the field for a few moments getting looked at by trainers. He walked off under his own power.
Vikings: RT Andre Smith played nearly the entire first half with the starting offense in his bid to hold off T.J. Clemmings for the starting job. Smith stayed mostly out of the spotlight with the exception of a holding call that was declined.
Seahawks: Mike Morgan started at strongside linebacker. Morgan has appeared to hold the edge in the competition as the most experienced option in Seattle’s system.
Vikings: CB Xavier Rhodes left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury.
Seahawks: RB Thomas Rawls did not play, but he did go through a full pregame warmup, the strongest sign that Rawls may be ready for the regular season.
“It’s nothing at all to be concerned about,” Bridgewater told the Vikings’ TV broadcast. “Like coach Zimmer said, it was his decision. It was just good to be out there supporting the guys.”
LIONS 30, BENGALS 14
DETROIT (AP) — Jeremy Hill scored a touchdown on Cincinnati’s first possession, but that was it for the Bengals when their top offensive players were in the game.
“I think we need to score more points,” Hill said. “We left too many on the field when we were out there. We did finish one drive, which we didn’t do last week, but we need to do a better job of converting third downs.”
Hill ran for a 9-yard touchdown, and the Bengals went on to a 30-14 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night, but this was not a great offensive show by either team’s first stringers. Cincinnati benefited from a defensive touchdown and didn’t really put the game away until the second half.
Hill hurt his left hand in Cincinnati’s preseason opener last week, but he had three carries for 16 yards against the Lions and also caught a pass.
Former Cincinnati wide receiver Marvin Jones, signed by the Lions in the offseason, had four catches for 65 yards against his former team.
“It was neat seeing them,” Jones said. “Those are the guys I’ve gone against every day for four years, so it was good to kind of be on the other side and go against them.”
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford was 8 of 11 for 113 yards, but the Lions went without a touchdown until the final minute of the game.
Cincinnati’s Derron Smith returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Andy Dalton was 7 of 9 for 78 yards for the Bengals.
LACK OF BALANCE
Detroit has struggled for years to develop a running game good enough to complement Stafford and his receivers. In the first quarter Thursday when the top players were in, the Lions passed for 103 yards and rushed for 14.
“I think across the board, I don’t think we did a lot of things well,” Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said. “I don’t think we tackled well, I don’t think we ran the ball well, I don’t think we stopped the run very well. So we’ve got work to do.”
Bengals: WR Tyler Boyd continues to impress. After a 40-yard catch in last week’s game, he made a nice diving grab of Dalton’s pass for a 26-yard gain on Cincinnati’s first possession. Boyd later caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from AJ McCarron with 12 seconds left in the first half.
“That’s why he’s here — he’s supposed to make plays,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. “He’s a smart kid who understands how to play this game, and he’s done a good job of taking advantage of the opportunities he’s getting.”
Lions: TE Cole Wick was beaten by a pass rusher in the first quarter on a play in which Stafford was hit and fumbled, but he also had two catches for 26 yards.
Bengals: T Jake Fisher walked off slowly in the first half with a sprained right ankle. He took over at RT after Cedric Ogbuehi injured his toe last week, so now Cincinnati’s depth could be tested even further.
Lions: The absences of TE Eric Ebron and LB DeAndre Levy weren’t huge surprises, and Detroit didn’t appear to have any major health issues among those who played.
Bengals: Mike Nugent missed a field goal on the opening drive last week against Minnesota, and he missed an extra point and a field goal against Detroit. There was no real competition for his job, but if he falls into an extended slump, perhaps there could be. Nugent did make a 50-yard kick in the fourth quarter.
Lions: There’s some uncertainty at the backup quarterback spot, with Dan Orlovsky doing little to inspire confidence when his interception was returned for a touchdown. Rookie Jake Rudock received a nice hand when he came on in the fourth quarter, but the University of Michigan product was also intercepted on just his third pass attempt.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m going to start triple-taping my ankles, and I’ve never taped them at all in my career,” Cincinnati T Andrew Whitworth on the team’s injury issues.