NFL preseason 2018, Week 1: Highlights and results from Thursday

Follow along with us as we live blog the Browns-Giants, Texans-Chiefs, and Colts-Seahawks games.

Shaquem Griffin saw early action and took advantage

The Seahawks didn’t wait long to sub everybody’s favorite fifth-round pick into the game. Griffin entered on the Colts’ second drive of the game and got right to business with four tackles on his first defensive drive.

On a defense with a lot of new faces, Griffin already looks like he belongs.

Andrew Luck looked like a functional quarterback again

Indianapolis has been extremely patient and cautious with the recovery of Luck, but let him throw a lot on his first drive back on the field. While he didn’t throw deep at all, Luck completed five of his seven passes for 55 yards on the Colts’ opening drive that went for a total of 12 plays and ended with a field goal.

There’s still more steps for Luck to take, but there’s reason to for the Colts to feel really optimistic after his first preseason drive.

Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs

As excited as we were for Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, neither quarterback played much or did much. The preseason, ladies and gentlemen!

Patrick Mahomes was efficient early, but there were no fireworks

You get the feeling watching Mahomes that you’re always about two or three plays away from him throwing it 80 yards downfield. That didn’t happen in the first two drives against the Texans though, as the Chiefs offensive line struggled to keep the Houston pass rush — sans J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Jadeveon Clowney — off of the second-year quarterback.

Still, Mahomes completed five of his seven passes on the first two drives for 33 yards with a couple completions each to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.

Deshaun Watson’s return was just a dip of his toes in the water

The preseason debut for the Texans was Watson’s first game back from an ACL tear that ended his spectacular 2017 season. Houston played it really safe, though.

Watson played in just one drive and threw just one pass before he was replaced by Brandon Weeden on the second drive of the game for the Texans. His only pass was a short dump to Bruce Ellington that totaled 4 yards.

Houston is taking things real slow with their young star.

Cleveland Browns 20, New York Giants 10

Here’s what jumped out at us while we watched the Browns beat the Giants Thursday night.

Baker Mayfield and Antonio Callaway continued to create chemistry

Mayfield and Callaway got into a groove in the second half. Mayfield hit him once for a big gain while he was falling off his back foot, and the two connected for a 54-yard touchdown.

Callaway made up for his two drops earlier in the game. Those are plays coaches can live with as long as the explosive plays are being produced.

That was the last throw of the night for Baker Mayfield. He finished the game going 11 of 20, for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

Baker Mayfield had a very encouraging first half

The raw stats didn’t look great (4 of 11, 70 yards, one touchdown), but Mayfield played really well in his first NFL action. He had a command of the pocket, picked up first downs with his legs, and looked comfortable extending plays against and NFL defense.

Tyrod Taylor’s performance today will continue to entrench him as the starting quarterback, but Mayfield showed promise.

Antonio Callaway had a case of the drops

At the midway point for the Browns game against the Giants, Antonio Callaway struggled to catch the ball. He has two drops trying to catch passes from Mayfield; not the game he needed to have coming off his marijuana citation over the weekend.

Baker Mayfield started heating up

The No. 1 overall pick didn’t do much of anything on the first drive, but he was back with a vengeance now. Mayfield marched the Browns down the field for a touchdown, converting third and fourth downs along the way.

His touchdown throw to David Njoku was pretty solid, too.

Rashard Higgins had a strong game

Mayfield to Hollywood Higgins could be the preseason’s Montana to Rice. The timing was perfect between the two on this comeback route.

Baker Mayfield had an uneventful first drive

Handoff for negative gain on first down. Missed deep on the second down throw. Another run for a negative gain on third down. Yes, the Browns ran it up the middle on third-and-11 in a preseason game.

The Browns’ offense settled in on their second drive

Tyrod Taylor looked right at home in the Browns’ second drive of the game. He hit Rashard Higgins for two completions including a deep comeback along the sideline before throwing a strike to David Njoku for a touchdown.

Through two drives, Tyrod Taylor is 5/5, 99 yards, and the aforementioned touchdown.

Saquon Barkley looked like Saquon Barkley on his first NFL carry

This kid makes it look so easy. His patience at the line of scrimmage and ability to burst through it will hopefully allow him to create more of these big runs into the regular season.

If you want to join in the discussion for any of the other 10 games on the slate, please visit the game threads at our team sites.

Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers

Cowboys fans: Blogging the Boys

49ers fans: Niners Nation

Carolina Panthers 28, Buffalo Bills 23

Look, Josh Allen had some good throws. We’re not trying to be haters, but lawd, this play:

Recap for Panthers fans: Cat Scratch Reader

Recap for Bills fans: Buffalo Rumblings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26, Miami Dolphins 24

The Bucs got the win, but their kicker curse is still haunting them:

Recap for Bucs fans: Bucs Nation

Recap for Dolphins fans: The Phinsider

Cincinnati Bengals 30, Chicago Bears 27

Andy Dalton only had one bad throw, but we also can’t blame him much here:

Recap for Bears fans: Windy City Gridiron

Recap for Bengals fans: Cincy Jungle

Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Philadelphia Eagles 14

Neither team’s Super Bowl-winning quarterback was out on the field Thursday night (Carson Wentz isn’t quite ready for game action either). Instead, it ended up being the JuJu Smith-Schuster show:

Recap for Steelers fans: Behind the Steel Curtain

Recap for Eagles fans: Bleeding Green Nation

New Orleans Saints 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Not many starters played for the Saints, but they still managed to put together a comeback win. And although the Jags took the L, they got to see a glimpse of what a weapon rookie D.J. Chark can be:

Recap for Saints fans: Canal Street Chronicles

Recap for Jags fans: Big Cat Country

Baltimore Ravens 33, Los Angeles Rams 7

Rams fans: Turf Show Times

Ravens fans: Baltimore Beatdown

New England Patriots 26, Washington 17

Tom Brady wasn’t out there, but the Patriots mounted a big comeback in the second half. Worse news for Washington: rookie running back Derrius Guice left with a knee injury.

Washington fans: Hogs Haven

Patriots fans: Pats Pulpit

Tennessee Titans vs. Green Bay Packers

Titans fans: Music City Miracles

Packers fans: Acme Packing Company


Pregame

The first full week of NFL preseason is set to kick off on Thursday evening with 12 games scheduled.

We will get our first look at the first overall draft pick Baker Mayfield and second overall pick Saquon Barkley as the Cleveland Browns will face the New York Giants. The reigning Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles will take on Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Washington will get its first look a newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith when the team plays the New England Patriots on the road. Houston Texans’ second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson, who suffered a season ending ACL injury in 2017, is expected to play in the preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck will be making his return to football after missing the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder injury.

NFL Preseason Week One Schedule:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins, 7 p.m.

Carolina Panthers vs. Buffalo Bills, 7 p.m.

Chicago Bears vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 7 p.m.

Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants, 7 p.m., NFL Network

New Orleans Saints vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 7 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m.

Washington vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m.

Tennessee Titans vs. Green Bay Packers, 8:00 p.m.

Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 8:30 p.m.

Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers, 10:00 p.m., NFL Network

Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks, 10:00 p.m.

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