Panthers' Newton debuts in win
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton showed glimpses Saturday night of why the Carolina Panthers made him the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, from the strong arm that zipped the ball downfield to the mobility that bought extra moments in a collapsing pocket.
He also looked like a rookie quarterback struggling with his accuracy.
Newton led a pair of field-goal drives in his NFL debut, and Jimmy Clausen threw a touchdown pass to Greg Olsen to help the Panthers beat the New York Giants 20-10 in a preseason game.
Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn, twice failed to get the Panthers into the end zone on promising first-half drives. But he also brought some big-play potential to the league's worst offense last season and a franchise in desperate need of a fresh start.
In fact, the loudest cheer might've come when Newton took the field less than a minute into the second quarter.
"I was just trying to go out there and first off prove to myself that I could play on this level," Newton said. "After that first little completion, I started to get the juices flowing. It was like, 'Hey, I'm in the NFL,' and I started to get a little swagger about myself."
Newton completed 8 of 19 throws for 134 yards, including a pair of completions of at least 30 yards. Newton played until early in the fourth quarter before giving way to veteran reserve Derek Anderson.
"They had me guessing out there and I know this is just the beginning of what's more to come," Newton said.
Browns 27, Packers 17
At Cleveland, Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass before swapping his helmet for a baseball cap in the first quarter as the defending champion Green Bay Packers opened the preseason with a loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Rodgers and most of Green Bay's first-string offense played only two series in the first quarter, when both the Packers and Browns had long TD drives.
Rodgers got off to a rough start, but finished 6 of 8 for 74 yards and threw a 21-yard TD pass to Greg Jennings.
Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, looking comfortable running first-year Browns coach Pat Shurmur's new West Coast offense, went 9 of 10 for 135 yards while playing three series. He threw a 27-yard TD pass to Josh Cribbs, and led Cleveland on a second scoring drive, capped by Peyton Hillis' 3-yard scoring burst.
Titans 14, Vikings 3
At Nashville, Tenn., Jake Locker threw a 45-yard touchdown pass in his NFL debut, and Tennessee beat Minnesota to make new coach Mike Munchak a winner in his preseason opener.
Matt Hasselbeck started for Tennessee, and the veteran signed to a three-year contract to mentor Locker and make the Titans competitive this season looked sharp in his lone series. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 55 yards in an opening drive marred by a botched handoff leading to a 30-yard loss.
Donovan McNabb made his first start for Minnesota, and completed four of his first five passes before having the sixth knocked down by rookie linebacker Akeem Ayers. McNabb came back for a second series before leaving the game 6 of 11 for 40 yards.
Locker, the eighth pick overall from Washington, had his moment, too. He dropped the ball off the snap before picking it up, rolling to his right and throwing a perfect pass to Yamon Figurs for a TD. Locker played one series into the third quarter, and he was 7 of 10 for 89 yards with a passer rating of 130.8.
Bills 10, Bears 3
At Chicago, Jay Cutler played just one series and watched as Chicago beat Buffalo even though the offensive line did little to ease any lingering concerns.
The Bills got two sacks from Shawne Merriman and nine in all, but the Bears prevailed on a soggy night in which both teams pulled their starters early.
Cutler and Chicago's skill position starters played one series, with the linemen staying in for the first half. On defense, the first stringers lasted two series, while the Bills lifted their starters on both sides after two.
Cutler could be excused if he experienced flashbacks to last season, when he was sacked an NFL-leading 52 times. He again had little time with the defense bearing down on him and couldn't do much in his first appearance at Soldier Field since an NFC championship loss to Green Bay.
Newcomer Marion Barber made a good impression, running for 45 yards and leading the Bears to a second-quarter touchdown. He carried six times for 37 yards on that drive, setting up a 4-yard run by backup quarterback Caleb Hanie that put Chicago ahead 7-3.
Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 7 of 9 passes for 44 yards. Stevie Johnson, the man the Bills are counting on to take over the No. 1 spot with Lee Evans gone, caught three passes for 15 yards. Fred Jackson ran for 18 yards on three carries.
Rams 33, Colts 10
At St. Louis, Sam Bradford produced 17 points in four possessions with big help from a defense that jumped on Peyton Manning's backups for a pair of early interceptions as St. Louis opened the preseason with a victory over Indianapolis.
Josh Brown's 60-yard field goal capped an almost perfect first half not just for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' rebuilt attack but for all phases. Brown's boot bettered his career best of 58 yards in 2003 with the Seattle Seahawks and he added a 53-yarder in the third quarter.
Manning almost blended into the crowd on the Colts sideline in blue jeans and wearing a ball cap, but his presence on the field was sorely missed. Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky threw costly interceptions early, giving the Rams possession deep in Indianapolis territory to set up 10 easy points.
Bradford was in for 24 snaps, and was 7 for 12 for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also had a chat with Manning on the field after the game.
Rams backup running back Cadillac Williams had 40 yards on 11 carries with a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Keith Toston had 64 yards and a 5-yard score.