Cardinals overtake Raiders in final minute
OAKLAND, Calif. — Kevin Kolb found new favorite target Larry Fitzgerald twice in his Arizona debut but was unable to get his offense on the scoreboard in two drives before the Cardinals rallied to beat the Oakland Raiders 24-18 in their exhibition opener Thursday night.
Arizona's other three quarterbacks all threw touchdown passes, including a 28-yarder from Max Hall to Isaiah Williams with 39 seconds left for the win.
Raiders third-stringer Trent Edwards threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to rookie David Ausberry, and Sebastian Janikowski kicked four field goals, including a go-ahead 57-yarder with 2:32 to play, but the Raiders lost in Hue Jackson's head coaching debut.
After a year of poor quarterback play following Kurt Warner's retirement, Arizona made the big move to acquire Kolb from Philadelphia after the lockout ended last month. The Cardinals sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick to the Eagles and gave Kolb a five-year, $63 million contract, with $21 million guaranteed.
Kolb was unable to practice right away because he signed the new contract, giving him only five practices before his exhibition debut. He completed four of seven passes for 68 yards and also scrambled for 19 yards.
"He operated the offense and he knew what he was doing," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "He made some good reads and made some good throws. For it to be this early in the process with him, I am very excited about that."
Kolb targeted Fitzgerald on four of his seven throws. He struggled on the first drive against Oakland's first-team defense, with his only completion going for no gain to Early Doucet.
But when the Raiders brought mostly reserves for the second drive, Kolb got the Cardinals moving. He completed an 8-yard pass to newly acquired tight end Todd Heap on the first play. Kolb then went deep to Fitzgerald, who outmaneuvered rookie Demarcus Van Dyke for a 43-yard catch.
"That's his specialty right? The guy had him beat, I gave him a shot at it anyway, and he squeezed it and made a great play," Kolb said. "That's why I am glad he is in red and white."
Eagles 13, Ravens 6
At Philadelphia, Michael Vick threw for 74 yards and a touchdown pass in his only series and the new-look Philadelphia Eagles beat the Baltimore Ravens 13-6 on Thursday night in their preseason opener.
Nnamdi Asomugha, Vince Young and several other big-name acquisitions made their first appearances for the Eagles, who've signed a slew of free agents with impressive resumes in the past two weeks.
Patriots 47, Jaguars 12
At Foxborough, Mass., third-round draft pick Ryan Mallett played the whole second half and drove New England to touchdowns on his first four series, helping turn a 19-9 halftime lead into a 35-point rout.
The former Arkansas star was 12 of 19 for 164 yards and a touchdown. Stevan Ridley, a third-round choice from LSU, scored three touchdowns on two 1-yard runs and a 16-yard pass from Mallett. Richard Medlin, a rookie free agent from Fayetteville, had two 2-yard touchdown runs.
Blaine Gabbert, the former Missouri quarterback drafted 10th overall, completed 9 of 16 passes for 85 yards for Jacksonville. Playing against mostly backups as top players for both teams sat out the game, the Jaguars scored three field goals on Gabbert's six possessions. He played the entire first half with starting quarterback David Garrard unavailable because of a back injury.
Cowboys 24, Broncos 23
At Arlington, Texas, Tim Tebow's failed scramble just before halftime stood as the play of the game, until Stephen McGee — another option quarterback in college — ran around to throw a 13-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion with 15 seconds left, giving Dallas a victory over Denver.
Tebow led the Broncos to two field goals in four drives.
His first scoring series started at Denver's 10 and included a 43-yard pass perfectly lofted into double coverage. The other drive, however, started 7 yards from the end zone and wound up moving backward.
That series began with Tebow running it into the end zone on first down, but a holding penalty wiped it out, shoving the Broncos back to the 17. On third down, Tebow ran almost to the left sideline, back to the middle of the field, then tossed the ball to a waiting receiver for a short gain. However, Tebow crossed the line of scrimmage before ever cutting back, a lineman illegally went up the field to block and another teammate clobbered one of the Cowboys in the back. Dallas declined them all, forcing the Broncos to kick a field goal.
Seahawks 24, Chargers 17
At San Diego, Thomas Clayton scored on a 25-yard run with 3:05 left to lift Seattle.
Tarvaris Jackson passed for 13 yards over two moderately successful series in his debut as Matt Hasselbeck's replacement with the Seahawks. San Diego's Phillip Rivers went 5 for 6 while leading an 89-yard scoring in his only series.
Cornell graduate Bryan Walters returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter for the Chargers, and Mike Tolbert caught an 8-yard scoring pass to cap the only drive by Rivers.
Leon Washington rushed for a 1-yard score on the Seahawks' opening drive of the second half, and Josh ortis hit Anthony McCoy with a tying 6-yard TD pass with 4:02 left.
San Diego rookie Scott Tolzien's fumble set up Clayton's go-ahead score, but the former Wisconsin quarterback drove the Chargers to the Seattle 5 in the final minute before his final pass pinballed among several players and fell incomplete in the end zone.