If the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs’ season goes as planned, Thursday night will be the last time we see quarterback Patrick Mahomes this season. In a way that’s too bad, because Mahomes might be one of the most exciting players in the NFL already.
Mahomes wasn’t perfect on Thursday, but he put on a show with some great highlights. Time after time Mahomes showed off his strong arm or his ability to move around in the pocket. It was another impressive night for the first-round pick.
This is still Alex Smith’s team, especially after the Chiefs got the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs last season. Smith will be the starter this season as long as the Chiefs keep winning. But Mahomes should give the Chiefs a lot of excitement for the future after his play this preseason.
Mahomes started Thursday against the Tennessee Titans, and made some great splash plays again in a 30-6 win. He threw a beautiful 53-yard pass on a post route to Demarcus Robinson late in the first quarter. Mahomes might have a top-five strongest arm in the NFL already, or close to it. Then on third down later in the drive, Mahomes used his athleticism once he realized the middle of the field was open and scrambled for the first down.
In the second quarter, Mahomes was rolling to his right and threw a laser downfield for a 46-yard gain to Robinson. It was an impressive pass that not all NFL quarterbacks can make. Mahomes made a mistake right after that when he appeared to throw an interception to Titans linebacker Jayon Brown, but a replay review showed Brown didn’t complete the catch.
Mahomes ended the first half with another highlight. He stood in the pocket and delivered a nice touchdown pass to Robinson – who made a nice impression himself in August – for a 28-yard score. Mahomes finished the first half 9 of 16 for 183 yards. Mahomes was pulled at the start of the second half.
Nobody expects Mahomes to be perfect right away, but what he has shown is impressive. The Chiefs traded a 2018 first-round pick to move up to No. 10 and draft him, and that’s looking like a good move so far. Now we just have to wait for the chance to watch him play again.
The New York Jets got to their fourth preseason game and realized that after giving Christian Hackenberg two starts, their starter Josh McCown hadn’t played much before the regular season.
The Jets decided to start McCown in the fourth preseason game, a week that most teams routinely sit 30 or so players including every starter and key backup. There’s a reason for that.
The Jets almost got McCown hurt 10 days before the regular-season opener. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Joe Walker got a pass rush on McCown and hit him hard on the right side just as he released a pass. McCown stayed down, tried to get off the field after motioning to the sideline and then just went down in pain.
It probably says something about this year’s Jets that they held their breath to make sure their 38-year-old journeyman quarterback wasn’t significantly injured. McCown was OK, and he came back after sitting out a play. Why the Jets would put McCown right back in the game after such a scare is strange, but this is the 2017 Jets. The Jets beat the Eagles 16-10.
Not many players expected to start in Week 1 of the regular season saw time on Thursday night. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien started, and he might have to start Week 1 because of Andrew Luck’s injury. Other starters got a little bit of paying time, perhaps because they had miss some other preseason games due to injury, but it was rare. Teams do not want to get anyone hurt at the end of the preseason, so close to the start of the regular season.
And somehow, the Jets almost got their starting quarterback hurt.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett will probably be a significant part of the 2018 New England Patriots. It’s hard to see both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo being on the Pats next season, unless they give free-agent-to-be Garoppolo the franchise tag (or Brady’s starting spot). Brissett was a third-round pick last year, so the Patriots obviously liked him coming out of college.
Reviews have been mixed on Brissett through training camp, but he did well in his big chance Thursday. Brissett played the entire game in a 40-38 loss to the New York Giants and went 28 of 39 for 338 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 20 yards and a touchdown.
Brissett made some very nice throws. In one sequence he threw a strong pass to receiver Austin Carr over the middle, then later in the drive made the right read to hit Carr for a touchdown. Carr, an undrafted player from Northwestern, has played so well in training camp and preseason that the Patriots are going to have to find a way to get him on their talented and deep 53-man roster.
Brissett did give the Giants a touchdown. On a short swing pass, Brissett threw it right to defensive end Kerry Wynn, who returned it for an easy touchdown. The Patriots right tackle made a mistake to not get a piece of Wynn to open up a lane for the pass to the running back, but it’s still a pick-six on Brissett’s record.
That was one of the very few mistakes Brissett made. Brissett looked in control and he has enticing skills.
The Patriots probably don’t want Brissett to play for them this season – like he surprisingly did last year, starting two games when Brady was suspended and Garoppolo was hurt – but the Patriots will remember how good Brissett looked on Thursday night when they start to make their 2018 plans.
Jacksonville Jaguars 13, Atlanta Falcons 7: Jaguars rookie receiver Dede Westbrook returned from what was reported as a sports hernia injury and continued an impressive preseason. He had six catches for 115 yards and made a nice catch on a deep pass for a 43-yard touchdown. The Jaguars have good depth at receiver, but Westbrook should force his way into the rotation with how he has played this preseason.
Indianapolis Colts 7, Cincinnati Bengals 6: Bengals rookie receiver John Ross hadn’t played much in the preseason because he was recovering from shoulder surgery, so he was on the field Thursday to get some extra reps. The first-round pick showed off his great speed on a 25-yard gain on an end around. Ross also caught a 6-yard pass. But Ross left the game with a knee injury, and while it doesn’t seem too serious, it could impact his availability for the regular-season opener.
Green Bay Packers 24, Los Angeles Rams 10: While the Packers would still be in trouble if Aaron Rodgers missed any games, because Rodgers is irreplaceable, backup quarterback Brett Hundley continues to play well. Hundley completed 11-of-21 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Hundley is signed through 2018 but will be an interesting free agent when he hits the market.
Buffalo Bills 27, Detroit Lions 17: The Bills have quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates in the concussion protocol, so it would have made sense to sit rookie Nathan Peterman. He’s the only other option to start Week 1 if the other two aren’t ready to go. But Peterman played through the first quarter of the preseason finale for the Bills. Peterman played well (and stayed healthy). He completed 9-of-11 passes for 81 yards. The Bills should be pleased with what they’ve seen from Peterman.
Cleveland Browns 25, Chicago Bears 0: Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky started and played until the mid-second quarter. The Bears didn’t ask the first-round pick to do much. He was 2 of 5 for 10 yards. But Trubisky showed plenty in the first three preseason games, and now we’ll see how it long it takes before he gets a regular-season start.
Pittsburgh Steelers 17, Carolina Panthers 14: The Steelers don’t want to think about what happens after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retires, but that day could be coming soon. They drafted Joshua Dobbs out of Tennessee this year as a possible replacement, and Dobbs had a nice game Thursday. He completed 16-of-23 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown and made many nice plays while on the move. Dobbs also ran in the game-winning touchdown with two seconds left.
Washington Redskins 13, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10: Most key players sit in the preseason finale, so it probably said something about Redskins rookie running back Samaje Perine’s progress that he was playing Thursday. Perine didn’t do much either, gaining 3 yards on five carries. Rob Kelley is clearly the Redskins’ starting tailback heading into the regular season.
Miami Dolphins 30, Minnesota Vikings 9: Undersized receiver Jakeem Grant gave the Dolphins something to think about as they head into the regular season. Grant had four catches for 141 yards and an impressive touchdown. The speedy second-year receiver blew by the defense on a deep route and quarterback David Fales delivered him a nice pass for a 65-yard touchdown. Any offense can use a deep threat like that.
Baltimore Ravens 14, New Orleans Saints 13: The Ravens continue to express optimism that quarterback Joe Flacco will be ready for next week’s regular-season opener. Nothing Ryan Mallett has shown this preseason should give the Ravens much hope they can stay afloat if Flacco misses any time. Mallett finished the preseason completing 3-of-8 passes for 19 yards on Thursday night, though he did throw a touchdown.
Denver Broncos 30, Arizona Cardinals 2: Cardinals backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert has presumably made Arizona’s 53-man roster, considering he has been praised by coach Bruce Arians this preseason. Gabbert finished the preseason by completing 5-of-10 passes for 51 yards in the finale.
Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders: Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise was one of Seattle’s few roster locks who played Thursday, because he missed time earlier this preseason with a groin injury. He only had 5 yards on three carries but it was good for the Seahawks to see he was healthy.
Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers: It’s not often you see a quarterback drop back for a pass and end up with a 62-yard touchdown run, unless it was Mike Vick in his prime. 49ers rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is definitely not Vick, but he weaved through the Chargers defense for a really nice touchdown run. 49ers general manager John Lynch happened to be in the broadcast booth for Beathard’s mad dash. “I gotta be honest, I didn’t know he had that in him,” Lynch said.
This man just put the entire Chargers D on skates…
— NFL (@NFL) September 1, 2017
• Some good news for the Jets offense: Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins looked very good. He had a nice catch and run on the play Josh McCown was hurt. Later in the first half he had a very nice touchdown grab as he got open and then made a nice adjustment to haul in a pass in the end zone. Seferian-Jenkins has been suspended the first two games of this season after a DUI arrest, but said he quit alcohol and is in great shape. It looks like he could have an impact once he’s back.
• The Dallas Cowboys-Houston Texans game was cancelled as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and the Cowboys had a telethon to raise money. Cowboys players answered phones to take donations. At one point Dez Bryant answered the phone and owner Jerry Jones was on the other line. Jones joked that he heard Bryant was donating half his signing bonus to Houston, and then Jones told Bryant he was donating $1 million to the cause.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 1, 2017
The Cowboys said they raised $2.3 million on Thursday night.
• Cyrus Jones, expected to be the Patriots punt returner this season and also provide some cornerback depth, suffered what looked to be a bad knee injury while covering a deep pass. Jones will have an MRI on Friday but the Patriots fear he suffered a season-ending injury, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said.
• The Browns have decided on rookie DeShone Kizer as their starting quarterback, but still need to figure out who the backup is. Cody Kessler made a strong statement to earn the job with a good performance against the Bears. Kessler completed 11-of-19 passes for 144 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Kevin Hogan played well in relief of Kessler, completing 13-of-18 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Brock Osweiler didn’t play in either of the final two preseason games and is on the roster bubble.
• Bills running back Jonathan Williams, LeSean McCoy’s top backup, has looked very good this preseason. He had a 21-yard touchdown run Thursday in which he bounced a run outside and showed nice burst and balance to get in the end zone. The second-year back from Arkansas needs to prove he can stay healthy, but he certainly has talent.
• Pittsburgh Steelers Vance McDonald, acquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this week, played in the preseason finale as the Steelers try to get him ready quickly. He didn’t catch a pass.
• Defensive end Kony Ealy, cut by the Patriots and claimed by the Jets this week, made a nice first impression with his new team. He had a slick inside move against the Eagles’ left tackle and had a strip sack.
• Receiver Curtis Samuel, the Panthers’ second-round pick, missed a couple preseason games with a hamstring injury. He looked fast on a 34-yard kickoff return he almost broke for a touchdown, and that speed is why Carolina drafted him. But Samuel injured his ankle and had to leave the game. Bryan Strickland of the Panthers’ website said Samuel wasn’t concerned with the injury and expects to play in the regular-season opener.
• Do preseason records matter? Keep this in mind when you answer that: The Browns finished this preseason 4-0.
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