The Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Joe Flacco was sharp in his preseason debut, Bernard Pierce scored on a 20-yard run and a revamped Baltimore defense forced four turnovers in the Ravens’ 44-16 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.
Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw a pair of TD passes for the Super Bowl champions, including a 21-yarder to LaQuan Williams, who also scored when he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.
Josh Freeman and the rest of Tampa Bay’s starters played sparingly, so most of Baltimore’s scoring came against backups and newcomers to a defense that ranked last in the NFL against the pass last season.
Flacco signed a $120.1 million contract this offseason after leading the Ravens to their second NFL title. He worked two series, completing seven of nine passes for 57 yards and one interception.
BRONCOS 10, 49ERS 6
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco committed three first-half turnovers, four in all, and missed a field goal in a sloppy loss to Denver.
Shaun Phillips scooped up D.J. Harper’s second-quarter fumble and returned it 9 yards for the game’s lone touchdown. Mike Adams added a timely interception as the Broncos began anew following that stunning double-overtime loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the AFC divisional playoffs.
With the star quarterbacks on either side — Broncos veteran Peyton Manning and third-year pro Colin Kaepernick — playing all of one series each, it was impossible to gauge how good their given offenses will be. Everybody realizes if these teams were to play a meaningful matchup it could really be something, though.
BENGALS 34, FALCONS 10
ATLANTA (AP) — Giovani Bernard ran for a touchdown, Josh Johnson directed two second-quarter touchdown drives and Cincinnati cruised.
Bernard, a second-round pick from North Carolina competing for a significant share of the Bengals’ carries, played behind returning starter Benjarvus Green-Ellis and had 10 carries for 28 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run. He added three catches for 16 yards.
Johnson, up against John Skelton for the backup job behind Andy Dalton, made big plays with his arm and legs. Johnson passed for 100 yards, including a 21-yard score to Brandon Tate, and ran for 64 yards.
Dane Sanzenbacher had a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 36-yard scoring catch from Skelton.
New Falcons running back Steven Jackson found little blocking as he had five carries for only 8 yards.
REDSKINS 22, TITANS 21
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kirk Cousins picked up where he left off last season filling in at quarterback, throwing for a touchdown as Washington edged Tennessee.
The Redskins sat eight starters, including Robert Griffin III, who warmed up and was on the field. Cousins looked sharp in Griffin’s place, completing six of seven passes for 52 yards and a TD for a 137.2 passer rating in two series for the defending NFC East champs.
The Titans showed off their revamped run game as Chris Johnson scored on a 58-yard burst. Tennessee had 92 yards rushing and a 14-7 lead after the first quarter; Shonn Greene added a 19-yard TD run.
Pat White scored on a 9-yard TD run with 2:23 left and found Emmanuel Ogbuehi for the 2-point conversion to avoid overtime.
BROWNS 27, RAMS 19
CLEVELAND (AP) — Brandon Weeden threw a touchdown pass and led Cleveland on two scoring drives, and Travis Benjamin returned a punt 91 yards for a TD as the Browns won coach Rob Chudzinski’s exhibition debut.
Weeden finished 10 of 13 for 112 yards, which should help end any talk of a quarterback competition in Cleveland. Chudzinski has not yet chosen Weeden his starter, but the second-year QB did everything he needed to secure the job.
Weeden hooked up with running back Dion Lewis, starting for Trent Richardson, for a 2-yard TD on the first play of the second quarter.
St. Louis’ Sam Bradford threw a 3-yard TD pass to Chris Givens as Rams coach Jeff Fisher left his starting offense in after Benjamin’s runback made it 17-0.