NFL preseason scores, schedule, updates, news: No winner in Henne vs. Bortles
Plus Jay Cutler endures ups and downs, Cam has a quick debut and more from Thursday football
The biggest week of the NFL preseason kicks off on Thursday with the Eagles hosting the Dolphins and the Jaguars hosting the Panthers. If you watch either game, make sure to keep your eyes on the quarterback position.
Not only will we see the preseason debut of Cam Newton, but we'll also get to see Jay Cutler playing in his second preseason game with Miami. Plus, the ongoing drama that is the Jaguars' quarterback situation will play out between Blake Bortles and Chad Henne.
Check back with us throughout the night for updates on all the action.
Scores and schedule
Eagles 38, Dolphins 31 (GameTracker)
Panthers 24, Jaguars 23 (GameTracker)
Patriots at Lions, Fri., 7 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Chiefs at Seahawks, Fri., 8 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Bills at Ravens, Sat., 7 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Jets at Giants, Sat., 7 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Cardinals at Falcons, Sat., 7 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Colts at Steelers, Sat., 7:30 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Browns at Buccaneers, Sat., 7:30 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Chargers at Rams, Sat., 8 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Texans at Saints, Sat., 8 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Raiders at Cowboys, Sat., 8 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Packers at Broncos, Sat., 9 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Bears at Titans, Sun., 1 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Bengals at Redskins, Sun., 4:30 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
49ers at Vikings, Sun., 8 p.m. ET (GameTracker)
Henne has uneven audition as Jaguars starter
The NFL's regular season kicks off in exactly two weeks, which is good news for fans, but bad news for the Jaguars because they still have no idea who their starting quarterback is going to be. After watching an atrocious performance from Blake Bortles during Jacksonville's 12-8 loss to Tampa Bay on Aug. 17, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and give Chad Henne a chance at winning the job.
If Marrone was hoping that Henne would run away with the starting job during his time on the field against Carolina, that's not what's happened so far. Although Henne completed his first four passes, the Jags only got 14 yards total out of the completions.
During Henne's first possession of the night, the Jaguars actually went backwards: Jacksonville went three-and-out and lost 10 yards while doing it.
The Jaguars' biggest play of the first half was a 51-yard run by Corey Grant that came on a fake punt.
If Henne and Bortles continue to look horrible, the Jaguars best bet this season might be to just run a fake punt on every down.
Henne ended up going 8 of 14 for 73 yards during the first half against Carolina, however, more than half of that total came on one throw, which you can see below.
That's Henne hitting Allen Robinson for a 37-yard gain (it was only 37, even though the tweet says 39). The pass from Henne to Robinson ended up leading to a 44-yard field goal by Jason Myers. Henne's first half numbers actually could've been a little better, but wide receiver Keelan Cole dropped a pass that probably would've gone for about 40 yards.
Anyway, as planned, Marrone pulled Henne at the half and let Bortles start the third quarter.
Henne wasn't great during his time on the field, but he wasn't horrible either, and "not horrible" might be enough to win the Jaguars' quarterback job right now.
Bortles does his best to keep Jags' quarterback job
After watching Chad Henne play an uneven first half, Blake Bortles went out and did the exact same thing against the Panthers. Bortles entered the game in the third quarter and struggled against a Panthers defense that still consisted of most of Carolina's starters.
On the Jags' first three offensive possessions of the half, Jacksonville punted twice and then watched as Bortles threw an interception.
Although the pick wasn't completely Bortles' fault, it pretty much exemplifies his play this preseason: He made a questionable decision, then threw a mediocre pass.
For most of the third quarter, it almost seemed like Marrone was afraid to call a pass play for Bortles. At one point in the quarter, the Marrone called nine straight run plays for the Jaguars offense. By the end of the quarter, Bortles had only thrown a total of four passes (2 of 4 for seven yards and an interception).
Once the Panthers backups entered the game in the fourth quarter, Bortles had a lot more success, which was kind of to be expected. The quarterback's most impressive drive of the night came early in the fourth quarter when Bortles marched the Jaguars 75 yards down the field on nine plays.
The beleaguered quarterback capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to Shane Wynn.
Including that touchdown, Bortles went 5 of 7 for 76 yards on the drive.
The Jaguars quarterback was just as impressive the next time he touched the ball. On Jacksonville's next offensive possession, Bortles and the offense went on a 10-play, 60-yard scoring drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Grimes. Bortles did most of the damage on the drive by going 5 of 5 for 42 yards and adding in a nine-yard run.
Now, this is where we mention the part about Bortles throwing a pick on Jacksonville's two-point conversion following Grimes' touchdown. Overall, Bortles finished 12 of 16 for 125 yards and a touchdown in the game. However, it's not clear if that will be enough to impress Marrone, because as we mentioned before, Bortles was at his best when he was playing against the bottom of the Panthers roster. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, teams won't be using their backups during the regular season.
If I'm Marrone, I go out and sign Colin Kaepernick, but since that's probably not going to happen, I probably flip a coin and hope that whoever I start doesn't get me fired by Week 9.
Jay Cutler makes up for lost fumble with long bomb
Jay Cutler's night got off to an ugly start in Philadelphia, but he quickly made up for it. After losing a fumble on the Dolphins' opening possession, Cutler DeVante Parker.to
The long pass set up a two-yard touchdown run by Jay Ajayi that tied the game at seven. Ajayi's run capped a five-play, 93-yard drive that probably had Dolphins' fans drooling.
The Dolphins' first half has basically been feast or famine with Cutler. After his fumble, the Dolphins went three-and-out on their following possession. However, after that, the Dolphins scored a touchdown on their next three drives.
That total includes a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to tight end Julius Thomas.
That touchdown pass ended up being Cutler's final throw of the night as Dolphins coach Adam Gase decided to pull his quarterback after just over one quarter of action.
The upside for the Dolphins is that, for the second straight week, Cutler actually looked sharp. The former Bears quarterback completed 5 of 8 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. The downside for the Dolphins is that Cutler still has the potential to be a turnover machine. Besides losing a fumble in the first quarter, Cutler actually almost lost a second fumble in the quarter, but officials ruled the play an incomplete pass because Cutler's arm was going forward. If Cutler can actually protect the ball, he could be exactly what the Dolphins need to get back to the playoffs.
Oh, and if any Dolphins fan out there is wondering what life would've been like with Matt Moore as the starting quarterback. Moore threw a pick-six to Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks shortly after taking over for Cutler.
Moore actually threw two interceptions in the game before he was mercifully pulled by Gase. The Dolphins quarterback finished his night with an ugly final stat line of 5 of 11 for 43 yards.
Dolphins' best play of the night
Jakeem Grant probably won't be starting over DeVante Parker anytime soon, but he did make the most impressive play of the game for Miami.
After catching a short pass from from Dolphins' third-string quarterback Brandon Doughty, Grant busted through two potential tacklers and ended up outrunning everyone for a 69-yard touchdown.
The most impressive part of that catch might have been the fact that it was the only one Grant made in the game. The third quarter touchdown tied the game up at 31.
All eyes might have been on Jay Cutler in the Dolphins-Eagles game, but let's not forget about Carson Wentz. The second-year quarterback burned the Dolphins for a long touchdown on Philadelphia's opening drive of the game.
On a third-and-8 play from midfield, Wentz dropped back to pass and hit a wide open Torrey Smith for a 50-yard touchdown. And just to be clear here, when he say wide open, we mean wide open.
The Eagles touchdown, which gave Philly a 7-0 lead, was actually set up by a Cutler mistake. The Dolphins quarterback lost a fumble after taking a hit from Philly's Vinny Curry.
Although it was an ugly attempt at a block by Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil, that's a ball that Cutler just can't be fumbling if the Dolphins are going to be good this year.
As for Wentz, Eagles coach Doug Pederson decided to pull his starting quarterback, and it might have been because he was getting hit so often. Coaches generally let their starting quarterbacks play into the second half during Week 3 of the preseason, but Wentz was pulled after taking several hard hits during his one quarter on the field.
Wentz didn't play long, but he was impressive. The second-year quarterback completed 6 of 10 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Besides the 50-yarder to Smith, Wentz also connected with Alshon Jeffery for a 15-yard score.
Cam Newton leads Panthers to TD during brief appearance
Five months after undergoing shoulder surgery, Cam Newton finally returned to game action on Thursday against the Jaguars. Although Newton had been practicing throughout training camp, he sat out Carolina's first two preseason games as a precaution.
The quarterback's first throw of the preseason was a 12-yard completion to rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. That wasn't the highlight of Newton's night though -- that came a few plays later when he found Kelvin Benjamin for a nine-yard touchdown.
The completions to Benjamin and McCaffrey ended up being the only two throws that Newton would make on the night. Panthers coach Ron Rivera decided to pull his starting quarterback after watching him lead a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on Carolina's opening possession.
Although Rivera was planning to play most of his starters into the third quarter, that was never going to be the case with Newton. The Panthers coach had said he just wanted Newton to get into the "flow of the game."
Newton ended his night 2 of 2 for 21 yards and a touchdown, and it's very likely that the next time we'll see him will come when the Panthers travel to San Francisco on Sept. 10 for their regular season opener.
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