Chicago’s backups were better than Indianapolis’ starters.
Adrian Peterson and Antoineo Harris each ran for a touchdown, the Bears returned a punt for another TD and the Colts’ high-scoring offense never got in sync as Chicago held on for a 24-17 victory Saturday night in Indianapolis.
The Bears played without injured quarterback Rex Grossman and their top two running backs – holdout Cedric Benson and incumbent starter Thomas Jones, whom the coaches kept out – and they were still better than the usually efficient Colts.
Chad Hutchinson, Grossman’s replacement, recovered from two early interceptions to finish 5 of 8 for 40 yards. He also led the Bears on one touchdown drive. Rookie Kyle Orton was 6 of 10 for 67 yards in relief and guided the Bears on their go-ahead drive, while Peterson carried 14 times for 60 yards and scored on a 4-yard run in less than a half.
For the second straight week, the Colts self-destructed. They drew five penalties on their first series – including one that led to a TD on the punt return, lost four yards on the next possession and then lost two fumbles. And all that came in the first quarter.
Steelers 17, Dolphins 3
Nick Saban must be wondering why he left LSU for this.
Miami lost five fumbles in the first half in Pittsburgh, and seven overall in a miserably played game, exhibition or not, and the Steelers had just enough offense to pull out a victory.
James Harrison, filling in for injured Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter, scored on a 69-yard return of quarterback Gus Frerotte’s fumble in the first quarter for the Steelers’ fourth return touchdown in two preseason games.
But Pittsburgh’s only touchdown on offense – Ben Roethlisberger and the starters were shut out for a second consecutive game – was backup Verron Haynes’ 1-yard run in the third quarter set up by, of course, a Dolphins fumble.
Bills 27, Packers 7
Quarterback J.P. Losman, who has replaced Drew Bledsoe as the Bills’ starter, engineered scoring drives on his first three possessions to lead Buffalo to a win over Green Bay in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Playing the entire first half, Losman finished 7 of 14 for 59 yards, energized by a sellout crowd in his first home preseason game. He added 36 yards rushing, scoring on a 1-yard keeper set up by ReShard Lee’s 69-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.
Jaguars 20, Bucs 17
Carnell “Cadillac” Williams gained 2 yards the first time he touched the ball, then picked up 5 on the next play. The crowd even roared when he lost 1 on his third carry.
Jacksonville beat Tampa Bay in Tampa, Fla., but Buccaneers fans left reasonably happy after getting their first closeup view of the rookie running back who’s the new centerpiece of Jon Gruden’s offense.
David Garrard and Derrick Wimbush ran for second-half touchdowns and Josh Scobee kicked two 29-yard field goals to lead the Jags.
Giants 27, Panthers 21
Corey Webster’s nose for the ball convinced New York to use its top draft pick at cornerback. In his first prime-time NFL action, the rookie justified the decision.
Inserted after an injury to starter Will Peterson, Webster had an interception and recovered a fumble as the Giants forced five turnovers in a win over Carolina in East Rutherford, N.J., that snapped the Panthers’ 10-game preseason win streak.
Cardinals 24, Chiefs 17
If success this season hinges on backup quarterbacks, Arizona appears to be in much better shape than Kansas City.
Josh McCown threw two touchdown passes in the second half in relief of Kurt Warner to rally the Cardinals to a victory in Kansas City, Mo.
Damon Huard, who replaced Trent Green for Kansas City, was 1 for 12 for 11 yards and two interceptions. Huard was elevated to second team this week while regular backup Todd Collins nursed a hand injury.
In the battle of first-teamers, the Chiefs were winners. Green hit Samie Parker with an 8-yard pass in the first quarter and engineered a 42-yard drive that resulted in Lawrence Tynes’ 31-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Broncos 26, 49ers 21
Jake Plummer was close to perfect for Denver. Tim Rattay, meanwhile, looked more than good enough to keep San Francisco’s starting quarterback job in limbo for a while longer.
Plummer completed 7 of 9 passes for 95 yards and a score to lift the Broncos to 10 early points en route to a victory in Denver.
Rattay relieved Alex Smith, and for the second straight week easily outplayed the first pick of this year’s draft.
Browns 21, Lions 13
It looked like just another Saturday afternoon in Michigan for Braylon Edwards.
The former Wolverines star leaped over a defender for a go-ahead 7-yard touchdown reception with 54 seconds left, lifting Cleveland to a victory over Detroit in Edwards’ pro debut.
Texans 19, Raiders 17
Wide receiver Doug Gabriel scored two first-quarter touchdowns and the Raiders’ starting offense moved the ball at will in the first half before the Texans rallied to win in Houston on a pair of fourth-quarter field goals of 53 and 46 yards by Kris Brown. The winner came with eight seconds left.
Eagles 20, Ravens 14
At Baltimore, Dexter Wynn returned a punt 74 yards for a score, Donovan McNabb threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Brian Westbrook, and Philadelphia benefited from three turnovers by Kyle Boller in a victory over Baltimore.
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