ATLANTA — Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Miami’s Ryan Tannehill showed how starting quarterbacks should handle preseason openers.
Each had only one possession. Each completed every pass attempt on long touchdown drives. Each then turned the game over to backups who never found the end zone.
After the strong opening drive by Ryan, Sean Renfree led two field-goal drives in the second half and the Falcons held off the Dolphins 16-10 on Friday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
Rookie quarterback Seth Lobato led Miami to the Atlanta 5-yard line with less than 3 minutes left before fumbling a shotgun snap. Defensive end Nosa Eguae recovered for Atlanta.
Tannehill was 6 for 6 for 62 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson, to open the game.
Ryan was just as strong, completing each of his seven attempts for 53 yards on Atlanta’s opening drive. Jacquizz Rodgers capped the drive with a 2-yard scoring run.
Bills 20, Panthers 18: In Charlotte, N.C., Anthony Dixon ran for a touchdown, Dan Carpenter had a pair of field goals and Buffalo defeated Carolina.
EJ Manuel completed 9 of 13 passes for 96 yards but the Bills struggled to cash in on scoring opportunities. Buffalo’s first-team offense reached Carolina territory on its first three possessions but managed just three points.
Rookie Kelvin Benjamin had no such problem finding the end zone. Carolina’s first-round draft pick turned in the play of the game, thrilling fans with a stumbling, diving 32-yard touchdown reception in his NFL debut.
Anderson started for Cam Newton, who rested his recovering left ankle.
Bears 34, Eagles 28: In Chicago, Jay Cutler, Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen threw touchdown passes and Chicago Bears beat Philadelphia Eagles.
The Bears rattled Nick Foles in the early going, intercepting two passes, even though they were missing Jared Allen. The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end and prized free-agent acquisition missed practices this week with his wife giving birth to a girl.
Jaguars 16, Buccaneers 10: In Jacksonville, Fla., Blake Bortles was solid in his preseason debut, throwing for 117 yards and leading a second-half drive for a field goal to help Jacksonville beat Tampa Bay. Bortles completed 7 of 11 passes.
Vikings 10, Raiders 6: In Minneapolis, Matt Cassel led a crisp touchdown drive with Minnesota’s first-team offense as the Vikings broke in their temporary new home stadium by beating Oakland.
Teddy Bridgewater’s debut was mixed at best: 6 for 13 for 49 yards, two sacks and one fumble the Vikings recovered.
Matt Schaub’s first time in silver and black wasn’t exactly smooth, either. Schaub finished 3 for 7 for 21 yards.