The preseason comes to a close Thursday with almost every NFL team in action. Two teams that won’t be playing: the
Dallas Cowboys
and
Houston Texans
, who were scheduled to meet in Houston before Hurricane Harvey pushed the matchup first to Dallas, then cancellation. The Cowboys raised more than $2 million by holding a telethon Thursday night, giving fans a chance to talk to their favorite players.

Here’s the entire slate of games. Check back in throughout the day for updates on all the action.

Schedule and results


Indianapolis Colts
 7, Bengals 6 (GameTracker)

Buffalo Bills
 27, Lions 17 (GameTracker)

Jacksonville Jaguars
 13, 
Atlanta Falcons
 7 (GameTracker)

Green Bay Packers
 24, 
Los Angeles Rams
 10 (GameTracker)

New York Jets
 16, 
Philadelphia Eagles
 10 (GameTracker)

New York Giants
40,
New England Patriots
 38 (GameTracker)

Pittsburgh Steelers
 17, 
Carolina Panthers
 14 (GameTracker)

Washington Redskins
 13, 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 10 (GameTracker)

Baltimore Ravens
at
New Orleans Saints
, 8 p.m. (GameTracker)

Cleveland Browns
at
Chicago Bears
, 8 p.m. (GameTracker)

Miami Dolphins
at
Minnesota Vikings
, 8 p.m. (GameTracker)

Tennessee Titans
at
Kansas City Chiefs
, 8:30 p.m. (GameTracker)

Arizona Cardinals
at
Denver Broncos
, 9 p.m. (GameTracker)

Los Angeles Chargers
at 49ers, 10 p.m. (GameTracker)

Seattle Seahawks
at
Oakland Raiders
, 10 p.m. (GameTracker)
Cowboys at Texans, canceled

Mahomes can play

Like Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes won’t be starting Week 1. But like Trubisky, Mahomes has a bright future.

On Thursday, the Chiefs’ first-round pick showed (again) why he was worth the selection. Unlike Alex Smith, Mahomes actually features clear upside. He’s not afraid to take a risk. Due to his unbelievable arm talent, he can make throws that are typically reserved for Aaron Rodgers.

In his final preseason game against the Titans, Mahomes went 9 of 16 for 183 yards (11.4 YPA) with one touchdown, zero picks, and a 117.4 passer rating. He added 13 yards on the ground on three rushes.

A look at his touchdown:

This is just an incredible throw. On the run and in the face of pressure, he dropped in an absolute dime to his receiver 50 yards downfield:

Smith will never make a play like that, which is why it won’t be all that surprising to see Mahomes on the field this season. The Chiefs, a perennial playoff team, win despite Smith — not because of him. At some point, the Chiefs might want to go with the quarterback with more upside, because they sure as heck aren’t beating the Patriots with a quarterback like Smith. 

A quarterback like this, though, gives them a chance:

Those are just the highlights, of course, and it’s worth noting that Mahomes should’ve been picked off on a couple different occasions. He’s still a rookie and a gunslinger, so he’s going to make mistakes. 

Chris B. Brown put it perfectly:

But he’s in the perfect situation. His coach, Andy Reid, knows how to run an offense (when clock management isn’t a factor). His team features a top defense. Mahomes could get on the field at some point this season, especially if Smith struggles. Don’t rule it out.


Josh McCown
survives a scare

The Jets’ quarterback situation is undoubtedly the saddest in the league. And it nearly got worse on Thursday night. 

In the first quarter of the Jets’ final preseason game against the Eagles, McCown went down with an injury to his midsection when he took a hit to the ribs. He was tended to by doctors on the field. 

Was the
Christian Hackenberg
era finally here due to the fact that the Jets decided to play their starting quarterback in their fourth and final preseason game? 

Fortunately for the Jets (and reporters on the sideline who don’t want to be hit by Hackenberg’s errant passes), McCown was able to shake off the hit. Strangely, after almost losing their starter to an injury in a meaningless preseason game, the Jets sent him back in for another series.

McCown, 38, won the starting job over Hackenberg and Bryce Petty despite the fact that he has a career 78.2 passer rating and is 2-20 in his last 22 starts.

It’s really not a great sign that an injury to McCown can cause this much panic for a football team, but this is the Jets we’re talking about. Anyway, McCown exited the game after his second drive and Hackenberg finally took over. 

McCown went 7 of 9 for 57 yards on the night. 

John Ross leaves with knee injury

The Bengals’ first-round pick, receiver John Ross, got off to a nice start against the Colts. He caught a pass for six yards and added 25 yards on a reverse. That’s where the good part of his night ended, though. 

Ross left the game with a knee injury. He went back to the locker room, but eventually returned to the sideline. He was listed as questionable, but it never seemed like he’d return.

The Bengals then ruled him out. That injury might not be serious, but it will derail Ross’ plan to get as many snaps as possible before the regular season:

The Bengals took Ross with the ninth pick in the draft, so he’s expected to become Andy Dalton’s No. 2 target behind A.J. Green. If that knee injury ends his preseason, he’ll finish with one catch for six yards and two carries for 33 yards during August.

Hackenberg, Geno make their cases 

Both New York teams are trying to figure out who their backup quarterbacks will be. For the Jets, the decision will come down to Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. For the Giants, the battle is between ex-Jets quarterback Geno Smith, rookie Davis Webb, and Josh Johnson.

This might come as a surprise, but Hackenberg and Geno both got off to nice starts on Thursday. 

Hackenberg displayed the ability to actually put some touch on a pass when he hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a 12-yard score:

Meanwhile, Smith threw a dart to Matt LaCosse for a 25-yard touchdown:

Smith went 10 of 11 for 111 yards. That should wrap up the Giants’ backup quarterback competition. Then again, Johnson was also impressive. He started 8 of 10 for 99 yards and a touchdown. 

Weird plan for Trubisky 

No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky, the best quarterback on the Bears’ roster, likely won’t be starting Week 1 considering Mike Glennon was held out of Thursday night’s game. But by getting the starting nod against the Browns, Trubisky was given a chance to submit one final argument. 

Just kidding. Though Trubisky started, he didn’t really get a chance to do much of anything. The Bears’ coaching staff called nine straight running plays to start the game. Unsurprisingly, the Bears went three-and-out three times. Even when facing third-and-long, Trubisky handed the ball off.

For a while, the box score looked like this:

Finally, on their fourth series, they let Trubisky drop back to pass. It didn’t go well.

Trubisky wound up going 2 of 4 for 10 yards before getting yanked for Connor Shaw. That’ll end his preseason, which was an impressive one before Thursday night. 

His final preseason stats: 36 of 52 (69 percent) for 364 yards (7.0 YPA), three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. 

Patriots lose key special teams contributor

Since Cyrus Jones entered the league as a second-round pick of the Patriots in 2016, he hasn’t done much as a member of the secondary. He has, however, been an important special teams player. Last year, he returned 11 punts for 46 yards and eight kickoffs for 180 yards. 

He left Thursday’s game with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots fear Jones will miss the entire season.

This isn’t a devastating blow for the Patriots, but keep in mind that the Patriots also lost Julian Edelman for the year. They’re lacking depth at punt returner.

Lions ship first-round bust to San Francisco

The Lions and 49ers got together for a trade on Thursday, with guard
Laken Tomlinson
heading to San Francisco in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft.

Tomlinson was selected No. 28 overall in 2015 by the Lions but never lived up to that billing, failing to establish himself as a quality starter in his two years in Detroit. He’ll serve as a depth piece in the interior of the 49ers line as they look to tap into the potential that the Lions obviously saw in Tomlinson as a prospect.

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