Tom Brady could have a blast in the preseason if he wanted to, but he clearly sees value in getting some snapshots before the season starts.
Brady didn’t play much Saturday night for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he looked ready for the season opener.
Brady got the series against the Indianapolis Colts and looked pretty good. He overthrew Mike Evans on one pass but hit the target on seven other passes. Receiver Tyler Johnson missed a pass, but Brady completed 6 of 8 for 44 yards on his only pass. The 45-year-old quarterback may need some snaps, but the Buccaneers won’t expose him too much.
Brady’s best pass came from his newest star receiver. He found Julio Jones 20 yards from the sideline. The speed of the throw was good, the biggest of Brady’s brief outs. The game ended with a shot, and the Buccaneers let him rest for the night.
Brady has not played in the first two preseason games. He also took 11 days off from training camp, which is odd, but the team fully supports his sabbatical. Brady does appear in two preseason games in 2021, so it’s not uncommon for him to get some minutes before the regular season begins.
Brady had to adapt himself to the starting offense. When he was in the game, the Buccaneers ran a lot. He must complete the pass to Jones before the regular season begins. He exited the game without a hit. It was a productive night.
Spotlight: Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns need a good look at Jacoby Brissett. He will be their quarterback for a while.
Brissett did not play in the first two preseason games. He also lost to Deshaun Watson in training camp. With Watson starting an 11-game suspension, the Browns will start the season with Brissett, so he needs some preseason action. It’s not great.
Brissett struggled in a 21-20 loss to the Chicago Bears. As long as Brissett starts, this could be a reasonable preview of the Browns’ offense. Most of his throws are safe and short. Brissett threw an interception, but his target receiver Anthony Schwartz fell in the game after being knocked down.
Brissett played almost the full first half when the Browns trailed 21-3 when he was pulled. They didn’t play until 1:25 left in the second quarter. Brissett went 13 for 23 for 109 yards. That’s a miserable 4.7 yards per attempt.
Brissett left, even after some finish. He conceded the ball on his third and 11th pass to David Njoku. He was wild on the pass to Donovan People’s Jones, and the receiver played well on a 4-yard catch. Brissett did have a good pitch in tight coverage, but Anthony Schwartz couldn’t bring it in after he got his hands on it. Brissett’s best pitch came late, when he landed a powerful blow to David Bell in the third and 10th quarters to give him a 14-yard advantage.
The Browns’ starting defense looks good, even if it’s barely working. It stopped Bears running back David Montgomery for a 1 yard loss then no gain before Justin Fields threw an incomplete throw on the third. For most of the Browns’ starting defense, the 3-pointer is just that.
That’s what happened with the Browns, at least until Watson returned. They will play good defense. They will run a lot of balls. They will ask Brissett to move the chains. Maybe the formula will look better than Saturday night.
Standout: Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill
Miami Dolphins may want to play A statement was made in Game 1 on Saturday night. Tyreek Hill pitched deep and Tua Tagovailoa hit him for 51 yards.
Pitching may be censored because deeper pitches leading Hill may result in a touchdown, but it’s not just a 50-yard backcourt. It’s a good connection. Tagovailoa hit Hill again in the back drive before throwing a touchdown to River Cracraft. Tagovailoa completed all three passes in the lane. Encouragingly, two went to Hill, his new No. 1 target.
Though the Eagles didn’t use a starter, Tagovailoa had a pretty solid 48-10 victory over Miami. He went 6-of-7 for 121 yards. When he was seated, the Dolphins were up 17-0 with Teddy Bridgewater coming in as quarterback. It was a good outing for Tagovailoa. A deep pass to Hill is all the Dolphins need to see before the game.
Atlanta Falcons 28, Jacksonville Jaguars 12: Neither team started. Falcons rookie running back Tyler Allgeier had two touchdowns but had eight carries for just 26 yards. The star of the running game was Caleb Huntley, who had 86 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Falcons have some interesting decisions to make at running back as they make their final roster cuts.
Cincinnati Bengals 16, Los Angeles Rams 7: Both teams took the starting benches, an easier decision after this week’s controversial joint training session. There was nothing desirable in this game, although Bengals backup QB Brandon Allen looked good for 130 yards on 11 of 15 passes. Tennessee Titans 26, Arizona Cardinals 23: We don’t know what Titans rookie Malik Willis will be like as an NFL quarterback, but he certainly has the physicality to stick around in the league. When he couldn’t find anyone open, he made the 50-yard run look easy and decided to run for it.
Tennessee Titans 26, Arizona Cardinals 23: We don’t know Titans rookie Malik Willis will be an NFL quarterback, but he sure has. There was nothing redeeming about the game, though Bengals backup QB Brandon Allen looked good for 130 yards on an 11-for-15 pass. Tennessee Titans 26, Arizona Cardinals 23: We didn’t know Titans rookie Malik Willis would be an NFL quarterback, but he certainly has the physical skills to stick around in the league. When he couldn’t find anyone open, he made the 50-yard run look easy and decided to run over.
Baltimore Ravens 17, Washington Commanders 15: It’s not the biggest problem since the starters didn’t play for either side, but the Ravens would probably want to see 7 yards over 1 rushing attempt in the first half. The Ravens’ running back situation is uncertain going into the season, which could add to concerns Saturday night. And, of course, Baltimore extended its record preseason winning streak to 23 games.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver Broncos: The starters for both teams didn’t play. The Broncos barely played any key players throughout the preseason, and some Vikings starters barely played for the remainder of the preseason (10 starters didn’t play at all). The first-year head coaches of both teams have put more emphasis on staying healthy ahead of the regular season.
•Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Phil It was a productive night, albeit mostly against the bench.
The Bears started with a 3-pointer out, but Fields immediately rallied for a nice kickoff after most of the Browns started their defense. He completed all five passes and one touchdown for 55 yards.
He later added two more touchdowns, one to Dante Pettis and the other to wide-open tight end Cole Kmet. Fields went 14 for 16 for 156 yards and three TDs.
Fields look good. Even if it’s not against the Browns’ top defense, that’s still a positive way to get out of the preseason.
• In a perfect world, Titans rookie Trey Lon Burks would sit with the Titans’ other starters on Saturday night, but at least he’s doing a great job Completed the preseason. He had a 14-yard touchdown. Burks had trouble on the depth chart before the season, but a first-round pick is still a factor this season.
• Falcons rookie QB Desmond Ridder got almost the entire game. He went 14-for-21 for 185 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. While one pick was a desperate pass to end the first half, the first pick was a poor midfield decision.
Reed needs some work, but he was good enough in the preseason and the Falcons should still be interested in his future.
• The Dolphins should be able to handle the ball this season. New coach Mike McDaniel from the Kyle Shanahan tree, Shanahan has always had a good running game. Dolphins get big from Raheem Most, Sonny Michel, Miles Gaskin and Salvin Ahmed (starter Chase Edmonds didn’t play) night. The four combined for 113 yards on 17 carries in the middle of the third quarter when other guards came into play. Each defender averages at least 6.5 yards per carry. The Hawks don’t care much about the preseason finals, but Miami should play well this season.