On Thursday night, 12 NFL teams took the field for preseason play. It was a night of firsts as a female referee officiated the San Diego – Green Bay game as a side judge. Odd not to see a familiar referee’s face. And even stranger to see a woman on the field.
Meanwhile, the teams got off to an interesting start. Some were winners, some were not.
Here’s a few storylines.
Peyton Manning Returns
Manning looked nervous and sweaty in humid Chicago. In his one series of play, he had great protection from his o-line. But he did get picked off by the Chicago Bears safety Major Wright. The Broncos backup quarterback Caleb Hanie took Manning’s place and was appropriately greeted by boos from Bears fans.
In his NFL debut, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III threw his first touchdown and it wasn’t hard to do. After three passes for 58 yards, RGIII hit a 20-yard touchdown to wide receiver Pierre Garcon. With the score, the Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 7-6.
For the game, RG3 went 4-of-6 for 70 yards and one lost fumble.
Griffin said of the game, “It felt extremely good to come out and play. Coach did a good job calling plays, got me in a rhythm and helped get the offense in a rhythm on that third drive.”
Vick Injured, Foles Steps In
After Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick declared his team could be a dynasty and dedicated this season to coach Andy Reid’s recently deceased son Garrett, his preseason came to a halt.
In the second quarter, Vick hit his left thumb (his throwing hand) on the helmet of his teammate, Jason Kelce. According to NFL.com, Vick was “wincing” when he exited the field. X-rays had been taken and they came out negative.
Stepping in for Vick was former Arizona quarterback Nick Foles. In his short stint, he made the most of it: he completed six of eight passes for 144 yards with two touchdowns.
Julio Jones Steps Up
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones entered his freshman season in 2011 with high expectations and was somewhat disappointing. He appears to be ready for his sophomore season.
On Thursday, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed five passes to Jones, who grabbed 58 yards and a seven-yard touchdown.
Robbie Gould is the Bears MVP
As the Denver Broncos led the Bears 24-0, once again its kicker, Robbie Gould showed he is the team’s most valuable player. He got the the only score for the Bears.
It wasn’t a first.