And then there were three. With 13 preseason games already in the books, our attention turns to the final three games of the week. On Saturday night, Week 1 of the preseason wraps up with Rams vs. Raiders, Bengals vs. Chiefs, and Cowboys vs. 49ers.
Here at CBS Sports, we’ll be bringing you updates and analysis throughout the night. Below, you’ll find Saturday night’s schedule in addition to the final results of the 13 games that were played on Thursday and Friday. Farther down below, we’ll be updating this story with live analysis, so be sure to check back throughout the evening.
One of the games will be broadcast on NFL Network while the other two will be available for streaming on fuboTV (try for free) and NFL Game Pass (out of market). Be sure to check local listings for local games.
Scores and schedule
Giants 31, Jets 22 (box score)
Bills 24, Colts 16 (box score)
Ravens 29, Jaguars 0 (box score)
Titans 27, Eagles 10 (box score)
Dolphins 34, Falcons 27 (box score)
Patriots 31, Lions 3 (box score)
Browns 30, Redskins 10 (box score)
Packers 28, Texans 26 (box score)
Panthers 23, Bears 13 (box score)
Seahawks 22, Broncos 14 (box score)
Cardinals 17, Chargers 13 (box score)
Below, you’ll find our analysis (which will be updated throughout the night) of the three remaining games.
Mahomes’ first series a success
It turns out Patrick Mahomes is still very good at playing quarterback. It turns out the Chiefs’ first-team offense is still unstoppable.
The reigning MVP started for the Chiefs on Saturday night and ended up leading one series. That one series ended in the end zone. After the Chiefs’ new-look defense began the game by allowing a touchdown, Mahomes led the offense on a seven-play, 83-yard touchdown drive. On that series, Mahomes went 4 of 4 for 66 yards. He also scrambled for 10 yards — and that scramble might’ve went for a touchdown if it had been a regular-season game.
On his first throw of the evening, he connected with tight end Travis Kelce down the sideline for 36 yards. This should look familiar:
Later on the series, Mahomes had a chance to score a touchdown on the ground after making a nifty move, but he wisely slid to the ground to avoid contact.
The Chiefs scored on the ground two plays later. Call it a successful start to the preseason for Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given just how unstoppable they were a season ago.
The Chiefs’ defense, on the other hand …
Dalton, Taylor make strong debut
The Bengals hired Zac Taylor as their new coach because he’s supposed to be an offensive mastermind after working under Sean McVay for the past couple years. While there’s no way to know how the Bengals’ offense will look come Week 1 of the regular season, Saturday night offered our first glimpse at Taylor’s offense. Most importantly, it offered our first glimpse at Andy Dalton in Taylor’s offense.
Against the Chiefs’ defense, Dalton played one series. That one series went for 75 yards on 14 plays, and it ended with a touchdown. While Dalton emerged with an impressive stat line — 7 of 9 for 80 yards — it wasn’t all good for the veteran quarterback. He spent most of his time checking the ball down. When he did throw downfield, the results were mixed.
With a severe underthrow, he missed what should’ve been an easy touchdown. But he followed up that miss with an impressive throw down the right sideline that featured tremendous ball placement and set up the Bengals near the goal line.
At 31, Dalton is entering the most important season of his career from a self-preservation standpoint. If he struggles under Taylor and the Bengals wind up with a high pick in next year’s draft, the team could very well decide to replace him with a rookie who Taylor can develop. If Dalton plays well under Taylor, the Bengals could decide that his 2020 cap hit ($17.7 million) is a bargain.
How Dalton fares in the preseason will hardly matter in the long-term, but leading a touchdown drive on his lone series was just about the best start he could’ve hoped for — that ugly miss downfield notwithstanding.
So this is why the Chiefs drafted Mecole Hardman
It’s going to be difficult for second-round rookie Mecole Hardman to become a major piece of the Chiefs’ offense given just how stacked the team is at the skill positions, but Hardman should contribute immediately with important chunk plays. Already on Saturday night, it was evident why the Chiefs drafted him. It was also evident why it’s going to be hard to keep him off the field.
He’s capable of turning touch passes in the backfield into touchdowns 17 yards later:
As if the Chiefs needed anymore speed on offense, they just added Hardman to an offense that also includes Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce. Imagine the Chiefs operating out of 11 personnel (one back, one tight end, and three receivers) with all four of those players on the field.
On that note, it’s still not clear how defenses are supposed to stop the Chiefs during the upcoming season.
Darwin Thompson impresses
Speaking of Chiefs rookies, Hardman wasn’t the only one who impressed. So did sixth-round running back Darwin Thompson, who went Beast Mode over the Bengals’ defense.
Again: not sure how anyone is going to slow down the Chiefs’ offense during the upcoming season.