What we learned: Mega-edition from Saturday night

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With nine games on Saturday night, this is going to be the biggest “What we learned” recap of the preseason. So let’s get to it.

Bills 35, Jaguars 32

1. Jaguars quarterback David Garrard didn’t have a great preseason, but rookie Blaine Gabbert didn’t do anything to put Garrard’s job in jeopardy.  For now.

2. Buffalo’s starters outplayed Jacksonville’s starters. Ryan Fitzpatrick was very sharp (11-for-12, 165 yards and two scores) while racking up 17 first half points.

3. Bills running back Fred Jackson started and showed why he should remain the starter for Week One.  We’d be shocked if C.J. Spiller played more than Jackson early in the year.

4. With Donald Jones out, Bills receiver Marcus Easley made a strong big for significant playing time.

Steelers 34, Falcons 16

1. Matt Ryan threw 42 passes in the first half, although he wasn’t overly efficient.

2. Pittsburgh’s starters could not be stopped, but injuries to quarterback Byron Leftwich and center Maurkice Pouncey overshadowed things.  Leftwich could miss the season with a broken left arm.

3. Emmanuel Sanders remains out, which has given Steelers receiver Antonio Brown a chance to shine.

Lions 34, Patriots 10

1. Detroit’s defensive front absolutely mauled New England, forcing Tom Brady to make some ugly throws.

2. Matthew Stafford wins our preseason MVP award after a virtually flawless performance. He can make any throw.

3. Patriots receiver Wes Welker says he’s “OK” after leaving with a neck injury. The Patriots lost guard Dan Connolly in the game.

Bucs 17, Dolphins 13

1. There was a lot more good than bad from Chad Henne in his second straight solid performance.

2. Brandon Marshall is starting to look like he did in Denver. He made a couple great moves after the catch on long plays Saturday night. One resulted in a long score. The other resulted in a fumble.

3. Josh Freeman and the Bucs offense have quietly looked sluggish this month. The backup running back situation isn’t pretty.

4. Kellen Winslow left with an ankle injury.

5. Reggie Bush finished with -1 yard on five carries. He had 23 yards receiving. Rookie Daniel Thomas, who hasn’t looked great in camp, continued to struggle.

Cowboys 23, Vikings 17

1. The Cowboys held out center Andre Gurode, a precursor to a possible trade or release.

2. Dallas’ first-team defense continued to struggle.  They have given up 30 points in nine preseason possessions.

3. On the flip side, Donovan McNabb’s deep score to Bernard Berrian was another positive sign for Minnesota’s steadily improving starting offense.

4. Dez Bryant has enjoyed a quiet camp off the field, and he made noise on the field with five catches and 67 yards.

Texans 30, 49ers 7

1. Arian Foster aggravated his hamstring injury, but the Texans are remaining positive.

2. The only points San Francisco scored came on a turnover.  The offense, playing without Frank Gore Saturday, has endured an abysmal preseason. Alex Smith remains the starting quarterback.

3. Even if Foster is limited early in the year, the Texans are in good shape. Second-year pro Ben Tate has been a revelation the last two weeks.

Titans 14, Bears 13

1. Chris Johnson got a little more leverage when Tennessee’s first-team offense struggled. Chicago has 16 first downs to only 7 for the Titans in the first half.

2. Chicago lost tight end Desmond Clark and running back Marion Barber to injuries.

3. Johnny Knox outplayed Roy Williams once again.  Chicago’s starters on offense looked sharp for the most part.

4. It appears Chester Taylor is on his way out of town unless Barber’s injury is serious.

Broncos 23, Seahawks 20

1. Kyle Orton looked terrific, while Tim Tebow had a mixed day while taking all the second team offense snaps.  It remains unclear if Tebow or Brady Quinn will be the backup.

2. The Seahawks quarterback competition doesn’t seem to be a competition at all. Tarvaris Jackson played into the fourth quarter, struggling again.  Seattle’s offensive line has looked awful in the preseason.

3. Von Miller continues to look like the real deal.  Combining him with Elvis Dumervil makes the Broncos defense a lot more dangerous.

Chargers 34, Cardinals 31

1. Arizona’s offense looked rather explosive. They enjoyed an 80-yard touchdown by Larry Fitzgerald, a 34-yard score by Andre Roberts (running), and Beanie Wells had a nice night.

2. Cardinals first-round pick Patrick Peterson was picked on by Philip Rivers, but only after Peterson recorded a pick six.

3. Peterson will need to step up because starter Greg Toler left with a potentially serious knee injury.

4. San Diego’s starting defense had a poor night, but first round pick Corey Liuget is living up to his name.

77 responses to “What we learned: Mega-edition from Saturday night

  1. Cardinals looked good, of course people are gonna say “they lost” but of course those of you that say that are morons.

  2. What we learned:

    Detroit is coming on. Wild card possibility.

    Patriots overrated ……….again.

    Dez Bryant will bust out this year……..unless he hurts himself falling over his pants on the ground

    Kyle Orton doesnt get enough recognition

  3. Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford are on fire, leading all other qb’s in rating and yards per attempt by a wide margin. When you consider those two qb’s have played a bunch of Super Bowl contenders in Atlanta, Philly and New England, it’s pretty impressive.

  4. Can we put to bed this ridiculous notion that Foster will fall off the map without Leach? Arian had a higher YPC with Leach on the sidelines in 2010.

  5. Phins paid a buncha cash to have the same QB, same O line, and a RB that gets -1 per game and will be injured by mid season…

    good job… 30:1 Sparano has a job in January

  6. Brandon Marshall was being covered by a backup, not a true #1 cb like Talib, so what Marshall did was irrelevant..& how come no mention of Tampa’s d-line with 5 sacks & holding Bushy to squat yards

  7. @melonhead : Cowboys starters gave up 30 points on 9 possessions ? Ha , the great Rob Ryan strikes again . Your right , Ware may sack Vick once or twice but Maclin , Jackson , McCoy , and Smith are gonna shred that D . Another 6-10 year up for the cowboys !

  8. We learned that the Bucs and Dolphins played sloppy football. Way too many penalties in that game.

  9. The niners scored in the first 19 secs of the first half with pick 6. Man am I in for another long season. Why do I continue to waste $300 every year on football package to watch this horrible ball club? They need new ownership that wants to win. I’m ready to throw myself of a bridge already.

  10. @maaaatix
    So people that state the fact the cardinals lost
    Are morons. Yea way to go.
    The Cowboys won but they looked bad.

  11. What we learned
    Dez Bryant will be a beast opposite of miles Austin

    The Cowboys looked horrible and still won.
    They have work to do but will be ok.

    And jacksaysfu is a effin moron just for posting.

  12. If NDonkyKong Suh keeps up his ‘dirty’ ways…the next time he hurts someone with his ‘dirty play’, some obscure O-lineman will be called in to ‘police’ the issue! Then we will see how much the Lions fans like his “intensive” playing. Lions this year: 5-11435435345245345

  13. If NDonkyKong Suh keeps up his ‘dirty’ ways…the next time he hurts someone with his ‘dirty play’, some obscure O-lineman will be called in to ‘police’ the issue! Then we will see how much the Lions fans like his “intensive” playing. Lions this year: 5-116786786785678678

  14. we learned that the Bills have the potential to be legit this year. The Bills D-line is BIG and gets pressure. If Merriman can stay healthy this will be the most improved defense in the NFL. The offense isn’t as bad as everyone says they are…the O-line did its job and the Bills have a lot of talent at WR and RB. Don’t bet against the Bills this year, they may not make the playoffs but they’re going to be a tough team to play against. Then again…maybe Jacksonville is just garbage?

  15. drstrangelust says: Aug 28, 2011 2:47 PM

    If NDonkyKong Suh keeps up his ‘dirty’ ways…the next time he hurts someone with his ‘dirty play’, some obscure O-lineman will be called in to ‘police’ the issue! Then we will see how much the Lions fans like his “intensive” playing. Lions this year: 5-116786786785678678

    more like drfairydust if ya ask me

  16. @maaatix

    Yes the cards lost, get over it. Also, I guarantee u if the chargers starters were in there the whole game they would of came back and whooped on them anyways. The Chargers had a bad game, and the Cards had a good game and the Chargers were still hanging in there the whole game. Don’t get too excited about this game man.

  17. TJ doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done so far. Its the O line that his hindering him, when he gets protection he plays very well. On that last drive when he had little pressure on him, he went 5/5 and a TD in a 90 yard drive. Give him time to throw the ball and he can make things happen.

  18. Nothing makes me want to throw up more than seeing Pig Ben do that phony finger pointing to the sky bit. The idiot actually thinks his birth mother doesn’t know the truth about him.

  19. Keep in mind when making predictions that there wasn’t much of an off season. I’m sure things will tighten up as the season goes along. Right now you have new coaches, and new players trying to figure it all out in a short amount of time. I wouldn’t just assume because so and so looked good preseason that it will translate into the regular season.

  20. @arrogantathlete
    Your team is playing another sportif you would even consider cutting talent like that.

  21. Even when the Lions took their first string defense out of the game Brady and company still couldn’t move the ball down the field.

  22. @ arrogantathlete

    Are you actually implying that there’s an NFL team out there which is so deep at WR that Dez Bryant couldn’t make the 53 man roster? Occasionally, we get treated to someone who wants to talk trash so badly, that they say something which is almost unbelievably stupid. Congrats, arrogantathlete. You are today’s winner.

  23. majorsehawk. while the o line does need to get better tjax dosent help. he is constantly too deep and fails to step up in the pocket. much worse his machanics are awful. I have heard of growing off your back foot but nevertheless before have I seen a qb throw with two feet in the air. We need someone better to throw the rock. even whitehurst would be an upgrade.

  24. Your right , Ware may sack Vick once or twice

    ———————————————————-

    Yeah but which one is gonna put Vick out for the season?

  25. Im glad Dallas fans are happy with Dez Bryant having 65 yards. On my team they would be cut.

    ——————————————————————–

    That’s 65 yards in the first half, fanboy

    65 yards x 16 games = 1,040 yards, by the way.

    Don’t quit your day job (at McD’s).

  26. @iknowitallandmore…

    “Patriots overrated……..again”

    Your senseless statement speaks for itself. The 2011 Patriots are likely a playoff-caliber team—nothing more, nothing less. Anyone judging them otherwise based on one game alone is either engaging in wishful thinking, or is extraordinarily naïve about the balance of power in today’s NFL.

  27. Well I’d like to point out to the post author that the Dallas starting D only gave up 10 points against the Vikings starters. The D in Dallas only needs to hold other teams to between 17 and 24 points a game and Dallas should win 10+ games this season with an offense that averages 29 ppg.

  28. 65 yards x 16 games = 1,040 yards, by the way.

    Based on last years stats “arrogantathlete” would cut Desean Jackson, Hakeem Nicks, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Wes Welker, Jeremy Maclin and everybody but the 11 receivers that did better than that.

  29. things we learned:
    lions whooped on the overrated patriots without kyle vanden bosch, nick fairley or their starting running back jahvid best.

    tom brady got picked off by an undrafted free agent and couldnt get a td until the lions 2nd string was put in.

    logan mankins is a bum

  30. 30 points/9 possessions = 3.3 points per possession. I’ll take it given the fact that the Cowboys have been without their starting corners for every game.

    Curious to see how other teams have done in that regard.

  31. @arrogantathlete

    I hope you never post here again for saying something so utterly insane. 65 yard per half for a WR would be something any coach would jump up and down saying YES YES YES to.

  32. Everybody that is putting to much faith/stock in PREseason games needs to get over themselves. The preseason is mostly about evaluating rookies and staying healthy. Coaches don’t care about winning as much as they do about getting rookies exposed to as many game situations as possible and staying healthy. Why else would the bears kickoff 5yds short of where they can actually spot the ball, or the cowboys go for 2 pt conversion instead of tying with an automatic extra point? Preseason games equal squat: the year the lions went 0-16, they were 4-0 in the preseason and the colts were 0-4 the year they won the super bowl

  33. I guess arrogant athlete would also cut mike Wallace. I mean he only has 2 grabs all preseason…big Ben is going to have a career year. I can’t wait to hear all you haters bash him with the same tired old lines all year

  34. jdbaker1860 says: Aug 28, 2011 2:17 PM

    The niners scored in the first 19 secs of the first half with pick 6. Man am I in for another long season. Why do I continue to waste $300 every year on football package to watch this horrible ball club? They need new ownership that wants to win. I’m ready to throw myself of a bridge already.
    ——————————————————————-
    If you are looking for a good bridge, the Niners have one of the best in the business. I hear the view is spectacular on the way down…

  35. arrogantass-lete wrote:

    Im glad Dallas fans are happy with Dez Bryant having 65 yards. On my team they would be cut.

    _________________________________

    I don’t think there are any teams that would cut Dez. He will be a top 5 WR if he stays healthy. He catches it on any route in any amount of traffic.

  36. @jacksaysfu

    You are right, the Cowboys look really really bad. This is coming from a Cowboys fan. But you are quick to dismiss Vick and the Eagles struggles in the preseason and yet want to point out the Cowboys faults in the preseason? Can’t have it both ways.

    It’s typical of an Eagles fan though. Keep building your overrated team up and you will be thoroughly disappointed once again. The Eagles are not SB worthy, not even that close. Vick will not be even remotely efficient as he was last season, your WR’s are overrated (specifically Jackson), your DB’s are overrated (DRC and Asante both), and your team has fallen off the map when it matters most more in the last 10 yrs than any other team in the NFL. If I were you, I’d worry about your own team and the unnecessary hype they are receiving.

    “Much Ado About Nothing”

    This will be the Eagles theme for 2011/12.

  37. CAN WE PLEASE, Please, Finally Call Alex Smith a bust, and move on? This dude has seen more coaching changes, schemes, excuses, and losses than the rest of the NFC West combined.

  38. @jacksaysfu

    You are right, the Cowboys look really really bad.

    ——————————————————–
    Let’s leave it there. Romo has ONE playoff win in his career. Period.

  39. lexnekst says:
    Aug 28, 2011 6:58 PM
    CAN WE PLEASE, Please, Finally Call Alex Smith a bust, and move on? This dude has seen more coaching changes, schemes, excuses, and losses than the rest of the NFC West combined.

    —————————–

    i dislike Alex Smith as much as the next 9er fan, but your reasoning for calling him a bust is stupid.

    coaching changes and ever changing schemes doesnt help your point at all, and it actually goes completely against your point.

    youre hella smart, bro.

  40. @sieg1234

    …talk about winning when it matters most, aren’t the cowboys something like 1-8 in playoff games in the last 14 or 15 years?

  41. We learned that the only competition in the division for the Cards is the Rams. A Smith and TJ are going to get their teams nowhere.

  42. @arrogantathlete

    Im glad Dallas fans are happy with Dez Bryant having 65 yards. On my team they would be cut.

    ——————————————————————–

    “They” is plural, which means he’s such a beast you had to count him twice.

    And he did it with Kevin “Bubblescreen” Ogletree and Jessie “Reality” Holley playing across from him. Wait till Miles “Effin” Austin is back.

  43. We’ve learned Steelers backup QBs are made of glass. This is the second year one of them has broken as soon as we’ve taken him off the shelf. God bless, Byron.

    We’ve learned the Lions are going to keep things interesting in the NFC North. Playoffs!

    We’ve learned that despite all the talk about player safety, they’re dropping like flies throughout the league and the NCAA. It’s a dangerous game.

  44. Im glad Dallas fans are happy with Dez Bryant having 65 yards. On my team they would be cut.

    ——————————————————————–

    That’s 65 yards in the first half, fanboy

    65 yards x 16 games = 1,040 yards, by the way.

    Don’t quit your day job (at McD’s).
    _______________________________
    ……against one of the worst defensive secondary teams in entire NFL………just sayin…..

  45. Pats defense didn’t worry me. Once Haynesworth, Wilfork, Andre Carter and Shaun Ellis line up and start rushing the passer they’ll look a bit better.

    Stafford was a beast, hitting nearly every throw with deadly accuracy. Gotta give credit where it’s do. Pats played some sloppy coverage but even when they were with their man Stafford would make a great throw.

    The O-Line problem is troubling though. Those guys got to step it up… Or NE won’t be going anywhere.

  46. I’m really shocked that so many people take pre-season as if it actually means something.

    You could go 4-0 in pre-season and end up going 0-16 in the regular season (like a certain team from Detroit did a few years back).

    Pre-season is a nothing more than a bunch of warm-up games to hammer out the kinks and get rid of the rust after a 6 month off-season

    Anyone who takes them for anything else is a moron.

  47. Let’s leave it there. Romo has ONE playoff win in his career. Period.

    ———————————————————————-

    Wrex Grossman has two. Which QB would you rather have?

  48. Im glad Dallas fans are happy with Dez Bryant having 65 yards. On my team they would be cut.

    ——————————————————————–

    That’s 65 yards in the first half, fanboy

    65 yards x 16 games = 1,040 yards, by the way.

    Don’t quit your day job (at McD’s).
    _______________________________
    ……against one of the worst defensive secondary teams in entire NFL………just sayin…..

    ——————————————————————-

    Right, and Bryant went out there and made them look like exactly what they are. Isn’t that what he’s supposed to do? Imagine what it would have been like with Miles Austin drawing coverage. Just sayin.

  49. The Cowboys have given up 3.3 points per drive this preseason but they have steadily improved each game. Against the Vikings 1’s they gave up 10 points in six possessions and one of those possession was their 1’s against the Cowboys’ 2’s and 3’s that produced no points. Add in the fact that the D got a red zone pick that ended up leading to 7 points for the Cowboys and I’d say they looked pretty good, considering the fact that they were missing both starting corners and a starting DE.

  50. @marcus158 …

    Gave you a thumbs-up because, yes, going 0-4 or 4-0 in preseason means nothing. But preseason does tell a story.

    When your first team plays an opponent’s first team for three quarters, you can get a good sense of how cohesive your team is, whether they’ve picked up new offensive or defensive schemes, addressed needs, recovered mentally from the previous year’s disappointments.

    No, the preseason won’t predict whether your starting QB will tear his ACL in the season opener. It won’t tell you whether the free agent who hasn’t reported to camp will dramatically improve your defense. But if you expect a rookie QB who sucks in the fourth preseason game to suddenly know the playbook week one … or a leaky o-line to suddenly become impenetrable in the space of a few days … you’re the moron.

    Usually the guys railing that preseason means nothing are the ones whose teams aren’t performing as they’d hoped.

  51. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the “Amish Rifle.”

    Did ya’ll see that rocket he threw at Marcus Easley for the TD?

    Badass!!

    Go Bills!!!!

  52. Deb, I am hoping it truly is a dangerous sport (like in career ending injury) for you know who!

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