There’s one preseason game left for Aaron Rodgers, who figures he’ll play at least a half against Seattle. Guess what he’s dying to do?
“I’d like to score a touchdown, that’s kind of the first priority,” Rodgers said after the Green Bay Packers settled for field goals off three productive drives in a 19-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Saturday night.
“But we’ve had four good drives, four out of four. We’ve just got to get more points, we’ve got to put the ball in the end zone.”
Rodgers got the Packers (1-1) on the scoreboard for the first time in the preseason. Not that coach Mike McCarthy had been worried about an offense that averaged 27 points last season, or the final score for that matter.
McCarthy said his first priority was quality opportunities for players, the second was effective play in all three phases, “and the third priority is winning the game.”
“If you don’t like that, I get that,” McCarthy said. “Trust me, I want to win every play, every game, but we’re a young team.”
Sam Bradford had only himself to blame for putting up nice numbers, going 8 for 12 for 156 yards, with nothing to show for four possessions. His highlight throw was a 57-yarder that hit Chris Givens in stride to the Packers 4, but Bradford fumbled away the snap on fourth-and-goal from the 1 late in the first quarter with the Rams (0-2) trailing 3-0.
“That’s on me. I just missed it,” Bradford said. “I’ve got to make sure I have the ball before I get out of there. It’s unacceptable.
“You can’t have that happen. That’s what cost us this game.”
Both Packers starting wide receivers are out with injuries, so Rodgers leaned on tight end Jermichael Finley while going 10-for-12 for 134 yards. All three drives stalled and the Packers had a pair of field goals by Mason Crosby when Rodgers turned the offense over to backup Graham Harrell in the second quarter.
Finley caught four passes for 76 yards in the first half. Rookie Eddie Lacy, competing with injured DuJuan Harris for the running back job, had 40 yards on eight carries plus an 11-yard reception by the break.
Crosby was 3-for-3, connecting from 34 and 48 yards in the first half on Rodgers’ series, and adding a 30-yarder in the third quarter that had enough despite getting tipped by the Rams’ Cody Davis. Tryout Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 49-yard attempt in the first quarter and hit a 38-yarder near the end of the half for a 9-0 lead.
CARDINALS 12, COWBOYS 7: Dallas committed six turnovers, five in the first half, and Arizona sputtered past the Cowboys in the Cardinals’ preseason home opener.
Jay Feely kicked field goals of 25, 53, 40 and 22 yards for the Cardinals in the home debut of coach Bruce Arians.
Tony Romo completed 7 of 10 passes for 142 yards for Dallas (1-2) but was undone by two fumbles by his receivers, one at the Arizona 7. He also overthrew wide-open Terrance Williams for what would have been a sure touchdown.
Arizona’s Carson Palmer was 7 of 15 for 66 yards.
Dallas scored on a 5-yard pass from fourth-string quarterback Alex Tanney to Gavin Escobar with 10:55 to play, the first points allowed by Arizona (2-0) in the preseason.
JETS 37, JAGUARS 13: Mark Sanchez led New York on five scoring drives in three quarters in an up-and down performance in a victory over Jacksonville.
Sanchez, trying to fend off rookie Geno Smith to keep his starting job, threw a touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland, but also was intercepted at the goal line and cost New York (1-1) an early scoring opportunity. Smith sat out with a sprained ankle suffered in the preseason opener at Detroit.
Blaine Gabbert led the Jaguars (0-2) on two scoring drives and might have secured the starting job before leaving with a sprained thumb. Gabbert, competing with Chad Henne, was 13 of 16 for 165 yards and a touchdown.
Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 9 yards and had a 20-yard catch in his first game action since suffering a foot injury last October.
TEXANS 24, DOLPHINS 17: Matt Schaub had a touchdown pass and backups Case Keenum and T.J. Yates both added a score to help Houston beat Miami.
Schaub played most of the first quarter for Houston (2-0) and got off to a rough start, throwing an interception on his first series and being sacked on third down on the second. He and the offense got going on the next drive, and he found tight end Owen Daniels wide open in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown pass.
Ryan Tannehill looked sharp, throwing for 141 yards and a touchdown in just under a half of work for the Dolphins (1-2). But the offense took a blow when new tight end Dustin Keller sustained what appeared to be a serious right leg injury. No details of the injury were immediately available.
Houston first-round pick receiver DeAndre Hopkins was also injured; leaving in the second quarter with what the team said was a head injury.
BENGALS 27, TITANS 19: With All-Pro receiver A.J. Green watching again, Cincinnati’s offense had an impressive first half in a victory over Tennessee.
Rookie running back Giovani Bernard carried seven times for 37 yards and a touchdown, and turned a short pass into a 22-yard gain, giving the Bengals (2-0) the diversity they’re seeking out of the backfield.
After failing to score in the first quarter of a 34-10 win in Atlanta last week, the Bengals’ starters piled up 220 yards in the first half. Andy Dalton was 9 of 14 for 115 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass.
The Titans (0-2) failed to get a touchdown out of their starting offense in the first half, and they missed three consecutive field goals.