The NFL preseason has officially started and Week 1 of the 2022 exhibition season has been quite eventful thus far. Atlanta Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder threw a game-winning touchdown against the Detroit Lions with less than two minutes left, Jordan Love and Trey Lance traded long touchdowns in the Bay, and Cincinnati Bengals star kicker Evan McPherson scored 3 of 3 on his field goals , including two from at least 56 yards out.
There were also a few injuries, the most notable of which was New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. However, he is expected to be fine and not miss any time in the regular season.
This Saturday we have a total of eight games to watch, starting with the Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Commanders and Kansas City Chiefs vs. Chicago Bears at 1 p.m. ET, ending with a battle for LA between the Super Bowl champions Rams and Chargers.
Following are all the must-see highlights from Saturday’s action. Get ready for a full day of football.
Giants 23, Patriots 21 (Takeaway)
Ravens 23, Titans 10 (summary)
Falcons 27, Lions 23 (summary)
Browns 24, Jaguars 13 (summary)
Cardinals 36, Bengal 23 (summary)
Jets 24, Eagles 21 (takeaway)
49ers 28, Packers 21 (summary)
Bears 19, Chiefs 14 (summary)
Panthers 23, Commanders 21 (summary)
Bills 27, Colts 24 (summary)
Steelers 32, Seahawks 25 (takeaway)
Dolphins 26, Buccaneers 24 (Box Score)
Saints 13, Texans 10 (4th Quarter – Gametracker)
Broncos 14, Cowboys 0 (Halftime – Game Tracker)
Chargers 7, Rams 0 (Q2 – Gametracker)
Vikings at Raiders, 4:25 PM ET (Gametracker)
Pickett finishes it!
Two days, two rookie quarterbacks with game-winning touchdown passes. On Friday, it was Desmond Ridder who managed to beat the Lions with less than two minutes to play. Pickett then defeated Knight on Saturday and connected with Tyler Vaughns, who got out of a tackle and then dove to the front left pylon with just three seconds to play.
It was a memorable debut for the first-round pick, who went 13-for-15 for 95 yards and a couple of scores. Mitchell Trubisky still has the inside track of being the Steelers’ Week 1 starter, but Pittsburgh should be happy with his top draft pick in his NFL debut.
Drew Lock impressive
Geno Smith provided one touchdown in the first half, while Lock provided two touchdowns in just over a quarter. He completed eight of his first 11 throws for 102 yards and passed scores to Dareke Young and DeeJay Dallas.
Pittsburgh was eager to welcome its first-round quarterback, Kenny Pickett, on Saturday and meet him with: thunderous applause as he took the field to start the second half on offense for the Steelers. Pickett rewarded those in attendance with an impressive 75-yard touchdown drive where he completed all his passes for 33 yards and a touchdown to Jaylen Warren. He also completed a pass to Connor Heyward for the two-point conversion.
While this may have been in the second half of a preseason game, you can’t ask for much more from Pickett, who looked pretty sharp.
Why use your hands to force a twist when you can use your legs? That’s exactly what Elijah Campbell did in the second quarter against the Buccaneers. The Dolphins scored a touchdown on the next game.
Dolphins rookie garlands TD
With Tua Tagovailoa one of the starters, seventh round rookie Skylar Thompson started the game below center and took full advantage of his opportunity. He started the game by completing 10 of his first 12 passes, culminating in a 22-yard attack on Lynn Bowden Jr. The dolphins haveabout Bowden and Preston Williams, but the former showed Miami what he could do in that piece.
Geno Smith currently holds a lead over Drew Lock in the battle for the Seahawks’ starting quarterback job, and the veteran has half-proved himself against the Steelers in the preseason opener. He finished the first two quarters 10-for-15 for 101 yards and added a two-yard touchdown run to put Seattle in a pre-break score.
George Pickens scores toe-tapping touchdown
Theis about to go supersonic. After turning heads over the course of training camp, the Steelers’ second round now shows the entire NFL what he’s bringing to the table.
In Pittsburgh’s preseason opener against Seattle, the rookie wideout landed a dazzling touchdown from Mason Rudolph. On a third-and-13 attempt from the Seattle 26-yard line, Rudolph uncorked a pass to the right-back pylon in the end zone. Pickens not only managed to take a step on his defender, but was also able to keep both feet within limits after making the catch.
Ho-hum, just another budding star receiver coming out of Pittsburgh.
‘Point God’ boots 82 meters
They don’t call him “Point God” for nothing. In the closing minute of the first half of the Bills and Colts’ preseason opener, rookie punter Matt Araiza started a thunderous 82-yard punt. It bounced deep into the Indy territory before going into the end zone for a touchback. Araiza’s punter had an unofficial hang time of 4.23 seconds, according to the athletic.
The San Diego State product made a name for itself in college for similar points, leading to him becoming a sixth-round winner for Buffalo in the 2022 NFL Draft. If he can continue to have those kinds of points and force teams to cross the traveling the entire field against a defense that was number 1 in DVOA the NFL last year, Buffalo becomes even more dangerous than originally thought.
Sales party in Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts are the current betting favorites to come out of their respective divisions and are among the more popular bets to win the AFC in 2022. That said, they didn’t exactly look like juggernauts in the first half of their preseason opener. This exhibition quickly turned into a revenue fest. There have been a total of six sales over the first two quarters, including a back-and-fourth of four-straight in the second quarter.
After stopping four and four attempts by the Colts, quarterback Case Keenum was knocked out near midfield. Just six games later, Indy’s signaler Nick Foles was stripped, while Buffalo’s Terrel Bernard retrieved the loose ball and returned 69 yards for the touchdown.
On the next drive after that score, Foles’ throw was intercepted. A game later, the turnover train continued to chug as Keenum was picked in the red zone.
Sam Howell’s dazzling late rally
Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke didn’t do much quarterbacks for the Commanders, but their third QB in rookie Sam Howell impressed. It took him just five passing completions to become Washington’s leading passer against his hometown Panthers, then he recorded this impressive 17-yard rushing touchdown.
Don’t be caught off guard by Howell’s legs. He ran 11 scores for the Tar Heels last year.
After Carolina scored three times on the next possession, Howell took the field again – looking for a draw midway through the fourth quarter. The rook led a 13-play, 67-yard drive that ended with his second hasty touchdown of the game. Howell then hit Alex Erickson for the two-point conversion to take the lead, and the fans at FedEx Field went crazy.
siemian splash plays
Justin Fields’ new mentor leads a comeback in Chicago. Once down 14-0, the Bears have scored 16 unanswered thanks to backup quarterback Trevor Siemian. Chicago doesn’t act like this is a preseason game, as the attack went on 4 and 2 and Siemian found a streaking Dante Pettis in the field.
Three plays later, Siemian Dazz hit Newsome on a nice throw into the end zone corner to get within one run of the Chiefs.
Safety Justin Reid kicks XP for Chiefs
Harrison Butker isn’t the only good kicker on the Chiefs’ roster, as one of their safeties also has a talented leg. Reid kicked ain training camp last week, and got a chance to kick an extra point in week 1 of the preseason. It was perfect.
Rookie RB Brian Robinson shines for Commanders
It looks like the Alabama rookie is ready to give Antonio Gibson a little something extra in 2022. Robinson rushed for 26 yards on his first six carries and also caught two passes for 15 yards early. Robinson also wrote down some commander history, as he scored the first touchdown of the new era in Washington.
Tajae Sharpe a ‘catch of the preseason’ candidate
Sharpe is battling for game time with the Bears’ wide receivers, and this catch is sure to help his cause. He used athleticism, concentration and sideline awareness to bring it in. Sharpe, a new member of the Bears, spent last year with the Falcons. He caught 25 passes for 230 yards in 15 games played.
Sam Darnold with impressive TD toss
The Panthers are early on the Commanders and Antonio Gibson helped his opponent’s cause by fumbling at his own 28-yard line. Darnold replaced Baker Mayfield as quarterback for Carolina’s second series, and after three plays in the drive, tied with Rashard Higgins for an eight-yard touchdown.
This is quite an impressive throw, as Darnold had Montez Sweat in the face, but still led his wideout perfectly while throwing his back foot away.
The NFL world is a little nervous for sophomore Fields as he is tasked with finding success behind a questionable offensive line and with a wide receiving corps that there aren’t many of. Fields still has Mooney, though, coming out of a career campaign where he caught 81 passes for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns.
Watch this throw and catch that went 26 yards:
Chiefs waste no time scoring first Saturday TD
All right, that’s enough. We can take Patrick Mahomes out of the game. He is still good at football. The former NFL MVP led an 11-play, 72-yard drive with a pair of highlight reel plays, finishing with a five-yard touchdown pass to Blake Bell.
Watson is waiting for a potential penalty increase from the NFL — which is expected to increase his six-game suspension to something more significant — but he took the field for the Browns’ first game of the new year against the Jaguars. Watson for sureas he finished with only seven passing yards on 1 of 5 passes.
Good news for the Browns: Backup QB Joshua Dobbs looked good, completing 10 of 13 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
From Friday: Ridder’s clutch game-winning pass
The Lions-Falcons preseason game wasn’t that entertaining. The new QB in the ATL, Marcus Mariota, looked great, as did rookie Desmond Ridder. At four and nine three points behind with less than two minutes to go, Ridder found Jared Bernhardt for the winning score.
Not only was this game good to watch from a rookie quarterback, but the player on the receiving end of the touchdown also deserves some credit. Bernhardt is a former Maryland lacrosse star and the winner of the 2021 Tewaaraton Award – presented to the best player in college lacrosse. Not only was Bernhardt a lax legend in an elite school, but he then moved on to Ferris State to play football, leading the program to an undefeated record and their first Division II national championship as a quarterback. Now he has caught a game-winning touchdown in the NFL. What a story.