Watson debuts for Browns; Jets’ Wilson injures right knee
Deshaun Watson apologized before his preseason debut with the Cleveland Browns and then got an earful from opposing fans.
Watson apologized Friday “to all the women I have impacted” after being accused by two dozen women of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions.
Potentially facing a year-long suspension, Watson publicly expressed remorse and contrition for the first time since he was accused of sexually harassing or assaulting the women during therapy sessions in 2020 and 2021.
He spoke before the team’s exhibition opener, a 24-13 victory at Jacksonville (0-2) in which Watson was roundly booed during three series of work. Fans in one end zone could be heard chanting vulgarities at Watson during his first drive.
The three-time Pro Bowler completed 1 of 5 passes for 7 yards in his first game action since Jan. 3, 2021, with Houston.
Jacksonville played most of its starters and looked considerably better than it did in the Hall of Fame game last week in Canton, Ohio.
Trevor Lawrence completed 6 of 12 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown, a 9-yarder to Evan Engram on a fourth-down play.
Jaguars running back Travis Etienne played for the first time since suffering a foot injury last preseason and ran for 23 yards. He also had a 10-yard reception that set up a field goal.
The Jaguars scored on each of their first three possessions.
JETS 24, EAGLES 21
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson injured his right knee in the first quarter of a preseason victory over Philadelphia.
After going back to pass with 4:29 left in the period, Wilson was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled to his right for 7 yards, but went down after the play. He appeared to injure his knee when planting to cut on Philadelphia’s grass field.
After being checked by trainers, Wilson limped to the sideline on his own power before heading to the locker room.
After the game, Jets coach Robert Saleh said the initial tests on Wilson showed the ACL “is supposed to be intact,” but the team is waiting for the MRI on Saturday.
Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts looked sharp, completing all six of his pass attempts for 80 yards and a touchdown while playing just one series.
Jets fourth-stringer Chris Streveler, a 2019 Grey Cup champion with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, threw two TD passes, including a go-ahead 5-yard toss to Calvin Jackson Jr. with 16 seconds left. Streveler, who previously spent time in the NFL with Arizona, Baltimore and Miami, had not taken a snap in offensive team drills in camp this summer before playing against Philadelphia.
Hurts came out firing on all cylinders in his first opportunity to show his progress in a live games after an offseason full of work, hitting wide receiver Quez Watkins for 28 yards down the right sideline on the game’s first play. He connected with his next four passes before finishing a perfect passing drive with a 22-yard touchdown strike to tight end Dallas Goedert.
49ERS 28, PACKERS 21
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Trey Lance flashed his big arm in a brief preseason stint for San Francisco with a 76-yard touchdown pass to speedy rookie Danny Gray that helped the 49ers beat Green Bay.
Lance played just two series in the game but that was enough to show why the Niners made the decision to transition from Jimmy Garoppolo to Lance at quarterback.
Lance delivered a perfect deep strike to Gray on San Francisco’s second possession and Gray raced the rest of the way for the score.
Lance finished 4 for 5 for 92 yards, a TD and a perfect 158.3 rating. He ran it once for 7 yards.
Green Bay’s young quarterback wasn’t as sharp on a night when both teams played only a handful of starters.
Jordan Love threw three interceptions to go along with two TD passes in one half of action with starter Aaron Rodgers sitting out the exhibition game.
Love found rookie Romeo Doubs on a 33-yard TD on Green Bay’s second drive and then connected on another 33-yarder to Danny Davis at the end of the half.
But he had three interceptions in between those TDs, including one that went off tight end Tyler Davis’ hands. Love, who has thrown just 61 passes since being drafted in the first round in 2020, went 13 for 24 for 176 yards.
The teams then traded TD passes in the fourth quarter, with Danny Etling throwing a 22-yarder to Amari Rodgers to give Green Bay a 21-20 lead and San Francisco answering with Brock Purdy’s 5-yard TD to Tanner Hudson.
CARDINALS 36, BENGALS 23
CINCINNATI (AP) — Jonathan Ward, trying to win a spot in a crowded Arizona backfield, ran for two touchdowns and the Cardinals beat Cincinnati in a preseason opener that saw starters for both teams watching from the sideline in street clothes.
Ward plunged in for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the second quarter.
Trace McSorley and Jarrett Guarantano, in competition to be the third-string quarterback, shared the snaps for the Cardinals. McSorley, who was signed midway through the 2021 season, threw for 163 yards and a touchdown to Andre Baccellia.
Guarantano, an undrafted free agent, was 7 for 10 for 54 yards and tossed a short touchdown pass to Jontre Kirklin.
The Bengals lost Brandon Allen, who backed up Joe Burrow last season, early in the game with a concussion.
Evan McPherson picked up where he left off in his terrific rookie season, booting field goals of 23, 58 and 56 yards for Cincinnati.
FALCONS 27, LIONS 23
DETROIT (AP) — Rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jared Bernhardt with 1:30 left to give Atlanta a win over Detroit.
The Lions took a 23-20 lead on Riley Patterson’s 28-yard field goal with 5:57 to play, then forced Atlanta into a three-and-out. Detroit quarterback David Blough, though, fumbled at his 33 with 2:00 left.
Facing fourth-and-9 from the 21 with 1:37 left, Atlanta coach Arthur Smith decided to avoid preseason overtime. Ridder dodged two pass rushers and Bernhardt fought off Cedric Boswell’s coverage attempt to make the catch just inside the end zone.
Ridder replaced Marcus Mariota after one drive and finished 10-for-22 for 103 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed six times for 59 yards, as Atlanta put up 168 yards rushing and just 139 passing.
Lions quarterbacks Tim Boyle and Blough, competing for the No. 2 job behind Jared Goff, both struggled. Boyle was 9-for-16 for 111 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Blough was 18-for-28 for 141 yards, but had a pass deflected and nearly intercepted in his own end zone with 3:42 left before his late fumble.
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