Sunday, August 15, 2004

Brown shines for post-George Titans

Saturday's NFL Capsules

By The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Chris Brown gave the Tennessee Titans an early reason not to miss Eddie George.

Brown ran for 46 yards on only six carries, and Steve McNair threw for a touchdown as the Titans downed Cleveland 24-3 Saturday night in the exhibition opener for both teams.

Brown, the Titans' third-round draft pick in 2003, missed the entire preseason last year because of a strained hamstring. But he averaged 7.7 yards per carry in his first work as the Titans' starting tailback, the job held by George - the team's career leading rusher who was released last month in a pay dispute.

McNair would have been perfect if one pass hadn't bounced off the hands of Drew Bennett and into Daylon McCutcheon's arms for an interception. McNair was 5-of-6 for 54 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown to Derrick Mason.

Jeff Garcia and Kellen Winslow could have had smoother debuts with the Browns.

The Titans greeted Cleveland's new quarterback by sacking him twice in his first three plays and forcing a quick punt. Garcia was 3-of-5 for 23 yards in three series, and he set up Phil Dawson's 50-yard field goal with a 10-yard toss to Winslow.

Winslow's arrival in camp was delayed by a 12-day holdout. He drew a personal foul in the second quarter for a shoving match with Titans safety Lamont Thompson.

Texans 18, Cowboys 0

HOUSTON - David Carr was almost perfect. The new-look Cowboys offense wasn't.

Carr was 7-of-8 for 89 yards and a touchdown in both teams' preseason opener, which featured the Dallas debuts of veterans Vinny Testaverde, Eddie George and Keyshawn Johnson.

Testaverde, the starter after the Cowboys cut incumbent Quincy Carter, was 4-of-7 for 34 yards, including one 13-yard completion to Johnson. George ran for 12 yards on five carries before the reserves took over.

It was Dallas' first visit to Houston since the Texans shocked the Cowboys 19-10 in the franchise's inaugural game in 2002. It also marked the second straight season Dallas failed to score in its first exhibition game.

Tony Hollings, who started because Domanick Davis was sidelined with minor injuries, ran for 57 yards on 15 carries and caught two passes for 32 yards.

Leading the Cowboys reserves onto the field in the second quarter was quarterback Drew Henson, the former Michigan star and New York Yankees prospect drafted by the Texans last year. Once he gave up baseball in February, the Texans traded him to Dallas for a 2005 third-round pick.

Henson, who hadn't played a football game since the 2001 Citrus Bowl, was 8-for-11 for 94 yards and a costly interception.

Dolphins 16, Jaguars 5

MIAMI - In the absence of the retired Ricky Williams, the Dolphins won without a running game. Miami totaled 30 yards on 22 carries until undrafted rookie Fred Russell burst up the middle for an 88-yard gain in the final minute.

Miami reserve cornerback Korey Banks avoided a serious spinal injury, but was taken off the field immobilized on a cart. He was hurt making a tackle in the second quarter.

QB Jay Fiedler was 7-of-11 for 89 yards. He started, played three series and led Miami to two field goals.

A. J. Feeley, acquired in a trade from Philadelphia, is seeking to supplant Fiedler and went 8-for-12 for 105 yards with an interception on a pass tipped at the line. One incompletion was a spike to stop the clock, and another was intentional grounding. Feeley played three series and led the Dolphins to one score, moving them 66 yards in the final two minutes of the first half for a field goal.

Jaguars starting quarterback Byron Leftwich went 4-for-8 for 43 yards before leaving early in the second quarter. Fred Taylor carried only twice but had the Jaguars' biggest gain, reversing his field for a 42-yard run.

Lions 27, Steelers 21

DETROIT - Joey Harrington completed passes to Charles Rogers on three of Detroit's first seven plays and Detroit held on to beat Pittsburgh in the exhibition opener for both teams.

Brian St. Pierre, Pittsburgh's third-string quarterback, converted a fourth-and-28 on the final drive and with the clock running out, his pass into the end zone was deflected by cornerback Jeff Sanchez.

Rogers, the No. 2 overall pick in 2003, played for the first time since missing the final 11 games last season with a broken collarbone. He had three receptions, all first downs, for 56 yards to set up Harrington's 1-yard touchdown pass to Casey FitzSimmons at the end of the first quarter.

Harrington, the third pick overall two years ago, was 5-for-7 for 68 yards and a TD in his only drive.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 8-of-13 for 84 yards, including a 7-yard TD to Antwaan Randle El that tied the game late in the second quarter in his NFL debut.

Vikings 23, Cardinals 6

MINNEAPOLIS - Dennis Green's return to Minnesota - and to coaching - was marred by penalties and a flat offense, and Minnesota beat his Arizona Cardinals.

Green coached his first NFL game since the Vikings, the team he led for 10 seasons, fired him in 2001. He now has the task of turning around one of the league's worst teams.

The Cardinals were flagged nine times for 72 yards. Starting quarterback Josh McCown went 4-for-6 for 29 yards in limited action. Green also limited rookie receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back Emmitt Smith, who both sustained mild injuries.

With two of Green's top three wideouts, Anquan Boldin and Bryant Johnson, both out injured, Fabian Davis led Arizona's receivers with 32 yards on one catch.

Arizona's points came on two field goals by Neil Rackers.

Minnesota had seven sacks, but the Vikings' offense wasn't that impressive, managing only a couple of decent drives.

Minnesota's starting offense, the league's best last season, got off slowly before Daunte Culpepper hit Randy Moss for a 48-yard score to start the second quarter. Culpepper was 8-for-10 for 120 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Raiders 33, 49ers 30

SAN FRANCISCO - Rich Gannon came out throwing in his first game back from shoulder surgery and looked like his old self.

But Kerry Collins, his strong-armed backup, was the one who got Oakland into the end zone in a win over San Francisco in the exhibition opener for both teams.

Gannon was 9-for-15 for 69 yards, with his longest completion a 16-yarder to Amos Zereoue.

Gannon completed seven of 12 passes in the Raiders' opening drive that led to Sebastian Janikowski's 26-yard field goal - the first of his four field goals, including a 21-yarder to break a 27-27 tie with 6:28 remaining, and the winning kick from 40 yards as time expired.

Kirk Yliniemi kicked a tying 38-yard field goal with 1:53 left to tie it at 30.

Collins directed an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the second quarter that took just 3 minutes, 18 seconds, capped by a pretty 34-yard pass along the left sideline to Doug Gabriel.

The Raiders were penalized 21 times for 215 yards.

Ken Dorsey, the 49ers' starting quarterback in place of injured Tim Rattay (sore forearm), led San Francisco on a 67-yard scoring drive in the team's first offensive series. But the Niners settled for Todd Peterson's 26-yard field goal.

Panthers 23, Redskins 20, OT

LANDOVER, Md. - Mark Brunell made his move in Washington's quarterbacks competition, but Carolina spoiled Joe Gibbs' homecoming.

John Kasay kicked a 52-yard field goal with 7:31 left in overtime following Carolina's fourth interception of the game.

The defending NFC champions used their starters for only the first quarter. Third-string quarterback Chris Weinke threw two third-quarter touchdown passes to Keary Colbert, and Kasay forced overtime with a 37-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in regulation.

The Redskins provided little to cheer about until Brunell's 61-yard touchdown pass to Darnerien McCants in the third quarter to tie it at 10.

Brunell was 6-for-15 for 119 yards and an interception. But he led the Redskins to 10 points after starter Patrick Ramsey (4-for-11, 62 yards) produced only three first downs in five series. Clinton Portis left early in the second quarter after gaining 15 yards on five carries.

Carolina's Stephen Davis ran for 28 yards on seven carries. Jake Delhomme went 4-for-8 for 44 yards before leaving after the first quarter.

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