Andy Dalton made a solid debut in Cincinnati’s revamped offense, throwing for a pair of touchdowns as the Bengals beat the Chicago Bears 30-27 on Thursday night.
The Bengals (1-0) were last in the league on offense last season, the worst finish in franchise history. They overhauled their leaky offensive line, and coordinator Bill Lazor injected more diversity into the playbook. It showed the first time out.
Dalton went 6 of 8 for 103 yards, completing four passes of at least 20 yards. He also had an interception that wasn’t his fault — John Ross fell on his route, and Kyle Fuller returned the pickoff 47 yards to the end zone.
The Bengals are hoping that Ross and running back Joe Mixon — their top two picks last season — emerge in the redesigned offense during their second seasons.
Ross had a 20-yard catch. Mixon, moved into the starring role with Jeremy Hill gone, made the game’s most impressive play. He caught a short pass, stiff-armed one defender and spun away from another for a 24-yard touchdown .
Trubisky was in for two series that netted minus-1 yard on eight plays. The Bears’ only first down on those series came on Carlos Dunlap’s penalty for roughing the quarterback, a late hit on Trubisky. He missed on a deep sideline pass to Kevin White on his opening throw and finished 2-of-4 for 4 yards. Former Missouri standout Chase Daniel went 8-for-12 for 76 yards and threw one interception.
The Bengals pulled off a fake punt in the second quarter, with safety Clayton Fejedelem going 49 yards after a direct snap. He finished as Cincinnati’s leading rusher with the one run.
Chicago’s Demarcus Ayers drew a personal foul for lowering his head to tackle Clayton Fejedelem on the fake punt. Fejedelem was flagged for the same infraction in the third quarter when he was on defense.
Bears: LB Josh Woods suffered a hand injury in the first half and didn’t return.
Bengals: LB Vincent Rey hurt his right ankle while blocking on a punt return and was helped off the field in the first quarter. He didn’t return.
Bears: Play at Denver on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Bengals: Play at Dallas on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Dolphins lose to Bucs in Tannehill’s return
Ryan Tannehill completed passes on the first four plays in his return from two serious injuries to his left knee, sparking a 40-yard drive that ended with a missed field goal in his only series, and the Miami Dolphins lost their exhibition opener to Tampa Bay 26-24 on Thursday night.
Tannehill, seeing his first action since December 2016, was off-target on his final two throws and finished 4-for-6 for 32 yards.
New Buccaneers kicker Chandler Catanzaro made a 26-yard field goal with 23 seconds left to cap a 67-yard drive and give them the win.
Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston played the second quarter against Miami’s second team and led a group of reserves to 10 points on drives of 32 and 40 yards. He went 11-for-13 for 102 yards in four series.
Winston is suspended for the first three games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bucs on a 57-yard, six-play touchdown drive on their first possession. It was capped by Peyton Barber’s 4-yard run.
Miami’s David Fales, battling Brock Osweiler for the backup QB job, led the second-string offense to a field goal against the Buccaneers’ first-team defense. Fales also directed a 75-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, and he finished 8-of-11 for 115 yards.
Dolphins fourth-round draft pick Kalen Ballage rushed for 37 yards in 10 carries and caught three passes for 23 yards. He also lost a fumble.
Bucs second-round pick Ronald Jones was held to 9 yards in eight carries, but scored on a 2-yard run.
Catanzaro missed his first extra-point attempt and missed a 53-yard field goal try, but also made two field goals.
Rookie Jason Sanders, battling rookie Greg Joseph for the Dolphins’ kicking job, made field goals of 29 and 23 yards but missed a 53-yarder. Joseph made a 48-yarder.
Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn protested during the anthem. Stills and Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing along the sideline. Quinn stood and raised his right fist. There were no apparent protests by the Buccaneers.
Stills kneeled during the anthem during the 2016-17 seasons and has been vocal discussing social injustice issues that inspired the protest movement by NFL players.
Bucs: CB Vernon Hargreaves III left in the first quarter with a groin injury and didn’t return. First-round draft pick DT Vita Vea didn’t play. He has missed most of training camp with a calf injury.
Dolphins: Reserve LB Mike Hull left the field on a cart in the second quarter with a left knee injury.
Buccaneers: Tampa Bay plays at Tennessee on Aug. 18.
Dolphins: Miami plays at Carolina on Aug. 17.
Mayfield and Barkley show the goods
Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley lived up to early expectations as the top two picks in the NFL draft in their first action as the Cleveland Browns beat the New York Giants 20-10 on Thursday night.
Replacing starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor late in the first quarter, Mayfield hit 11 of 20 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, and he converted two fourth-down plays with his feet. The Heisman Trophy winner who was the No. 1 overall pick found tight end David Njoku on a 10-yard TD pass to cap a 14-play, 72-yard drive on his second series. He finished his debut with a completion on a 54-yard slant and run to fellow rookie Antonio Callaway.
Taylor, expected to be coach Hue Jackson’s starter as Mayfield learns this season, hit all five of his passes in two series, including a 36-yard touchdown pass to Njoku, a New Jersey native.
Barkley, the No. 2 pick, electrified the fans at MetLife Stadium, taking a handoff from Eli Manning on the opening play from scrimmage and turning no apparent hole into a 39-yard run down the sideline in front of the Giants’ bench. It set up a 42-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas.
The Penn State running back finished with 43 yards on five carries.
Jalen Simmons scored on 5-yard third-quarter run for the Giants’ other score. It came three plays after C.J. Board fumbled a punt return and Zak DeOssie recovered at the Browns 16.
Manning played two series and hit 4 of 7 passes for 26 yards. Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., returning from major ankle surgery, dressed but was held out by new coach Pat Shurmur, who is trying to rebuild the Giants after a 3-13 season.
The Browns went 0-16 last season after winning their four preseason games.