Looking for excitement in the final NFL preseason games a lot like searching for a bikini contest in Tibet; you’ve got to really want it. With few exceptions, the starters and back-up players are all resting safely on the bench while twenty-odd remaining hopefuls on each side try to prove they have some roster worth in what amounts to an overblown scrimmage. Players don’t want to get hurt. Coaches don’t want to show the playbook. Only the hardest of hardcore football fans, the most degenerate of gamblers and people who just cannot find the remote can stomach a full preseason match-up.
Here’s what you missed while re-arranging your mini-helmet collection:
Bengals 38, Colts 7
After being set up by three solid runs by Cedric “Last Year Wasn’t a Fluke” Benson, backup QB J.T. Sullivan made an easy 14-yard hit up the middle to wide receiver Andre Cadwell on the Bengals first possession. The Colts Jim Sorgi made the most of his return (knowing he most likely won’t play again until January 3, 2010) after being out most of the preseason scoring on the next drive hitting receiver Taj Smith from 22-yards out.
Sam Swank, a kicker out of Wake Forest and not a Leisure Suit Larry character, drilled a 49-yard field goal during Cincinnati’s next possession, giving them the lead they would hold for the rest of the game under third-string quarterback Jordan Palmer.
The real excitement occurred late in the second when running back Brian Leonard got to showoff his trademark “Leonard Leap” by sailing completely over defensive back Travis Key.
Bengal WR Chris Henry added to his scoring streak with touchdown in early in the second quarter, and Leonard added extra insurance late in the half with a four-yard run into the end zone. Roster bubble player DeDe Dorsey blocked a punt and returned it seven yards for the touchdown in the third, and by the fourth quarter Chad OchoCinco had finished a draft of his final Tweet.
Sorgi finished the game 11 for 19 and 119 yards gained, but hit the turf enough times to warrent Peyton Manning-level of anger at the offensive line.
Jets 38, Eagles 27
Michael Vick might have finally scored his first touchdown since being allowed back into the league on a quarterback run, but he also scrambled himself into four sacks, an interception, and two fumbles, throwing for just 7-11 for a paltry 26 yards passing.
The big story of the night was Jets fan-favorite Danny Woodhead running for 158 yards, including a 55-yard dash and a 31-yard return, and two touchdowns as he battled for a final roster spot. Rookie quarterback Matt Sanchez played for just the first series, going 5-5 and scoring on a 21-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery before handing the reins over to backups Kellen Clemens (0-0, INT) and Erik Ainge (10-17, 160 yards, 2 TD).
Late in the fourth quarter, Philly QB A.J. Feeley (1-2, 3 yards) made the smallest whisper of a toss to Hank Baskett, probably marking the end of his days in the City of Brotherly Love.
Lions 17, Bills 6
Do you think if we all pretended this game never happened, flat-out denied its existence, the NFL would strike it from the record books? The only play that prevented me from gnawing off my own arm out of boredom was a fumble over the pylon at the end of the first half which could have either been a touchback for the Bills or a touchdown for the Lions if there had been more than two camera angles for the referees to look at. Fortunately for both my arm and the Lions, Jerome Felton’s run was ruled a touchdown as Detroit easily defeated the no-huddle, no-starters Bills.