NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

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San Diego Wins Preseason Shootout Over Arizona 34-31

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 04:39 AM PDT

Billy Volek threw a 14-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to Bryan Walters in the waning seconds of the Chargers’ 34-31 preseason victory over the Cardinals.

The Chargers trailed 31-20 before Darryl Gamble recovered a Richard Bartel fumble in the Cardinals’ end zone midway through the fourth quarter.

With 3:11 remaining, Volek led San Diego on a 12-play, 90-yard drive to account for the winning score. In all, Volek completed 9-of-17 passes for 123 yards.

Philip Rivers also performed well for the Chargers, throwing for 198 yards and a pair of second quarter scores to Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd.

Rivers’ counterpart, Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb, was equally effective. Following early field goals from Jay Feely and Nate Kaeding, the former Philadelphia Eagle gave the Cardinals a 10-3 lead when he connected with Larry Fitzgerald for an 80-yard touchdown pass.

Fitzgerald finished with three catches for 108 yards.

Patrick Peterson intercepted a Rivers’ pass and returned it 34 yards for a score to give the Cardinals a 17-3 advantage after one quarter.

Andre Roberts reeled off a 34-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and LaRod Stephens-Howling caught a fourth quarter scoring strike from Bartel to account for Arizona’s final tally.

Kaeding booted a 36-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Denver’s Late Field Goal Tops Seattle 23-20

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 04:35 AM PDT

Steven Hauschka connected on a 51-yard field goal at the end of the regulation to lift the Broncos to a 23-20 preseason win over the Seahawks. Seattle had erased a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit, tying the game with 1:16 remaining.

The Broncos began the ensuing drive at their own 23-yard line. Tim Tebow scrambled for 19 yards on first down before dumping a screen pass off to Lance Ball, who scampered for a 26-yard gain to help set up Hauschka’s game-winning kick.

Kyle Orton threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker to put Denver up 17-3 in the third quarter.

The Seahawks responded early in the final stanza when quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and Dominique Byrd hooked up for a one-yard score. But a 40-yard field goal by Denver’s Matt Prater made it 20-10.

Seattle quickly countered as Doug Baldwin returned the ensuing kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown. The Seahawks pulled even on Jeff Reed’s 53-yard field goal. Reed opened the scoring by converting a 52-yard attempt in the first quarter.

The Broncos seized the lead in the second quarter on a two-yard TD run by Willis McGahee and a 57-yard Prater field goal.

Packers: Previewing The Final Roster

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 11:55 PM PDT

Legendary senior writer jclombardi previews the final 53 man roster.

QBs: (3) Rodgers, Flynn, and Harrell. Review: Super Bowl MVP Rodgers continues to look sharp in the preseason. Backup Flynn is one of the NFL's best backup.

RBs: (4) Grant, Starks, Green, and Kuhn. Review: With a talented West Coast passing game, the Packers deemphasize the run keeping only three halfbacks and one fullback. RB Grant is a good cut power runner, but Starks looks stronger in traffic. Meanwhile, Green has the biggest upside with more cut, power, and explosive skills. Starks, if he can block, or Green may be the answer on third downs. Talented FB Kuhn is the only fullback staying on roster.

WRs: (6) Driver, Jennings, Nelson, Jones, Cobb, and West. Review: This elite group of veteran receivers will be the backbone of the West Coast offense along with rookie WR/KR Cobb. West is final pick for receiving and special teams work over Gurley.

TEs: (4) Finley, Quarless, Taylor, and Williams. Review: The Packers will keep four (not five) tight ends.  All-pro Finley is the starter with the backups supporting the team in blocking, receiving, and special teams. The talented Quarless resembles Finley. Rookies Williams and Taylor have great upside, but Taylor has moved ahead of Williams for his superior special teams and receiving skills.

OLs: (9): Clifton, Lang, Wells, Sitton, Bulaga, Newhouse, Sherrod, McDonald, and Schlauderaff. Review: By the third week, the five starters including LG Lang was chosen. Veteran Newhouse should be adequate to be backup at both tackle positions. Rookie OL Sherrod is a development project.  Coach favorite McDonald, with his upside, is the backup center with reservations. Rookie Schlauderaff stays as backup guard.

DLs: (6): Pickett, Raji, Neal, Green, Wilson, and Wynn. Review: Raji, Pickett, and Neal (when healthy) will be the starters. Raji and Neal are solid pass rushers and stout against the run. Green and Wilson are solid DL backups. DL Wynn has improved to make the roster.

LBs: (8): Matthews, Hawk, Bishop, Walden, Zombo, Francois, Smith, and So’oto. Review: Beyond veterans Matthews, Hawk, and Bishop, the ROLB starter is Walden. He moved ahead of injured Zombo and disappointing Jones. Zombo will stay on the roster. Jones may be gone replaced by undrafted talent So'oto.  Veteran Francois and gamer rookie Smith are adequate ILB backups.

Secondary: (10): Woodson, Williams, Collins, Burnett, Shields, Bush, House, Peprah, Underwood, and Gordy. Review: Veteran starters Woodson, Williams, and Collins are among the elite NFL players. With reservations, Bush stays for his special teams work. Impressive rookie House and speedy gamer Gordy will compete for dime position. Veterans Burnett and Peprah are solid safeties. Athletic Underwood gets a final chance to prove his worth, although Levine may get it after an impressive preseason camp.

Specialists: (3): Crosby, Masthay, and Goode. Review: Crosby is becoming a clutch solid kicker. Punter Masthay is having a great camp with solid punts and good hang times. Long snapper Goode is simply solid.

Taxi squad: Candidates include Gurley; Guy; Levine; Dietrich-Smith; and Lattimore.

Steelers Offense Outplays Atlanta in 34-16 Preseason Win

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 10:18 PM PDT

If the Steelers offense is as good in 2011 as it was for the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s preseason game – it’s going to be a very good year.

Against a team that won 13 games in the regular season a year ago, the Steelers went up and down the field against the Atlanta Falcons, scoring 24 first half points enroute to a 34-16 win.

The game did have it’s costs, as the Steelers lost backup QB Byron Leftwich for with a broken arm, and also there were injuries to starting center Maurkice Pouncey and NT Casey Hampton. Pouncey exited with a left ankle injury, and Hampton left with a right elbow injury. Cornerback Keenan Lewis left early with a knee injury.

On the positive side, Ben Roethlisberger completed 11-of-16 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and one of the young money wide outs – Antonio Brown, had a big night, pulling in both of Roethlisberger’s touchdown passes — 77 and 44 yards. The second-year pro out of Central Michigan ended with four catches for 137 yards.

Crezdon Butler returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown in the victory.

Late in the third quarter, Leftwich scrambled to his right for six yards. Atlanta linebacker Stephen Nicholas took down Leftwich, who landed on the turf awkwardly. The QB set to be Roethlisberger’s backup screamed in pain and flung his helmet.

The Steelers offense was all over the field in the first half, as they could not be stopped. They put up 180 yards in the first half, scoring on four of six possessions.

The defense had to put up with Matt Ryan of the Falcons throwing the ball on just about every play. He connected on 22-of-42 passes for 220 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the Falcons. It was odd to see a QB throw as much as that in a preseason game, but the Steelers were up to the task leading 24-16 at half.

Chris Redman completed 8-of-18 passes for 89 yards and a pick for the Falcons as they tried to rally in the second half. Roddy White hauled in eight passes for 101 yards and a touchdown in defeat.

After losing their preseason opener to the Redskins, the Steelers have come out with a vengeance in the last two preseason games against two of the NFC’s best – the Eagles and Falcons. They outscored the two teams by a total of 58 to 30.

Now the team will have to lick their wounds and figure out how long the players hurt will be out for. They will be back in action at Carolina against Cam Newton and the Panthers in the final preseason game on Thursday at 8pm.

Tampa Bay Tops Dolphins 17-13 in Preseason Action

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 09:58 PM PDT

Nathan Overbay’s seven-yard touchdown reception with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter was the difference as Tampa Bay got past Miami, 17-13, in preseason action.

Rudy Carpenter threw the game-deciding score, finishing 5-of-8 for 59 yards for the Buccaneers, who saw starter Josh Freeman strike for 149 yards on 12- of-23 completions.

Earnest Graham added a second-quarter TD run for Tampa Bay.

Chad Henne finished 10-of-13 for 175 yards and a touchdown to Brandon Marshall for the Dolphins. Marshall ended with 90 yards on a pair of catches and Dan Carpenter added two field goals in defeat.

Overbay’s catch capped a 71-yard, 10-play drive and put the Bucs on top to stay.

Matt Moore — who ended 8-of-16 for 90 yards — was forced into an incompletion on 4th-and-4 from the Dolphins’ 30 with just over a minute remaining.

Texans Star RB Foster Injuries Hamstring in Teams 30-7 Win Over 49′ers

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 09:54 PM PDT

Star Texans running back Arian Foster left the game with a left hamstring injury in the first quarter, but Houston went on to beat San Francisco 30-7 on Saturday.

Foster rushed eight times for 38 yards before leaving, while Matt Schaub passed for 180 yards and a touchdown with an interception in the victory.

The game was held a week after two fans were shot outside San Francisco’s Candlestick Park following the annual 49ers-Raiders preseason matchup. It came with increased security and new rules regarding tailgating in the parking lots around the stadium.

Alex Smith was just 2-for-6 for 17 yards and an interception, while Colin Kaepernick threw for 52 yards and a pick on 6-of-16 passing for San Francisco.

Ahmad Brooks scored the only 49ers touchdown on a 13-yard interception return in the first quarter.

Neil Rackers kicked three field goals for the Texans, including one from 47 yards, while Derrick Ward rushed for a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Houston also scored on Owen Daniels’ 12-yard touchdown catch from Schaub and Troy Nolan’s 73-yard interception return — both in the second quarter, giving the Texans a 24-7 lead at halftime.

Tampa Bay CB Aqib Talib Won’t Face League Suspension

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 06:34 PM PDT

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has decided to not suspend Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

In May, the 25-year-old Talib was arrested in Garland, Texas on aggravated assault with deadly weapons charges following an incident in March where Talib allegedly pistol-whipped and fired multiple shots at his sister’s boyfriend.

Talib has maintained his innocence and the legal process will not be resolved until 2012.

Even the incident occurred during the lockout, but the NFL maintained that players would be held accountable for possible personal conduct policy violations during that period. Earlier this week, Yahoo! Sports reported that after being summoned to meet with Goodell at the league offices in New York, Talib would face a four-game suspension to the start the season.

Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik confirmed the report to the Buccaneers Radio Network prior to Saturday night’s preseason game with the Miami Dolphins. A hamstring injury has kept Talib off the field throughout the preseason, including tonight’s game.

Bengals Cut Carson Palmers Brother Jordan, Five Others

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 05:04 PM PDT

The Bengals have waived quarterback Jordan Palmer, cornerback LeRoy Vann, free safety Tom Nelson, linebacker Stephen Franklin, wide receiver Jamere Holland and released cornerback Fred Bennett.

The writing was on the wall for Carson Palmer’s little brother after he failed to make an appearance in Cincinnati’s past two preseason games. A sixth-round pick of the Redskins in 2007, Palmer has attempted just 15 career passes, two of which were intercepted and zero of which have gone for scores.

A four-year veteran, Bennetthas tallied 125 tackles and five interceptions in 48 career games. However, he was given extremely limited snaps in nine games between the Bengals and Chargers last season.

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