NFL preseason scores, schedule, updates, news: Mahomes throws TD in Chiefs debut

There are three games on the preseason docket on Friday, and some of the early storylines include Jameis Winston and the new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense and the debut of Kyle Shanahan’s version of the San Francisco 49ers. 

Check in throughout the day and night as we keep you updated on everything you need to know from today’s preseason action.

Scores and schedule

Carolina Panthers 27, Houston Texans 17 (GameTracker)
Minnesota Vikings  17,  Buffalo Bills  10 (GameTracker)
Miami Dolphins  23, Atlanta Falcons 20 (GameTracker)
Baltimore Ravens  23,  Washington Redskins  3 (GameTracker)
Jacksonville Jaguars  31,  New England Patriots  24 (GameTracker)
Cleveland Browns  20, New Orleans Saints 14 (GameTracker)
Green Bay Packers  24, Philadelphia Eagles 9 (GameTracker)
Denver Broncos  24,  Chicago Bears  17 (GameTracker)
Pittsburgh Steelers  20,  New York Giants  12 (GameTracker)
Cincinnati Bengals  23, Buccaneers 12 (GameTracker)
San Francisco 49ers  27,  Kansas City Chiefs  17 (GameTracker)
Tennessee Titans  at  New York Jets , 7:30 p.m. Sat. (GameTracker)
Dallas Cowboys at  Los Angeles Rams , 9 p.m. Sat. (GameTracker)
Oakland Raiders  at Arizona Cardinals , 10 p.m. Sat. (GameTracker)
Detroit Lions  at  Indianapolis Colts , 1:30 p.m. Sun. (GameTracker)
Seattle Seahawks  at  Los Angeles Chargers , 8 p.m. Sun. (GameTracker)

Mahomes shows glimpses of first-round potential

We got our first look at Patrick Mahomes on Friday night when the rookie made his preseason debut against the 49ers. He came into the game midway through the second quarter, played until the end of the third quarter, and through it all he looked comfortable and poised in the pocket, confident in his progressions, and showed glimpses of a rocket arm that intrigued coach Andy Reid enough to give up a bevy of picks to move up from 27th to 10th to draft Mahomes back in April.

(Fun fact: It was the first time in 34 years the Chiefs had drafted a quarterback in the first round, going back to when the selected Todd Blackledge seventh overall in 1983.)

On Mahomes’ first snap, he dropped back and threw a 40-yard laser to Demarcus Robinson that was called back because of a holding penalty. On his third series — which started at the 49ers’ 8-yard line following a Kevin Pierre-Louis blocked punt — Mahomes calmly rolled right and looked as if he might run for the pylon before pulling up and lofting a perfectly thrown pass to the middle of the end zone where Marcus Kemp was waiting.

First the blocked punt:

And the Mahomes-to-Kemp touchdown that followed:

Mahomes finished the evening 7 of 9 for 49 yards, and we’ll likely spend the rest of the preseason wondering how high up the depth chart he will climb. He’s currently behind entrenched starter Alex Smith . While it would take extraordinary circumstances to unseat Smith, Mahomes will battle Bray, a former undrafted free agent, for backup duties.

Reid has an lengthy track record when it comes to unearthing NFL-caliber passers, which is something Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt spoke about shortly after Mahomes was drafted.

“I think Andy has a tremendous history of developing young quarterbacks,” Hunt said at the time. “He really felt Patrick’s skill set and his personality and his mental approach to the game were some things that he could work with and really turn him into a great quarterback. Having Andy and John [Dorsey] at the helm made this a much easier decision for me to agree with because I respect their opinion so much.”

It’s worth noting that that the Chiefs fired general manager John Dorsey in June, though not for his ability to evaluate talent but reportedly due to his communication and management style.

Either way, this is definitely a story worth watching.

Mixon looks the part in debut with Bengals

The Bengals came under scrutiny this spring when they used a second-round pick on running back Joe Mixon , a first-round talent who was caught on tape hitting a woman. Team owner Mike Brown admitted that bringing Mixon to Cincinnati was a “risk,” but acknowledged that “he can help win football games.”

We got our first glimpse of that on Friday night in the Bengals’ preseason opener against the Buccaneers when he saw time with the starters during the offense’s opening drive. By the time he made his way to the bench for the evening, Mixon had six carries for 31 yards and added one catch for 11 more.

Mixon is battling for carries with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard . Hill, a 2014 second-rounder, hasn’t yet lived up to his draft pedigree, while Bernard is coming an ACL injury that ended his 2016 season last November. 

Watt wastes little time making a difference

The Steelers used its 2017 first-round pick on outside linebacker T.J. Watt (yep, he’s J.J.’s brother) to shore up the pass rush. The former Wisconsin standout needed exactly three plays to get his first NFL sack, taking down Giants quarterback Josh Johnson on the very first series of Thursday night’s preseason game

Turns out, Watt was just getting warmed up. On the first play of the next series he sacked Johnson again. There have been worst starts to NFL careers.

Might want to block that guy.

Watt will have a big role for a young and improving Steelers defense this season; he replaces Jarvis Jones , the team’s 2013 first-round pick who wasn’t re-signed in the spring, and will share snaps with 39-year-old James Harrison on the right side.  

Zeke suspended, will appeal

The Ezekiel Elliot saga finally got a resolution on Friday morning, as the NFL announced that the Cowboys’ running back has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Elliott has three days to inform the league whether or not he intends to appeal the suspension, which he reportedly does. His appeal would be heard by Roger Goodell or a designated arbitrator.

Elliott released a statement Friday evening and “strongly disagreed” with the league’s findings.

If Elliott’s suspension is not shortened or overturned on appeal, he could bring the case to federal court and this could potentially drag out into the regular season. Here’s more on the news and how it impacts the Cowboys.

Bills trade Watkins to Rams, Darby to Eagles

The Buffalo Bills engaged in two trades on Friday afternoon, sending Sammy Watkins to the Rams and Ronald Darby to the Eagles. 

In exchange for Watkins and a sixth-round pick, the Bills received cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-rounder. Here’s more on how the deal impacts both teams.

For Darby, the Bills acquired Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick. Here’s more on that deal.

Previously in Week 1 of the preseason

The big story on Thursday night was the quarterbacks. Chicago Bears rookie Mitchell Trubisky completely outplayed expected starter Mike Glennon . Cleveland Browns rookie DeShone Kizer also completely outplayed the players ahead of him, Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler . You can read all about the important takeaways from that game as well as key news and stories from the day in football in our Thursday recap.

On Wednesday, rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson , the Texans first-round pick back in April, made his NFL debut, and the results were encouraging, while Panthers rookie first-rounder Christian McCaffrey  flashed during his limited action. McCaffrey could be better than advertised — if he’s used properly in this offense. You can read all about the important takeaways from that game as well as key news and stories from the day in football in our Wednesday recap.

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