NFL roundup: Dobbs shines, Steelers roll by Panthers
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Dobbs put together a compelling case to be on someone’s NFL roster next week, throwing for a touchdown and running for another to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 39-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers in the preseason finale Thursday night.
Dobbs, fighting for one of the backup quarterback jobs behind Ben Roethlisberger, vaulted into the end zone for a 3-yard scoring run to cap Pittsburgh’s first drive. He added a 27-yard strike to Tevin Jones later in the opening quarter and finished 8 of 12 for 151 yards to cap an impressive training camp.
It just might not be enough for the 2017 fourth-round pick to stick around.
Dobbs, veteran Landry Jones and rookie Mason Rudolph are all vying for a spot behind Roethlisberger. Jones, who has played well while filling in for Roethlisberger over the last three seasons, is likely safe. So too is Rudolph, a third-round pick this spring.
Rudolph came on for Dobbs late in the first half and was 5 of 9 for 102 yards and two touchdowns. The former Oklahoma State star also showcased his mobility, leapfrogging Tevin Jones after the receiver hauled in a 24-yard score. Rudolph later added a 2-point conversion run and earned a flag for taunting in the process after he took exception to a questionable hit by Carolina linebacker Andre Smith shortly after crossing the goal line.
The Steelers (3-1) could keep all four quarterbacks when rosters are trimmed to 53 on Saturday, then perhaps deal one of the backups to add depth elsewhere.
Carolina’s Taylor Heincke played well in his bid to be the top backup behind Cam Newton. Heincke started and was 7 of 12 for 68 yards and a 6-yard touchdown to Mose Frazier. Garrett Gilbert came on in the second quarter and was 4 of 7 for 23 yards.
Rookie Kyle Allen played the entire second half, completing 25 of 35 passes for 250 yards and a score for Carolina (3-1).
Pittsburgh wide receiver Ryan Switzer capped a frantic 72-hour stretch by returning one punt for 9 yards and averaging 21.5 yards on two kickoff returns. Switzer — acquired from Oakland on Monday to bolster the Steelers’ return game — also saw a handful of snaps at receiver but was not targeted.
PATRIOTS 17, GIANTS 12
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Third-stringer Danny Etling tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ralph Webb early in the second half and iced the game with an 86-yard run late.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning chatted with receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the first half, while Tom Brady sat next to the New England water coolers and relaxed.
Browns 35, Lions 17
DETROIT (AP) — Baker Mayfield threw for 138 yards in a dominant first half for Cleveland, and the Browns wrapped up the preseason with a 35-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.
Mayfield completed a 41-yard pass to Devon Cajuste on the first play from scrimmage, and the top overall pick in this year’s draft looked sharp throughout his two quarters directing Cleveland’s offense.
COLTS 27, BENGALS 26
CINCINNATI (AP) — Matt Barkley’s left knee was injured by a low hit after he threw a pass, giving Jeff Driskel the inside track for the Bengals’ backup quarterback role.
For the second year in a row, the Bengals (3-1) lost a quarterback to injury in the final preseason game. Last year, Driskel broke the thumb on his passing hand in Indianapolis, ending his season. Cincinnati also has seventh-round pick Logan Woodside.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Fourth-stringer Tim Cook ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns, and Carroll Phillips returned a fumble for another TD to help Jacksonville.
Cook scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards, while Phillips picked up a fumble by rookie quarterback Austin Allen and ran it back 28 yards during a 19-point third quarter that turned a 10-3 halftime deficit into a 12-point lead.