Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and Darlington, Wis., native Alex Erickson returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter on Thursday night as the Bengals topped the Washington Redskins, 23-13, in Landover, Md., in preseason action.
It’s the second consecutive week the Redskins allowed a punt return TD as they get accustomed to new special teams coach Nate Kaczor.
Washington first-round pick Dwayne Haskins made strong throws and his share of mistakes, and fellow rookie Ryan Finley continued to make his case to be Cincinnati’s backup quarterback.
Haskins threw a 55-yard TD pass to camp standout Robert Davis and was 7 of 14 for 114 yards with a fumble. The 15th overall pick took two sacks but showed poise under pressure and was more effective than veteran Case Keenum, who played the first three drives and was 3 of 7 for 52 yards.
Keenum, Haskins and longtime backup Colt McCoy are competing to be the Redskins’ Week 1 starter.
After already passing Jeff Driskell on Cincinnati’s depth chart, Finley again showed why he’s now the favorite to back up Andy Dalton. The fourth-round pick out of N.C. State completed his first nine passes and was 20 of 26 for 150 yards with two TD passes.
Dalton was 5 of 9 for 36 yards and an interception in three series before giving way to Finley. Redskins defensive lineman Daron Payne tipped Dalton’s third-down pass in the red zone, and safety Montae Nicholson picked it off and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown.
Ravens 26, Packers 13 — At Baltimore: Lamar Jackson directed two scoring drives during a limited appearance, had an impressive touchdown run erased by a penalty and sparked Baltimore to a victory over Green Bay, which played without quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers developed back stiffness and was a late scratch, a move the team labeled as a “precaution.” After being held out of Green Bay’s first preseason game against Houston, the seven-time Pro Bowl star was slated to start for the first time under rookie head coach Matt LaFleur.
Instead, DeShone Kizer, Tim Boyle and Manny Wilkins struggled against a defense that last year was ranked No. 1 in the NFL.
Rodgers has played 165 regular-season games since breaking into the league in 2005, so there was really no pressing need to get him into a game three weeks before the Sept. 5 opener against Chicago.
Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner stuck around for two possessions, both of which ended with field goals. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 58 yards and ran twice for 14 yards.
Jets 22, Falcons 10 — At Atlanta: Matt Ryan and Sam Darnold both appear ready for the regular season.
Ryan looked sharp in his preseason debut for Atlanta, completing nine straight passes, and Darnold led New York on another scoring drive in the Jets’ 22-10 victory.
After sitting out the first two exhibition games, Ryan played most of the first half. He completed 10 of 14 passes for 118 yards, a performance that was even more impressive considering Brian Hill and Justin Hardy dropped back-to-back passes in the back of the end zone that should have been touchdowns, sparking boos from the meager crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Jets (1-1) are certainly pleased with Darnold, who followed up a marvelous drive in the preseason opener by completing 5 of 7 passes for 46 yards. He guided New York on a 66-yard touchdown drive to start the game, capped by Ty Montgomery’s 1-yard scoring run.