Sat Aug 24 11:28pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) breaks away from New Orleans Saints' Marcus Davenport (92) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets' Ty Montgomery (88) runs away from New Orleans Saints' Colton Jumper (51) for a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets' Robby Anderson (11) stiff-arms New Orleans Saints' Marcus Williams (43) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws a pass during the first half of the team's preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass during the first half of the team's preseason NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell runs onto the field for the team's NFL preseason football game against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New Orleans Saints' Michael Thomas (13) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of New York Jets' Tevaughn Campbell (35) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws a pass during the first half of the team's preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Drew Brees threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas to cap his only drive in his preseason debut, and the New Orleans Saints defeated the New York Jets 28-13 on Saturday night.
Brees didn't take a snap in the Saints' first two exhibition games, but Sean Payton gave the 40-year-old quarterback a brief regular-season warmup in this one. And, Brees and the starting offense breezed down the field.
Alvin Kamara had a 25-yard catch on third down, and a 20-yard grab by Thomas two plays later got the Saints (2-1) down to the 23. On third-and-6, Brees found Thomas in the back-right corner of the end zone with a perfectly placed ball over cornerback Tevaughn Campbell's head for the touchdown.
Brees finished 4 of 6 for 68 yards and was done for the night, along with the rest of the offensive starters, and was replaced by Teddy Bridgewater.
Sam Darnold's night for the Jets (1-2) lasted quite a bit longer as the second-year quarterback played midway into the second quarter, despite three projected starting offensive lineman - center Ryan Kalil and guards Kelechi Osemele and Brian Winters - sitting out.
After a sluggish start - and Darnold taking a hard shot from Trey Hendrickson to end his fourth drive - the starting offense got things going against the Saints' backup defense.
On third-and-5 from the Jets 40, Darnold connected with Robby Anderson down the left sideline for a 41-yard gain. After two runs by Ty Montgomery and a defensive holding call on Terrell Williams Jr. put the ball at the Saints 2, Darnold threw a pretty swing pass to Montgomery for a touchdown that cut the Jets' deficit to 10-7 with 8:22 left in the first half.
That was it for Darnold, who was 8 of 13 for 97 yards and the score. He was replaced by Trevor Siemian, who appears to be a lock as Darnold's backup.
Saints rookie wide receiver Deonte Harris returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown with 7:27 left, giving New Orleans a 23-13 lead. Harris, out of Assumption College, avoided a diving tackle attempt by punter Matt Darr before sprinting into the end zone.
Kalil was expected to make his debut with the team, but the team decided to have him sit out while he continues to get into football shape and learn the playbook. Jonotthan Harrison started again in his place.
Kalil, who played 12 seasons with Carolina, came out of retirement earlier this month and signed a one-year, $8.4 million deal with the Jets.
''(Last) Sunday night was his first night in pads, so he's only had really three practices,'' general manager Joe Douglas said before the game. ''So, we felt the smart thing to do was to hold him out. We'll re-evaluate it next week. Again, we're 15 days away from the opener, so we feel good that's he's going to have plenty of time to be ready for Week 1.''
JUST FOR KICKS
Jets kicker Taylor Bertolet - whose roster spot is uncertain - bounced back after missing two extra points last week, making field goals of 48 and 56 yards and converting on his one extra-point try.
Bridgewater was 15 of 26 for 143 yards before giving way to Taysom Hill in the third quarter. The do-it-all Hill ran for what appeared to be a go-ahead 8-yard touchdown late in the third, but it was wiped out by a holding call on Patrick Omameh. The Saints had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Wil Lutz that put New Orleans up 16-13 with 2:36 left in the quarter. ... Lutz was also good from 39, 40 and 34 yards, but was wide left on a 43-yard attempt.
Saints: LB Josh Martin left in the third quarter with an apparent right arm injury.
Jets: S Brandon Bryant suffered a head injury in the third quarter after being called for unnecessary roughness for leading with his helmet on a play.
Saints: home vs. Miami on Thursday night.
Jets: at Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (undisclosed) returned for the second half of the Week 2 game against the New York Jets. He jogged off with an apparent lower leg injury near the end of the second quarter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are acquiring defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Fitzpatrick requested a trade late last week and it was reported that the Dolphins wanted a first round pick for the 11th overall selection in the 2018 draft. As a rookie, he totaled 80 tackles, two interceptions, and nine passes defended. The 22-year-old can play safety and slot corner, but the Steelers Defense could use help at both spots so it will be interesting to see how they utilize him. Pittsburgh has a Week 3 matchup with San Francisco, but it's not advisable to stream them in a road matchup.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) aggravated his hamstring injury in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns and he will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas is clearly not 100 percent, was rushed into action and he is now hurt. Avoid him in all fantasy leagues until he can return to health, get familiar with the playbook and show a little consistency.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (lower leg) suffered an apparent lower leg injury late in the second quarter after landing awkwardly in the end zone in Week 2 against the New York Jets. He attempted to get up, couldn't walk, and went back down to his backside. He then jogged off to meet with the training staff before trotting to the locker room right before halftime.
Fantasy Spin: Beckham looked to be in obvious discomfort initially, but he ran rather briskly into the locker room on third and long, suggesting he might be OK to begin the second half. We'll keep an eye on it.
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku (concussion) suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Week 2 game against the New York Jets and he will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku was upended on a pass play and landed awkwardly after having his legs taken out, hitting his head on the field turf surface. Demetrius Harris, Ricky Seal-Jones and Pharaoh Brown are the next men up at the position, with Harris likely to see the most targets.
New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian (ankle) suffered what looked to be a serious ankle injury in the second quarter on Monday night against the Browns. Siemian was hit hard and got his ankle caught underneath him while being taken to the turf. Somehow he was able to walk off the field under his own power and is being taken to the locker room. We'd be surprised if he were able to come back into this game. Third-stringer Luke Falk is now in the game. The Jets haven't been able to get any offense going and are leaning heavily on running back Le'Veon Bell. Siemian was an embarrassing 3-for-6 for three yards before he departed.
New York Jets QB Trevor Siemian (leg) was hit in the second quarter of the Week 2 game against the Cleveland Browns and it appeared he suffered a lower leg injury. The telecast immediately cut away after the replay which showed the gruesome injury.
Fantasy Spin: Siemian was started in place of Sam Darnold (mononucleosis), and he didn't even last until halftime. The Jets will now turn to Luke Falk, the sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2018, takes over under center. Siemian was able to walk off gingerly to the locker room with the help of the training staff.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (concussion) suffered a concussion in the first half on Monday night against the Jets and will not return. Njoku was targeted just once on the play that resulted in his injury in which he went up in the air to receive the ball and was upended. The tight end came down hard on his head and neck and was taken to the locker room for evaluation. With Njoku out the rest of the way, Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones should share repetitions. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are in for more targets in the second half.
New York Jets LB Jordan Jenkins (calf) suffered a calf injury during the Week 2 game and is considered doubtful to return.
Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku (head) left the Week 2 game early and is being evaluated for a concussion.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku will need to be medically cleared before he can play again, so he may not return to the game. He can be considered a low-end No. 1 tight end when he is healthy.
The Miami Dolphins are likely to trade defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick by Tuesday, and the team is expected to receive a first-round pick in exchange for him. The Redskins, Cowboys, Chiefs, Steelers, Eagles and Seahawks are the teams in the mix to acquire Fitzpatrick and offers are being made. In full-on rebuilding mode, the Dolphins are trading all of their best players. The 11th overall pick last year, Fitzpatrick has been unhappy with his role moving all around Miami's defense to start the year, which aided in him asking to be dealt. Miami's defense is likely to be gashed by opponents all season long, and the Cowboys are next up in Week 3 in Dallas.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that tight end Tyler Higbee (lung) suffered a lung contusion in Week 2 against the Saints and will be day-to-day. Higbee was coughing up blood and was sent to the hospital as a precaution, but this looks like an injury that luckily may not even cause him to miss any games. The 26-year-old caught two of his three targets for 21 yards before leaving on Sunday. If he plays on Sunday night against the Browns, he'll be a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE2. Gerald Everett would be a desperation TE2 if Higbee sits out.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (lung) and C Austin Blythe (ankle) are considered day-to-day after suffering injuries in Week 2.
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (thumb) said he is scheduled to meet with a specialist Tuesday, Sept. 17, and will make a decision in the near future.
Fantasy Spin: Brees is expected to miss at least six weeks because of the thumb injury, but fantasy players may want to wait for an official timetable for making any decisions. Teddy Bridgewater will take over the starting job while Brees is sidelined but may only be a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Free-agent WR Amara Darboh was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad Monday, Sept. 16. The team also released WR Emanuel Hall from their practice squad.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (wrist) will be available to play in the Week 3 game despite the wrist injury he suffered in Week 2, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson was held to only 14 total yards in the Week 2 game but should be more involved in the offense this week. Fantasy players in all leagues should have Johnson in their starting lineups.
Atlanta Falcons DT Ra'Shede Hageman (undisclosed) was waived/injured Monday, Sept. 16.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (knee) is "still hurting today," according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Ford has been playing through tendinitis since the preseason. It's the reason why he's had his snaps limited through two weeks, but he's been effective while on the field and has one sack and a forced fumble. The Niners defense has looked much better through two weeks but hasn't been tested much by the Bucs and Bengals. For them to continue their production all year, they'll definitely need a healthy Ford and second overall pick Nick Bosa rushing the passer.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) is still going through the concussion protocol but has been cleared to practice in a non-contact jersey.
Fantasy Spin: Shepard needs to be cleared by doctors before he is allowed to play, so fantasy players should monitor his practice participation this week. He is the team's top receiver when he is healthy but may only be a No. 3 fantasy receiver or flex option when he returns.