There are two games on the preseason docket on Sunday: Lions-Colts and Seahawks-Chargers. Check in throughout the day and night as we keep you updated on everything you need to know from today's preseason action.
Rivers nearly perfect on first drive under Anthony Lynn
The Anthony Lynn Era got off to a very nice start in Los Angeles. The Chargers' first-team offense marched right down the field for a touchdown on their first drive of the preseason, and did it against most of the Seahawks' first-team defense.
Philip Rivers completed 5 of 6 passes on the drive, totaling 56 yards and a touchdown. The score came on a 5-yard strike to old friend Antonio Gates on third-and-goal.
That's a gorgeous needle-threader right between star safety Earl Thomas and rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin. We've seen Rivers and Gates do that about 100 times in their career, and they made it look pretty easy here.
If the Chargers can actually manage to stay healthy for once, this offense has a chance to be really, really good in 2017. Rivers is the most underrated passer of his era and Gates can still make plays, but they also have a good offensive line, a deep, versatile corps of wide receivers (Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman, and rookie Mike Williams if he's healthy), a budding star at running back (Melvin Gordon), and a very good No. 2 tight end (Hunter Henry).
Trevone Boykin shows out
Russell Wilson is firmly entrenched as the Seahawks' starting quarterback. You know this. I know this. Pete Carroll knows this. Everybody knows this.
But that doesn't mean we can't be wowed by the performance of his backup during the preseason. Trevone Boykin was signed as an undrafted free agent prior to last season and served as Wilson's backup throughout last season. He's expected to do so once again, and sure it's only preseason, but if what Boykin did in the first half against the Chargers is any indication, Seattle should feel pretty comfortable with him.
Boykin completed 7 of 9 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown (on fourth and goal), adding four carries for 31 yards and an additional score while leading the Seahawks to a massive halftime advantage. He remained in the game for the early part of the second half, and finished 12 of 15 for 189 yards, a touchdown and a pick.
With Colts quarterback Andrew Luck out, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was our only hope for regular-season caliber football. Luckily, Stafford dressed for the game and started. He played in just one series. It took two minutes and three pass attempts for him to throw an interception. In all, he went 2 of 3 for 36 yards.
His first pass was a short one to a Ameer Abdullah out of the backfield. Abdullah made some defenders miss and picked up 14 yards. His second completion was impressive. Off play action, Stafford used his mobility in the pocket to buy some time and then found TJ Jones crossing the field for a 22-yard gain. Stafford's third pass -- a slant intended for Marvin Jones -- was picked off after a deflection. It appeared to be Jones' fault considering he got his hands on the ball:
Behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate, the Lions need a reliable third pass-catching option to emerge. All signs point toward Golladay emerging as that player.
Drafted in the third round in this year's draft, Golladay impressed in his debut Sunday. In the first half, after Stafford exited the game, Golladay caught two touchdowns. Both were impressive catches in tight coverage.
TD No. 1:
TD No. 2:
This is where it's necessary to point out that it's the preseason and Golladay is going up against second-string defensive backs. Still, he's doing everything that's being asked of him. That's all the Lions can ask for at this point in the preseason.
Not all was good for the Lions in this game. On the second series of the first quarter, defensive lineman Kerry Hyder went down to the ground clutching his left leg. He left the field with what coach Jim Caldwell said after the game was a "significant" Achilles injury.
We don't yet know the severity of the injury, but that doesn't sound good at all; and it's especially bad news for a Lions defense that really needs Hyder's services. The team's biggest weakness is its pass rush, and without Hyder, who led the Lions in sacks last season with 8, it'd be up to Ezekiel Ansah -- currenly on the PUP list -- to carry the load mostly by himself. ESPN is reporting that the Lions fear it's an Achilles tear for Hyder, which would mean he's done for the year.
Luck running out?
The Colts still don't seem to know when their starting quarterback will get back on the field. Andrew Luck has sat out the entire offseason program while recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder. Owner Jim Irsay stated after the preseason game against the Lions that Luck could be back by Week 1, but that he might sit a game, or he might sit two. Irsay also said that the Colts considered signing a replacement for Luck, but did not consider the best available passer, Colin Kaepernick.
On the field, Friday's preseason action revolved around two rookies who made their debuts. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is expected to be the team's backup, impressed. He entered the game midway through the second quarter and played until the end of the third quarter. Against the 49ers, he went 7 of 9 for 49 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, in his debut with the Bengals, running back Joe Mixon rushed 31 yards on six carries and added one catch for 11 yards. Finally, J.J. Watt's brother, T.J. Watt, also impressed for the Steelers. He notched two sacks.
Chargers middle linebacker Denzel Perryman, expect to call plays for the defense this season, was carted off the field early in the first quarter of their preseason opener. The team announced that he was questionable to returnwith an ankle injury.
Later, Chargers defensive lineman Jerry Attaochu left the game with a hamstring injury. The team also listed him as questionable to return.