Yesterday saw the first games of the 2014 NFL preseason, and even though the games hardly resembled how play would be once the season kicks off properly — starters sitting out, role players shining, excessive refereeing — it provided football-starved fans with the first real glimpses of the sport since the conclusion of the Super Bowl back in February. It’s been a long six months, but football is almost upon us again. Dig into these highlights, rejoice and be merry, the games start for real on September 4.
5. The debut of the new Ravens offense
While Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme isn’t receiving nearly as much hype and speculation as Chip Kelly’s first showing with the Philadelphia Eagles, the latest Harbrawl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers saw the Ravens come out on top with a 20-point margin of victory — the Nines only managed to land a single field goal. It was also Steve Smith’s first game with the Ravens, and the team put up nearly 400 yards, including an 80-yard drive in Joe Flacco’s lone series.
4. Matt Scott’s vomit-to-touchdown
The Bengals backup quarterback exemplified a truth known to anyone that’s ever had a stomach bug in their game against the Kansas City Chiefs last night: vomiting can make you feel better. Almost immediately after throwing up on the field, Scott, an undrafted free agent who was on the Jacksonville Jaguars for their 2013 season, threw a touchdown pass to receiver Conner Vernon. For anyone that missed it, one intrepid fan dutifully supplied the Internet with a Vine of the sequence. You can watch it here.
3. RG III’s single series
Pictured with Tom Brady, who sat out the entirety of the Redskins/Patriots preseason game, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III only played one set of downs with his team, but it was a nice reminder that he should be healthy for the start of the season, and hopefully he’ll be able to recapture the spark that was eluding him throughout Washington’s 2013 campaign. Griffin was able to complete a pair of passes for nine total yards, and the Redskins won 23 to 6 over a New England team that relied heavily upon their reserves.
2. Steven Jackson’s game winning interception against Seattle
Ranked so highly because it was nice to see Seattle be on the other end of an excellent defensive play, Denver’s Steven Jackson (not to be confused with the identically named running back) nabbed a Terrelle Pyror pass in the endzone that polished off any chance of a Seahawks comeback — the game’s final score was 21-16, Denver. The other notables about the Super Bowl rematch? How about a 45-minute delay brought on by lightning or roughly 6 million different flags thrown by the referees.
1. Michael Vick’s 15-yard scramble
The New York Jets are probably not going to be an elite NFL team this year, and Michael Vick will probably not spend an entire season starting, let alone playing to the highest level of the quarterback position. On the other hand, the best running signal caller the NFL has ever seen can still make things happen with his feet, as everyone saw in their preseason game against the Colts, with the 34-year-old slipped a tackle and broke out for a 15 yard gain.