Joey Harrington looked comfortable running the Atlanta Falcons' offense. He's not Michael Vick, but he showed he can scramble a little bit, too.
Thrust into the starting quarterback job while Vick is away from the team and facing federal dogfighting charges, Harrington led one scoring drive in his three series last night in a 31-16 loss to the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J., the exhibition opener for both teams.
Jets backup quarterback Kellen Clemens was also impressive, going 16 of 22 -- including nine straight completions -- for 174 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Sean Ryan. Thomas Jones, acquired from Chicago in the offseason, ran eight times for 27 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown, for the Jets.
Harrington, the former Detroit and Miami quarterback, was 6 of 9 for 88 yards, including a 37-yard completion to Dwayne Blakley on a play that was kept alive when the traditional pocket passer avoided a rush with a nice scramble.
Reserves pick up Bills
Reigning Coach of the Year Sean Payton
had Drew Brees
dropping back with play-action fakes and rolling out from a variety of formations, and the Pro Bowl quarterback completed 12 passes to seven receivers for 118 yards on only two offensive series. But the Saints weren't able to finish their early drives, and the Buffalo Bills' reserves took advantage to grind out a 13-10 exhibition victory in New Orleans. Rian Lindell's
54-yard field goal, which might have been good from 10 yards farther, gave Buffalo the lead for good with 3:23 to go. Bills top draft pick Marshawn Lynch
had a quiet pro debut, carrying twice for 3 yards. Second-year running back Fred Jackson
ran for 49 yards and scored the Bills' only touchdown on a tackle-breaking 17-yard run . . . Kevin Lovell's
second field goal of the game, a 40-yarder as time expired, gave St. Louis a 13-10 victory over the Vikings in Minneapolis. Rookie Brian Leonard
scored on a 10-yard run in the first half for the Rams. Dontarrious Thomas
returned his second interception of the night 82 yards early in the third quarter for the Vikings' lone touchdown. Tarvaris Jackson
was sharp with 83 yards on 8-for-11 passing and 25 yards on two scrambles for the Vikings, an encouraging sign for a team that topped 21 points only four times last year during a 6-10 season. But a Rams defense that gave up the second-most yards on the ground in the league last season was tough to run on, with rookie Adam Carriker
seeing plenty of time at nose tackle. Minnesota failed to move the chains on five of seven third-down plays in the first half. Rookie Adrian Peterson
rushed 11 times for 33 yards after subbing for Chester Taylor
Titans go to the mat
The Titans got a court order that prohibits suspended cornerback Adam
from participating in wrestling. Jones was scheduled to make his debut with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling tomorrow in a pay-per-view event titled "Hard Justice." Citing its contract with Jones, the team said it asked a Tennessee court to intervene. The Titans cornerback was suspended by the NFL for a year because of several legal scrapes since he was drafted in 2005 . . . Bengals rookie running back Kenny Irons
is out for the season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament during Thursday night's exhibition loss to Detroit. Irons, a second-round draft choice from Auburn, was slotted to be Cincinnati's No. 2 running back behind Rudi Johnson
. Irons is expected to recover fully by next spring, coach Marvin Lewis
said . . . Broncos coach Mike Shanahan
ordered wide receiver Brandon Marshall
to practice for the first time since he pulled his left quadriceps at minicamp a month ago. "I was shocked. I was scared, but I guess that's what it takes," Marshall said. "Coach has like 30 years of experience; this is my second year. So, of course, I've got to sit back and listen." Shanahan insisted that Marshall's leg was healthy and that he just needed to suck it up. "Right now it's healed," Shanahan said . . . With Cleveland's quarterback derby a dead heat, Browns coach Romeo Crennel
is flipping a coin to decide whether Charlie Frye
or Derek Anderson
starts tonight's exhibition game against Kansas City. "That's the fairest way," said Crennel, who added that rookie Brady Quinn
, who ended his 11-day holdout this week, will get only a few late snaps . . . The Jaguars signed free agent kicker Aaron Elling
and waived rookie receiver Chris Jackson
, who was signed Thursday . . . During a public gathering to honor late 49ers coach Bill Walsh
, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
said the field at Monster Park would be named after Walsh.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.