NFL opens preseason (with Boise State connections)

Demaryius Thomas celebrates with center Matt Paradis (Boise State) after catching a 32-yard TD pass from Sanchez.
Demaryius Thomas celebrates with center Matt Paradis (Boise State) after catching a 32-yard TD pass from Sanchez. The Associated Press.

Mark Sanchez made a strong opening argument, throwing for 99 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter of the Broncos’ 22-0 victory at Chicago. Sanchez completed 10-of-13 passes and led a game-opening 76-yard TD drive. He threw one interception. Trevor Siemian, the former Northwestern star, looked comfortable throwing short passes and finished 7-of-12 for 88 yards.

Former Bronco Matt Paradis started at center for Denver while former Bronco teammate Billy Winn, now a defensive lineman for the Broncos, had one pass deflection in the game, his first with the team.

Bears starter Jay Cutler threw for 18 yards and got sacked twice in the first quarter. Brian Hoyer threw for 81 yards in the second period, and was sacked three times.


Philadelphia needed 97 seconds to score its only touchdown in beating sloppy Tampa Bay, where former Boise State coack Dirk Koetter made his NFL head coaching debut. No. 2 overall draft pick Carson Wentz played just more than a half as Eagles quarterback and, as could be expected, was inconsistent (12-of-24, 89 yards, interception).

▪ Boise State connection: RB Doug Martin had five carries for 13 yards and one catch for 11.


Jimmy Garoppolo spread the ball around for 168 yards, and Jamie Collins added a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown to help New England beat New Orleans. Garoppolo played the entire first half as he preps to start the first four games of the regular season with Tom Brady suspended for his involvement in the “Deflategate” case. Brady was not in the building Thursday, excused by the team to attend memorial services for a family member.

▪ Boise State connection: LB Shea McCellin had four tackles (three solo) in his Patriots debut.


Cam Newton directed a 68-yard drive in his only series, then stepped aside in Carolina’s loss to Baltimore. The MVP was 5-for-6 for 36 yards before being replaced by 33-year-old Derek Anderson. Baltimore was without quarterback Joe Flacco as he returns from a knee injury. Running back Justin Forsett, wide receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman, and linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil were also held out.

▪ Boise State connection: Rookie LB Kamalei Correa did not have a tackle in his NFL debut with the Ravens.


Blake Bortles led Jacksonville on two scoring drives, the second capped by Chris Ivory’s 1-yard run against his former team. Bortles finished 6-of-7 for 105 yards in his two series, Allen Robinson caught three passes for 80 yards and the Jaguars took a quick 10-0 lead with their starters in the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who re-signed with the Jets just before training camp, also went two series with the starters and was 3-of-4 for 72 yards.

▪ Boise State connection: LT Ryan Clady made his debut with the Jets and gave up a sack.


Matt Schaub made a successful return to his first NFL home, passing for 179 yards and leading three scoring drives in Atlanta’s victory over Washington. After starter Matt Ryan was 0-for-4 and could not manage a first down on two possessions, Schaub moved the offense by finding Aldrick Robinson for passes of 47 and 68 yards. Schaub completed 10-of-15 passes for 179 yards. Redskins starter Kirk Cousins completed each of his five passes for 39 yards on his only possession.

▪ Boise State connection: Rookie RB Kelsey Young did not have any carries of receptions.