NFL Preseason: Sam debuts in Rams' loss to Saints

NFL Preseason: Sam debuts in Rams' loss to Saints
August 9, 2014, 12:45 am
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Michael Sam played his first preseason game in the Rams' 26-24 loss to the Saints on Friday night. (USA Today Images)

ST. LOUIS -- Drew Brees and Sam Bradford watched in street clothes, leaving the Saints-Rams preseason opener to the backup quarterbacks.

However, St. Louis' Michael Sam, got a lot of playing time.

The Rams wasted no time getting Sam in the game and the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL made a solid debut as a reserve defensive end in a 26-24 loss to New Orleans on Friday night.

Sam was a seventh-round draft pick and he's attempting to launch his pro career a two-hour drive from where he starred on a 12-win Missouri team that played in the SEC title game last season.

He dropped his weight to 257 pounds so he'd be a viable special teams option on a team that already has a strong pass rush, but got extended playing time at left defensive end.

Mark Ingram had eight carries for 83 yards and a 22-yard touchdown in the first half (see full recap).

Cassel outplays Bridgewater in Vikings' win
MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Cassel was sharp from the start, giving Teddy Bridgewater a model touchdown drive to watch.

That's the early snapshot of Minnesota's starting quarterback competition.

Cassel led a couple of crisp scoring marches, and the Vikings broke in their temporary new home stadium for the next two years by beating the Oakland Raiders 10-6 in the exhibition opener on Friday night.

Bridgewater relieved Cassel at quarterback after two series, and the rookie's first name was rhythmically chanted during his first two snaps by a crowd eager to see the first-round draft pick in action. Playing into the third quarter, Bridgewater's debut was mixed at best: 6 for 13 for 49 yards, two sacks and one fumble the Vikings recovered.

Matt Schaub's first time in silver and black wasn't exactly smooth, either. The latest attempt by the Raiders to stop the quarterback carousel from spinning, Schaub finished 3 for 7 for 21 yards.

Schaub played three series, all three-and-outs (see full recap).

Bortles solid in Jaguars' win over Bucs
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Blake Bortles was solid in his preseason debut, throwing for 117 yards and leading a second-half drive for a field goal to help the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-10 on Friday night.

The third overall pick in this year's draft completed 7 of 11 passes, including a 31-yarder down the middle of the field to Mike Brown to set up a 26-yard field goal that gave the Jaguars a 10-3 lead late in the third quarter.

The Bucs were penalized for a late hit on the rookie from Central Florida, tacking on another 15 yards.

Tampa Bay drove 85 yards to make it 10-10 on Mike Glennon's 6-yard scoring pass to Tommy Streeter, but dropped its first game under coach Lovie Smith when a defense that had done a good job of keeping Jacksonville's offense out of the end zone faltered in the fourth quarter.

Denard Robinson's 23-yard TD run put the Jaguars ahead for good with under seven minutes remaining. Jacksonville also scored on Winston Guy Jr.'s 68-yard interception return in the first quarter (see full recap).

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