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MITCHELL LEADS LIONS’ ROMP OVER JETS

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Scott Mitchell doesn't want anybody to read too much into his first game with the Detroit Lions.

The former University of Utah star threw for 123 yards and a touchdown in his Detroit debut as the Lions beat the turnover-plagued New York Jets 26-13 Friday night in an NFL exhibition game.Mitchell, signed as a free agent by the Lions to a three-year, $11 million contract, completed 10 of 19 passes, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to Herman Moore. When Mitchell left in the second quarter, the Lions had a 16-0 lead.

"The thing that's good and positive is things didn't go smoothly but we still did some things well and scored some points," Mitchell said. "It was a good start and we needed this type of effort."

Mitchell, 6-foot-6, was equally adept in the pocket or on the run.

"The biggest plus is his mobility and he can see downfield," Lions coach Wayne Fontes said. "It's a big plus having a quarterback that big."

Mitchell certainly gave Lions fans every indication he could be the answer to the team's long-standing quarterback problems.

"I feel this is a good football team and I know there's a lot of expectations of me, and that's fine," Mitchell said. "But if you're going to be successful it has to be a full team effort."

That was something lacking for the Jets as the loss spoiled the preseason debut of new coach Pete Carroll.

Early turnovers helped put his team in a quick hole, and penalties (10 for 57 yards) were a problem throughout the game.

"It's pretty obvious if you turn the ball over in your own end against a good team, it's hard to beat them," Carroll said.

Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason was intercepted twice and a fumble by punt returner Rob Carpenter led to Detroit's first touchdown.

Esiason was 5-for-9 for 36 yards, and was replaced by Jack Trudeau in the second quarter.

"I really don't place any significance on the thing," Esiason said. "Right now is a chance to find out where we are. I don't think anybody is real happy with the way things ended."

Cardinals 17, 49ers 7

At Tempe, Ariz., Clyde Simmons returned an interception for a touchdown and picked off another pass minutes later, helping the Arizona Cardinals sweeten Buddy Ryan's return to coaching with an exhibition victory over San Francisco.

Defense, a subject dear to Ryan's heart, keyed the victory, but the first-string offense looked good too, driving 83 yards in eight plays for the first TD of the game.

Steve Beuerlein started the drive with a 38-yard toss to Randal Hill and capped it with a 2-yard pass to Larry Centers on the last play of the first quarter. Backups Jim McMahon and Will Furrer were largely ineffective in the last three quarters of play, although McMahon completed eight of nine passes.

Simmons' 5-yard return made it 14-0 at halftime, and Greg Davis kicked a 33-yard field goal to lift the Cardinals to a 17-7 lead in the third period.

Earlier, Elvis Grbac passed 8 yards to Ed McCaffrey for the 49ers' score.

Arizona's defense, keyed by Simmons and Eric Swann, made the difference, and the effort went deep.

Reserve Linebackers Garth Jax and David Merritt recovered fumbles, rookie Perry Carter stopped a late San Francisco drive on the 4-yard line, and Lennie Jenkins, another Arizona lineman, intercepted Bill Musgrave's pass on the Arizona 35 in the final minutes.

Even the Arizona scoring drive started with a defensive play, when Terry Irving, a rookie starter at outside linebacker, sacked Steve Young.

Beuerlein, who missed three of his first four passes, completed the next four. The first took the Cardinals from their 17 to the 49ers 45 as Hill ran under a long pass and dove to catch it.

Bryant Young nearly forced Arizona to go for a field goal when he slammed into Ronald Moore for a 3-yard loss, but Tim McDonald was lined up in the neutral zone, and the Cardinals got third down over again from the 2.

Beuerlein scrambled, then found Centers in the end zone for the TD.

On the next 49ers snap, Eric Swann bulled into Young and batted the left-hander's pass to the right. Simmons, who was drafted by Ryan to play for Philadelphia in 1986, caught the ball and scored just 15 seconds into the second quarter.

Colts 13, Seahawks 9

At Indianapolis, rookie running back Marshall Faulk set up two first-half field goals, and Leonard Humphries returned a pass interception 52 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Seattle Seahawks.

Faulk, the second player taken in the NFL draft last spring, rushed for 38 yards on 15 carries and sat out the second half as Indianapolis used reserves for the rest of their exhibition opener.

Bears 12, Eagles 6

At Chicago, Erik Kramer and Merril Hoge, free agents signed to bolster Chicago's sagging offense, hooked up on an early 13-yard touchdown pass as the Bears beat the Philadelphia Eagles.

Chicago's backup defenders stopped a late Philadelphia drive with just under seven minutes left to preserve the victory at Soldier Field.

Kramer, formerly with the Detroit Lions, led a nine-play, 70-yard drive on the first series of the game. He was 5-of-6, including the 13-yarder to Hoge, who came to the Bears after seven years with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Patriots 24, Saints 6

At Foxboro, Mass., the New England Patriots scored all their points on short drives following New Orleans turnovers for a win over the Saints.

Kevin Turner had a 1-yard touchdown dive and Burnie Leggette caught a 7-yard scoring pass from Scott Zolak as the Patriots scored 14 points in the third quarter. Matt Bahr kicked a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter and Sam Gash had a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.