The Buffalo Bills got everything they wanted out of their reserves against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. Too bad the Bills didn't see a little more of Jim Kelly.
Kelly, playing in his first game since undergoing knee surgery during the offseason, played two series over the first 18 minutes before heading for the sidelines in Buffalo's 9-7 victory over Dallas.Kelly took only nine snaps and was 1-of-3 passes for 1 yard. He was expected to play only a quarter, but he started the second period after Dallas had controlled the ball for 12:10 of the first.
Troy Aikman completed seven of 10 passes for 61 yards before he was taken out early in the second quarter for Dallas (1-2). Emmitt Smith, who sat out last week, rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries before leaving the game with Dallas' starters.
Buffalo (1-2) scored on a 44-yard field goal by Steve Christie in the second quarter and a 26-yarder by Steve Kratz in the third. Christie added a 22-yarder with 2:41 remaining in the game. Sherman Williams scored for Dallas on a 5-yard run with 19 seconds left in the game.
Dallas' starters outplayed Buffalo's in the first quarter but could not score.
The Cowboys were unable to capitalize in the first half after Bill Bates recovered Ken Irvin's fumbled punt at the 22. A penalty pushed the Cowboys back 10 yards, and four players later, Jon Baker pushed a 28-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Dallas had little problem moving the ball against the Bills on the opening possession. Smith carried the ball five straight times to start the game before a sack and an incompletion. Buffalo then fumbled the punt.
At one point early in the second quarter, Dallas had run 29 plays from scrimmage to Buffalo's seven.
One of the few highlights for Buffalo in the first half was Chris Mohr's 85-yard punt that rolled to the Dallas 1 in the second quarter. Marv Bateman holds the team regular-season record with a 78-yard punt in 1976.
Panthers 19, Broncos 10
At Clemson, S.C., the Denver Broncos' revamped defense returned to its 1994 form Saturday night, and the result was a 19-10 victory for the Carolina Panthers in their inaugural home exhibition game.
The Broncos, who had the NFL's worst defense last season, gave up two big passing plays that helped the expansion Panthers to a 16-point second quarter.
Denver came in with a 2-0 exhibition record after two victories over the defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco in which both teams used mostly reserves.
But both the Panthers and Broncos had almost all of their starters on the field in the second quarter, when Carolina erased a 7-0 deficit and took a 16-10 edge. The turnaround took place with the Panthers operating against a team that in the offseason changed coaches, switched to a more aggressive defensive scheme and added several big-name free agents.
All that didn't help as the Panthers, playing in front of 57,017 rowdy fans, rolled through the Denver defense for 161 second-quarter yards, one touchdown pass and three field goals.
It was good enough to move Carolina's preseason record to 2-1, even though the Panthers still don't have a rushing touchdown.
The tying score was set up when tight end Lawyer Tillman got free for a 25-yard pass. After he made the reception, Denver defensive backs Randy Hilliard and Steve Atwater collided while trying to sandwich Tillman, who turned it into a 70-yard play that put the ball at the Broncos 13.
Eagles 13, Jets 10
At Jackson, Miss., third-string quarterback Jay Fiedler drove the Eagles 91 yards, primarily against the Jets' third-team defense, on the opening drive of the fourth quarter. He completed a 37-yard pass to Derrick Witherspoon and Charlie Garner had a 34-yard carry to set up Gary Anderson's game-winning 28-yard field goal.
The drive was set up by Bobby Taylor's interception of former Eagles quarterback Bubby Brister.
Ricky Watters had a 17-yard touchdown run and Anderson kicked a 42-yard field goal at the end of the first half for the Eagles, 2-0 under new coach Ray Rhodes after beating their former coach, Rich Kotite.
Patriots 21, Vikings 14
At Foxboro, Mass., Hassan Graham and Scott Zolak connected on a 67-yard touchdown pass play with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter.
Jay Kirchoff's 43-yard field goal 26 seconds earlier had given the Vikings a 14-13 lead, capping a comeback from a 13-3 deficit.
After the late TD, New England (1-1) pushed the lead to seven points when Zolak threw a 2-point conversion pass to Andre President.
Bobby Phillips' 1-yard run at 6:39 of the fourth quarter and Chad May's conversion pass to Chris Walsh brought Minnesota (1-1) to 13-11. Key to the drive was Vernon Lewis' pass interference penalty on third and 13 at the Patriots 25, which gave Minnesota a first down at the 1.
Matt Bahr kicked field goals of 39 and 22 yards for New England (1-1) and Drew Bledsoe threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Vincent Brisby for the Patriots' other points.
Washington 16, Houston 13
At Knoxville, Tenn., Eddie Murray kicked three field goals in his debut with the Washington Redskins, including a 53-yarder to tie it and a 34-yarder to beat Houston in overtime Saturday night.
Murray was signed earlier this week after Chip Lohmiller was cut. Murray, known more for accuracy than distance, edged the 53-yarder just over the crossbar to tie it 13-13 in the fourth quarter. He also hit a 24-yarder on the Redskins' first possession, and had a 47-yarder called back by penalty.
Murray's performance was the only offensive bright spot for Washington.
Quarterback Heath Shuler marked his return to the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium with a touchdown pass, but he threw it to Houston defensive back Chris Dishman.
That was the lowlight of a lamentable evening for Shuler, a former Tennessee star now in his second year with the Redskins. He completed his first two passes for 63 yards, but finished 3-for-11 for 74 yards, no scores and the interception. He played three possessions in the first half.
The Oilers thus lost their first game in what could be their home for the next two seasons. Owner Bud Adams is negotiating with Tennessee officials to move the team to Nashville; if he does the Oilers would play either in Knoxville or Memphis in 1996 and '97 while a stadium is being built.