Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn and top overall pick in the N.F.L. draft, had mixed results. He struggled with his accuracy and twice failed to get the Panthers into the end zone on promising first-half drives. But he also showed plenty of zip on his throws and brought some big-play potential to what was the league’s worst offense last season.
Michael Boley returned an interception 56 yards for a score in the game’s opening minutes for the Giants’ only touchdown.
It was a forgettable night for the Giants’ offense. Lawrence Tynes missed two field-goal attempts and another was blocked.
Eli Manning did not lead a scoring drive in his five series, completing 4 of 9 passes for only 36 yards. He also slightly overthrew Hakeem Nicks on what could have been a big third-down gain on the Giants’ first possession, forcing Tynes to try a 56-yard field goal.
Manning’s final series ended when the Panthers stopped Brandon Jacobs on a third-and-short carry midway through the second quarter. Then, after recovering a fumble from Mike Goodson in Carolina territory, the Giants came up empty again when Tynes missed a 37-yard kick.
PACKERS LOSE OPENER The most valuable player Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass before swapping his helmet for a baseball cap in the first quarter as the defending champion Green Bay Packers opened the preseason with a 27-17 loss to the Browns in Cleveland. Rodgers and most of Green Bay’s first-string offense played only two series in the first quarter, when the Packers and the Browns had long scoring drives.
TITANS 14, VIKINGS 3 Jake Locker threw a 45-yard touchdown pass in his debut, and host Tennessee made its new coach, Mike Munchak, a winner in his preseason opener.
Donovan McNabb made his first start for Minnesota, and completed four of his first five passes before having the sixth knocked down by the rookie linebacker Akeem Ayers. McNabb came back for a second series before leaving the game 6 of 11 for 40 yards.
BILLS 10, BEARS 3 Jay Cutler played one series and watched as Chicago beat visiting Buffalo even though the offensive line did little to ease any lingering concerns. The Bills got two sacks from Shawne Merriman and nine over all.
The newcomer Marion Barber did make a good impression, however, running for 45 yards and leading the Bears to a second-quarter touchdown. He carried six times for 37 yards on that drive, setting up a 4-yard run by backup quarterback Caleb Hanie that put Chicago ahead, 7-3.
RAMS 33, COLTS 10 Sam Bradford produced 17 points in four possessions with help from a defense that jumped on Peyton Manning’s backups for two early interceptions in St. Louis.
Josh Brown’s 60-yard field goal capped an almost perfect first half not just for the offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’s rebuilt Rams attack but for all the team’s units. Brown added a 53-yarder in the third quarter.
QUARTERBACK QUESTIONS Chad Henne is still the ’ quarterback, even after a rough start to the preseason, but the rookie Colin Kaepernick will get his shot to compete with Alex Smith for the San Francisco 49ers’ starting job.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said he still considered the job Smith’s to lose, but he added that no one had earned the position so far. In fact, he said San Francisco would consider adding an experienced backup on the heels of a 24-3 loss at New Orleans on Friday night in their exhibition opener.
Dolphins Coach Tony Sparano said Saturday there was no quarterback competition going on with his team. Henne remains in charge of the Miami offense despite going 4 for 8 for 78 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown in the Dolphins’ 28-23 preseason loss at the Atlanta Falcons on Friday.