So much for worrying about Tom Brady’s left knee.
The New England quarterback, who left practice on Wednesday after he went down with a bruised knee, threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola on the Patriots’ first drive and followed with a two-point conversion pass to Zach Sudfeld in the Patriots’ 25-21 preseason victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night in Foxborough, Mass.
Brady, wearing a light brace on the knee, finished 8-for-8 passing for 72 yards on the opening 80-yard march during his team’s second preseason victory. He connected on three more passes during the next series before his first incompletion. Brady was 11-for-12 for 107 yards when Ryan Mallett took over early in the second quarter.
The injury news wasn’t as positive for the Buccaneers. Running back Doug Martin left the game in the first half with a possible head injury after he took a knee to the helmet.
Tampa Bay starting quarterback Josh Freeman had a rough night, completing 2 of 3 passes for eight yards and getting sacked three times during two possessions.
Bills 20, Vikings 16
Rookie E.J. Manuel continued to make a strong bid for the Buffalo Bills’ starting quarterback job, completing 10 of 12 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown in a 20-16 preseason victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night in Orchard Park, N.Y.
After veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb struggled in the first half, Manuel opened the third quarter and completed all six passes on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that concluded with a 4-yard touchdown strike to Brad Smith.
Kolb was 10-for-17 for 66 yards and an interception on six possessions.
Jerry Hughes led the Buffalo defense with two sacks and a forced fumble. Bills linebacker recovered a fumble for a touchdown.
Without running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings struggled on offense. Starting quarterback Christian Ponder was 5-for-12 for 53 yards in five series. Backup Matt Cassel went 4 of 8 for 29 yards in four series.
49ers 15, Chiefs 13
B.J. Daniels threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Chuck Jacobs with 2:04 left and Phil Dawson kicked three field goals as the San Francisco 49ers rallied for a 15-13 preseason victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday night in Kansas City, Mo.
Dawson connected from 55 yards in the second quarter and again in the third. He also made a 42-yarder in the first quarter.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, facing his former team for the first time, managed to complete only 7 of 16 passes for 62 yards while playing the entire first half.
Kansas City’s points came on a 104-yard kickoff return by Quintin Demps in the first quarter and two Ryan Succop field goals.
Saints 28, Raiders 20
Drew Brees revved up the New Orleans offense in the first half and the Saints held on for a 28-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Friday night in New Orleans.
Brees connected on 14 of 18 passes for 202 yards in the first half as the Saints built a 23-0 lead. Brees threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to rookie Kenny Stills and had a 52-yard completion to Nick Toon that led to Mark Ingram’s 2-yard touchdown run.
The New Orleans defense sacked Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn five times, but he finished 12-for-16 passing for 124 yards and a 19-yard touchdown to Denarius Moore in the first half.
Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter, a former Saints player, left the game in the second quarter with a groin injury.
Shanahan, Griffin OK
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said Friday that there is no rift between coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“We have a very competitive player who’s dying to play football and we have an experienced coach who is doing the right thing,” Allen said in a press conference. “I know somewhere Billy (Kilmer) and Sonny (Jurgensen) are laughing that we created a quarterback controversy with Robert Griffin.”
Kilmer and Jurgensen are former Redskins quarterbacks.
Earlier this week, Griffin publicly questioned Shanahan’s plan for him as he is coming back from knee surgery. However, he later clarified that he has no problem with Shanahan and will do as instructed.
Shanahan said that Griffin is just a competitor who wants to play and that he is in constant communication with his quarterback.
Griffin says he is close to 100 percent but Shanahan has had him on a restrictive practice routine.
Allen said that Griffin may be ready to play by the season against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 9.
“He is ahead of schedule; he gets his work in,” Allen said. “We’ve had no setbacks so far. The goal is for him to play in Week 1. I don’t know if that will happen.”
ESPN will air an interview with Griffin on Sunday in which he addresses the team’s plan for his return.
“They asked me what I thought of the plan and I told them honestly if it was up to me and it was my way or the highway, it would be something different,” he said. “But that’s not how it is. You have to respect authority and I have. Coach asks me to do something and I do it. If he says don’t do that, I haven’t done it. I felt I needed to come out and let everyone know it’s not a problem, it’s not an issue. That’s not what our team needs. …
“When you all have a common goal you can put all the differences aside or whatever you’re not thinking the same way on certain things. We all want to win. Coach wants me to be healthy. I want to be healthy and that’s what this plan’s about so that’s what you do.”
Browns rookie hospitalized
Cleveland Browns rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo will spend a second night in the hospital on Friday because of bruised lung, but he is expected to return to action in about a week.
However, Browns running back Dion Lewis will undergo surgery on his fractured left fibula, and may be out for the season, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
Both were injured during Thursday’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
Right guard Jason Pinkston, who suffered a high ankle sprain, may be out four weeks, according to the Plain Dealer.
Chargers seek receiver
Wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu was scheduled to visit with the San Diego Chargers on Friday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Ajirotutu has had two previous stints with the Chargers, so he hopes to stick this time.
San Diego is looking for a wideout after losing Danario Alexander for the season and Malcolm Floyd at least until the start of the regular season with injuries.
Dolphins sign Denney
The Miami Dolphins signed long snapper John Denney to a contract extension through the 2016 season.
The ninth-year veteran has played in 128 consecutive games, the second longest streak in franchise history.
NOTEBOOK: Veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis is scheduled to visit the Detroit Lions this weekend. Mathis, a former Pro Bowl defensive back, suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and started a combined 13 games in 2011 and 2012. … The Chicago Bears will sign quarterback Jordan Palmer, according to multiple media reports on Friday. The signing is pending a physical. The Bears are looking for a third quarterback after Matt Blanchard fractured a knuckle on his non-throwing hand during Thursday’s preseason win over the San Diego Chargers. … Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard was fined $10,000 by the NFL for a late hit out of bounds in an Aug. 8 preseason game against the Washington Redskins, NFL.com reported. Also Detroit Lions linebacker Travis Lewis was fined $15,750 for a horse-collar tackle, and Redskins defensive end Chris Baker was fined $15,750 for hitting a Tennessee Titans quarterback below the knees.