What we learned: 11 takeaways from Saturday


With only three games on the docket, Saturday looked like a potentially quiet night in the NFL. It turned out to be a fun one.

Philip Rivers' massive contract extension will have the most lasting impact. He'll get a chance to bolster his Hall of Fame case with the organization that drafted him, no matter where the team plays in 2016. But the action on the field was newsworthy, too. Jameis Winston's preseason debut was like his Florida State career: A little all over the place. Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne showed that he might just have a knack for the NFL, too, ripping off a couple of big plays for the 49ers. The Minnesota Vikings lost a quality starter in Phil Loadholt for the season, and Bill (bleeping) O'Brien got no clarity from his starting quarterback race in the best way possible. Here's what else we learned Saturday:

Houston Texans 23, San Francisco 49ers 10

Every game, all season

1. Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett were about as close to perfect as possible on Saturday night. Hoyer scored eight points in his only drive as the Texans' starter. Mallett had one incompletion in 11 attempts, throwing for 90 yards. Mallett will start next week, but Hoyer should get more playing time next time out. Yes, that's a confusing plan. Yes, it's confusing there is so little separation here.

2. The 49ers are trying out Hayne as a running back, punt returner and kick returner. He runs upright but clearly has good instincts, power and vision. It appears he has a good chance to make the team, which should give the rest of America a chance to learn the difference between a Rugby Union and a Rugby League star.

3. Alfred Blue made a strong case to be the Texans' Week 1 starter at running back, pounding out 59 yards on nine carries.

Minnesota Vikings 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

1. Winston was scattershot, mistake-prone and aggressive in his five drives. He looked far too hyped up to start the game, but settled down like Marcus Mariota on Friday night to make some flashy plays and finish with a scoring drive. We wouldn't get too high or low based on these rookie preseason outings.

2. Adrian Peterson sat out again, but his season took a hit when mauling right tackle Phil Loadholt was lost for the season. Rookie T.J. Clemmings is next in line to replace Loadholt.

3. Cordarrelle Patterson giveth, and Cordarrelle Patterson taketh away. Playing as the team's No. 4 receiver again behind Jarius Wright, Patterson got open for a 21-yard touchdown. He also caught an 8-yard pass, and then received a taunting penalty for head-butting a defender after the play.

4. Doug Martin didn't have a lot of room to run behind the lousy Bucs offensive line, but his cuts looked quick as hyped up all offseason.

Kansas City Chiefs 34, Arizona Cardinals 19

1. The sight of Eric Berry embracing his mom on the field in his first game back from cancer was the highlight of the night.

2. It was also a night for happy returns for the Cardinals. Carson Palmer looked confident in his return from a torn ACL, completing all four of his passes. And Tyrann Mathieu was doing Honey Badger-like things, picking off Alex Smith on the Chiefs' first drive.

3. The Cardinals have a lot of questions at running back, but they don't have to worry about Andre Ellington's health at the moment. He had a 57-yard catch to go with a short touchdown run.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast features the gang breaking down Jimmy Garoppolo's preseason debut and Ameer Abdullah's breakout game.