Bengals crush Falcons, Ravens rip Bucs in preseason openers

ATLANTA — Giovani Bernard ran for a touchdown, Josh Johnson directed two second-quarter touchdown drives and the Cincinnati Bengals cruised to a 34-10 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Bernard, a second-round pick from North Carolina competing for a significant share of the Bengals’ carries, played behind returning starter Benjarvus Green-Ellis and had 10 carries for 28 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run. He added three catches for 16 yards.

Johnson, up against John Skelton for the backup job behind Andy Dalton, made big plays with his arm and legs. Johnson passed for 100 yards, including a 21-yard score to Brandon Tate, and ran for 64 yards.

New Falcons running back Steven Jackson found little blocking as he had five carries for only 8 yards.

Ravens 44, Buccaneers 16: In Tampa, Fla., Joe Flacco was sharp in his preseason debut, Bernard Pierce scored on a 20-yard run and a revamped Baltimore defense forced four turnovers in the Ravens’ victory.

Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw a pair of TD passes for the Super Bowl champions, including a 21-yarder to LaQuan Williams, who also scored when he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.

Josh Freeman and the rest of Tampa Bay’s starters played sparingly, so most of Baltimore’s scoring came against backups and newcomers to a defense that ranked last in the NFL against the pass last season.

Redskins 22, Titans 21: In Nashville, Tenn., Robert Griffin III handled the coin toss, and Kirk Cousins picked up where he left off last season filling in at quarterback, throwing for a touchdown as the Redskins edged the Titans.

The Redskins sat eight starters, including Griffin, who warmed up and was on the field dressed. Cousins looked sharp in Griffin’s place, completing six of seven passes for 52 yards and a TD for a 137.2 passer rating in two series for the defending NFC East champs.

The Titans showed off their revamped run game as Chris Johnson scored on a 58-yard burst.

Browns 27, Rams 19: In Cleveland, Brandon Weeden threw a touchdown pass and led Cleveland on two scoring drives, and Travis Benjamin returned a punt 91 yards for a TD as the Browns won coach Rob Chudzinski’s exhibition debut over St. Louis.

Weeden finished 10 of 13 for 112 yards, which should help end any talk of a quarterback competition in Cleveland. Chudzinski has not yet chosen Weeden his starter, but the second-year QB did everything he needed to secure the job.

Weeden hooked up with running back Dion Lewis, starting for Trent Richardson, for a 2-yard TD on the first play of the second quarter.

St. Louis’ Sam Bradford threw a 3-yard TD pass to Chris Givens as Rams coach Jeff Fisher left his starting offense in after Benjamin’s runback made it 17-0.