EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – So his first few passes didn’t zing. So he dumped one off here and threw another short one there.

Once he got warmed up, Jets quarterback Chad Pennington made everything look easy. Playing in his first game since offseason surgery on his right shoulder, Pennington went 9-of-10 for 86 yards and a touchdown, helping the Jets beat the Vikings 28-21 in a preseason game Friday night.

Daunte Culpepper looked just as good for the Vikings (1-1), going 11-of-13 for 146 yards while leading them on one scoring drive. Minnesota staged a second-half rally with two scores from their third and fourth stringers, tying the game at 21 before Cedric Houston scored the game-winner on a 10-yard TD run with 5:52 remaining.

But the show stopper was Pennington’s 20-yard score to Laveranues Coles in the second quarter, a beautiful pass down the middle that hit Coles in stride.

“It felt like old times again,” said Pennington, who last played in a playoff loss to Pittsburgh in January.

On his first drive, Pennington clapped his hands as the crowd welcomed him back with a shower of cheers. Pennington took his rightful place in the huddle, then handed off to Curtis Martin.

There was not much doing on that series, with Pennington throwing for 3 yards. More of the same followed on their next possession, including a moment that must have given New York (2-0) pause: Pennington was forced to scramble on third-and-1 for no gain. Pennington hurt his shoulder last year following a scramble in Buffalo.

Bengals 24, Redskins 17

LANDOVER, Md. – The good news for Carson Palmer and Patrick Ramsey is that they have three more weeks to get ready for the regular season. From the look of things, both need all the time they can get.

The young quarterbacks each had one nice throw for a touchdown but mostly struggled for the second straight week.

Ramsey threw two interceptions. Palmer threw one, and they combined to complete just four of their first 16 passes in the Cincinnati Bengals’ 24-17 victory over the Washington Redskins.

Palmer started 2-for-9 with an interception against the first-string Redskins defense before putting together two scoring drives against Washington’s backups. He hit Kelley Washington on the run for a 45-yard touchdown pass against rookie first-round draft pick Carlos Rogers, one play after T.J. Houshmandzadeh had Rogers beat on a similar play but dropped the ball.

Titans 24, Falcons 21

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Falcons showed off their big-play capability. Tennessee won the battle of the backups.

Rookie DeAndra Cobb scored on a 101-yard kickoff return and T.J. Duckett had a 72-yard touchdown run, but Shane Boyd threw a late touchdown pass to fellow rookie O.J. Small that gave the Titans a 24-21 victory.

Michael Vick played nearly the entire first half for the Falcons, looking especially good on the opening possession. He hooked up with fullback Justin Griffith on a 23-yard pass, then broke off a 21-yard run when no one was open. After Warrick Dunn ran for 18 yards, Vick lobbed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brian Finneran.

With third- and fourth-stringers on the field, the Falcons (2-1) made one goal-line stand in the final period but couldn’t stop the Titans on fourth-and-goal from the 4.

Boyd, hoping to land a spot as the Titans’ third quarterback, flipped a pass to Small, who fought off rookie cornerback Jonte Buhl to make the catch with 1:28 remaining.

Cobb, a sixth-round pick from Michigan State, took a major step toward making the Falcons with his electrifying return in the first quarter. He took the kickoff, sent three players flying with a cutback at the Falcons 30 and found a huge gap on the left side.


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