Matt Hasselbeck, the veteran quarterback signed to win now and show Jake Locker how it’s done in the NFL, might have made his best move after their debuts in Tennessee.
Hasselbeck gave new coach Mike Munchak the game ball Saturday night after the Titans beat the Minnesota Vikings, 14-3, in the exhibition opener for both teams in Nashville, Tenn.
“Munch is a guy that’s basically been with this organization his whole career as a player and a coach,” Hasselbeck said. “He’s just one of the guys. There’s a ton of respect for him there.”
Hasselbeck got the start, and Locker threw a 45-yard touchdown pass. Hasselbeck looked sharp in his lone series. The longtime Seahawks quarterback completed 5 of 6 passes for 55 yards in an opening drive marred by a botched handoff that created a 30-yard loss. Hasselbeck took the blame for colliding with fullback Ahmard Hall.
Locker, the eighth pick overall from Washington, had his moment, too. He dropped the ball off the snap before picking it up, rolling to his right and throwing a perfect pass to Yamon Figurs for a TD. Locker played one series into the third quarter, and he was 7 of 10 for 89 yards with a passer rating of 130.8.
The rookie said his instinct was to pick up the ball and either run or throw when he saw Figurs waving his arms wide open.
“Crazy way to have your first touchdown pass, but again, that will be a great story for him to tell,” Hasselbeck said of Locker’s TD.
At St. Louis 33, Indianapolis 10: Sam Bradford produced 17 points in four possessions with help from a defense that jumped on Peyton Manning’s backups for a pair of early interceptions by the Rams.
Former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown made a career-best 60-yard field goal and a 53-yarder for St. Louis.
Cleveland 27, at Green Bay 17: Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass in the first quarter, but the Packers opened the exhibition season with a loss to the Browns.
Browns quarterback Colt McCoy went 9 of 10 for 135 yards in three series.
Buffalo 10, at Chicago 3: Jay Cutler played just one series for the Bears. The Bills got two sacks from Shawne Merriman and nine in all.
At Carolina 20, New York Giants 10: Cam Newton led a pair of field-goal drives in his NFL debut, and Jimmy Clausen threw a touchdown pass to Greg Olsen to help the Panthers beat the Giants.
Rookie Colin Kaepernick will get his shot to compete with Alex Smith for the 49ers’ starting quarterback job. Coach Jim Harbaugh said nobody has earned the position so far in training camp. … Mike Patterson, who collapsed and suffered a seizure at practice 10 days ago, returned to Eagles practice. … Jaguars quarterback David Garrard said his sore back is getting better and he hopes to play in next week’s exhibition game against the Falcons.