- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Tom Brady overcame two early interceptions to lead his first touchdown drive of the preseason as the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 17-16 on Friday night.

The preseason has been a titanic struggle for Brady, who is awaiting word on his appeal of a four-game suspension for his role in “Deflategate.”

After managing just three first downs in his first 11 preseason possessions, Brady finally got on track, leading an 80-yard scoring drive before halftime running the hurry-up offense. He capped the drive with a well-placed 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Scott Chandler.

The Patriots played again without tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman.

Carolina managed just two field goals in the first half behind Cam Newton and trailed 7-6 at halftime. Corey Brown bobbled away an easy TD pass from Newton - one of four Carolina drops in the first half.

LIONS 22, JAGUARS 17

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Matthew Stafford completed 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions (2-1) trailed most of the night, but rookie Zach Zenner’s 3-yard touchdown run with 1:41 remaining was the winner.

Detroit played without star receiver Calvin Johnson for the third consecutive game, but Stafford carved up Jacksonville’s secondary in a half of work. Stafford threw a perfect deep ball to Golden Tate for a 62-yarder in the second quarter and then hooked up with Corey Fuller for a 4-yard score.

Zenner had a 41-yard scamper that set up Fuller’s score. He finished with 85 yards on eight carries.

Blake Bortles was the story again for Jacksonville (1-2). He completed 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 38 yards, including two third-down scrambles that kept scoring drives alive.

CHIEFS 34, TITANS 10

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Alex Smith threw for 171 yards and two touchdowns in less than a half, and the Chiefs’ offense looked the sharpest it has all preseason in a weather-shortened game.

The game was called with 3 minutes, 50 seconds remaining after thunder rumbled and lightning streaked across the sky. Heavy rains had turned one end zone into a lake.

Smith was 16 of 18 before giving way to third-string quarterback Aaron Murray just before halftime. Murray played the rest of the game for the Chiefs (3-0), throwing for 146 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception as backup Chase Daniel got the night off.

Marcus Mariota got off to a slow start for Tennessee (1-2), misfiring on his first three throws. But the first-round pick out of Oregon was 7 of 8 for 99 yards the rest of the half.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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