NFL roundup: Taysom Hill rallies Saints to 19-17 victory over Chargers

Le’Veon Bell will have to wait a little longer for his debut with the New York Jets.

Coach Adam Gase announced Sunday night that the Pro Bowl running back will be held out of the team’s final two preseason games.

“I was about 99% sure heading into the preseason,” Gase said after the Jets’ practice at MetLife Stadium. “It was all based off of how he practiced, conditioning and all those types of things.”

Gase and Bell spoke about the plan when training camp started, and Bell’s snaps increased in practices last week.

Bell has been practicing fully and looked good in training camp after sitting out all last season in a contract dispute with Pittsburgh. Gase and the Jets don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with Bell.

“We’ll just get him as game ready as possible,” Gase said. “He’s not really going to know until we get into a real game, but I feel like he’s in great shape and he’s been contacting about as good as anybody on the practice field.

“So, I feel confident he’ll be ready to go (in) Week 1.”

That would be the regular-season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 8. It will mark the first time Bell will play in a game since the Steelers’ playoff loss to Jacksonville on Jan. 14, 2018 — a span of nearly 20 months.

“I’ll see y’all in September,” Bell wrote on Twitter about an hour after Gase’s announcement.

Gase acknowledged that a season-ending knee injury to linebacker Avery Williamson in the Jets’ preseason loss at Atlanta on Thursday night sealed his decision to sit Bell until the regular season.

“Like I said, I was about 99.9% sure what we were going to do,” Gase said. “That probably made it 100.”

Williamson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee with 3:52 left in the first half with mostly backups playing. Cornerback Tevaughn Campbell dived to defend a pass in the end zone and hit into the linebacker’s knee.

An MRI exam Friday revealed the severity of the injury, and Williamson was placed on injured reserve Saturday.

Saints 19, Chargers 17: Taysom Hill had 191 yards of offense and directed three second-half scoring drives to help New Orleans rally for an exhibition victory over host Los Angeles.

In a game where starting quarterbacks Philip Rivers and Drew Brees were sideline observers, Hill supplied most of the passing highlights. The third-year, all-purpose player was 11-for-15 for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 55 yards.

Hill threw a 27-yard TD pass to Austin Carr with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter to bring the Saints to within 17-10. He then directed an 11-play, 69-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter that culminated in a 1-yard TD pass to Devine Ozigbo.

Vikings 25, Seahawks 19: Rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. and backup wide receiver Brandon Zylstra each had touchdown receptions for Minnesota and the Vikings displayed depth and versatility in their passing game in an exhibition victory at home over Seattle.

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins led the starters for two drives, the last one yielding a chip-shot field goal by Dan Bailey, and finished 6-for-8 for 68 yards without a turnover. Second-string quarterback Sean Mannion made up for an interception that safety DeShawn Shead returned 88 yards for a score by finding Smith with a short throw into the end zone just before halftime.

The first team took two turns for the Seahawks, too, and Russell Wilson went 6-for-9 for 82 yards without a turnover after sitting out the preseason opener. First-round draft pick D.K. Metcalf did not play because of a leg injury.

Surgery for safety: Los Angeles Chargers All-Pro safety Derwin James will have surgery on his right foot this week and could miss three months, coach Anthony Lynn said. James endured a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot during Thursday’s practice.

James quickly made an impact as a rookie last season, leading the team in tackles with 105 along with four interceptions, 3.5 sacks and 13 passes defensed. Adrian Phillips will take over at free safety while James is sidelined.

Tate in concussion protocol: New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate has been placed in concussion protocol after enduring an injury Friday night in the Giants’ 32-13 preseason victory over the Chicago Bears. Tate signed a four-year, $37 million contract with the Giants in the offseason.

Kicker dropped: The Bears released Elliott Fry, making Eddy Pineiro the favorite to win the kicking competition in Chicago. Pineiro, who kicked in college at Florida, cost the Bears a conditional 2021 seventh-round draft choice in a trade with the Raiders during the offseason.

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