ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Three was the key for Robert Griffin III.
The Washington Redskins rookie quarterback needed only three passes on his third and final drive to show glimpses of stardom in his much-anticipated NFL preseason debut Thursday night.
After a muffed handoff and no first downs in his first two series, RG3 found his rhythm by completing his final three passes for 58 yards, capped by a 20-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon in a 7-6 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Garcon celebrated by doing a front-first somersault in the end zone. And he was quickly joined by Griffin, who raced over to congratulate him with a leap in the air. With 5:54 left in the first quarter, it was the go-ahead score after the Redskins (No. 25 in the AP Pro32) fell behind 3-0.
It was an eventful cameo appearance for the Heisman Trophy winner, who was drafted with the No. 2 pick out of Baylor. Griffin finished going 4 of 6 for 70 yards and a lost fumble.
"It felt extremely good to come out and play," Griffin said. "Coach did a good job calling plays, got me in a rhythm and helped get the offense in a rhythm on that third drive."
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Will Smith crunched Tom Brady from behind, forcing a fumble in the first quarter. It may be the Saints' defensive end's biggest play for a while.
One of four players punished in the New Orleans bounty scandal, Smith was suspended for the first four regular-season games. So Thursday night's sack of New England's star quarterback was a highlight in the Patriots' lackluster win in their exhibition opener.
John Kasay had a chance to give the Saints (No. 9 in the APPro32) the lead, but his 41-yard field goal attempt went wide to the right with 3:07 left.
ATLANTA — Baltimore backup Curtis Painter threw three second-half touchdown passes to lead the Ravens to a preseason win over the Falcons.
Atlanta's Matt Ryan led two touchdown drives, including a scoring pass to Julio Jones, before Painter took over.
Ryan completed 9 of 13 passes for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was 5 for 5 for 71 yards, including the 7-yard touchdown pass to Jones, on the opening drive for Atlanta (No. 13 in the AP Pro32).
SAN DIEGO — Shannon Eastin became the first woman to officiate an NFL game and the San Diego Chargers slogged to a sloppy preseason victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Eastin broke the NFL's on-field gender barrier by serving as the line judge for the seven-man crew of replacement officials.
She helped oversee a predictably ugly preseason opener by both teams, filled with fumbles, interceptions and missed assignments.
Philip Rivers had a touchdown, an interception and a fumble in limited action for the Chargers ( No. 16 in the AP Pro32). Rookie Jarrett Lee got most of the action, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown.