Adrian Peterson showed the Washington Redskins what they needed to see in his debut by rushing for 56 yards on 11 carries in a 29-17 loss to the Denver Broncos on Friday night in each team's third preseason game.
Peterson carried the ball seven consecutive plays on one possession, and the 2012 MVP later picked up 15 yards on fourth-and-1. The Redskins signed Peterson on Monday after injuries to three running backs and were eager to see what the 33-year-old had in the tank.
They got their answer: enough to likely earn the starting job Week 1 at the Arizona Cardinals. After only three practices, Peterson looked to have passed Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and injured backs Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall on the depth chart.
Peterson's play was a bright spot for the Redskins as they were carved up by Case Keenum and Denver's first-team offense, and Alex Smith was an unimpressive 3 of 8 for 33 yards in four series. Keenum was 12 of 18 for 148 yards before giving way to backup Chad Kelly.
The Broncos' first-team offense scored two touchdowns and added a field goal in five series of work, led by dual-threat receiver Emmanuel Sanders. He was responsible for all 75 of Denver's yards on its second touchdown drive, catching passes of 15 and 33 yards from Keenum and scoring on a 27-yard end-around . Sanders finished with 88 all-purpose yards.
After Kelly was 7 of 11 for 70 yards in the third quarter, the Broncos turned to demoted QB Paxton Lynch to finish the game when up 26-10. The 2016 first-round pick completed three of seven pass attempts for 39 yards and had a 5-yard rush in what was as much a trade audition as a chance to show Denver brass he should stick around.
Broncos LB Brandon Marshall and WR Demaryius Thomas again were absent from the sideline during the national anthem and jogged out of the tunnel immediately after. Every Redskins player stood on the sideline, as they did in their first two preseason games.
Broncos: S Shamarko Thomas left with an eye injury and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. ... Marshall was evaluated for a concussion but returned.
Redskins: Kelley, supplanted as the starter by Peterson, was injured on kickoff coverage and evaluated for a stinger. He returned and had eight carries for 19 yards. ... RB Chris Thompson and TE Jordan Reed, coming off surgeries, were held out.