NFL Week 2 takeaways – What we discovered, massive questions for each sport and future crew outlooks
Tua Tagovailoa had six passing touchdowns and led the Miami Dolphins again from three scores down in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens — in a sport wherein they trailed from the very first play after an 103-yard landing return.
A rivalry between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints bought heated. After each groups discovered little offensive success over three quarters, a scuffle resulted in Marshon Lattimore and Mike Evans getting ejected. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ protection got here alive within the fourth quarter to steer Tampa to victory.
The Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars had offensive breakouts, whereas the New England Patriots and New York Jets bought key street wins after Week 1 losses. And the New York Giants are 2-0 — a uncommon sight lately.
Our NFL Nation reporters react with the most important takeaways and lingering questions popping out of this week’s matchups and sit up for what’s subsequent. Let’s get to it.
What to know: Environment friendly play from the quarterback. Artistic playcalling with misdirection to confuse the defenses and arrange future calls. Receivers broad open and getting the ball in place to achieve yards after the catch. Coach Doug Pederson’s offense was rolling in opposition to the Colts. That was the expectation when the Jaguars employed Pederson to pair with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and spent massive cash on receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, but it surely did not actually present up in Week 1. If the Jaguars can persistently execute on the degree they did Sunday, they’ve the potential to be a troublesome crew to defend.
Is Sacksonville again? Whoa, decelerate a bit. That 2017 protection was subsequent degree. However the Jaguars did get 5 sacks in opposition to the Colts, and all three of their interceptions have been the direct results of strain on quarterback Matt Ryan. It helped that the Jags had an enormous lead within the second half, however the strain has been fairly constant via the primary two weeks, and because of this, the protection has created six turnovers. It had 9 complete final season. — Mike DiRocco
Subsequent sport: at Chargers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)
What to know: It is one factor to open the season with a tie in Houston, because the Colts did in Week 1. However it’s fairly one other for Indianapolis to fall on its collective face in opposition to the Jaguars, the very crew that denied its entry into the postseason in January. It isn’t even the Colts’ 0-1-1 report that’s most alarming; they’re notoriously sluggish starters. Somewhat, it is the truth that the crew appears to be in disarray, with even its vaunted offensive line acting at an abysmal degree and veteran quarterback Matt Ryan seemingly powerless to stem the tide of sloppiness and listlessness. Given proprietor Jim Irsay’s offseason calls for for enchancment, the remainder of this season figures to be a referendum on its gamers, coaches and entrance workplace.
Who’s most chargeable for the Colts’ sluggish begin? The dearth of depth from the Colts at instances of their first two video games has to immediate some questions on teaching. The Colts have been lacking No. 1 receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and All-Professional linebacker Shaquille Leonard on Sunday, however the underperformance of gamers who’ve previously carried out effectively doesn’t replicate effectively on head coach Frank Reich and his workers. Offensively, the dearth of execution calls preparation into query. And the protection has been disappointing underneath new coordinator Gus Bradley. The Colts did not problem Jacksonville’s receivers, permitting straightforward completions all day lengthy. — Stephen Holder
Subsequent sport: vs. Chiefs (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: It wasn’t fairly, however the Patriots badly wanted a win. This buys them extra time to determine issues out. Simply as Invoice Belichick mentioned final week, a few performs have been the distinction within the sport — a 44-yard TD bomb to Nelson Agholor (who made an incredible catch) on the finish of the second quarter was essential, as was Steelers punt returner Gunner Olszewski muffing a punt that the Patriots recovered and shortly transformed right into a landing. Quarterback Mac Jones was dwelling dangerously at instances — the Steelers dropped a simple interception within the second half — as he hasn’t gained the identical degree of consolation that he had for stretches of his 2021 rookie season.
How life like is it to suppose the offense can rework itself right into a unit that may sustain with the AFC’s elite? It is laborious to think about the Patriots being an AFC contender the best way they’re at the moment enjoying offense. Every little thing is a wrestle. From the get-go, gamers have preached persistence, they usually certainly know they will should be rather a lot higher within the weeks to return. However these big-picture ideas might be placed on maintain for now. No crew is a completed product after Week 2. Whereas it wasn’t fairly, this is a attainable silver lining: The best way the Patriots completed the sport, within the four-minute offense, was a possible identity-building drive. They jammed it proper down the Steelers’ throat to shut out the sport. — Mike Reiss
Subsequent sport: vs. Ravens (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: For the second week in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ conservative offensive plan held them again, and this time, a short-handed protection could not save them in a 17-14 loss to the New England Patriots. Mitch Trubisky accomplished 21 of 33 makes an attempt for 168 yards with one landing and one interception, however the crowd at Acrisure Stadium grew stressed with the checkdowns and brief passes. Not less than two instances, the group chanted “KEN-NY,” calling for first-round draft decide Kenny Pickett to take the reins underneath middle. Trubisky averaged 5.1 yards per try and 4.6 air yards per completion, per NFL Subsequent Gen Stats. Whereas the run sport bought going behind a greater day from Najee Harris, the Steelers nonetheless gained solely 91 yards on the bottom. The offense got here alive when it went no-huddle within the closing drive of the third quarter and capped it with an 8-yard strike to Pat Freiermuth on the primary play of the fourth. The Steelers mentioned they wanted to play with a “killer intuition” in Week 2, and for many of the afternoon, they performed with something however.
Can the Steelers get strain with out T.J. Watt? The preliminary reply to this query is: not a lot. The Steelers did nearly the whole lot to convey strain on Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, however they did not report a single sack whereas Watt (torn pectoral muscle) seemed on from the sideline. At instances, Malik Reed got here near getting Jones, however the Reed-Alex Highsmith tandem simply did not generate the identical strain the reigning NFL Defensive Participant of the 12 months introduced of their Week 1 time beyond regulation win. Jones, who accomplished 21 of 35 makes an attempt for 252 yards and averaged 7.2 yards per try, hardly ever needed to rush his throws and had a number of deep and intermediate completions. The Steelers additionally had zero sacks in Weeks 3 and 14 final season, each losses. (Watt did not play in Week 14.) Watt will probably be out at the very least three extra video games on IR, and his timeline seemingly places him again on the finish of October. — Brooke Pryor
Subsequent sport: at Browns (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
What to know: The star of the primary two video games for the Giants: their protection. On this case, coordinator Wink Martindale. He has achieved it with out his high two edge rushers, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, and with defensive lineman Leonard Williams (knee) leaving Sunday’s sport within the third quarter. Martindale has been the Giants’ finest offseason acquisition this season by a large margin along with his relentless and aggressive method. Martindale has been manufacturing sufficient strain (utilizing three-safety appears to be like most of Sunday) and made Carolina quarterback Baker Mayfield look as pedestrian as Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill seemed the earlier week. Mayfield threw for simply 145 yards on 29 move makes an attempt in Sunday’s win, the second time in as many weeks the Giants have allowed fewer than 20 factors. The important thing sacks within the second half got here from the unheralded Oshane Ximines and Julian Love. Martindale is working his magic to date in his first yr as Giants defensive coordinator.
Do we have to recalibrate expectations? The Giants are 2-0 for the primary time since 2016. It took them till Week 10 final season to get their second win. Whereas it hasn’t all the time been fairly, there’s purpose to be excited. The Giants are the one crew within the NFC East that sits at 2-0 getting into Monday. In addition they have winnable upcoming video games at house in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night time and the Chicago Bears the next week. Possibly a profitable season or the playoffs is not out of the query underneath new coach Brian Daboll, who has this crew believing it may possibly win. — Jordan Raanan
Subsequent sport: vs. Cowboys (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
What to know: The Panthers traded for quarterback Baker Mayfield to convey extra explosiveness to the offense. By means of two video games, the Panthers have had just a few massive performs however have been something however explosive. The protection has performed effectively sufficient to win, significantly in opposition to the Giants. The offense has been simply common — sufficient to maintain video games shut, however not win. An enormous a part of that has been mediocre performances by Mayfield, who was 14-of-29 for under 145 yards Sunday. He did reduce down on the batted passes on the line (two) however did nothing to make him appear to be a long-term resolution.
How sizzling is coach Matt Rhule’s kitchen after an 0-2 begin? Not fairly scorching, but it surely’s heating up quick. The roster is deeper and higher than a yr in the past, however the backside line is the Panthers have misplaced a league-high 9 straight courting again to final yr. Proprietor David Tepper will not make any rash selections this early within the season, however the fan base that already was stressed might get brutal after two five-win seasons and now this. The crew nonetheless is not disciplined sufficient or ok to persistently win, and that falls again on the pinnacle coach. — David Newton
Subsequent sport: vs. Saints (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: The Jets delivered the most important win of the Robert Saleh period, pulling off a miracle comeback solely days after their coach was roasted for an ill-advised remark. Saleh mentioned he was “taking receipts” on those that mock the Jets, promising to “shove it down their throat” after they flip the season. Every little thing flipped in a matter of seconds, because the Jets rallied from a 13-point deficit within the closing two minutes. The Jets have been lifeless at 30-17, they usually rallied with two landing passes by Joe Flacco. This was a large win for Saleh, who got here underneath intense scrutiny for his feedback. The gamers mentioned they’d his again, they usually did.
Does Joe Flacco’s efficiency finish the backup quarterback controversy? Sure. Flacco was excellent in crunch time, ending with 4 TD passes and profitable his first begin since 2019. With followers screaming for Mike White, Saleh caught with Flacco amid criticism, and it paid off massive time. Flacco turned again to the clock to his Baltimore Ravens heyday, quieting the QB speak. It is solely a one-game gig, although, as Zach Wilson (knee) is trending towards a Week 4 return. — Wealthy Cimini
Subsequent sport: vs. Bengals (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: The Browns had put the sport away — solely to undergo an epic collapse. Defensive miscues all sport and dear particular groups errors within the fourth quarter doomed Cleveland, because the Browns squandered a 13-point lead within the closing two minutes.
Can the Browns clear up the defensive miscues? Cleveland allowed 37-year-old QB Joe Flacco and the Jets to hold round all sport after which gave up two touchdowns within the closing two minutes to lose the sport. Too usually, Flacco was throwing to wide-open pass-catchers. The Browns have the expertise to boast an elite protection. However two weeks into the season, miscues and miscommunications are holding them from showcasing that full potential. — Jake Trotter
Subsequent sport: vs. Steelers (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)
Joe Flacco hits Garrett Wilson with a 15-yard landing to make it 30-30 vs. the Browns.
What to know: Tua Tagovailoa can carry this Dolphins offense with some fine-tuning. Trailing three scores at halftime, Miami put the ball in his palms and he delivered to the tune of 469 passing yards and 6 touchdowns, finally finishing the comeback with a game-winning TD move to Jaylen Waddle. Beneath a path of first-year head coach Mike McDaniel, the Dolphins seem able to competing in a shootout. Tagovailoa’s two interceptions harm, however past these two performs he made sensible selections with the ball and navigated the pocket effectively. This was the most important assertion sport of his profession, and there are loads who would possibly must retract their prior assessments.
Can the Dolphins recover from the Payments hump? That was objectively enjoyable to observe however now the neighborhood bully returns to city. The Dolphins have misplaced seven of their final eight video games to Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, and play host to the two-time reigning AFC East champions in Week 3. It is a true measuring stick matchup for Miami, who might put the Tremendous Bowl favorites on discover with a win. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Subsequent sport: vs. Payments (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: The massive performs are again for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson grew to become the primary participant in NFL historical past to supply a landing move and run of at the very least 75 yards. The Baltimore offense had lacked electrical energy just lately, totaling two performs of at the very least 70 yards within the final two years. Downfield passing was a degree of emphasis for the Ravens in coaching camp, and it is paid off early this season. In two video games this season, Jackson has related with broad receiver Rashod Bateman on landing passes of 55 and 75 yards.
What occurred to the Ravens protection? The Ravens matched the most important blown lead in franchise historical past, failing to carry a 21-point lead within the fourth quarter due to a banged-up protection. The Ravens gave up 4 landing passes within the fourth quarter with a secondary that had certainly one of their high cornerbacks. Baltimore performed many of the fourth quarter with out its high cornerback (Marlon Humphrey) and had its No. 3 cornerback (Brandon Stephens) inactive. Jaylen Waddle caught the profitable, 7-yard landing move over rookie Jalyn Armour-Davis, who was pressed into motion due to the accidents. — Jamison Hensley
Subsequent sport: at Patriots (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: With out receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, and no left deal with Donovan Smith and his backup, Josh Wells — who left with a calf damage — quarterback Tom Brady and the Bucs as soon as once more struggled to place factors on the board. The dashing lanes Leonard Fournette loved final week in opposition to the Cowboys have been nowhere to be discovered. An irate Brady threw yet one more pill within the third quarter – the second time he is achieved that in opposition to the Saints in two seasons. Tempers continued to flare within the fourth quarter, with each Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore being ejected. Similar to Week 1, although, protection stored the Bucs on this sport, forcing a complete of 5 turnovers — three interceptions and two fumbles. Mike Edwards‘ interception was additionally returned for a landing.
How lengthy can the Bucs maintain this up with so many accidents? It is robust to say, with Godwin and Jones’ hamstring accidents being wildly unpredictable. Smith’s elbow damage is a matter of ache tolerance, however how efficient can he be extending his arm is the true query. The truth that he traveled to New Orleans was at the very least encouraging. However shedding Wells and getting into a Week 3 house opener in opposition to the Green Bay Packers with a third-string left deal with in Brandon Wells hurts, as does the potential of a suspension for Evans. Regardless of the offensive accidents piling up, the Bucs’ protection has given up solely 13 factors via two weeks. Coach Todd Bowles’ protection is displaying why he was elevated right into a head teaching function. — Jenna Laine
Subsequent sport: vs. Packers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
What to know: There is no want to fret concerning the Saints protection after watching it stifle Tom Brady once more for 3 and a half quarters. The protection solely stumbled after cornerback Marshon Lattimore was ejected late within the sport for a battle with Mike Evans, leaving the Saints with two backup corners due to Paulson Adebo‘s earlier damage. The offense is one other story, after a really regarding efficiency general. The offense was anticipated to take a step ahead after a sluggish begin in opposition to the Falcons in Week 1, however quarterback Jameis Winston‘s again damage complicates issues.
Ought to the Saints be involved about Jameis Winston going ahead? Winston is reportedly coping with a number of fractures in his again, which might be regarding for any participant, a lot much less the beginning quarterback. The Saints offense put in a regarding efficiency for many of the sport, and it is truthful to be involved about Winston — who seemed hesitant at instances when attempting to run the ball, overthrew a number of deep passes and fell aside within the fourth quarter, throwing three interceptions on three straight possessions, together with a pick-six. The Saints are going to should decide about whether or not to take a seat Winston and let him heal or proceed to play him whereas he is injured. — Katherine Terrell
Subsequent sport: at Panthers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: In his second profession sport, No. 2 general decide Aidan Hutchinson report three sacks – all within the first half — of Washington quarterback Carson Wentz. The final time a rookie had 3.0 sacks in certainly one of his first two profession video games was in 2002 when Julius Peppers, Carlos Corridor and Ben Leber all did it.
Is the Lions offense for actual? Sure. Detroit bought main contributions from its high weapons, notably Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift. There is no purpose to consider their manufacturing is not sustainable – if wholesome. The Lions have scored 35 or extra factors in every of their opening two video games for the primary time since 1970. St. Brown was the star Sunday, recording 9 catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns whereas including one other 68 on the bottom. — Eric Woodyard
Subsequent sport: at Vikings (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: Washington’s offense will nonetheless be harmful regardless of an unpleasant first half wherein the Commanders managed simply two first downs. Nevertheless, the Commanders have loads of points on protection and that is going to be a season-long drawback as effectively. Washington allowed three performs on protection of at the very least 49 yards – each time the offense wanted assist it failed to supply any. The particular groups protection wasn’t good both and a missed further level value them.
The place is the run sport? Washington wished to be a extra bodily crew this season, however Antonio Gibson solely managed 28 yards on 14 carries as Detroit gave him no room. It is going to assist when Brian Robinson returns. He is extra of an influence again than Gibson however the Commanders should be higher up entrance. When the Lions have been attacking within the first half and pressuring Wentz, it wanted an alternate however the run sport supplied nothing. — John Keim
Subsequent sport: vs. Eagles (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Tristan H. Cockcroft explains why Amon-Ra St. Brown will proceed his dominant fantasy efficiency.
What to know: The Chiefs can win with their stars not being stars. They beat a troublesome AFC West rival with their touchdowns being scored by three backup gamers — rookie seventh-round draft decide Jaylen Watson, fourth-round broad receiver Justin Watson and operating again Jerick McKinnon. It is going to serve them effectively if they will proceed to win video games with out getting big contributions from gamers like Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Who’s going to assist Chris Jones rush the quarterback? Jones had each of the Chiefs’ sacks in opposition to the Chargers. It isn’t an issue that Jones is their chief in sacks, however fairly that he is not getting a lot help. Final week’s sacks in opposition to the Cardinals got here from a blitzing cornerback, L’Jarius Sneed, and from finish Carlos Dunlap (however his was extra of a protection sack). Essentially the most logical candidates to assist Jones are Frank Clark and George Karlaftis. Every had a success on Justin Herbert, however neither has but to place a quarterback on the bottom this season. — Adam Teicher
Subsequent sport: at Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
What to know: Shut would not rely. The Chargers have been two performs away from beginning the season 2-0 in AFC West motion. As a substitute, they go 1-1 in a five-day span after an interception by cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. was overturned. “I believed it was a decide,” Samuel mentioned after the sport. As well as, quarterback Justin Herbert threw a move supposed for tight finish Gerald Everett that was intercepted and returned 99 yards for a landing.
What is the standing of Herbert? The quarterback suffered a rib damage within the fourth quarter, leaving the sport for just one play earlier than returning, however he was clearly in ache as he continued to the tip of the sport. After the 27-24 loss, the medical workers and a gingerly strolling Herbert entered the X-ray room. On Friday, he was recognized with a fracture in his rib cartilage. Herbert is taken into account day-to-day. — Lindsey Thiry
Subsequent sport: vs. Jaguars (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)