NFL Week 2 takeaways: What we learned, big questions for every game and future team outlooks

ByNFL Nation via ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
ESPN

It'sWeek 2of the 2022 NFL season,and we had three epic fourth-quarter comebacks.

Tua Tagovailoa had six passing touchdowns and led the Miami Dolphins back from three scores down against the Baltimore Ravenson Sunday -- in a game in which they trailed from the very first play after a 103-yard touchdown return. In the late window, the Arizona Cardinals overcame a 23-7 fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime with a 2-point conversion with no time remaining, then defeated the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime on a walk-off scoop-and-score. The New York Jets also snuck out a win against the Cleveland Browns in the fourth quarter.

The rivalry between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints got heated. After both teams found little offensive success over three quarters, a scuffle resulted in Marshon Lattimore and Mike Evans getting ejected. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers' defense came alive in the fourth quarter to lead Tampa Bay to victory.

The Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars had offensive breakouts, while the New England Patriotsgot a key road win after a Week 1 loss. And the New York Giants are 2-0 -- a rare sight in recent years. On the other side of the coin, the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals are now 0-2, losing to the Dallas Cowboys on a walk-off field goal in Sunday's late afternoon window.

Also in the late window, San Francisco 49ers second-year quarterback Trey Lance suffered a serious ankle injury that will reportedly keep him out for the season. Jimmy Garoppolo filled in admirably in Sunday's victory over the Seattle Seahawks. There was nothing surprising in the nightcap as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers rolled over the Chicago Bears.

On Monday night, there was a double-header. TheBuffalo Billsscored 34 unanswered points against theTennessee Titanswhile thePhiladelphia Eaglesstifled the Vikings offense.

Our NFL Nation reporters react with the biggest takeaways and lingering questions coming out of this week's matchups and look ahead to what's next. Let's get to it.

Jump to a matchup:LAC-KC |NYJ-CLE | WSH-DET |TB-NO

CAR-NYG | NE-PIT | IND-JAX|MIA-BAL

ATL-LAR | SEA-SF | HOU-DEN | CIN-DAL

ARI-LV | GB-CHI| TEN-BUF | MIN-PHI

Philadelphia 24, Minnesota 7

Eagles

What to know: Jalen Hurts has been one of the league's best players through two weeks. He's even in the (very, very early) MVP conversation. After throwing for over 300 yards with a touchdown and running for two more scores Monday, Hurts is now the third favorite for MVP behind Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, according to Caesars Sportsbook. He's always been able to create with his legs, but his passing has stood out so far. One ugly interception aside, his decision-making and accuracy have taken a considerable jump up from last season. If that continues, watch out for the Birds.

Which is the real defense? The Eagles were gashed for 35 points against Jared Goff and the Lions Week 1 but rebounded with a dominant performance against the high-powered Vikings, generating three takeaways, including a pair of Darius Slay interceptions. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon got more aggressive in this one, dialing up more creative blitzes and tightening up the coverage on the back end, making life difficult for quarterback Kirk Cousins. He needs to keep that mentality moving forward. -- Tim McManus

Next game: at Commanders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Vikings

What to know: The Vikings got outsmarted Monday night, and coach Kevin O'Connell was the first to admit it. "Ultimately," he said, "I put this on me. I don't think I did enough to help our team." A week after being feted as a dazzling young coach following the Vikings' Week 1 victory over the Packers, O'Connell watched as the Eagles repeatedly exploited the Vikings' weakside defense. And the Eagles stymied O'Connell's offense with aggressive play in the back end.

Was that just another Kirk Cousins prime-time stinker, or is he further behind in O'Connell's offense than previously thought? I'm more inclined to believe the former than the latter. Cousins is now 2-10 on Monday Night Football. One of his three interceptions came when receiver Justin Jefferson made an incorrect adjustment on a route. Cousins will get back on track in Week 3 against the Lions. -- Kevin Seifert

Next game: vs. Lions (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Buffalo 41, Tennessee 7

Bills

What to know: The Bills are not just off to a good 2-0 start. Through two games, they have looked almost unstoppable at times on both sides of the ball and have won by historic margins. Buffalo has won its first two games by a combined 55 points, the largest point differential in NFL history by a team that has faced playoff teams from the previous season in its first two games, per Elias Sports Bureau. The Bills defense has forced seven turnovers (tied for the most with the Rams) so far this season and limited running back Derrick Henry to 25 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. The offense is leading the league in points per game (36.0). The rest of the league is on notice.

How will injuries impact the Bills down the stretch? The Bills were already down two starters coming into the Week 2 game against the Titans with wide receiver Gabe Davis and defensive tackle Ed Oliver dealing with ankle injuries. During the game, starting cornerback Dane Jackson had to be taken off the field in an ambulance with a neck injury, safety Micah Hyde was carted off with a neck injury, while linebacker Matt Milano (stinger) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) both finished the game with injuries. The Bills now have a short week with their first AFC East game of the year in Miami on Sunday. Luckily for Buffalo, this is a team with solid depth, but bouncing back quickly will be vital with games against the Ravens, Steelers and Chiefs next on the schedule. -- Alaina Getzenberg

Next game: at Dolphins (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Titans

What to know: The Titans defense is off to a bad start both against the run and the pass. Tennessee followed up a humiliating 238 rushing yard performance by the Giants with an embarrassing showing against the Bills. Josh Allen threw for four touchdown passes. Stefon Diggs devastated the secondary to the tune of 12 receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Vrabel said they tried to mix coverages against Diggs, but none of it paid off. Things don't get any easier next week for the Titans as they'll be set to face Davante Adams and the Raiders.

Can Derrick Henry and the rushing attack get back on track? Henry's 2.0 yards per carry against the Bills was his fourth-lowest average in a game in which he had at least 10 carries. Buffalo hit Henry at or behind the line of scrimmage on five of his 13 rushing attempts. "You watch the film, correct it," Henry said. "We just need to play better. It takes all 11. Holding each other accountable." Henry's performance has historically gotten better as the season goes on. That's the one positive thing the Titans can cling to. But, as of now, things just don't seem to be in sync. Henry's next test will be the Raiders who have allowed an average of 109 yards per game through the first two weeks. -- Turron Davenport

Next game: vs. Raiders (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Sunday

Green Bay 27, Chicago 10

Packers

What to know: There's no reason for Packers coach Matt LaFleur to ever be secretive about his plans again -- at least not when playing the Chicago Bears. He essentially gave away the game plan last week when he said Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon didn't touch the ball enough in the season-opening loss to the Vikings. A week after they combined for only 23 touches but still managed 167 total yards, they nearly matched their touch total in the first half Sunday. When it was over, the running back duo had touched the ball 37 times for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Jones (15 carries for 132 yards plus three catches for 38 yards) had a rushing and receiving touchdown -- his fourth such game since 2020 -- and Dillon had 18 carries for 61 yards plus one catch for 6 yards.

What's the deal with all the fumbles? A week after Aaron Rodgers uncharacteristically lost a fumble on a strip sack, the Packers put the ball on the ground three times against the Bears -- including two on what could be blamed on offensive miscommunications. Rodgers and Dillon got crossed up on a handoff, and the Bears recovered the fumble that led to a third-quarter field goal. Later, centerJosh Myers' shotgun snap hit receiver Christian Watson as he motioned across the formation in front of Rodgers. Throw in a fumbled punt return by Amari Rodgers that he was fortunate to recover, and the Packers have four fumbles in two games. -- Rob Demovsky

Next game: at Buccaneers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Bears

What to know: The Bears had no answers for Aaron Jones or AJ Dillion, whom the Packers funneled everything through on Sunday. Chicago's defense allowed nearly 6 yards per rush en route to Jones rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown and adding another score off a shovel pass that he took 15 yards to the end zone while juking defenders the entire way. In total, Green Bay ran 38 times for 203 yards, and what's equally alarming is how the Bears' missed tackles contributed to extending drives and losing the time-of-possession battle. Aaron Rodgers' receivers had 133 yards after the catch on a night when the QB picked apart inexperienced DBs and made it look easy.

Where are Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet? The Bears' offense is a work in progress, but this unit cannot go another week without getting its top playmakers involved. Mooney, Chicago's top receiver, has two catches for 4 yards in the first two games of the season. Kmet has been targeted twice in two weeks, but it's not as if the third-year tight end isn't being sent out on routes (he ran 10 on Sunday). The Bears established the run early with their first and only touchdown drive, which featured a balanced dose of David Montgomery and a flea-flicker to catch the Packers off guard. But they got away from it, only to try to recommit to the rushing attack on an 89-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended whenJustin Fieldswas stuffed on fourth-and-goal on a quarterback draw run out of the shotgun. Montgomery fought hard for his 118 rushing yards, but the offense failed to make the necessary adjustments needed to keep pace with Green Bay, and the Bears' star pass-catchers were missing in action once again. -- Courtney Cronin

Next game: vs. Texans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Arizona 29, Las Vegas 23

Cardinals

What to know: The Cardinals wouldn't have been in the position they were in Sunday, needing overtime to pull off an unpredictable win over the Raiders, if their offense had been better earlier. It has been in a major rut early in games, and Arizona needs to figure out a way to get out of it or this season could get off the rails quickly. The offense looked stagnant in the first half yet again. Kyler Murray threw for just 53 yards, and the Cardinals gained just 86. Only three receivers had targets. If Arizona continues to get off to slow starts offensively -- which means the defense will spend more time on the field than is necessary -- the Cardinals will find themselves struggling to stay in games by halftime. They were able to come back to win in Las Vegas, but that won't always be the case.

How can Arizona get its offense going quicker? It really comes down to getting more players involved early and diversifying the playcalling. Through two games, Arizona hasn't been using a variety of playcalls early, which can set the tone for both its offense and how defenses play the Cardinals. The more receivers Arizona uses earlier in games, the more a defense has to think -- something the Cardinals can use to their advantage. -- Josh Weinfuss

Next game: vs. Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Raiders

What to know: With as many walk-off wins as the Raiders had last season -- six to sneak into the playoffs for just the second time since 2002 -- it seems their luck changed Sunday. They also had a terrible second half on offense. Leading 20-0 at the half, the Raiders somehow let the Cardinals force overtime, and in position to kick a winning field goal in overtime, receiver Hunter Renfrow fumbled one play after quarterback Derek Carr nearly threw an interception. The Raiders are 0-2 and, keep in mind, prize offseason acquisition Davante Adams had only two catches for 12 yards with a 1-yard TD.

Which Raiders team did we see today: the one that dominated the first half, or the one that fell apart after halftime? A little bit of both. When Carr has time, a clean jersey and, well, confidence, he can pick apart any defense. And he did. But it was against a Cardinals team that sacked him only once --- J.J. Watt got him on the second play of the game. Because as impressive as the offense looked in the first half in building a 20-0 lead, it was just as invisible after halftime. And that's more than concerning for a team under new management in coach Josh McDaniels, whose playcalling stalled out after halftime. -- Paul Gutierrez

Next game: at Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Dallas 20, Cincinnati 17

Cowboys

What to know: Last October, Cooper Rush led a late, game-winning drive in the first start of his career. On Sunday, Rush put the Cowboys in position to beat the Bengals by completing all three of his passes for 30 yards to set upBrett Maher's winning kick as time ran out. It wasn't pretty for a Cowboys offense that gained 155 yards on the first two drives and 159 on its next seven before Rush got it in position late. But a win is a win.

Can Micah Parsons set the single-season sack record? With four in two games, he's on pace for 34 sacks, so why not? That won't happen, but he hasn't been blocked so far. Former Cowboys tackle La'el Collins will not sleep well after facing Parsons on Sunday. Michael Strahan (2001) and T.J. Watt (2021) share the record with 22.5. DeMarcus Ware owns the team record of 20 (2008). Parsons lined up almost exclusively as a pass-rusher against the Bengals, and the Cowboys shouldn't mess with a good thing. -- Todd Archer

Next game: at Giants (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Bengals

What to know: Cincinnati's offense must be significantly better than it has been the first two weeks. That was evident in Sunday's 20-17 loss to Dallas in which the Bengals didn't get into the red zone until deep in the fourth quarter. The performance came one week after they struggled offensively in an overtime loss to the Steelers. The offense has been an issue dating back to the end of last season and needs an urgent fix.

Are the sacks an issue? Yes. There's no getting around it at this point. After Joe Burrow was sacked seven times against the Steelers, he went down six times against the Cowboys. Often, Burrow found himself hurried, scrambling or having to make plays while evading pressure. This could be why the offense has struggled through the first two weeks of the season. But whatever the case, this was certainly not the outcome the Bengals wanted when they added four new starters to the offensive line in the offseason. -- Ben Baby

Next game: at Jets (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Denver 16, Houston 9

Broncos

What to know: It's still early in the season, but the Broncos' first two games have featured senseless penalties (multiple false starts Sunday to go with multiple delay of game penalties) and a variety of eyebrow-raising decisions. At one point Sunday, a frustrated crowd actually counted down the play clock when the Broncos had the ball. Yes, the Broncos have escaped the sloppiness with a 1-1 mark after Sunday's win over the Texans, but they are making it so much harder on themselves than it needs to be.

Is the Broncos' offense trying to be too cute right now? There is a fine line between creativity and window dressing, and the Broncos are walking that line too often, stumbling on the side of too many frills and not enough touchdowns. On Sunday, they had four plays from the Texans' 2-yard line or closer in the first half, and they threw the ball on all four plays without completing any of the passes. Running back Javonte Williams was the best player in the Broncos' offense for much of the day, and for him not to touch the ball on those short-yardage situations borders on overthinking. -- Jeff Legwold

Next game: vs. 49ers (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)

Texans

What to know: It's hard to win in the NFL when you score a measly nine points, or when you can't generate more than 234 yards of total offense, which Houston did Sunday. Quarterback Davis Mills produced an underwhelming performance by going 19-for-38 for 176 yards with zero touchdowns and two fumbles. The rushing attack was better than it was last week against the Colts, as rookie running back Dameon Pierce gained 69 yards. But it wasn't enough. The Texans' defense played well enough to win, but Houston needed more of a team effort.

Is the Texans' defense legit? The Texans' defense flustered Russell Wilson into 14-of-31 passing for 219 yards while intercepting him once and sacking him three times. Linebacker Christian Kirksey came up with an interception, while defensive ends Jonathan Greenard and Rasheem Green each sacked Wilson. The defense was excellent, as it allowed only three first downs on 12 third-down attempts. And whenever the Broncos reached the red zone, the Texans' defense tightened up and shut the Broncos out of the end zone and forced field goals. The defensive unit gave the Texans' offense every opportunity to win. -- DJ Bien-Aime

Next game: at Bears (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

San Francisco 27, Seattle 7

49ers

What to know: Despite the many questions it brought, the 49ers' decision to hang on to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has already been validated. Trey Lance suffered a right ankle injury in the first quarter, and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game that the second-year quarterback has a broken right ankle and will need season-ending surgery. It happened sooner and under far worse circumstances than anyone could have imagined, but Garoppolo will have to step back into the starting role. In past seasons, a significant quarterback injury has derailed the 49ers (they are now 9-29 in games not started by Garoppolo under Shanahan), but with Garoppolo as an insurance policy, the Niners know what they're getting and rightfully believe they can still be an NFC contender.

What's the 49ers' plan at quarterback? Garoppolo is back in the job, but he technically never left, and will get his first practice reps with the starting offense since January -- which should allow him to knock off the rust (he was 13-of-21 passing for 154 yards with one touchdown and a rushing score) that was evident in Sunday's win. Rookie Brock Purdy, inactive the first two games, becomes Garoppolo's backup. -- Nick Wagoner

Next game: at Broncos (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)

Seahawks

What to know: The Seahawks got a good look at the kind of team they want to be -- one that plays stout defense and relies on its strong running game more so than its quarterback. But the 49ers showed the Seahawks that will be easier said than done for a Seattle team with a limited QB in Geno Smith and a defense that has plenty of question marks of its own, especially now that safety Jamal Adams is out. All of those flaws were on full display in a disheartening loss to a 49ers team that Seattle has had plenty of success against for much of the past decade. That dominance came with former quarterback Russell Wilson leading the way. Much of it came with an elite defense. Seattle has neither. And as promising as the Seahawks' season-opening win over Wilson and the Broncos was, this game was a reminder that their season could indeed be a long one.

Can the offense get going again under Smith? Smith was brilliant in the first half of last week's opener, making enough plays to suggest he can be more than just a game manager. But the Seahawks' dramatic victory and all of its juicy subplots obscured the fact that their offense did nothing in the second half. Their only points Sunday came via a brilliant special teams touchdown. The Seahawks' offense has now gone six quarters without scoring. Smith (24-of-30, 198 yards) threw an interception and put the ball in harm's way other times Sunday, but the blame for Seattle's offensive struggles goes well beyond him. The Seahawks rushed for only 35 yards and wasted a scoring chance with a trick play in the red zone that failed spectacularly. Smith almost certainly will -- and should -- get more time to dig them out of their hole. -- Brady Henderson

Next game: vs. Falcons (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

L.A. Rams 31, Atlanta 27

Rams

What to know: A week after it seemed like the Rams' offense was almost exclusively run through wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the offense was more spread out against the Falcons. Although Kupp again led the Rams in receiving yards (11 catches for 108 yards, two touchdowns and a critical fumble), quarterback Matthew Stafford completed passes to six different players. One of those players was wide receiver Allen Robinson II, whom coach Sean McVay said needed to be more involved in the offense going forward. Robinson, who had just one catch on two targets in Week 1, had four catches for 53 yards and the game's first touchdown Sunday. Stafford won't be happy that he threw two more interceptions, but the Rams' offense looked much more consistent than it did in the season opener, even if it couldn't put the game on ice early in the fourth quarter.

Are the Rams suffering from a Super Bowl hangover? The Rams came into their Week 2 matchup against the Falcons a 10.5-point favorite and although they won, it took a final defensive stand -- and impressive play by cornerback Jalen Ramsey -- to hold on to what was once a 28-3 lead. Coupled with a definitive loss to the Buffalo Bills in the season opener, it has been a concerning start to the season. Los Angeles will have two important divisional tests coming up to really figure out the answer to this question: road trips to Arizona and San Francisco in Weeks 3 and 4. -- Sarah Barshop

Next game: at Cardinals (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Falcons

What to know: It looked like the Atlanta Falcons were done for. Down 28-3 -- yes, that score again -- and the Rams were doing everything right. But for months now, Falcons coach Arthur Smith has talked about resiliency with his team, and in the moment they needed it the most, they got it. Lorenzo Carter recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown. Drake London caught his first touchdown pass. Darren Hall -- inserted in the game in the second half -- forced Cooper Kupp to fumble for the first time in over a year. And a blowout became the type of loss that, again, Atlanta can at least build off. Which, when you're a franchise in transition, you can take.

What's going on with Kyle Pitts? It's a fair question at this point. Pitts was targeted three times in the first three quarters -- a completion, an incompletion and a 36-yard defensive pass interference penalty. While Pitts ends up creating a lot of attention, opening things up for rookie Drake London, who was effective for the second straight week, at some point Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith has to figure out a way to manufacture easy receptions for Pitts, who has the ability to make first and second defenders miss when he gets the ball. It's still early in the season, but it's worth at least turning an eye to now. -- Michael Rothstein

Next game: at Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Jacksonville 24, Indianapolis 0

Jaguars

What to know: Efficient play from the quarterback. Creative playcalling with misdirection to confuse the defenses and set up future calls. Receivers wide open and getting the ball in position to gain yards after the catch. Coach Doug Pederson's offense was rolling against the Colts. That was the expectation when the Jaguars hired Pederson to pair with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and spent big money on receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, but it didn't really show up in Week 1. If the Jaguars can consistently execute at the level they did Sunday, they have the potential to be a tough team to defend.

Is Sacksonville back? Whoa, slow down a bit. That 2017 defense was next level. But the Jaguars did get five sacks against the Colts, and all three of their interceptions were the direct result of pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan. It helped that the Jags had a big lead in the second half, but the pressure has been pretty consistent through the first two weeks, and as a result, the defense has created six turnovers. It had nine total last season. -- Mike DiRocco

Next game: at Chargers (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)

Colts

What to know: It's one thing to open the season with a tie in Houston, as the Colts did in Week 1. But it's quite another for Indianapolis to fall on its collective face against the Jaguars, the very team that denied its entry into the postseason in January. It's not even the Colts' 0-1-1 record that is most alarming; they are notoriously slow starters. Rather, it's the fact that the team seems to be in disarray, with even its vaunted offensive line performing at an abysmal level and veteran quarterback Matt Ryan seemingly powerless to stem the tide of sloppiness and listlessness. Given owner Jim Irsay's offseason demands for improvement, the rest of this season figures to be a referendum on its players, coaches and front office.

Who is most responsible for the Colts' slow start? The lack of intensity from the Colts at times in their first two games has to prompt some questions about coaching. The Colts were missing No. 1 receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard on Sunday, but the underperformance of players who have in the past performed well does not reflect well on head coach Frank Reich and his staff. Offensively, the lack of execution calls preparation into question. And the defense has been disappointing under new coordinator Gus Bradley. The Colts didn't challenge Jacksonville's receivers, allowing easy completions all day long. -- Stephen Holder

Next game: vs. Chiefs (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

New England 17, Pittsburgh 14

Patriots

What to know: It wasn't pretty, but the Patriots badly needed a win. This buys them more time to figure things out. Just as Bill Belichick said last week, a couple of plays were the difference in the game -- a 44-yard TD bomb to Nelson Agholor (who made an amazing catch) at the end of the second quarter was critical, as was Steelers punt returner Gunner Olszewski muffing a punt that the Patriots recovered and quickly converted into a touchdown. Quarterback Mac Jones was living dangerously at times -- the Steelers dropped an easy interception in the second half -- as he hasn't gained the same level of comfort that he had for stretches of his 2021 rookie season.

How realistic is it to think the offense can transform itself into a unit that can keep up with the AFC's elite? It's hard to imagine the Patriots being an AFC contender the way they are currently playing offense. Everything is a struggle. From the get-go, players have preached patience, and they surely know they'll need to be a lot better in the weeks to come. But those big-picture thoughts can be put on hold for now. No team is a finished product after Week 2. While it wasn't pretty, here's a possible silver lining: The way the Patriots finished the game, in the four-minute offense, was a potential identity-building drive. They jammed it right down the Steelers' throat to close out the game.-- Mike Reiss

Next game: vs. Ravens (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Steelers

What to know: For the second week in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers' conservative offensive plan held them back, and this time, a short-handed defense couldn't save them in a 17-14 loss to the New England Patriots. Mitch Trubisky completed 21 of 33 attempts for 168 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but the crowd at Acrisure Stadium grew restless with the checkdowns and short passes. At least two times, the crowd chanted "KEN-NY," calling for first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett to take the reins under center. Trubisky averaged 5.1 yards per attempt and 4.6 air yards per completion, per NFL Next Gen Stats. While the run game got going behind a better day from Najee Harris, the Steelers still gained only 91 yards on the ground. The offense came alive when it went no-huddle in the final drive of the third quarter and capped it with an 8-yard strike to Pat Freiermuth on the first play of the fourth. The Steelers said they needed to play with a "killer instinct" in Week 2, and for most of the afternoon, they played with anything but.

Can the Steelers get pressure without T.J. Watt? The preliminary answer to this question is: not much. The Steelers did just about everything to bring pressure on Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, but they didn't record a single sack while Watt (torn pectoral muscle) looked on from the sideline. At times, Malik Reed came close to getting Jones, but the Reed-Alex Highsmith tandem just didn't generate the same pressure the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year brought in their Week 1 overtime win. Jones, who completed 21 of 35 attempts for 252 yards and averaged 7.2 yards per attempt, rarely had to rush his throws and had several deep and intermediate completions. The Steelers also had zero sacks in Weeks 3 and 14 last season, both losses. (Watt didn't play in Week 14.) Watt will be out at least three more games on IR, and his timeline likely puts him back at the end of October. -- Brooke Pryor

Next game: at Browns (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

N.Y. Giants 19, Carolina 16

Giants

What to know: The star of the first two games for the Giants: their defense. In this case, coordinator Wink Martindale. He has done it without his top two edge rushers, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, and with defensive lineman Leonard Williams (knee) leaving Sunday's game in the third quarter. Martindale has been the Giants' best offseason acquisition this season by a wide margin with his relentless and aggressive approach. Martindale has been manufacturing enough pressure (using three-safety looks most of Sunday) and made Carolina quarterback Baker Mayfield look as pedestrian as Tennessee's Ryan Tannehill looked the previous week. Mayfield threw for just 145 yards on 29 pass attempts in Sunday's win, the second time in as many weeks the Giants have allowed fewer than 20 points. The key sacks in the second half came from the unheralded Oshane Ximines and Julian Love. Martindale is working his magic so far in his first year as Giants defensive coordinator.

Do we need to recalibrate expectations? The Giants are 2-0 for the first time since 2016. It took them until Week 10 last season to get their second win. While it hasn't always been pretty, there is reason to be excited. The Giants are the only team in the NFC East that sits at 2-0 entering Monday. They also have winnable upcoming games at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night and the Chicago Bears the following week. Maybe a winning season or the playoffs isn't out of the question under new coach Brian Daboll, who has this team believing it can win. -- Jordan Raanan

Next game: vs. Cowboys (Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Panthers

What to know: The Panthers traded for quarterback Baker Mayfield to bring more explosiveness to the offense. Through two games, the Panthers have had a few big plays but have been anything but explosive. The defense has played well enough to win, particularly against the Giants. The offense has been just average -- enough to keep games close, but not win. A big part of that has been mediocre performances by Mayfield, who was 14-of-29 for only 145 yards Sunday. He did cut down on the batted passes at the line (two) but did nothing to make him look like a long-term solution.

How hot is coach Matt Rhule's kitchen after an 0-2 start? Not quite sizzling, but it's heating up fast. The roster is deeper and better than a year ago, but the bottom line is the Panthers have lost a league-high nine straight dating back to last year. Owner David Tepper won't make any rash decisions this early in the season, but the fan base that already was restless could get brutal after two five-win seasons and now this. The team still isn't disciplined enough or good enough to consistently win, and that falls back on the head coach. -- David Newton

Next game: vs. Saints (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

N.Y. Jets 31, Cleveland 30

Jets

What to know: The Jets delivered the biggest win of the Robert Saleh era, pulling off a miracle comeback only days after their coach was roasted for an ill-advised comment. Saleh said he was "taking receipts" on those who mock the Jets, promising to "shove it down their throat" when they flip the season. Everything flipped in a matter of seconds, as the Jets rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final two minutes. The Jets were dead at 30-17, and they rallied with two touchdown passes by Joe Flacco. This was a massive win for Saleh, who came under intense scrutiny for his comments. The players said they had his back, and they did.

Does Joe Flacco's performance end the backup quarterback controversy? Yes. Flacco was outstanding in crunch time, finishing with four TD passes and winning his first start since 2019. With fans screaming for Mike White, Saleh stuck with Flacco amid criticism, and it paid off big time. Flacco turned back to the clock to his Baltimore Ravens heyday, quieting the QB talk. It's only a one-game gig, though, as Zach Wilson (knee) is trending toward a Week 4 return. -- Rich Cimini

Next game: vs. Bengals (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Browns

What to know: The Browns had put the game away -- only to suffer an epic collapse. Defensive miscues all game and costly special teams mistakes in the fourth quarter doomed Cleveland, as the Browns squandered a 13-point lead in the final two minutes.

Can the Browns clean up the defensive miscues? Cleveland allowed 37-year-old QB Joe Flacco and the Jets to hang around all game and then gave up two touchdowns in the final two minutes to lose the game. Too often, Flacco was throwing to wide-open pass-catchers. The Browns have the talent to boast an elite defense. But two weeks into the season, miscues and miscommunications are keeping them from showcasing that full potential. -- Jake Trotter

Next game: vs. Steelers (Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

Miami 42, Baltimore 38

Dolphins

What to know: Tua Tagovailoa can carry this Dolphins offense with some fine-tuning. Trailing by three scores at halftime, Miami put the ball in his hands and he delivered to the tune of 469 passing yards and six touchdowns, eventually completing the comeback with a game-winning TD pass to Jaylen Waddle. Under the direction of first-year coach Mike McDaniel, the Dolphins appear capable of competing in a shootout. Tagovailoa's two interceptions hurt, but beyond those two plays, he made smart decisions with the ball and navigated the pocket well. This was the biggest statement game of his career, and there are plenty who might need to retract their prior assessments.

Can the Dolphins get over the Bills hump? That was objectively fun to watch, but now the neighborhood bully returns to town. The Dolphins have lost seven of their past eight games to Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, and they play host to the two-time reigning AFC East champions in Week 3. It's a true measuring stick matchup for Miami, which could put the Super Bowl favorites on notice with a win. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

Next game: vs. Bills (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Ravens

What to know: The big plays are back for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson became the first player in NFL history to produce a touchdown pass and run of at least 75 yards in the same game. The Baltimore offense had lacked electricity recently, totaling two plays of at least 70 yards in the past two years. Downfield passing was a point of emphasis for the Ravens in training camp, and it has paid off early this season. In two games this season, Jackson has connected with wide receiver Rashod Bateman on touchdown passes of 55 and 75 yards.

What happened to the Ravens' defense? The Ravens matched the largest blown lead in franchise history, failing to hold a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter because of a banged-up defense. The Ravens gave up four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter with a secondary missing its top cornerback (Marlon Humphrey) for the final two series and its No. 3 cornerback (Brandon Stephens),who was inactive. Jaylen Waddle caught the winning 7-yard touchdown pass over rookie Jalyn Armour-Davis, who was pressed into action because of the injuries. -- Jamison Hensley

Next game: at Patriots (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 10

Buccaneers

What to know: Without receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, and also missing left tackle Donovan Smith and his backup, Josh Wells (who left with a calf injury), quarterback Tom Brady and the Bucs once again struggled to put points on the board. The rushing lanes Leonard Fournette enjoyed last week against the Cowboys were nowhere to be found. An irate Brady threw yet another tablet in the third quarter -- the second time he's done that against the Saints in two seasons. Tempers continued to flare in the fourth quarter, with both Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore being ejected. Just like Week 1, though, the defense kept the Bucs in this game, forcing a total of five turnovers: three interceptions and two fumbles. Mike Edwards' interception was also returned for a touchdown.

How long can the Bucs keep this up with so many injuries? It's tough to say, with Godwin's and Jones' hamstring injuries being wildly unpredictable. Smith's elbow injury is a matter of pain tolerance, but it's unclear how effective he can be extending his arm. The fact that he traveled to New Orleans was at least encouraging. But losing Wells and entering a Week 3 home opener against the Green Bay Packers with a third-string left tackle in Brandon Walton hurts, as does the possibility of a suspension for Evans. Despite the offensive injuries piling up, the Bucs' defense has given up only 13 points through two weeks. Coach Todd Bowles' defense is showing why he was elevated into a head coaching role. -- Jenna Laine

Next game: vs. Packers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Saints

What to know: There's no need to worry about the Saints' defense after watching it stifle Tom Brady again for three and a half quarters. The defense only stumbled after cornerback Marshon Lattimore was ejected late in the game for a fight with Mike Evans, leaving the Saints with two backup corners because of Paulson Adebo's previous injury. The offense is another story, after a very concerning performance overall. The offense was expected to take a step forward after a slow start against the Falcons in Week 1, but quarterback Jameis Winston's back injury complicates things.

Should the Saints be concerned about Jameis Winston going forward? Winston is reportedly dealing with several fractures in his back, which would be concerning for any player, much less the starting quarterback. The Saints' offense was disappointing for most of the game, and it's fair to be concerned about Winston -- who looked hesitant at times when trying to run the ball, overthrew several deep passes and fell apart in the fourth quarter, throwing three interceptions on three straight possessions, including a pick-six. The Saints are going to have to make a decision about whether to sit Winston and let him heal or continue to play him while he's injured. -- Katherine Terrell

Next game: at Panthers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Detroit 36, Washington 27

Lions

What to know: In his second career game, No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson recorded three sacks -- all in the first half -- of Washington quarterback Carson Wentz. The last time a rookie had 3.0 sacks in one of his first two career games was in 2002, when Julius Peppers, Carlos Hall and Ben Leber all did it.

Is the Lions' offense for real? Yes. Detroit got major contributions from its top skill players, notably Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson and D'Andre Swift. There's no reason to believe their production isn't sustainable -- if healthy. The Lions have scored 35 or more points in each of their opening two games for the first time since 1970. St. Brown was the star Sunday, recording nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 68 yards on the ground. -- Eric Woodyard

Next game: at Vikings (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Commanders

What to know: Washington's offense will still be dangerous despite an ugly first half in which the Commanders managed just two first downs. However, the Commanders have a lot of issues on defense, and that's going to be a season-long problem as well. Washington's defense allowed three plays of at least 49 yards -- every time the offense needed help, it failed to provide any. The Commanders' special teams coverage wasn't good, either, and they missed an extra point.

Where is the run game? Washington wanted to be a more physical team this season, but Antonio Gibsonmanaged only 28 yards on 14 carries as Detroit gave him no room. It will help when Brian Robinson returns. He's more of a power back than Gibson, but the Commanders need to be better up front. When the Lions were attacking in the first half and pressuring Wentz, Washington needed an alternative, but the run game provided nothing. -- John Keim

Next game: vs. Eagles (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Kansas City 27, L.A. Chargers 24

Chiefs

What to know:The Chiefs can win with their stars not being stars. They beat a difficult AFC West rival with their touchdowns being scored by three backup players -- rookie seventh-round draft pickJaylen Watson, fourth-round wide receiverJustin Watsonand running backJerick McKinnon. It will serve them well if they can continue to win games without getting huge contributions from players likeTravis KelceandJuJu Smith-Schuster.

Who's going to helpChris Jonesrush the quarterback?Jones had both of the Chiefs' sacks against the Chargers. It's not a problem that Jones is their leader in sacks, but rather that he isn't getting much support. Last week's sacks against the Cardinals came from a blitzing cornerback,L'Jarius Sneed, and from endCarlos Dunlap(but his was more of a coverage sack). The most logical candidates to help Jones areFrank ClarkandGeorge Karlaftis. Each had a hit onJustin Herbert, but neither has yet to put a quarterback on the ground this season.-- Adam Teicher

Next game: at Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

Chargers

What to know:Close doesn't count. The Chargers were two plays away from starting the season 2-0 in AFC West action. Instead, they go 1-1 in a five-day span after an interception by cornerbackAsante Samuel Jr. was overturned. "I thought it was a pick," Samuel said after the game. In addition, quarterbackJustin Herbertthrew a pass intended for tight endGerald Everettthat was intercepted and returned 99 yards for a touchdown.

What's the status of Herbert?The quarterback suffered a rib injury in the fourth quarter, leaving the game for only one play before returning, but he was clearly in pain as he continued to the end of the game. After the 27-24 loss, the medical staff and a gingerly walking Herbert entered the X-ray room. On Friday, he was diagnosed with a fracture in his rib cartilage. Herbert is considered day-to-day.-- Lindsey Thiry

Next game: vs. Jaguars (Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET)

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