What We Learned From Week 2 of the N.F.L. Season
Jets 31, Browns 30: Cleveland surrendered four touchdowns — two of which came in the game’s final 90 seconds — to a Joe Flacco-led team and that’s going to prompt a new level of angst among Browns fans. First Flacco found Corey Davis down the right sideline for a 66-yard score on a broken coverage. The Jets then recovered the onside kick, and went on a 9-play march that ended with a 15-yard touchdown connection over the middle between Flacco and rookie Garrett Wilson.
Patriots 17, Steelers 14: It’s one thing to have a defensive battle; it’s another thing to have two offenses trade punts like a bottom-tier Big Ten game. New England’s offense clawed their way to 17 points, thanks in part to a muffed punt in the third quarter that led to a quick touchdown run from Damien Harris. Had the Steeler defense hadn’t dropped a couple of interceptions, things could have gone very differently.
Giants 19, Panthers 16: Neither offense gained more than 5.2 yards per pass, Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield completed less than half of his 29 passes, and the two teams combined for 13 penalties. It was an ugly game of slow-building drives that sometimes ended in field goals. The Giants came away with a 2-0 start to the season and Matt Rhule may want to get his LinkedIn profile together.
Buccaneers 20, Saints 10: After a sloppy Week 1, Dennis Allen’s Saints defense came out swinging against the Bucs, a common occurrence since Tom Brady showed up in Tampa Bay. Tied 3-3 heading into the fourth quarter, the game turned on a fight between Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Bucs receiver Mike Evans that resulted in both being ejected. Brady found Breshad Perriman for a touchdown on the next drive and Jameis Winston threw three picks, including a fourth quarter pick-6.
Lions 36, Commanders 27: The roar is being restored. Not only did the Lions stick to their grind-it-out style on offense, but Detroit came away with a few special plays. Amon-Ra St. Brown ripped off a 58-yard run on a jet sweep, No. 2 pick Aidan Hutchinson had his breakout game with three sacks, and even Jared Goff made a tough throw under pressure in the red zone to find St. Brown for a score.
Jaguars 24, Colts 0: Trevor Lawrence has a new coach in Doug Pederson and a few new teammates to throw to, and he used them both to dominate the Colts. A No. 1 overall pick in 2021, Lawrence was just as effective on intermediate and deep passes as he was taking the quick underneath options, showing crucial development in his second season. His near-perfect stat line (25 of 30 passing, 235 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) could have improved if Jamal Agnew had not dropped a would-be touchdown on a deep crossing route late in the second quarter, but here’s a guess that Jacksonville won’t quibble about it.
Packers 27, Bears 10: The Packers got everything they wanted on offense. Every other Aaron Jones carry seemed to go for 25 yards as Green Bay’s offensive line dug Chicago’s defensive linemen five yards out of their gaps. Aaron Rodgers was never tested with tight windows by the Bears secondary, though he was pressured and sacked a handful of times by Robert Quinn and Trevis Gipson. The Bears, on the other hand, constantly slipped out of rhythm because of mistakes that ended in penalties, the inability to generate explosive plays, and failing in all but one of their third or fourth down attempts. Their only touchdown of the day came on their opening drive, which is typically a more scripted and practiced series of plays than the rest of the game.