The Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears kicked off Week 2 of the preseason on Thursday in Seattle.
Second-year quarterback Justin Fields looked sharp for the Bears in his lone drive to begin the game, while Seahawks starter Geno Smith and the offensive unit struggled to pick up first downs in their first couple of drives.
In the early game Friday night, New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones overcame a shaky start and two three-and-outs to lead the offense on a second-quarter scoring drive against the Carolina Panthers before his night was over.
The Green Bay Packers topped the New Orleans Saints behind a roller-coaster night from rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs, who had a touchdown catch but also a couple of drops. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, undrafted Rams wide receiver Lance McCutcheon had a standout performance for the second straight week.
Saturday brought an eight-game sled that featured the Buffalo Bills rolling over the Denver Broncos early, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett impressing against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa getting his first live-game action against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The week of games will continue Sunday — with three on tap — before wrapping up on Monday Night Football with the Atlanta Falcons at the New York Jets (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Here are the biggest takeaways from the week’s games so far, along with the rest of the Week 2 preseason schedule:
Full schedule | Depth charts | PickCenter
NFL preseason games on Saturday, Aug. 20
Cowboys: KaVontae Turpin earned his spot on the roster on Saturday, returning a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and a punt 86 yards for a score in the second quarter in the Dallas Cowboys‘ 32-18 win against the Los Angeles Chargers. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t with the team to start training camp after earning USFL MVP honors for the New Jersey Generals. How valuable was his showing? Turpin wasn’t in shoulder pads for the second half, which is a sign of how much the Cowboys want to keep him fresh. Last year’s returners, CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard, will see larger roles on offense this year, which created the need for someone like Turpin. The Cowboys averaged just 6.6 yards per punt return a year ago and 24.8 yards per kick return, although Pollard did have a 100-yard return for a score. If Turpin can be a difference-maker in the return game, it will be a huge boost to an offense that will enter the season with some questions.
“I’m an exciting player, and every time I get the ball, there’s a big play waiting to happen,” Turpin said. “I’m happy to be here and take advantage of this opportunity.” — Todd Archer
Next game: vs. Seahawks (8 p.m. ET, Aug. 26)
Chargers: The biggest takeaway should have been the standout play of second-year wideout Joshua Palmer, who caught three passes for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. Instead, it’s the abysmal performance by special teams, which allowed Cowboys returner KaVontae Turpin to take a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and later score on an 86-yard punt return. What’s most concerning, while most starters are sitting out of the preseason, is that the guys on special teams are competing for roster spots and should be putting forth maximum effort. — Lindsey Thiry
Next game: at Saints (8 p.m. ET, Aug. 26)
Steelers: Kenny Pickett flourished in varsity action against the Jacksonville Jaguars, completing 6 of 7 attempts for 76 yards and leading his unit on a five-play, 42-second touchdown drive before halftime to take the lead. Pickett played only two series — less than 10 snaps — but it was enough for Mike Tomlin. Pickett showed poise under pressure and had completions of 18, 10, 24 and 11 yards on the scoring drive, and he had a beautiful 11-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson wiped off the board for a holding call against James Daniels. Through two preseason games, Pickett has completed 17 of 22 attempts for 171 yards with three touchdowns and a QBR of 138.6. Mitch Trubisky started the game and played three series, completing 5 of 8 attempts for 60 yards and a scramble of 10 yards. He was sacked once, though, and constantly felt pressure from a subpar performance by the offensive line. Mason Rudolph played the entire second half and completed 17 of 21 attempts for 127 yards and led the game-winning touchdown drive. — Brooke Pryor
Next game: vs. Detroit, 4:30 p.m. ET, Aug. 28
Jaguars: Wide receiver Christian Kirk made his preseason debut and caught five passes for 54 yards against the Steelers. Trevor Lawrence targeted Kirk eight times, including twice on third downs. Lawrence’s throws were high and incomplete on those two third-down throws, but it’s clear that Kirk, who signed a four-year, $72 million contract in March, has settled in nicely in the No. 1 receiver role. The Jaguars’ first-team offense didn’t find the end zone in two quarters of work, but it did generate 189 yards and went 5-for-9 on third down. It was the most efficient the unit has looked this preseason. — Mike DiRocco
Next game: at Atlanta, 3 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
Raiders: Derek Carr could not have liked what he saw Saturday night. No, not UFC honcho Dana White saying he brokered a deal for Tom Brady to replace him as Raiders QB in 2020. Rather, the Raiders’ leaky offensive line continuing to be, well, leaky. Especially projected starting right tackle Alex Leatherwood, who came out of the game early in the second quarter, only to return in the second half. Las Vegas surrendered four more sacks against Miami, making it 13 sacks surrendered in three preseason games thus far. Yes, the Raiders added the best wideout in the game in Davante Adams to Pro Bowlers Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs, and as former Raiders QB and NFL MVP Rich Gannon said of Carr during the broadcast, “If he has time this year, he’ll throw for 5,000 yards. Mark my words.” That’s a big “if” with this offensive line. — Paul Gutierrez
Next game: vs. New England, 8:15 p.m. ET, Aug. 26
Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa got his first live-game action since January, completing 6 of 8 passes for 58 yards. Playing without Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert and Terron Armstead, there was only so much to expect from Tagovailoa, who took what the Raiders gave him over two series and didn’t push the ball downfield. Miami’s struggles running the ball and lack of live snaps with its projected first-team offense likely set the stage for a dress rehearsal next week against the Eagles, who will join the Dolphins for two joint practices before Saturday’s game. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Next game: vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
Titans: Rookie quarterback Malik Willis got the start once again and looked better in the pocket. “I was a little more comfortable,” Willis said. “But it’s more about making it a point to stay in the pocket when I can and not just get out because I’m athletic.” Willis completed his first throw on a play-action pass that was very similar to his final play in last week’s game against the Ravens, when he got pulled for not throwing the football. The comfort level really showed on Willis’ first touchdown pass, when he sensed the outside pressure, climbed the pocket and went through his progressions before finding tight end Chig Okonkwo for a touchdown. Willis finished 7-for-17 for 80 yards and a touchdown. He showed signs of progress but still has a way to go, and the Titans are going to be patient with him. — Turron Davenport
Next game: vs. Arizona, 7 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
Bucs: Is it time to hit the panic button for the Bucs’ offensive line? First there was the abrupt retirement of Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet this spring. Then Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen suffered a significant knee injury just three days into training camp and will miss a large portion of the season, if not all of it. Then in the second half against the Titans, Aaron Stinnie, who is battling for the starting left guard spot, got rolled up on and was carted off the field with a left knee injury. Rookie Luke Goedeke, also battling for the job, had two holding calls and surrendered a sack. In addition to that, Pro Bowl right tackle Tristan Wirfs left Thursday’s joint practice with the Titans early due to an oblique injury. Perhaps they need to tell Tom Brady to stay away for another week, although his actual return date is unknown at this point. — Jenna Laine
Next game: at Indianapolis, 7:30 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
49ers: The 49ers rested 27 players, most of whom are expected to be starters or key contributors. But one of the few projected starters to play was defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who is returning from a torn right ACL. Kinlaw not only needs to knock off the rust but show that he’s ready for a larger workload. It was a small sample with Kinlaw playing for only most of the first half, but it appeared to be a step in the right direction. He was disruptive against the run and came up with an impressive sack against Vikings rookie guard Ed Ingram on third down. This is a pivotal season for Kinlaw, who was the No. 13 pick in the 2020 NFL draft. The Niners still have high hopes for him, and if he can stay healthy and produce, it would go a long way toward keeping San Francisco’s defense among the league’s best. — Nick Wagoner
Next game: at Houston, 8:15 p.m. ET, Aug. 25
Vikings: The Vikings will keep their fingers crossed after losing rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. to an ankle injury. Booth suffered the injury midway through the second quarter and was quickly ruled out by the team’s medical staff. His longer-term prognosis was not immediately clear. A second-round pick from Clemson this spring, Booth was a complicated prospect to assess. When healthy, he was one of the best and most physical cornerbacks in the country. But he dealt with a series of injuries, including a core muscle ailment that required surgery in 2021 and again in the spring of 2022. The Vikings’ new coaching staff penciled him into a competition with incumbent starter Cameron Dantzler. With Dantzler sitting out Saturday night along with most of the Vikings’ other starters, Booth was set to get a long run against the Niners. He was involved in three tackles before the injury. In total, the Vikings sat 27 players for the game. Coach Kevin O’Connell had previewed that approach after two days of joint practices last week with the 49ers. The only potential starters to be in uniform were rookie right guard Ed Ingram and defensive end Armon Watts. — Kevin Seifert
Next game: at Denver, 9 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
Josh Allen delivers a dime to Gabe Davis to give the Buffalo a 7-3 lead over the Broncos. (edited)
Bills: While it’s hard to make much of a statement in a preseason game, the Bills’ offense left quite the impression against the Broncos’ backups, averaging over nine yards per play and scoring touchdowns on all six of the team’s first six possessions. All three Bills quarterbacks found success, with Josh Allen playing only the first drive — 3-for-3 for 45 yards and one spot-on touchdown to Gabe Davis. The touchdown had a completion probability of 21.6%, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Allen completed just six passes with a completion probability under 25% all of last season.
While Allen’s preparedness for the regular season was expected, backup quarterback Case Keenum had a key bounce-back day after a poor performance in the first preseason game. Keenum completed 16 of 18 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown to tight end O.J. Howard.
“I thought, really when he came in the day after the game last week, you could just tell,” coach Sean McDermott said of Keenum’s improvement. “… Not that it wasn’t before, but you could just tell he was dialed in on what he wanted to get done this week.”
McDermott also said that running back Zack Moss has had ” one of the more consistent training camps to this point,” scoring two of the Bills’ touchdowns and trending toward being one of the team’s top option in short-yardage situations. — Alaina Getzenberg
Next game: at Carolina, 7 p.m. ET, Aug. 26
Broncos: This past week Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said he didn’t like the preseason. Saturday, his team echoed his sentiment. In the big picture, the Bills’ rout over the Broncos’ reserves, when many of the Bills starters played some in the first half, will mean little.
But in the moment, the Broncos’ reserves in the defensive front seven continue to get moved off the ball in the run game, and their reserve cornerbacks continue to be too passive, whether it’s challenging receivers at the line of scrimmage or at the top of the routes.
Overall, rookie safety Delarrin Turner-Yell had the only hit in the game that would have made the Bills take notice.
Hackett has done what many coaches in the league have in recent years — prioritize health over all else in the preseason — and he has been open and honest about doing that. And no one will question any of it if September goes well for the Broncos. But for one preseason Saturday, the Broncos didn’t look nearly physical enough, even when it was reserves against reserves, to be a heavyweight. — Jeff Legwold
Next game: vs. Minnesota, 9 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
Lions: Despite playing without any offensive starters including quarterback Jared Goff, Detroit won its first preseason game since 2018. Although wide receiver Tom Kennedy is well behind DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond on the unofficial depth chart, he continued to stand out as he fights for a spot on the 53-man roster. Kennedy was impressive again with a pair of touchdowns in Indianapolis plus an onside kick recovery that secured the victory. He also finished with a team-high 104 receiving yards in the preseason opener versus Atlanta. It’ll be interesting to see what decision the Lions make on him before the regular season. — Eric Woodyard
Tom Kennedy hauls in his second touchdown of the game to give the Lions a 20-13 lead in the third quarter.
Next game: at Pittsburgh, 4:30 p.m. ET, Aug. 28
Colts: The Colts sat practically all their starters after two days of intense joint practices with Detroit, but they saw some promising things from their passing game. Among them: the performances of young receivers Dezmon Patmon and Mike Strachan, both of whom are vying for the final roster spots at the position. Patmon finished with five catches for 103 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown pass from Sam Ehlinger. Strachan caught three passes for 45 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown from Ehlinger. Nick Foles — who started at quarterback and played the first quarter — and Ehlinger combined to complete 14 of 17 attempts for 192 yards. Ehlinger had another strong performance, throwing accurately and showing composure while eluding the pass rush before leaving in the third quarter. He has thrown four touchdowns in two preseason appearances. — Stephen Holder
Next game: vs. Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
Chiefs: Backup tight end Jody Fortson is emerging as a red zone threat. Fortson caught touchdown passes from Patrick Mahomes of 5 and 7 yards in the win over the Commanders. Mahomes fit the second one into a tight window, suggesting confidence in Fortson’s ability to make the catch, and Fortson indeed made a contested grab. Fortson was starting to emerge last year before a torn Achilles tendon ended his season prematurely. — Adam Teicher
Next game: vs. Green Bay, 8 p.m. ET, Aug. 25
Commanders: Washington’s third-down defense remains a big problem, one that must be solved if the Commanders want to improve. The starting defense allowed Kansas City to convert all five of its third downs, one week after letting Carolina convert three of five. It was a huge issue last season as Washington ranked 31st by allowing 48.5% to be converted. Some of that can be attributed to Mahomes making special plays. But the Commanders also need to be more disciplined in their rush lanes, shutting down areas to step through. Safety Kamren Curl, one of Washington’s better defensive players, has allowed key grabs in both games. It’s only the preseason, but this issue remains a concern because of what the Commanders did last season. The fact they haven’t caused a turnover in the preseason, after ranking 21st in that area last year, is worth noting as well. — John Keim
Next game: at Baltimore, 7 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
Remaining games on Saturday
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers: 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network
NFL preseason games on Friday, Aug. 19
Patriots: After a shaky start with two three-and-out drives, quarterback Mac Jones (4-of-8 for 61 yards) ended on a high note as he led an 81-yard touchdown drive. It was the type of confidence boost — albeit against the Panthers’ backups — that Jones & Co. needed after a training camp filled with “growing pains” as they adjust to a “new offense.” Jones looked uncomfortable early (his accuracy was off) before settling down on his third and final drive. A 7-yard completion to Nelson Agholor was critical to convert the first third down of the night, and then Jones hit Agholor with a 45-yard bomb down the left sideline. That deep ball is what players say should show up more in the revamped offense. Last season, 41% of Jones’ pass attempts thrown at least 20 yards downfield were overthrown or underthrown, an off-target mark that ranked 21st in the NFL (league average: 36%). Also, Patriots receivers ranked 25th with only 1.6 yards of separation on deep balls, per NFL Next Gen Stats. So the Jones-to-Agholor long hookup sparks promise for the team. — Mike Reiss
Next game: at Las Vegas, 8:15 p.m. ET, Aug. 26
Panthers: Left tackle Ikem Ekwonu was in the spotlight with the Panthers resting quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. Carolina saw both the good and the bad it can expect out of the sixth overall pick from the 2022 draft. He gave up two sacks on the second possession, magnifying the concerns over his readiness in pass protection. He also had several key run blocks, reinforcing why offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said Ekwonu can “block out the sun.” The inconsistency is why the Panthers would be better off keeping Darnold if they name Mayfield the starter, as expected. They are one hit from being down to the their second quarterback, and Darnold is more consistent than PJ Walker or Matt Corral, who took all the quarterback snaps Friday. Corral did show improvement over his 1-for-9 performance last week, but left in the fourth quarter with a foot injury and is undergoing X-rays. — David Newton
Next game: vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m. ET, Aug. 26
Packers: Aaron Rodgers might just have to live with Romeo Doubs and his drops. The rookie receiver makes too many other plays. He did so again Friday night against the Saints with three catches for 24 yards and a touchdown. His other two targets, however, were drops — including a deep ball on the opening drive in which he appeared to get turned out or misplayed.
Rodgers expressed his frustration with the young receivers, although he lumped them into a group and didn’t mention anyone by name. But Doubs, a fourth-round pick, also had two drops and a touchdown in last week’s preseason opener at the 49ers.
In all, the Packers had four drops by first- or second-year receivers (the two by Doubs, one by Samori Toure on a well-placed deep ball and one by Amari Rodgers down the seam). Several drops would have been explosive plays, affecting Jordan Love‘s numbers (12-of-24 for 113 yards and one touchdown), but at least they didn’t turn into interceptions like they did last week.
“It’s not going to be perfect,” coach Matt LaFleur said about Doubs. “There’s going to be some lessons along the way. He’s a guy that is pretty resilient. He doesn’t get fazed by a negative play. He just keeps on playing. That’s what excites you about him. You see a guy with really good feet. He’s gotten really good in his transition. He’s got a burst. He’s been able to separate, which is something that’s tough to coach. Guys can either do it or they can’t. There’s stuff to clean up, for certain, but he’s a guy that we are excited about it.”
Doubs makes plays that not every receiver on the Packers’ roster can make. He perfectly timed a 4-yard fade for a touchdown catch, outjumping Saints safety Brian Allen. He caught a 17-yard deep out and had another 17-yarder wiped out by a penalty. At this point, Doubs is probably the Packers’ fourth receiver behind Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins — none of whom have played in preseason games. — Rob Demovsky
Next game: at Kansas City, 8 p.m. ET, Aug. 25
Saints: With most of the Saints starters sitting on the sideline for the evening, the specialists ended up being the stars of the show. Punter Blake Gillikin boomed an 81-yard punt and kicker Wil Lutz showed he was back from the injury that kept him out during the 2021 season, easily nailing a 59-yard field goal.
Nothing else came so easily to the Saints, with coach Dennis Allen pointing out they spent a lot of time shooting themselves in the foot, as the Packers scored 10 points after a key Saints penalty and a fumbled snap.
It was also an up-and-down night for third-string quarterback Ian Book, who played the entire game with both Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton sitting out. Book had a fumbled exchange and was picked off when targeting tight end Taysom Hill, who slipped on his route. He threw one touchdown to rookie first-round pick Chris Olave and finished 16-of-28 for 113 yards. — Katherine Terrell
Next game: vs. L.A. Chargers, 8 p.m. ET, Aug. 26
Texans: It wasn’t a good showing for the Texans’ first-team offense, which struggled throughout the first half. The offense had six possessions and only scored seven points. The run game was nearly nonexistent as they ran for 34 yards on 10 carries. Quarterback Davis Mills went 10-for-17 for 96 yards with one touchdown, but 60 of those yards came on the only scoring drive before the end of the first half. None of the Rams’ impact defensive players were on the field either, so the Texans’ offensive struggles came against the Rams’ backups. The Texans’ two best offensive players in wideout Brandin Cooks and left tackle Laremy Tunsil didn’t play, but that’s no excuse to struggle how they did against the Rams. — DJ Bien-Aime
Next game: vs. San Francisco, 8:15 p.m. ET, Aug. 25
Rams: For the second week in a row, it’s wide receiver Lance McCutcheon who is the Rams’ top playmaker. Now, Los Angeles doesn’t play its starters in preseason games, but Friday night, McCutcheon impressed anyway. The undrafted free agent finished with five catches for 96 yards. After McCutcheon’s performance in the Rams’ preseason opener (five catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns), head coach Sean McVay said there’s “certainly” a chance that McCutcheon makes the Rams’ 53-man roster to start the season. McVay said after that first game that McCutcheon “shined in a really big way.” It’s unlikely McVay’s view of McCutcheon goes anywhere but up after his Week 2 performance. — Sarah Barshop
Next game: at Cincinnati, 6 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
NFL preseason game on Thursday, Aug. 18
Bears: The Bears’ starting offense saw limited action on a short week and was done after 10 plays in Seattle. Fields strung together an opening drive that culminated in a field goal — the first-team unit’s first scoring drive of the preseason — after he went 5-for-7 for 39 yards. Fields didn’t have more than three completions on any of his first offensive possessions in 2021 and threw for 39 (or more) yards on an opening drive only once (Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers), a sign that his execution and operation of the offense are coming along.
Carolina’s Tae Hayes intercepts Bailey Zappe’s pass and returns it 50 yards for the touchdown.
Fields is being pressured at one of the highest rates in the NFL (44% of his dropbacks) while Chicago is still trying to sort out its offensive line, notably with Teven Jenkins now in the mix to start at right guard. But we can already see the tendencies of this new-look Bears scheme take shape. The expectation of a heavy dose of play-action and bootlegs showed up Thursday with two of Field’s pass attempts coming on designed rollouts, including his 19-yard completion to tight end Cole Kmet. Last season, Fields had only 18 attempts on designed rollouts, and he completed 78% of those with two touchdowns. — Courtney Cronin
Next game: at Cleveland, 7 p.m. ET, Aug. 27
Seahawks: The Seahawks’ quarterback competition seems no closer to being decided after their ugly loss to the Bears. With COVID-19 sidelining Drew Lock for what would have been his first start of the summer, Smith had a chance to widen his lead but didn’t do anything with it.
Seattle’s six full possessions (excluding the final one in the closing seconds of the first half) with Smith under center ended with five punts (three of them after three-and-outs) and a missed 47-yard field goal. Not that it was all Smith’s fault. He was victimized by three drops and several penalties. He also had Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf on the field for just one possession, then lost starting left guard Damien Lewis to an ankle injury.
Smith then watched the second half with an ice wrap over his right knee. Lock’s bout with COVID was a significant setback in his quest to overtake Smith, but Smith’s underwhelming night keeps the door open. Lock will need a strong showing in next week’s preseason finale at Dallas to convince coach Pete Carroll that he’s the guy — and he probably needs Smith to struggle again as well. — Brady Henderson
Next game: at Dallas, 8 p.m. ET, Aug. 26
NFL preseason games on Sunday, Aug. 21
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns: 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants: 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals: 8 p.m. ET, Fox
NFL preseason game on Monday, Aug. 22
Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
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