Saturday’s slate of 11 games started with the Jacksonville Jaguars running over the Detroit Lions for their second win of the preseason. Tua Tagovailoa saw his first preseason action as the Miami Dolphins clobbered the Houston Texans. The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ offense continued to roll in a win over the Buffalo Bills. The Indianapolis Colts rested Anthony Richardson and still beat the Chicago Bears. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have settled on a starting QB and beat the New York Jets. With QB Malik Willis playing nearly the entire game, the Tennessee Titans beat the Minnesota Vikings.
The night took a serious turn in Green Bay when New England Patriots cornerback Isaiah Bolden absorbed a hit from a teammate that led to him being immobilized, placed on a stretcher and carted off the field. With 10:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, referee John Hussey announced to the crowd at Lambeau Field: “At the agreement of both head coaches and team leadership, we have elected to suspend play for the evening. The game is officially over.” The Patriots said Bolden “had feeling in all his extremities. He was taken to a local hospital for further tests and observation and released Sunday morning.”
In game action, Brock Purdy returned as the San Francisco 49ers edged the Denver Broncos, and the Kansas City Chiefs handled the Arizona Cardinals. And Jimmy Garoppolo helped the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Los Angeles Rams. And the Seattle Seahawks beat the Dallas Cowboys in the nightcap.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the games played so far, along with the rest of the Week 2 preseason schedule.
Sunday’s game certainly didn’t come without drama: A tropical storm and an earthquake dominated the headlines prior to kickoff, and Saints tight end Jimmy Graham sat out after the team said they believed he had a seizure on Friday night. With most of the starters resting, the game reps were split between quarterbacks Jake Haener and Jameis Winston. The Saints continue to struggle with penalties — 14 for 141 yards on Sunday — a theme from last week Saints coach Dennis Allen said needs to be fixed. — Katherine Terrell
Next game: vs. Texans (8 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Against the Saints, both rookie edge rusher Tuli Tuipulotu and inside linebacker Daiyan Henley flashed. Tuipulotu, a second-round pick from USC, demonstrated his strength on the outside as he brought consistent pressure and recorded a tackle for a loss in the first half. Tuipulotu will play behind Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, but is proving himself capable if needed in a rotation. A third-round pick from Washington State, Henley was selected to make an immediate impact on special teams, but he showed his potential if needed on defense on Sunday, including a play when he bolted up the middle to hit and combine for a sack on quarterback Jameis Winston. — Lindsey Thiry
Next game: at 49ers (10 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Seahawks: While cornerback Devon Witherspoon remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Seahawks’ other first-round pick continued to look like he’s going to be a major contributor as a rookie. Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba started against Dallas and caught three passes for 58 yards, including an over-the-shoulder grab for a 48-yard gain that set up a 1-yard touchdown. Playing in a run-heavy offense behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Smith-Njigba might have a hard time putting up the kind of production that would make him a sure-fire fantasy starter or a candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. But the 20th overall pick looks like he can help Geno Smith and Seattle’s offense in a big way, especially on third down. — Brady Henderson
Next game: at Packers (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Cowboys: The Cowboys do not have a lot of depth at linebacker and offensive line, and two injuries Saturday added to those concerns. Rookie linebacker DeMarvion Overshown suffered a left knee injury in the second series, and tackle Matt Waletzko suffered a shoulder injury and did not return. With Chuma Edoga out with a knee injury suffered in practice last week, Waletzko is viewed as a top candidate for the swing tackle spot. Overshown, a third-round pick, was viewed as a core special-teamer who could play multiple spots on defense, but depending on the severity of his injury, the Cowboys will need youngsters Devin Harper and Jabril Cox to fill in or will need to look for veteran help as they enter the final week of the preseason. — Todd Archer
Next game: vs. Raiders (8 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Raiders: Perhaps there was no better opponent for Jimmy Garoppolo to make his Raiders debut against than the Rams. After all, Las Vegas’ new quarterback was 8-0 against Los Angeles in his time with the 49ers, and after being brought along on a more measured training camp schedule following surgery on his left foot in March, the chance for success was greater, right? Well, all Garoppolo did in his one series as the starter was direct an efficient 68-yard touchdown drive in nine plays and five minutes. Garoppolo was 4-for-4 passing, spreading the ball around in connecting with four different pass-catchers in running back Ameer Abdullah, receivers Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers and tight end Michael Mayer. Garoppolo was up-and-down early in camp but has been impressive of late, which bodes well for both his comfort level in the scheme and the offense jelling heading into the regular season. — Paul Gutierrez
Next game: at Cowboys (8 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Rams: Even though defensive lineman Aaron Donald and promising rookie outside linebacker Byron Young didn’t play, it’s probably time to start fretting about how the Rams’ defense will fare at the point of attack. It wasn’t nearly as dismal as last week’s preseason opener, when the Chargers ran for 214 yards on 6.9 yards per carry, but guys Los Angeles will be counting on to play meaningful roles up front and on the edge still got sliced apart on the opening drive. Jimmy Garoppolo was never under meaningful pressure, and running backs Zamir White and Brandon Bolden combined to average 5.8 yards per attempt on an effortless touchdown march. — Daniel Greenspan
Next game: at Broncos (9 p.m. ET, Saturday)
49ers: Quarterback Brock Purdy made his first appearance in a game since tearing the UCL in his right elbow on Jan. 29, checking another significant box in his return from offseason surgery. The Niners hoped to get Purdy 10-15 snaps against the Broncos and were able to do just that on the game’s opening drive. Purdy went 4-of-5 for 65 yards, had a scramble for 8 yards and was sacked once on a 10-play drive that ended with a field goal. Even the sack was good news for Purdy as he was able to get his first contact from a defender out of the way. Purdy played with most of San Francisco’s offensive starters, save for left tackle Trent Williams, running back Christian McCaffrey and tight end George Kittle, and the Niners stuck to designed rollouts and play-action passes to get him quick, easy completions. It was another important step for Purdy as he rolls along toward starting the season opener in Pittsburgh on Sept. 10. — Nick Wagoner
Next game: vs. Chargers (10 p.m. ET, Friday)
Broncos: There was no bigger takeaway for the Broncos than running back Javonte Williams‘ return to the lineup. It was Williams’ first game since he suffered a season-ending knee injury — multiple ligament tears and other damage — in Week 4 last season. Coach Sean Payton had said he wanted to get Williams “maybe four carries and a catch” in the game. In reality, after an early drop when he rushed through the catching motion, Williams’ remarkable recovery continued with three carries for 12 yards to go with four receptions for 18 yards. Payton said he will likely hold Williams out of the preseason finale, but Williams is still on track to be in the lineup in the season opener against the Raiders.— Jeff Legwold
Next game: vs. Rams (9 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Chiefs: The Chiefs have reason to feel good about their wide receiver play, even without the injured Kadarius Toney. Five of their top six wideouts caught a pass before the Chiefs pulled their starters midway through the second quarter. Leading the way was rookie Rashee Rice, who caught eight passes for 96 yards and showed he is a threat to break a big play with his ability to run after the catch. — Adam Teicher
Next game: vs. Browns (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Cardinals: The Isaiah Simmons experiment continues to be a work in progress. The former first-round pick, who transitioned to safety this season, struggled throughout his snaps Saturday night. He was a couple of steps behind Chiefs receiver Justin Watson on a touchdown and then was late to close in on Kansas City quarterback Shane Buechele’s touchdown run. He started the game as Arizona used five defensive backs often for the first couple of series but also ended up getting reps with the second-team defense. When the Cardinals used five defensive backs, which was the case in 20 of Simmons’ 25 plays, Simmons lined up as the free safety with fellow safety Jalen Thompson lining up in the slot. — Josh Weinfuss
Next game: at Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Titans: Malik Willis got the start and played the whole game except for two snaps when wide receiver Mason Kinsey came in. Rookie quarterback Will Levis suited up but was not available to play due to a lower-body injury he suffered in joint practice last Thursday. The story of the day was the running backs. Rookie Tyjae Spears showed elite explosiveness after he hurdled a defender and scooted 33 yards for a touchdown. Spears hit 20.1 mph on the run and had seven carries for 57 yards before coming out. Second-year back Julius Chestnut had a stellar day as well. Chestnut averaged 7.6 yards on 13 carries for a total of 98 rushing yards including a 55-yard run. He also posted a receiving touchdown on a 1-yard pass from Willis. — Turron Davenport
Next game: vs. Patriots (8:15 p.m. ET, Friday)
Vikings: Most NFL teams would be in trouble if their entire second-team offensive line had to start a regular-season game, and the Vikings are no exception. Put simply, their offense put on an ugly performance behind the second line, leaving quarterback Nick Mullens to take a beating amid a series of unblocked or poorly blocked pass-rushers. Most concerning was the performance of swing tackle Oli Udoh, who gave up sacks on consecutive plays in the second quarter and also had flags thrown against him on two other plays. Again, offensive line depth is a crisis around the league. But Udoh’s performance was especially concerning, as he would be the likely starter if right tackle Brian O’Neill‘s recovery from an Achilles injury hits a snag. — Kevin Seifert
Next game: vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Bucs: The Bucs opted not to play Baker Mayfield, even after John Wolford left the game with a neck injury in the second half (he has movement in all his extremities). That resulted in Kyle Trask playing nearly the entire game. But Coach Todd Bowles said that wasn’t an indicator of Mayfield winning the starting job. Bowles said he made a last-minute decision to sit Mayfield, and “[Trask] was already warmed up, so when John got hurt, we just put him back in to finish.” Trask connected with Trey Palmer on a beautiful 33-yard touchdown pass on a post route, but he also fumbled the ball on a sack by defensive end Bryce Huff (it was recovered by tight end Cade Otton) and failed to account for an extra blitzer in defensive back Craig James. Trask has improved by leaps and bounds from last year, and even in the short period between mandatory minicamp and training camp, and he’s certainly benefited from all these reps, but Mayfield has looked better when it’s mattered most. — Jenna Laine
Next game: vs. Ravens (7 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Jets: From a Jets perspective, the focus was on two former first-round picks: quarterback Zach Wilson (2021) and tackle Mekhi Becton (2020). Wilson isn’t competing for a starting job — they have someone named Aaron Rodgers — but he needs to stack good performances to build his confidence. With Rodgers sitting for the third straight week, Wilson had another positive outing (9-for-13, 70 yards), although he didn’t do anything remarkable with his arm. His legs were the story thanks to a sensational 35-yard scramble. The only quibble: He put himself in harm’s way, refusing to go out of bounds and lowering his shoulder into a tackler. He should’ve learned his lesson last preseason, when he injured a knee on a careless run. Becton is competing for a starting job. He made his NFL debut at right tackle, played 25 snaps with the backups and avoided any glaring breakdowns. He put himself firmly in the right tackle picture. — Rich Cimini
Next game: at Giants (6 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Colts: The Colts, like the Bears, opted to rest the overwhelming majority of their starters, including rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson. The move came after two days of intense joint practices between the teams earlier in the week. That sets up an interesting decision heading into the third and final week of the preseason, when the Colts travel to Philadelphia for a single joint practice and preseason game against the Eagles. As for the Colts who did play, backup quarterback Gardner Minshew had another efficient performance, completing 13 of 15 pass attempts for 107 yards and a touchdown pass — a 4-yard toss to receiver Juwann Winfree. Minshew has been relegated to the No. 2 quarterback after Richardson on Monday was named the starter by coach Shane Steichen. — Stephen Holder
Next game: at Eagles (8 p.m. ET, Thursday)
Bears: The Bears signed PJ Walker because they wanted to provide quarterback Justin Fields with a veteran backup whose skill set more closely mirrors his, but what’s transpired during the preseason has left the door open for a different QB2 to enter the mix. Walker struggled throughout training camp and went 1-for-4 for 6 yards in the first quarter at Indianapolis and took back-to-back sacks, the second of which he could have avoided had he changed the protection. Tyson Bagent, the NCAA’s all-time passing touchdowns leader from Division II Shepherd University, looked sharp against the Colts by orchestrating a 17-play, 92-yard touchdown drive, which he capped off with a 2-yard run into the end zone. The Bears got hooked on Bagent at the Senior Bowl, and his collegiate experience, having averaged over 300 yards passing per game over four years, cannot be ignored. Chicago will have trouble sneaking Bagent onto the practice squad if he continues to outplay the other backup quarterbacks on the roster, which could lead the Bears to reevaluate who they want behind Fields. — Courtney Cronin
Next game: vs. Bills (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Steelers: Repeat after me: it’s just a preseason game. OK, with that out of the way, the next obvious observation: the Steelers’ dismantling of the Bills was textbook complementary football, beginning with the first three drives of the game. Quarterback Kenny Pickett and the first team offense opened up with a six-play, 86-yard scoring drive, capped off with a 62-yard Jaylen Warren rushing touchdown — the Steelers’ first rushing touchdown of at least 60 yards since 2016. Then, the Steelers’ defense promptly ushered quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills’ first-team offense off the field with a three-and-out. Calvin Austin III returned the ensuing punt 54 yards to the 25. A play later, Pickett found tight end Pat Freiermuth just over the goal line for another quick score. For the second week in a row, the explosiveness that eluded the Steelers in 2022 was present in a preseason win. Now they’ve just got to do it when it counts. — Brooke Pryor
Next game: at Falcons (7:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)
Bills: On an all-around messy night for the Bills, the offensive line was especially of note, with five of the team’s 13 penalties and poor protection throughout the game. When the starters were playing, the offensive line recorded a penalty on three straight plays and didn’t look in sync, especially at tackle. Availability is an issue as well. Tackle Tommy Doyle was carted off the field in the third quarter with a left knee injury. Doyle tore his right ACL in Week 3 last year. Doyle’s injury adds another question mark to a roster that was already dealing with depth problems at tackle with Brandon Shell retiring earlier this week. Another problem coming out of the game is depth at quarterback. Matt Barkley played a significant chunk (four drives) before Kyle Allen (12/15 112, 1 TD) late in the third quarter. Barkley threw three interceptions and lost a fumble (7/12 for 93 yards), and to make matters worse, he suffered a right elbow injury. — Alaina Getzenberg
Next game: at Bears (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Dolphins: The long-awaited return of Tua Tagovailoa got off to about as bad of a start as possible. His first pass attempt of the preseason ended with an interception. Tagovailoa seemingly shook off the rust after the pick, completing 5 of his next 6 passes for 61 yards. He also completed all three of his attempts on third down while leading Miami on a 14-play, 93-yard drive.
Perhaps the biggest relief for fans and coaches came when Tagovailoa took a hit from Texans DT Sheldon Rankins after an incomplete pass. Possibly tapping into his offseason jiu-jitsu training, Tagovailoa rotated his body on the way to the ground to avoid hitting his head on the turf. He will likely get some extended run in next week’s preseason finale against the Jaguars, but there was plenty to be optimistic about in Saturday’s performance. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Next game: at Jaguars (7 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Texans: Rookie quarterback CJ Stroud’s performance against the Dolphins was much better than his preseason debut against the New England Patriots when he went 2-for-4 for 13 yards and threw a pick. This week, Stroud played the entire first half — going 7-of-12 for 60 yards — and led the offense to three points.
Stroud had impressive throws to wide receivers Robert Woods and Noah Brown, resulting in first downs. The only disappointing series was the first one coming off an interception of Tagovailoa. The Texans’ offense had the ball on the Miami 7-yard line, but Stroud went 0-for-2 before turning the ball over on downs. — DJ Bien-Aime
Next game: at Saints (8 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Jaguars: Looks like the Jaguars have found a potential complement to RB Travis Etienne Jr. in rookie third-round pick Tank Bigsby. The former Auburn standout ran for 70 yards on 13 carries (5.4 per carry) in the first half against Detroit and has 122 yards on 22 carries through the first six quarters of the preseason (5.5 per carry). Etienne didn’t have much behind him after the Jaguars traded James Robinson last October. Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson said he doesn’t want to overload Bigsby early in the season, but it’s likely his role will expand as the season progresses. — Michael DiRocco
Next game: vs. Dolphins (7 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Lions: No. 50? Yeah, you saw that right — veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made his Lions debut, rocking a temporary jersey number instead of his longtime No. 5, which is already taken by Lions running back David Montgomery. With most of the starters out, including Jared Goff, Bridgewater debuted — and showed he still has to get acclimated to the new system. He went 5-of-11 for 34 yards and had a first-quarter fumble. Bridgewater signed as a free agent late, on Aug. 10, to not only provide depth as quarterback but also help in a mentorship role for some of the young guys, like wide receiver Jameson Williams. — Eric Woodyard
Next game: at Panthers (8 p.m. ET, Friday)
Bengals: It’s not just the two preseason games that have left the Joe Burrow-less offense lacking sharpness. After Burrow went down in the second practice of training camp with a strained right calf, the offense has sputtered.
On Friday, backup quarterback Jake Browning (16-of-22 for 140 yards) fared better than Trevor Siemian (7-of-14 for 62 yards) who started in his turn in the rotation. But the Bengals didn’t score an offensive touchdown in the first two preseason games until the final 50 seconds Friday, and the passing game isn’t solely to blame. The run game has been inefficient and penalties have ruined drives.
Unless the Bengals get some improvement or perhaps find another option at backup quarterback, Cincinnati can’t afford to have Burrow injured during the regular season.
The Bengals trotted out their first-team defense for a brief stint against the Falcons. We’ll see if the Bengals follow suit for the preseason finale against Washington. — Ben Baby
Next game: at Commanders (6:05 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Falcons: Atlanta got a little bit of everything in its lone offensive drive with the starters in the game. Quarterback Desmond Ridder looked sharp, completing 7 of 9 passes, and though the drive ended in an interception, it was a tipped-ball pick by Joseph Ossai.
Rookie running back Bijan Robinson was as advertised, making defenders miss, showing high-level speed and looking exactly as he had throughout training camp. He has the traits of a special player with four carries for 20 yards. The biggest concern was four penalties from the first offensive unit, including two holding calls on guard Chris Lindstrom, who had one penalty combined in his first four NFL seasons.
Atlanta played the vast majority of its starters one series on each side of the ball against the Bengals. While it’s possible Atlanta plays some starters Thursday against Pittsburgh in the preseason finale, it would be surprising to see the majority of them in action again before Week 1 against Carolina on Sept. 10. — Michael Rothstein
Next game: vs. Steelers (7:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)
Panthers: Rookie quarterback Bryce Young needs some help.
He needs it from his offensive line, which for the second straight week allowed the No. 1 overall pick of the draft to take a couple of vicious hits (e.g., left tackle Ikem Ekwonu was beaten twice) and continued to make costly penalties (e.g., a hold on rookie right tackle Chandler Zavala negated a 15-yard, third-down catch).
He needs it from his wide receivers, who continue to be sloppy with route running. Last week Laviska Shenault Jr. ran too deep on a third-down play. Rookie Jonathan Mingo stopped his route short Friday night on a third-down throw that should have been completed.
The good news is Young hasn’t lost his cool or made costly mistakes. He completed 3 of 6 passes for 35 yards on two series (17 plays) and led a 15-play, 62-yard drive for a field goal. Progress, but those around Young aren’t playing winning football. — David Newton
Next game: vs. Lions (8 p.m. ET, Friday)
Giants: Consider this a dream preseason result for the Giants’ starters, who coach Brian Daboll said he wanted to see at some point in the preseason. Quarterback Daniel Jones, making his first appearance since signing a four-year deal in March, looked like a $160 million player. He was close to perfect in his one and only drive, completing 8 of 9 passes (including three to new tight end Darren Waller) for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Offseason addition wide receiver Parris Campbell had two receptions on the drive, leaving everyone feeling good. Second-year outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux had a sack and a pressure while playing into the second quarter, and rookie wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, a third-round pick out of Tennessee, used his blazing speed to connect on a deep ball for a 33-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
All in all, the Giants got almost everything they could have hoped for from their starting group in limited action against the Panthers. It’s unlikely we see most of them in game action again before the Sunday night season opener Sept. 10 against the Dallas Cowboys.— Jordan Raanan
Next game: vs. Jets (6 p.m. ET, Saturday)
Eagles: Linebacker Nakobe Dean provided some hope that the middle of the defense is in good hands. One of the only projected starters to see action for Philadelphia, Dean generated a turnover near the Eagles’ goal line when he shot into the backfield and hit running back John Kelly Jr., knocking the ball loose. Safety K’Von Wallace recovered it for a Philly takeaway. The Eagles face uncertainty at linebacker after the departures of starters T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White in free agency. Dean, the second-year player out of Georgia, is expected to secure the Mike linebacker spot, where he’ll be charged with relaying the calls and getting the defense set. He has been dealing with an ankle injury and has had a pretty quiet summer to this point, but he flashed some of the playmaking ability Thursday that made him a star for the national champion Bulldogs. — Tim McManus
Next game: vs. Colts (8 p.m. ET, Thursday)
Browns: Rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson continued his standout preseason with another impressive performance against Philadelphia. Playing the first half in his first career pro start, Robinson-Thompson completed 13 of 25 passes for 164 yards. He also rushed for 18 yards on four carries. He led the Browns on three drives inside the Philly 25-yard line. The former UCLA star has positioned himself to become Cleveland’s long-term backup QB of the future behind starter Deshaun Watson. DTR probably will be the No. 3 QB this season behind Watson and Joshua Dobbs. But he’s on track to become the No. 2 QB by 2024. — Jake Trotter
Next game: at Chiefs (1 p.m. ET, Saturday)