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NFL Week 2: Top 10 takeaways from Sunday’s action, including Tua Tagovailoa’s brilliant performance

Vincent Frank

NFL Week 2 action on Sunday was absolutely insane with three teams coming back after being down 20 points or more. Tua Tagovailoa put up an historic fourth-quarter performance in a huge Miami Dolphins win over the Baltimore Ravens. On the other hand, the Las Vegas Raiders blew it big time in Josh McDaniels’ first home game as their head coach.

Staying out west, second-year San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a win over the Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals laid a complete egg against the Dallas Cowboys. Below, we provide you with 10 takeaways from Sunday’s NFL Week 2 action.

Related: NFL Week 2 power rankings

Tom Brady’s frustration leads to Tampa Bay Buccaneers comeback

nfl week 3 takeaways: tom brady, tampa bay buccaneers
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady entered NFL Week 2 with a 0-4 regular-season record against the division rival New Orleans Saints as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback. The Buccaneers scored exactly zero points in the first half and were tied at three heading into the fourth quarter, leading to Brady taking his frustration out on a tablet on the sideline.

While Brady didn’t do much (18-of-34 passing, 190 yards, one touchdown), Tampa Bay’s defense stepped up big time in the final quarter. That included a pick-six of Jameis Winston from safety Mike Edwards with the Buccaneers up 13-3 in the fourth quarter. All said, Winston was picked off three times. It wasn’t pretty, but the Buccaneers were able to pull off a 20-10 win and move to 2-0 on the season. It’s an example of how good this team is that it can still come out on top with Brady playing less-than-stellar football.

Cincinnati Bengals in a world of hurt

nfl week 2 takeaways: cincinnati bengals
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

We have to give backup quarterback Cooper Rush and the Dallas Cowboys credit for coming to play one week after Dak Prescott suffered a long-term injury. Dallas was coming off a brutal Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team was without its franchise signal caller. Coming away with a hard-fought win might have been a season-saver for Mike McCarthy’s squad.

On the other end of the spectrum, the defending AFC Champion Bengals laid yet another egg. Following a season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Week 2 did not do Joe Burrow any favors. The quarterback was sacked another six times while putting up all of 165 net passing yards on 36 attempts through the air. This came after Burrow was thrown to the ground seven times by Pittsburgh.

“It’s all frustrating. We’ve give ourselves an opportunity to win these games against good teams, so once things settle down, I know that we’re going to be a really good football team,” Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor on frustration over lack of pass protection, via the team’s website.

Without the pass protection, Burrow was forced into check downs and couldn’t look for the chunk play. This is evidenced by the fact that Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase averaged 6.6 yards per target. With a Week 3 outing coming up against the New York Jets, Cincinnati has a chance to right these wrongs. But given how New York looked in its comeback win on Sunday, that’s far from a guarantee.

Related: Updated NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

The Indianapolis Colts are a hot mess

nfl week 3 takeaways: indianapolis colts
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

One week after fumbling four times in his Colts debut, Matt Ryan struggled with turnovers once again. The future Hall of Fame quarterback threw three interceptions as his Indianapolis team was shutout by the Jacksonville Jaguars by the score of 24-0. The Colts’ offensive line was also an embarrassment in front of Ryan, yielding five sacks and 11 quarterback hits on 35 drop backs. Yes, Ryan was hit on 31% of his drop backs. That’s just ugly.

“I don’t feel it was a lack of motivation. I just feel like it’s a lack of β€” we got outcoached and we got outplayed,” Colts head coach Frank Reich after NFL Week 2 loss.

It was pure domination from Jacksonville’s perspective. Trevor Lawrence completed 25-of-30 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. He was hit just twice throughout the game. Christian Kirk and Evan Engram combined to catch 13-of-14 targets with two scores. Dominance in the trenches. Domination from a takeaway perspective. Already reeling following a season-opening tie against the Houston Texans, the Colts have now hit rock bottom. Is there much confidence in this team being able to rebound next week against the Kansas City Chiefs? Yeah, we don’t think so.

The 2022 Detroit Lions are a different team

nfl week 3: detroit lions
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

We can focus on the Washington Commanders falling back to earth after a Week 1 win. We can look at how Detroit nearly gave up a 22-0 halftime lead. That would be glass-half empty stuff. But based on what we’ve seen from the Lions under newish head coach Dan Campbell, it has to be all about optimism.That is what he’s instilled into his young teams. And in reality, it came to the forefront during NFL Week 2 against Washington. You could see it in Detroit’s celebration following Sunday’s win.

Detroit’s defense did just enough in the team’s 36-27 win over Washington. It got to Carson Wentz for four sacks and held the Commanders to 88 rushing yards. However, it was Jared Goff, D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown that did the most damage in helping Detroit pull off the win. In particular, the 194 total yards St. Brown put up was eye-opening for the sophomore receiver.

Goff completed 20-of-34 passes for 256 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Questionable heading into this one, Swift gained 87 total yards on just seven touches. It led to Detroit putting up 425 total yards in one of the best offensive outputs we’ve seen from this unit in eons.

Related: Takeaways from Raiders NFL Week 2 loss

Josh McDaniels era in Las Vegas opens with thud

nfl week 2: las vegas raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As someone who was in and around Sin City as the Raiders prepared for their first home game of the Josh McDaniels tenure, I can report that excitement was at an all-time high. Despite a disappointing road loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1, expectations were high. Derek Carr and Co. were taking on an Arizona Cardinals squad that found itself blown out in the opener. The fans were going to create a fun atmosphere inside Allegiant Stadium.

Things looked great early on. Vegas held a 20-0 lead at the half with its defense keeping Kyler Murray in check. Heck, the Raiders were up 23-7 after three quarters. That’s when McDaniels’ squad pretty much crapped the bed while Murray went full superhero mode. Murray led the Cardinals on two touchdown-scoring drives with two two-point conversations to force overtime. The latter came after a false start from the Cardinals forced them into converting from the seven. It was also the culmination of an 18-play drive against a gassed Raiders defense.

In overtime, Vegas seemed to be driving for the potential game-winning field goal. That’s when disaster struck Sin City. Hunter Renfrow lost a fumble at the Cardinals’ 41 yard-line. It was scooped up and returned for a touchdown by Byron Murphy, sending Vegas to its second consecutive loss to open the McDaniels’ era.

“It starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job of helping us to finish these kinds of things out if you get ahead and that’s what we’re going to work hard to do as we go forward,” Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels said after the game. At the very least, it seems that McDaniels is taking responsibility following this brutal NFL Week 2 loss. It’s back to the drawing board next Sunday against the Tennessee Titans in what is now a must win for the Raiders.

Matt Rhule firmly on the hot seat for the Carolina Panthers

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina opened the season against a Deshaun Watson-less Cleveland Browns team and the New York Giants. Anything short of a 1-1 start would’ve been seen as disaster for third-year head coach Matt Rhule. How these first two weeks have played out will now lead to questions about whether Rhule will even finish the season in Carolina.

New quarterback Baker Mayfield had a mere 129 net passing yards. Seen as a pretty stout unit, Carolina’s defense allowed Daniel Jones to play mistake-free football in a 19-16 Giants win. It was just another example of the Panthers’ playing bad football under Rhule. Now at 10-25 as Carolina’s head coach following NFL Week 2, Rhule’s leash has to be seen as incredibly short.

Related: NFL Week 2 defensive rankings

Chicago Bears’ lack of faith in Justin Fields

nfl week 3: chicago bears
Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

How does a quarterback go a full four quarters in today’s NFL throwing a total of 11 passes? Fresh off a solid second-half performance in a win over the San Francisco 49ers last week, that’s the situation Justin Fields found himself in Sunday night. Even with Chicago in it for the most part until later in the game, it became clear that the team’s new coaching staff didn’t have faith in Fields throwing the ball. Once the Bears fell down by three scores in the final stanza, the second-year signal caller threw an interception to pretty much ice it. The numbers for Fields during Week 2 were downright pathetic.

  • Justin Fields stats (NFL Week 2): 7-of-11 passing, 48 net passing yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Through the first two games of the season, Fields has thrown all of 28 passes with 153 net passing yards. We understand that it’s a new system under offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. But at some point Chicago needs to let Fields air it out to see what he can bring to the table. A total of 27 run attempts compared to 28 passes in a game you lose by the score of 27-10 simply isn’t a representation of that.

Brian Daboll has his New York Giants playing inspired football

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

New York’s surprising season-opening win over the Tennessee Titans wouldn’t have meant much if the Giants did not come out and take care of business against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. It was not pretty from the get. New York’s defense forced consecutive Panthers fumbles to open the game, creating short fields for Daniel Jones and Co. The end result were two field goals and a mere 6-0 lead.

Things did not get pretty from there. New York’s offense stalled for the next 2.5 quarters or so before Jones led the team on a game-winning field goal drive in the final stanza. The Giants’ defense did their thing in holding Carolina before the other side of the ball melted the clock for a 19-16 win.

In no way did the Giants look like a playoff team in NFL Week 2. They really didn’t need to. It was all about holding serve at home against an average team. Jones played mistake-free football, the Big Blue’s defense did enough and the coaching was solid. All of that equates to a surprising 2-0 start to the Daboll era.

Related: Tua Tagovailoa and the top NFL QBs of 2022

Tua Tagovailoa answers critics, leads Miami Dolphins to historic comeback

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins found themselves down 35-14 heading into the fourth quarter against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in Maryland on Sunday. Jackson had tore apart the soul of the Dolphins’ defense to the tune of four touchdowns, headlined by an absurrd 79-yard touchdown run. Things were not looking good for Tua and the Dolphins.

That’s when the former Alabama star decided to put Miami on his back and put up one of the greatest comebacks we have seen in modern NFL history. The Fins scored 28 fourth quarter points to win by the score of 42-38. As for the embattled quarterback, he put up one of the best single quarters for a quarterback that we have seen in some time.

This included touchdown strikes of 48 and 60 yards to new Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill. For his part, Hill caught 11-of-13 targets for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Young wide receiver Jaylen Waddle added 11 catches of his own for 171 yards and two more scores. For head coach Mike McDaniel, it became clear that Tagovailoa’s NFL Week 2 performance was a defining moment for the young signal caller and his team.

β€œThe night before, I told the guys I was really hoping for adversity this game, and I want to see how we respond to a deficit. And apparently they just took me way too literal.”

Mike McDaniel after Dolphins shocking NFL Week 2 win

Leading up to Week 2, there was some talk that Tua might have a short leash in South Beach. In fact, one legendary coach predicted that the Dolphins would bench him in favor of Teddy Bridgewater. That seems like eons ago. Now at 2-0 on the season, Miami looks like a well-oiled machine.

Related: San Francisco 49ers QB options following Trey Lance injury

Long-term questions for the San Francisco 49ers following Trey Lance injury

nfl week 2 takeaways: trey lance, san francisco 49ers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers grabbed their first win of the season Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, defeating an overmatched rival by the score of 27-7. The game wouldn’t have been that close if it weren’t for a blocked field goal for a touchdown, Seattle’s only score of the game.

With that said, the 49ers have to be coming out of this game feling like they lost. Second-year quarterback Trey Lance went down to injury in the first quarter and was carted off the field. Once an air cast was placed on his right ankle, reality started to set in. It was a serious injury. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed this after the fact, announcing that Lance will undergo season-ending ankle surgery on Monday.

Despite Sunday’s blowout win, there’s now going to be some long-term questions in Northern California. Lance will enter the 2023 season having started a total of 20 games since he was in high school. After taking over for Lance under center, Jimmy Garoppolo will also become a free agent following the 2022 campaign.

From a short-term perspective, San Francisco will be just fine with Garoppolo under center. He’s led the 49ers to two NFC Chamionship Game appearances and a conference title over the past three seasons. Long-term, questions will pop up about San Francisco’s future at the quarterback position regardless of how the 2022 campaign plays out. Roughly 17 months after exhausting three first-round picks on Lance, the 49ers’ brass couldn’t have imagined that this would be a question mark. Alas, that’s where they are at.