Not every player, coach and team can shine. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the more unremarkable moments and performances from Week 2:
Everyone, Arizona Cardinals: There’s no good way to spin it. Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the New York Giants is a new low-point for the Cardinals, who have many such moments to pick from. Arizona couldn’t stop New York from rallying from 21 points down to complete the biggest comeback in Giants franchise history while allowing Daniel Jones to torch their defense for 380 total yards and three touchdowns.
After forcing three punts and an interception in the first half, the Cardinals defense couldn’t stop Jones in the second half as he led five scoring drives, including four straight that ended in touchdowns to open the second half. Arizona mustered just 48 yards of total offense on its final four drives, which included two that ended with negative yardage.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: The good news is Burrow looked better than he did in last week’s dumpster fire of a season opener. The bad news is the Bengals still lost and Burrow re-aggravated the calf injury that sidelined him for most of training camp in Sunday’s 27-24 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens.
Burrow stated he tweaked his calf in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter just before throwing a four-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins that pulled Cincy to within three points. He was noticeably limping for the rest of the game but told reporters he was going to “give it a couple nights, couple sleeps … and go from there.”
Zach Wilson/New York Jets defense: If the Jets really do plan to ride or die with Wilson this season, they’re going to have to do a better job of putting him in situations to succeed than they did in Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Wilson is not built to play from behind, as evidenced by his three interceptions and New York’s 215 yards of total offense.
And yet, the defense allowed Dak Prescott to pass for 255 yards and two touchdowns while surrendering 134 yards rushing and forcing Wilson to try and come back from a two-touchdown or more deficit in the second half.
If Wilson is to lead the Jets to enough wins to make it to the playoffs, the defense will need to keep games close like it did last week against Buffalo while Wilson finds a rhythm and settles in.
Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears: General manager Ryan Poles gave Fields the necessary weapons (D.J. Moore, Roschon Johnson, Chase Claypool, Robert Tonyan) plus proper blocking (Nate Davis, Darnell Wright) to be successful. So why has Fields fumbled three times, been intercepted three times and sacked 10 times in two games?
This was supposed to be the year that Fields put it all together and ascend into a true franchise quarterback, and it might still be. But through two games, he has looked nothing like the player who passed for 1,530 yards, ran for another 861 yards and scored a combined 20 touchdowns over his last nine starts of last season. It’s clear the Bears go as Fields goes, but he might be running out of leeway.
Star players: Davante Adams, Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., Micah Hyde, Eddie Jackson, Elgton Jenkins, Ryan Kelly, Darnell Mooney, David Montgomery, Anthony Richardson and Logan Thomas were just a few of the notable players to leave their respective games with an injury, some of which (Beckham Jr., Martin) aren’t believed to be serious, while others could miss some serious time.
Adams and Richardson were both evaluated for a concussion, and depending on the severity of their respective situations, the timetables could vary. Both will have to clear concussion protocol before returning to the field.
Barkley reportedly suffered a sprained ankle and could be out for a handful of games. Montgomery was carted off the field with a thigh injury and could miss a few weeks while it heals.
Jenkins is believed to have an MCL sprain, which has a recovery period ranging from three to 12 weeks. He will have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity and how much time he will need to miss.
Kellen Moore, OC, Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert threw for 305 yards and didn’t turn the ball over, Keenan Allen had two touchdown receptions, the Chargers out-gained the Tennessee Titans in total offense, and yet, they still lost.
Sure, not having do-it-all running back Austin Ekeler likely restricted the scope of playbook, but the Chargers offense is loaded with talent at the skill positions and they should have carved up a Titans passing defense that was the worst in the NFL last year and ranks 28th through two games this year.
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars: The Kansas City Chiefs passing defense allowed 253 yards last week to Jared Goff, so surely Lawrence could have fared just as well, if not better, with a pair of 1,000-yard receivers and a Pro Bowl tight end, right?
Lawrence barely completed 53 percent of his passes in Sunday’s 17-9 loss with zero touchdown passes for just the fifth time in his last 21 starts. He hit Ridley just twice for 32 yards one week after connecting eight times for 101 yards and his 216 passing yards was the third time in his last four regular-season starts he failed to break the 220-yard plateau. Lawrence was supposed to have a breakout year in 2023, but so far, he’s looked average at best.
Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions: It’s been assumed that Williams would automatically be penciled in as Detroit’s No. 2 receiver behind Amon-Ra St. Brown when he returns from his six-game suspension. But with the way Josh Reynolds is playing and the depth of Detroit’s WR group, Williams’ spot in the lineup may not be completely set in stone.
Reynolds caught five of his six targets in Sunday’s 37-31 loss to the Seattle Seahawks — two of which went for touchdowns — and he caught four more passes for 80 yards the previous week in an opening-night upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
Don’t be surprised if Williams starts in a third- or fourth-string role and has to work his way up the depth chart.