What we learned from Friday's preseason games

Print
  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
More Columns >

The second gameday of Week 2 of the 2019 preseason saw a solid second start from Daniel Jones, Josh Rosen's first start in Miami and Clifton Duck's origin story. Here's what we learned:

Buffalo Bills 27, Carolina Panthers 14


1. If Friday nights are meant for good times with friends, Josh Allen and Cole Beasley spent theirs looking like best pals in Charlotte. In one quarter of action, the second-year quarterback looked sharp on the road against the Panthers, going 9-for-11 for 102 yards. A pretty solid statline when you consider the team bested Carolina 195-85 in first-half passing yards. Yes, it's worth mentioning that Allen failed to throw a touchdown for the second straight week -- he went 6-for-11 versus the Colts in Week 1 -- but he also once again avoided an interception.

His go-to target, who also happens to be one of his newest, was the savvy Beasley. Whether it was screens or balls thrown in-stride, Beasley was there, finishing with five catches for 44 yards. Seeing these two connect early speaks volumes to the comments Allen made about Beasley in June when he called him a "safety valve." Well, if Week 2 is any indication, the Bills might've finally found the necessary part to tighten up their receiving corps.

2. Friday ended up being a tale of two Allens, as Panthers QB Kyle Allen didn't have quite the same impact as his Bills counterpart. But, then again, the same could be said for all of the team's QBs, given their performances versus Buffalo.

In about a quarter and a half of action, Allen was unable to get going, completing four of his 11 attempts for 32 yards. His replacement, rookie Will Grier, showed his growing pains almost immediately. On the second play of his first series, Grier threw to receiver Torrey Smith in double coverage and had it picked by cornerback Kevin Johnson, who returned it for a 70-yard TD. Overall, Grier ended his night going a modest 10-of-19 for 75 yards but had several overthrown balls and missed targets to his name.

To round out the rotation, Taylor Heinicke saw reps late in the game and led an 11-play, 70-yard TD drive when the game was practically out of reach. He finished 8-of-12 for 78 yards. In all, the backup QB job behind Cam Newton is still wide open as the team continues to evaluate their options. Both Heinicke, last year's QB2, and Allen have seniority over Grier but all three still have their hat in the ring.

-- Jelani Scott

New York Giants 32, Chicago Bears 13


3. Matt Nagy played it ultra-safe Friday night, sitting nearly every Bears starter on offense and defense. Those who turned in to NFL Network experienced a heavy dose of Chase Daniel, a dash of James Vaughters (a strip sack), a spark of Clifton Duck (an acrobatic INT) and, last but not least, Round 2 of the Great Chicago Kicker Clash of 2019. The edge after Friday night goes to Eddy Pineiro, who hit his two field goals (41, 27) while Elliott Fry missed his lone FG try (47) and hit one extra point. This one's going down to the wire, folks.

4. Sure, it came against Chicago's second-team offensive line, but New York got good interior and edge pressure on Daniel in the first half on Friday. Most of the action came from Big Blue's young nucleus; Dalvin Tomlinson, Oshane Ximines and Olsen Pierre all tallied TFLs, the latter two earning sacks. Lorenzo Carter was a problem for Chicago off the edge, as well. With all the attention this summer fixed on New York's young quarterback, the Giants' defensive youth shouldn't go unrecognized.

-- Jeremy Bergman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16, Miami Dolphins 14


5. Could Preston Williams replicate his outstanding highlight-reel outing from last week? Not exactly. The Dolphins rookie followed up his breakout debut with a drop-heavy downer, catching just one Josh Rosen pass on six targets for seven yards. Miami got Williams more involved in the offense, but the receiver couldn't deliver. He came close to executing a 31-yard circus TD grab, but Williams stepped out of bounds before coming down with the score. Miami's more impressive standouts came in Brian Flores' front seven. Third-year DE Charles Harris tallied four QB hits and 1.5 sacks, while rookie LB Sam Eguavoen lived in the backfield, forcing a fumble and making two tackles for loss.

6. Tampa Bay's first-team offense didn't showcase much -- Jameis Winston played one drive with starting backs Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones. No one stood out on that side of the ball, save Dare Ogunbowale, the backup tailback who racked up 88 total yards on 16 touches, mostly in the second half. The Buccaneers' front seven enjoyed a more productive evening in Miami's backfield. Todd Bowles' defense tagged Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick for four sacks and eight QB hits. Linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Devante Bond each tallied QB takedowns, and veteran Kevin Minter blew up one play in the backfield. Good sign for a unit that lost Kwon Alexander in the offseason.

-- Jeremy Bergman

Print