Here's what we learned from Sunday's Week 2 games.
1) Russell Wilson was tremendous upon a starry Sunday night. And his rave reviews were written. And then Cam Newton showed he's every bit the supernova he once was. Newton drove the Patriots all the way to the 'Hawks before he was upended and Seattle held on for a 35-30 win. And so, the night belonged to Russ. The man who's never received an MVP vote added to the long list of his MVP-caliber performances. Wilson was tremendous under the Sunday night lights. Beautifully dropping the deep throws that have become his calling card despite a brilliant overall game, Wilson tossed five touchdowns to just one INT with 288 yards and a 132.1 rating. The Seahawks are 2-0 and Wilson's among the early frontrunners for that hardware he's never been bestowed with.
2) Though the Patriots were defeated, the defense was still strong(ish) and the offense was still outstanding. No reason to panic. And more reason that Newton is a new, yet perfect, fit for the Pats. Sure, Newton was stopped on the final play from the Seattle 1, but the Pats showed confidence in putting the ball in his hands (and legs). Newton rallied New England late with his second rushing score of the game – one in which he threw his first TD as a Patriot and had 334 yards passing. In the loss, Newton very much demonstrated his arm is still potent, he showcased a developing rapport with Julian Edelman (seven receptions, 161 yards) and the QB showed his presence wasn't just a Week 1 feel-good story. The Pats are for real with Newton at QB -- the Seahawks were just better on Sunday.
3) With the reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year on his hip, DK Metcalf tracked a beautiful deep ball from Wilson, somehow hauled in a great catch, stayed upright despite Stephon Gilmore's tackle attempt and strode into the end zone. Metcalf is a physical marvel, but pretty soon people will move past his other-worldly size, speed and build and just refer to him as one of the best receivers in the game. He's quickly becoming that for Seattle.
-- Grant Gordon
1) 29-10 is the new 28-3. It wasn't as big of a collapse as the Falcons' Super Bowl loss, but Dan Quinn's squad squandered what felt like a sure win in Dallas. Spotted a big lead due to a bounty of Cowboys turnovers, Atlanta had a 19-point halftime lead and was up 15 points with a shade under five minutes remaining. Two quick Cowboys TDs cut the score to two points with 1:49 left. All Atlanta had to do was not allow Dallas to convert an onside kick, a play that has been near impossible to make in recent years. Greg Zuerlein's onside kick spun and spun and spun and spun with a handful of Falcons watching instead of attacking the ball. Cowboy CJ Goodwin pounced on the pigskin. Life in Dallas. CeeDee Lamb then got loose for a big gain when an Atlanta DB stumbled to put the Cowboys in field-goal range. Zuerlein banged home the 46-yarder to steal the win. This will be another memorable collapse for Atlanta (0-2) rather than a rousing comeback by the Cowboys (1-1). Quinn's defense allowed Prescott and Co. to score on seven of eight possessions after the first quarter. The porous defense could end up finally costing Quinn his job after another 0-2 start to the season.
2) It seemed like someone put baby oil on the Cowboys pigskin early. Dallas fumbled four times in the first quarter, losing three of them to allow Atlanta to bounce out to a big lead. The Cowboys' first five possessions went: three-and-out, fumble, fumble, turnover on downs on a poor fake punt pass, fumble. The Falcons could have been up by more had they not settled for field goals on two short-field possessions early in the game. Each time the Cowboys seemed to cut the gap, the Falcons appeared to answer. But several miscues cost Atlanta. A missed two-point try early kept the deficit to two at the end. Julio Jones dropped a sure TD on a pass from WR Russell Gage. And settling for four FGs came back to bite ATL. The Falcons' collapse will overshadow another huge game from Calvin Ridley (7/109/2), who continues to score TDs and get separation with ease. Ridley is proving he's not a No. 2 WR, but rather a 1B to Julio.
3) Credit Dak Prescott for standing in and slinging it behind an offensive line missing both starting tackles. Dak completed 34 of 47 passes for 450 yards and one TD, while adding three rushing scores. Somehow, despite the offensive line issues early, Prescott was sacked just once and hit four times. Credit for that goes to the QB for getting rid of the ball on time, getting through his progression, stepping up in the pocket and not being afraid to get to his outlet. Dalton Schultz (9/88/1) leading Dallas in targets exemplifies the QB's willingness to spread the ball around. Lamb (6/106) and Amari Cooper (6/100) also made the QB look good, particularly on the latter's fantastic one-handed deep grab in the second half that set up a score. Dallas needed every bit of its offensive firepower to make up for a leaky defense.
-- Kevin Patra
1) No one can keep Patrick Mahomes down for 60 minutes. The Chargers held Mahomes to one of his worst halves of football, holding the MVP QB to 60 passing yards, 3.2 yards per attempt, with a 42.1 completion percentage. Mahomes got off the mat in the second half, drilling strikes downfield. With Tyreek Hill popping off for 99 second-half yards, including a gorgeous 54-yard TD on a ridiculous Mahomes throw, the Chiefs rallied from down 11 points to force overtime. Mahomes tossed for 221 yards in the second half, and added 21 yards in overtime to put K.C. in a spot for the game-winning field goal. The QB did it all, leading the Chiefs with 54 rushing yards, most of which moved the chains. He dodged pass rusher after pass rusher, contorting his body to make some throws other QBs couldn't dream up. The Chargers defensive front controlled Mahomes the first half, with Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Jerry Tillery (who was everywhere early for L.A.) living in the backfield. Once again, however, the Chiefs proved that even when a defense busts their chops for a half, it's never enough. Sooner or later, that muscle car is going to get loose and burn rubber.
2) A pregame chest injury to Tyrod Taylor thrust rookie QB Justin Herbert into the starting lineup. The first-round pick shouldn't be giving the job back, even though his coach said he likely will. After the L.A. offense looked stuck in the mud in Week 1, Herbert moved the chains, helping pick up 28 first downs on the day for a balanced offense (13 first downs rushing, 14 passing, one on penalty). The rookie tossed for 311 yards (304 through four quarters) while completing 66.7% of his passes with a TD and an INT. Herbert got through his reads surprisingly fast for a rookie in his first NFL action -- preseason or regular season. He made deft pocket movements to avoid sacks and threw some absolute darts. He also showed he's more mobile than many QBs his size (6-foot-6), rushing four times for 18 yards, including a TD. The rook made some absolute dime throws -- ones Taylor just can't at this stage -- including a beauty in the corner of the end zone for a TD and a missile over the middle to Keenan Allen in traffic while he was getting crushed in the pocket. As with all first-year players, there were some rough spots that need smoothing out. Even with the blemishes -- and a coach who didn't give him a chance on a fourth down in overtime -- Herbert showed why he was a high draft pick. Even when Taylor gets healthy, this should be Herbert's team moving forward.
3) Harrison Butker showed why he's one of the best kickers in the NFL. Already having nailed a 58-yarder in the first half, the Super Bowl-winning kicker lined up for the game-winning 53-yard field goal in OT. He nailed it straight through the uprights, but a false start wiped out the boot. Fine, he'll do it from 58. A Lynn timeout to ice Butker came just before the second snap, but still the kicker followed through to make another try. OK. Cool. No big deal. Try three. Butker lined up again and smashed it through the posts with plenty of leg to spare. Ball game.
-- Kevin Patra
1) The Ravens are better than they were last year. It was clear in Week 1 and unavoidable in Week 2. Baltimore rushed for 230 yards, Lamar Jackson completed 75% of his passes, threw a touchdown pass, broke 200 yards through the air and spread the ball among nine targets -- including the fullback -- and Mark Ingram emerged from his Week 1 slumber to break five yards per carry and score a touchdown. Baltimore's defense forced two turnovers, returned a fumble for a touchdown and sacked Deshaun Watson four times. Justin Tucker was a perfect 4 for 4 on field goal attempts. When the Ravens took a 14-point lead in the fourth, it felt like it was a 30-point advantage. No one -- rightfully -- wants to play the Ravens right now. And no one is playing better football than Baltimore.
2) If square pegs simply fit into square holes in this sport, stopping Jackson would simply come down to pressuring and sacking him. We know, though, this game is far more complex than that, but the Texans seemed to at least uncover a few clues on how to get after the superstar quarterback Sunday. Houston sacked Jackson three times -- two by J.J. Watt, who made Jackson his 39th quarterback sacked in his illustrious career -- and managed to string out or contain designed keepers fairly frequently, which added some excitement in that it would require Baltimore to get a little more creative offensively. Such creativity led to a direct snap to Ingram on fourth-and-short, which produced a 30-yard touchdown run that was the dagger. Still, Houston deserves some credit for giving defenses an idea of what might work -- something we haven't seen done in the regular season since Cleveland found success against Jackson way back in Week 4 of 2019.
3) Even with that compliment, this was still a rough outing for Houston, but fans of the Texans and the rest of the NFL need to acknowledge and accept one cold, hard fact: No team in the NFL had a tougher first two weeks than the Houston Texans. They launched their no-preseason-amid-a-pandemic season with a Thursday night game on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions, then came home to an empty NRG Stadium and had to play the one team that very well could be better than the defending champions. It would've been an achievement to be anything other than 0-2, honestly.
-- Nick Shook
1) Reports of Tampa Bay's demise were greatly exaggerated. Tom Brady and Mike Evans became one Sunday, connecting seven times for 104 yards and a touchdown and helping the Buccaneers (1-1) jump out to a three-touchdown lead. Tampa Bay needed that lead late because its offense again entered a lull, but the Buccaneers were able to hang on because of an interception by Carlton Davis, leading to a Ryan Succop field goal to make it a two-possession game. Leonard Fournette's 46-yard touchdown run sealed the win, capping the Bucs' bounce-back effort with emphasis. The Bucs' offense isn't firing on all cylinders yet, but it's definitely away from the starting line.
2) It might be a rough campaign for Carolina. Turnovers early set them back and for the first two quarters, they looked entirely over matched, getting outscored 21-0. The Panthers do deserve credit for battling to the end of a game that very easily could have gotten out of hand, and there's a nice silver lining: Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore went off, with each breaking 100 yards receiving on a combined 17 receptions. But with the ball at Tampa Bay's 5 on fourth and goal, the decision to kick a field goal to make it a seven-point game seemed unwise and felt as if it would be Carolina's final trip to the red zone. That soon proved true, dropping Matt Rhule to 0-2 in his first NFL season.
3) There's an interesting dynamic brewing in Tampa Bay's backfield. After Ronald Jones looked to be even with Fournette in the Buccaneers' backfield race in the first half and Fournette rushed for just 20 yards on six carries, the latter exploded in the second half, racking up 83 yards and a second touchdown on just six additional carries. The Buccaneers are going to need a hammer to close games this season, and Fournette was exactly that Sunday. We'll see how it affects Tampa Bay's backfield situation -- which also includes LeSean McCoy -- in the weeks ahead.
-- Nick Shook
1) San Francisco's injury woes are mounting. Entering the game without its starting cornerback, wide receiver, tight end and defensive end, the 49ers (1-1) lost their starting QB (Jimmy Garoppolo), RB (Raheem Mostert) and DE (the other one, Nick Bosa) in the span of 30 minutes of game time against New York. Their ailments may range in severity -- Bosa's looked the most serious -- but the quantity and frequency of San Francisco's injuries is alarming nonetheless. Thankfully, the Niners have newfound depth at at least one position …
2) Welcome back to the fold, Jordan Reed! The oft-injured tight end was thrust into the starting lineup thanks to George Kittle's knee injury, which could keep him out another week, and made the most of his opportunity. Reed frustrated rising Jets safety Marcus Maye on contested catches and in open space, hauling in a team-high seven balls for 50 yards and two touchdowns, his first scores since his last standout outing on Nov. 11, 2018. Kyle Shanahan, Reed's old offensive coordinator in D.C., took a shot on the unreliable TE in free agency, and Reed has so far rewarded the coach's trust. Given the 49ers' injury issues, Reed may need to replicate Sunday's outing when faced with stiffer opposition for San Francisco to keep up in the NFC West.
3) Nothing is working in New York. The Jets (0-2) can't establish the run or the pass on early downs, even with hard-nosed Frank Gore (63 yards on 21 carries) filling in for the injured Le'Veon Bell. Sam Darnold can't connect on intermediate to deep throws, either because his C-level receivers can't get open or because Adam Gase is busy scheming five-yard outs on every other play. Gregg Williams' shorthanded defense can't handle a shorthanded San Francisco passing attack. And New York's claim to fame, its rushing defense, can't set the edge on the fastest RB in football on the first play of the game. This one was over in spirit from the moment Mostert took it 80 yards to the house 10 seconds in. Nothing is working in New York, and if things aren't turned around by October, Gase won't be either.
-- Jeremy Bergman
1) Anyone wondering whether Ben Roethlisberger can still sling it received his answer in the first half Sunday when Big Ben delivered a strike to Chase Claypool for an 84-yard touchdown. Having said that, the Steelers had a strange game offensively, but also one that isn't uncommon in Week 2 of a typical season. At times, Pittsburgh made the task of scoring look easy (like that Claypool touchdown, or a later touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson), and at other times, the offense ground to a halt against a defense that was banged up heading into Sunday. We know one thing, though: Roethlisberger (29-41, 311 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) isn't yet feeling the pressure from Father Time.
2) It's tough to know how good of a 2-0 record the Steelers truly own, considering they got the Giants in Week 1 and three quarters of Jeff Driskel's Broncos in Week 2, but their defense is hard to argue against. Bud Dupree strip-sacked Drew Lock, knocking the second-year starter out of the game, Joe Haden snagged a pass that deflected off the hands of Courtland Sutton, and the Steelers even scored a safety. Those two points ended up mattering a whole lot when Denver was in field goal range but was forced to go for it down five late. Pittsburgh can work out whatever kinks it has on offense as the season progresses, but it can bank on its defense on a weekly basis.
3) There's never a good time to lose your starting quarterback, but Sunday felt like especially bad timing for the Broncos. Credit is due to Driskel (18-34, 256 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT), as he had the Broncos in position to score a go-ahead touchdown late when they appeared doomed on multiple prior occasions. The most peculiar decision, though, was inside Pittsburgh's red zone late, when the Broncos opted to throw twice on third-and-2 and fourth-and-2 even after Melvin Gordon (19 carries, 70 yards) had proven to be a viable option on the ground. Placing the game in the hands of your backup when you have a legitimate back in a rhythm just isn't wise, and it cost Denver (0-2).
-- Nick Shook
1) That'll be two game-winners this season for Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Fresh off his career-worst outing on Monday night, Gostkowski nailed a 49-yard field goal to give the Titans the lead with 1:36 left to play. On the subsequent Jaguars drive, Harold Landry snagged an interception to lock in a victory for the Titans (2-0) and an early first-place lead in the AFC South. Gostkowski's day wasn't perfect -- missing one of four PATs on the day -- but the veteran kicker added another field goal just before half from 51 yards, ending his day two for two.
2) Ryan Tannehill tied a career-high with four touchdown passes and got the Titans rolling from the jump. On the first play of the game, Tannehill bombed a 63-yard pass to tight end Jonnu Smith and ended the opening drive two plays later with a TD to his favorite target on the day. Smith ended the day with four catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Receivers Adam Humphries and Corey Davis caught the other TD passes from Tannehill on a day when No. 1 receiver A.J. Brown was inactive.
3) This Jaguars (1-1) team is feisty. Despite being one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, the Jags played with a disposition that resembles a confident football team. Gardner Minshew was decisive with the football, ending the day with 339 yards and three touchdowns while spreading the ball around to eight receivers. Though his two INTs proved costly in the end, Minshew commanded the offense and made some gutsy throws that kept Jacksonville in the game. Undrafted rookie running back James Robinson had another good day with 102 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown. Defensively, the Jaguars were up to the challenge of stopping Derrick Henry, holding the NFL"s reigning rushing champion to just 84 yards on 25 carries. In defeat, their effort shouldn't go unnoticed.
-- Michael Baca
1) Matt Nagy continued his stellar play-calling to open the season, leaning on a dynamic ground game to protect his QB and milk away a home victory. David Montgomery led the way with 16 carries for 82 yards despite leaving briefly in the first half with a neck injury. Combining with Cordarrelle Patterson and Tarik Cohen, the Bears ground game churned the clock and kept the Giants off-balance. Mitchell Trubisky started off strong after last week's fourth-quarter comeback, making several good throws over the middle in the first half to spur a 17-0 lead. The up-and-down QB, however, crashed in the second half, throwing for just 31 yards with two INTs to give Big Blue a chance to mount a comeback. On the first interception, Trubisky tried to give Allen Robinson a chance to make a play in traffic, and had the ball popped up. On the second, Giants CB James Bradberry made a great play on a ball that was slightly under thrown. As with every week, Nagy was able to milk enough out of the run game to withstand Trubisky's dips in play. The Bears converting a key fourth and two on a tipped pass in traffic that landed in the hands of right tackle Bobby Massie to churn time off the clock proving key epitomized the day for Chicago (2-0).
2) The Giants (0-2) suffered huge injuries Sunday. Starting running back Saquon Barkley left at the start of the second quarter with a serious knee injury that could knock him out the rest of the season. Barkley finally looked to be getting on track after a rough first week. He'd just popped an 18-yard run but suffered the knee injury on a six-yard carry. Watching the RB writhe on the ground, it was clear he would be done for the day if not longer. Despite only taking four carries, Barkley still led the Giants in rushing, which says everything about Big Blue's RB situation sans the star. Later, starter Sterling Shepard exited with a toe injury and couldn't finish the game. Credit the Giants for keeping it close without two of their best players. Long-term, New York will have trouble to replace key pieces.
3) Once again, Daniel Jones is going to lament his turnovers. The second-year QB fumbled on the opening possession, leading to a 10-0 hole off the bat. Later in the first half, Evan Engram fell on a route leading to an INT that cost the Giants a chance at points. Against another good defense, Jones made some plays in the second half without his two top playmakers but came up just short. Jones makes some brilliant throws and stepped up well in the pocket to avoid the Bears rush on several snaps. It's the brutal mistakes the young QB needs to clean up to take the next step. Perpetual turnovers are a weekly issue for a Giants team that seems to be stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario.
-- Kevin Patra
1) If Aaron Rodgers is the straw that stirs the drink in Green Bay, Aaron Jones is the ice that keeps it cool. Anchored by a well-balanced attack from the Aarons, the Packers rolled to a 2-0 start with a formidable showing against Detroit (0-2). A career-long 75-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the second half perfectly accentuated the all-around day Jones compiled; he recorded a game-high 168 rush yards and two scores on 18 carries. His reliability on the ground translated to a solid day through the air, as Jones led all receivers with four catches (team-high eight targets) for 68 yards and a TD. Save for a few dropped passes by his tight ends and Davante Adams being slowed down by a hamstring issue, it was a clean day for Rodgers, who saw little pressure en route to tallying 240 yards (18-of-30) and two TDs.
2) Another week, another hot start/cold finish for the Lions. While the circumstances weren't as egregious as Week 1, back-to-back TD drives to begin the game gave Matt Patricia's squad an early 14-3 lead. It was all downhill from there. A steady run game quickly tapered off as Detroit's three-headed backfield finished with 89 yards after contributing 56 over the first two series. A pair of 15-yard penalties from safety Will Harris positioned the Packers to take a 17-14 lead, their first of the game, going into halftime. They would maintain control from there as Matthew Stafford (244 yards, two TDs, four sacks, INT) and Co. couldn't keep pace against a team clicking on all cylinders.
3) Apparently whatever conversation took place in the locker room at halftime injected life into the Packers D for the remainder. A sluggish start brought questions from the broadcast booth about a lack of "juice," perhaps caused by the absence of the Lambeau faithful and nose tackle Kenny Clark. Rashan Gary helped turned things around, recording 1.5 sacks and two QB hits. He also provided the pressure that forced a quick Stafford throw that CB Chandon Sullivan snagged for a pick-six as Detroit attempted its come back midway through the third.
-- Jelani Scott
1) The Colts have a new feature back, and he might be a star. Rookie Jonathan Taylor rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, providing Indianapolis the ball-control offense it craves. The Colts maintained possession for more than 38 minutes as Marlon Mack's replacement continuously picked up a steady four yards a pop over 26 carries. Backup Jordan Wilkins was comparably effective (9-40), thus minimizing Philip Rivers' turnover risk. He threw his third interception of the season on his first drive of the game but would finish a crisp 19 of 25 for 214 yards and a TD. It all started with the run.
2) Kirk Cousins will have better days. The Vikings need him to have them soon. They fell to 0-2 in the unforgivingly competitive NFC after their QB had one of the worst games of his career. Cousins connected on just 11 of 26 passes for 113 yards with no touchdowns but three interceptions. Only three completions eclipsed 10 yards as Minnesota's signal-caller appeared uncomfortable targeting receivers other than Adam Thielen. That issue might linger with Stefon Diggs now in Buffalo.
3) The addition of Rivers garnered most of the headlines in Indy this offseason. Trading for DeForest Buckner might prove to be more important. The former 49ers Pro Bowler had a huge performance in his home debut, making himself especially comfortable in the Vikings backfield. Buckner collected 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss and four hits on Cousins, who was under constant duress. A week after two Colts turnovers resulted in TDs for their opponent, the defense took matters into its own hands against the Vikings. Indy forced the three aforementioned INTs, tallied a safety and three sacks, and allowed just 43 yards over a stretch of eight possessions. That all started in the trenches.
-- Adam Maya
1) Josh Allen followed up his first 300-yard game with his first 400-yard game. The Bills quarterback had career-highs in yards (417) and touchdowns (four), and lengthened the lead with a 46-yard TD pass to John Brown that made it a two-score game with a little over three minutes to play. With the Bills defense short-handed (Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano out due to injury) and a 30-minute weather delay breaking their rhythm at halftime, Allen was more than reliable when they called his number.
2) Stefon Diggs was a catalyst to Allen's big day. The Bills wideout hauled in eight passes for 153 yards and his first TD for the Bills. Against a Dolphins defense that saw cornerback Byron Jones exit in the first quarter due to injury, Diggs was nearly unstoppable and often left wide open thanks to his superb route-running. His last reception of the day was an incredible sideline pass that extended the Bills' final scoring drive, which also gave Diggs two consecutive games with eight receptions to start the year. The Bills (2-0) are certainly happy with their offseason acquisition so far.
3) The Dolphins (0-2) scrapped their way to a one-score game but a failed onside kick attempt with 49 seconds left to play put the game on ice. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had an efficient day with 328 yards and two TDs, and spread the ball around to nine receivers. Tight end Mike Gesicki was the standout, catching a career-best eight balls for 130 yards and a touchdown. WR DeVante Parker also had a solid day with five receptions for 53 yards and a score. With their defense hobbled and tired by the end, the Dolphins offense kept them in the game, however, a crucial turnover on downs in the third quarter from the Bills' one-yard line was a momentum killer that denied perhaps the points needed for an upset.
-- Michael Baca
1) The Los Angeles Rams are off to a 2-0 start after their 37-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Rams took advantage of a Miles Sanders fumble during Philly's opening drive with a touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Higbee. And that was just the start for Higbee, who finished with three touchdowns. Darrell Henderson saw more touches after Cam Akers suffered a rib injury during the first quarter and did not return. The second-year running back scored his first touchdown of the season, finishing with 121 scrimmage yards.
2) This Rams offense looked like the Rams from two years ago with Jared Goff playing one of his best games. He picked apart the Eagles' defense. He completed 13 straight passes to start the game before his first incompletion with almost three minutes left in the first half. He finished the day with 20-for-27 for 267 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 142.1 passer rating
3) For a second, it looked like the Eagles might have a chance to win after the momentum shifted from a rare Cooper Kupp fumble on a punt return during the second quarter. But a key interception by Darious Williams in the third quarter on a pass from Carson Wentz in the end zone stopped a good drive by the Eagles and swung the momentum back to the Rams. The Eagles offensive line played much better this week, but Wentz was off target for several plays. They even used Jalen Hurts as a decoy, but it wasn't enough to stop the Rams. Wentz finished with 26-for-43 for 242 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 56.5.
-- Lakisha Wesseling
1) It's still early, but Kyler Murray already looks more confident and controlled under center. From the onset, he was aggressive, gashing Washington with quick throws and fast legs to jump to a quick 14-0 first-quarter lead. After throwing an INT, Murray made up for it with a nimble 14-yard QB keeper for Arizona's second TD on its next series, giving him 95 total yards to start the game. Even when pressure appeared near, Murray used his speed to make the right play. His aggression led to some big overthrows, but, considering he tossed 54- and 49-yard dimes to help set up FGs in the second quarter, it would be wise for Murray to keep pressuring secondaries with his arm. In all, there was a lot to like from Murray, who complied 286 yards (68% completion rate) and a TD to go with 8/67/2 on the ground.
2) Washington again found itself in a 17-0 hole. But, against a surging Cards offense, it proved too deep to climb out of. The promising defense (three sacks, INT) couldn't slow Murray down (who can?) but the offense, despite being shut out for most of the evening, provided some encouraging flashes late. Dwayne Haskins (223 yds/TD) hit emerging wideout Terry McLaurin (seven receptions, game-high 125 yards) for a 24-yard score midway through the fourth, and running back Antonio Gibson (13/55/TD) capped off lengthy drive with an 11-yard run. Still, the Football Team spent much of this one playing bad football.
3) Washington's offense was largely stale, thanks to the pressure from the Cardinals' plethora of pass rushers. Led by Jordan Hicks and DeVondre Campbell (20 tackles, 3 TFL), Arizona's defense made life miserable for Haskins, who was scrambling most of the contest. The group tallied four sacks (one a strip-sack of Haskins), seven tackles for a loss, three passes defensed and eight QB hits, four of which came from Chandler Jones. Murray was great but the D deserves some praise, as well.
-- Jelani Scott