The NFL preseason has reached the midway point with Week 2, which serves as the de facto “dress rehearsal” for starters to prepare for the beginning of the regular season — which is just three weeks away. For teams that don’t have joint practices this week, Week 2 of the preseason is critical.
The Sunday slate features three games, which started with a matinee between the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns (check out our takeaways here). The Cincinnati Bengals will travel tonight to the Meadowlands to face the New York Giants, who are expected to suit up both Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor. Finally, the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals will cap off Sunday’s games — but no Lamar Jackson in this one.
On Saturday, fans were treated to rookie quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis, who are both hoping to put more pressure on the quarterbacks currently ahead of them on the depth chart. The day was capped off by a brilliant performance by a player who recently won USFL MVP honors.
Below is a look at all of the highlights from the first three days of preseason Week 2 action.
Eagles 21, Browns 20 (Recap)
Bengals at Giants, 7 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Ravens at Cardinals, 8 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Bills 42, Broncos 15 (Recap)
Lions 27, Colts 26 (Recap)
Chiefs 24, Commanders 14 (Recap)
Steelers 16, Jaguars 15 (Takeaways)
Raiders 15, Dolphins 13 (Recap)
49ers 17, Vikings 7 (Recap)
Titans 13, Buccaneers 3 (Recap)
Cowboys 32, Chargers 18 (Recap)
Patriots 20, Panthers 10 (Takeaways)
Packers 20, Saints 10 (Recap)
Texans 24, Rams 20 (Recap)
Bears 27, Seahawks 11 (Takeaways)
Falcons at Jets, 8 p.m. ET (Gametracker)
Devon Allen scores 55-yard TD on first NFL catch
Devon Allen finally earned an opportunity to showcase what he can do with the football in his hands, scoring a 55-yard touchdown on his first NFL catch. The throw was perfect by Reid Sinnett as Allen did a hurdle celebration once he scored.
A three-time national champion in the 110-meter hurdles (2014, 2016, 2018) and a two-time Olympian in the event, Allen finished fourth in the 110-meter hurdles in the 2020 Beijing Olympics last summer. He was a finalist in the 2022 World Track and Field Championships in the event.
Andre Chachere stops Josh Dobbs at goal line
Chachere lowered his shoulder on Dobbs, who appeared to score and give the Browns the lead with four seconds left in the half. The Eagles safety denied the ball from crossing the plane and Eagles cornerback Josh Jobe had a pass breakup on the next play to hold the Browns to three.
Deon Cain back-shoulder catch
Deon Cain is vying for a spot on the Eagles roster and certainly had an impressive first half to state his case. Cain leads the Eagles with four catches for 59 yards, including this impressive back-shoulder catch on Philadelphia’s third possession. Cain followed this catch with another one on the very next play.
Kenny Gainwell jukes out defender on 3rd-and-13 for first down
The Eagles have controlled the line of scrimmage on their first two offensive drives, rushing for 79 yards. This third-and-13 run was all Kenny Gainwell, as Jack Anderson opened a hole for the running back — and he did the rest.
The Eagles scored on the drive — which went for 17 plays and 75 yards. Both their scoring drives went 7-plus minutes.
Josh Dobbs 36-yard run
Josh Dobbs was pressured by Eagles safety Andre Chachere and looked to be going down for a sack, yet escaped Chachere and Patrick Johnson to take off for a 36-yard run. There was a flag on the play, but it was holding on the Eagles.
Dobbs had three carries for 46 yards and a touchdown on the drive.
Kenny Pickett continues strong preseason
The Kenny Pickett hype train continues to chug along. After tossing the game-winning touchdown in Pittsburgh’s preseason opener last week, the first-round rookie is turning heads yet again. This time, Pickett is seeing work with the first-team offense and looks like a guy capable of being the Week 1 starter. In the second quarter, he led a touchdown drive in just 42 seconds.
On top of the scoring toss to running back Benny Snell Jr., Pickett also showed nice touch on a 24-yard gain to tight end Pat Freiermuth. In the first half, Pickett went 6-of-7 passing for 76 yards and that touchdown.
Malik Willis shows off escapability
Malik Willis is flashing his upside. The rookie out of Liberty got the start in Tennessee’s preseason matchup against Tampa Bay, and his ability to weave around the pocket has been on full display. While leading the Titans on a field goal drive in the second quarter, Willis threw a side arm pass as he escaped a would-be sack to move the chains.
He then ripped off a 25-yard scramble to get Tennessee into the red zone, where they’d eventually kick a field goal. Willis is still a raw prospect and needs to improve as a passer, but the tools are there for him to be a legit candidate to be a long-term option for the Titans with some development.
KaVontae Turpin’s electrifying returns
Reigning USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin strengthened his case to make the Cowboys’ 53-man roster when he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score against the Chargers on Saturday night. He returned to the end zone moments later after running back a punt 86 yards for a touchdown.
Turpin joined the Cowboys earlier this summer after helping the USFL’s New Jersey Generals post a 9-1 regular during the league’s inaugural regular season.
Titans rookie wideout Kyle Phillips has made a name for himself this summer. He’s drawn praise from head coach Mike Vrabel, who also noted that quarterback Ryan Tannehill trusts throwing to him. While he’s opened eyes as a pass catcher, the fifth-round pick out of UCLA is also making plays in the return game.
In Tennessee’s exhibition with the Bucs on Saturday, Phillips fielded a punt just outside the Tennessee 20-yard line and returned in 35 yards. He was able to make his initial tackler miss, found a hole and fought through a couple of tackles to flip the field for the Titans.
While rookie George Pickens has garnered a ton of attention in Pittsburgh this summer, don’t sleep on Chase Claypool’s talent. On the Steelers opening drive in their exhibition with the Jaguars, Mitchell Trubisky took a third-and-6 snap and connected with Claypool, who ran a fade out of the slot and rose up to make a contested catch for 29-yards. Claypool is looking to build off a 2021 season where he logged a career-high 956 yards from scrimmage and 13.1 yards per touch.
Mahomes double dips with Fortson
In case you were wondering, Patrick Mahomes looks like Patrick Mahomes. In Kansas City’s second preseason game of the summer against Washington, the former league MVP got the start and looked like he was in midseason form. He opened the game with back-to-back touchdown drives, both culminating with a pass to tight end Jody Fortson.
The first catch capped off an 87-yard drive for the Chiefs. Mahomes threw it up to Fortson and he was able to display strong footwork to remain in bounds for the score. That wasn’t even Mahomes’ best throw on the drive as he completed a 39-yard pass to Justin Watson as well.
Later, Mahomes was flushed out of the pocket and forced to make an off-balance throw to the front left corner of the end zone where he’d find Fortson again.
Through two drives, Mahomes is 12 of 19 passing for 162 yards and those two scores.
Lions and touchdowns and grabs, oh my
Not many starters saw the field in the Lions vs. Colts game, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything worth paying attention to. Lions wideout Tom Kennedy found himself in the end zone on back-to-back Detroit possessions. The first touchdown grab came on the final play of the first half:
To open the scoring after halftime, Kennedy once again reached up over a Colts defender to haul in a pass for six points.
Josh Allen and the first-team Buffalo Bills offense marched right down the field against the Denver Broncos, covering 70 yards on six plays. The drive ended with Allen scrambling around the pocket, setting his feet, and whipping the ball to Gabriel Davis in the front of the end zone.
Allen went 3-for-3 for 49 yards and a score, completing passes to Davis, Stefon Diggs, and Isaiah McKenzie. Devin Singletary was the lead back for Buffalo, with Zack Moss entering for drive No. 2 ahead of rookie James Cook. Oh, and Buffalo followed up the Davis touchdown catch by reaching the end zone on each of its next five possessions. Moss ran in a pair of short scores, O.J. Howard caught a touchdown from Case Keenum (who finished 16 of 18 for 192 yards), and Duke Johnson hit pay dirt twice on the ground as well.
Catch of the (Friday) night!
The Houston Texans played their starters for the first half of this preseason contest against the Los Angeles Rams, and were able to take a 7-6 halftime lead thanks to this pinpoint catch by Nico Collins in the end zone. Collins just upstaged Derion Kendrick for the ball and came away with the score.
Collins is going to play a role in the Texans offense in 2022. Plays like this will get him more targets.
What makes this Etling touchdown run special? The play occurred during an interview with Aaron Rodgers on the Packers broadcast. Rodgers’ excitement with Etling scoring makes this play even more thrilling.
Love looked the part of a NFL quarterback on Friday night, finishing with 113 yards and a touchdown pass. He also showcased his running ability with this 11-yard run for a first down.
Chris Olave scores his first touchdown
Olave is giving Saints fans a preview of what’s to come when he lines up alongside Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry this fall. The first-round pick connected with Ian Book on a 20-yard touchdown with 12 seconds left in the first half — his first in a Saints uniform.
Olave had just one catch for four yards last week, but had two in the first half of this one.
Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe made a dangerous throw rolling to his left, and Hayes read the pass to take the ball the other way and tie the game. Zappe hasn’t been as sharp in his second outing this preseason, one in which Matt Patricia is calling plays.
Romeo Doubs touchdown
There’s a spot for Doubs to earn snaps with the first team this year, and this touchdown catch from Jordan Love demonstrates why. Doubs came up with this impressive four-yard touchdown reception over Brian Allen to put the Packers up, 10-3, over the Saints in the second quarter. Love is starting to show trust in the fourth-round rookie.
59-yard field goal from Wil Lutz
Lutz missed all of 2021 with a core muscle injury, as the Saints missed his reliability in the kicking department. He certainly looked like his old self with this 59-yard field goal to close out the first quarter.
Just 13 of 23 on 50-plus yard field goals in his career, Lutz hitting this kick is very encouraging.
Romeo Doubs making his case to move up the depth chart
Doubs was one of the young wide receivers Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers criticized during the week, so he was in the spotlight with the second teamers participating in the majority of this one. A 17-yard catch on the opening drive on a Jordan Love throw makes a strong impression, even if Doubs failed to corral a third-down pass earlier.
No longer a quarterback for the Saints, Hill has shifted his focus to tight end for the 2022 season. The No. 2 tight end in New Orleans, Hill made an early impact by catching a 10-yard pass from Ian Book. Hill adds an extra dimension to the Saints offense in his new role, and can still play wide receiver and running back in short-yardage situations.
The Patriots averaged just 1.9 yards per play in the first quarter with just 21 yards of offense, but Nelson Agholor changed that with this 45-yard catch on an impressive throw from Mac Jones. Going against a second-team defense or not, this is what Patriots fans want to see from their new-look offense.
New England scored a touchdown — a two-yard run from Ty Montgomery — three plays later.