If Week 1 is the week of overreaction, Week 2 is when we begin to see patterns emerging.
Whether it be impressive performances, breakout stars or disappointing signs, the second weekend of action is when the NFL starts to take shape.
Week 2 had it all, so let’s have a look at Sunday’s action across the league.
Chiefs back to winning ways
As is tradition, the reigning Super Bowl champions played in the season-opening game in Week 1. To start the 2023 season, this meant the Kansas City Chiefs were able to celebrate their title in front of their home crowd on Thursday Night Football.
It didn’t go to plan though, as the Detroit Lions stunned the Chiefs as Kansas City’s new season got off to a surprising start.
But, after having some time to recalibrate, the Chiefs got back to winning ways in Week 2, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-9.
It wasn’t pretty, but two touchdown passes from superstar Patrick Mahomes on his 28th birthday were enough in what was a rematch of an exciting playoff game in last postseason’s divisional round.
And the Chiefs defense handled the rest, holding the Jaguars to the second-lowest points total in head coach Doug Pederson’s time at the helm.
In particular, the return of Chiefs star defensive lineman Chris Jones was a huge boon for the team, as he finished the game with one-and-a-half sacks, one tackle for loss and a pass defended.
Four-time Pro-Bowler Jones missed the Week 1 game in a contract holdout, but the 29-year-old signed a new contract extension during the week and returned to action as a result.
And he came up with the big plays in the clutch moments on Sunday, helping to force a turnover on downs late in the fourth quarter as Jacksonville drove to tie the game.
It wasn’t the explosive offensive performance we’re accustomed to with the Chiefs but the defending champs avoided falling to 0-2 with the gritty victory.
“Our guys really sucked it up. It was hot and humid out there. I’m an offensive guy, but that was a beautiful thing defensively,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said afterwards.
“Offensively, we have to take care of the penalties and the turnovers, but to battle through it shows me a little something. We’ll get the other stuff fixed as we go.”
Overtime wins and ‘I’m talking to America here’
The Titans had narrowly lost, while the Seahawks had suffered a humbling home defeat to their division rivals, the Los Angeles Rams.
Both teams took their time, but in the end, each claimed a vital overtime victory as they avoided remaining winless to start the season.
The Titans edged past the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 thanks to Nick Folk’s 41-yard field goal, while Tyler Lockett’s six-yard touchdown reception in OT gave the Seahawks a 37-31 victory over the Lions.
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 246 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-24 attempts and ran for another while Derrick Henry added one TD on the ground as the Titans kept the Chargers – who remain winless with the defeat – at bay.
LA had the first opportunity in overtime to score the winning touchdown, but had to punt the ball away after not being able to create offense when it needed it, presenting an opening for the Titans.
It’s another disappointing result for the Chargers, who finished last season with a historic playoff defeat – despite holding a 27-0 lead late in the second quarter – to the Jaguars.
But Chargers head coach Brandon Staley isn’t worried about his team’s mentality.
“I’m not worried about the Jacksonville loss – the Jacksonville loss hasn’t carried onto the season whatsoever,” Staley said during his postgame press conference when a reporter brought up last season’s loss. “If you’ve seen our training camp or you’ve seen the way we’ve played in the first two games, it hasn’t had an impact on our team whatsoever.
“Our team is connected, our team has played its heart out in two games, and we’ve lost two tough games. It has nothing to do with the Jacksonville game and, if you ask anyone in our locker room, it has nothing to do with the Jacksonville game. And that’s just the truth.
“It’s a convenient storyline for you and for everybody else, but it’s not the truth. We’ve lost two tough games, but the guys in that locker room, the men in that locker room, they are finishers and they have what it takes and we’re excited to prove ourselves.”
For the Seahawks, it was an up-and-down game, which resulted in a much-needed victory after giving up a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead.
Detroit quarterback Jared Goff was having his own excellent game with three touchdowns, but he was intercepted midway through the fourth quarter by Tre Brown, which was run back 40 yards for a touchdown.
A clutch overtime drive from Smith and the Seahawks – 10 plays and 75 yards long – ended with Lockett’s touchdown and helped kickstart Seattle’s season.
The highlight of the game for many though was when Smith attempted to complain to lead referee Alex Kemp about a call while Kemp was announcing a penalty decision, only for Kemp to reply: “I’m talking to America here, excuse me.”
Cowboys ease to win as Jets struggle without Aaron Rodgers
The loss of Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets was a momentous one.
For a team which entered the new season with so much optimism, the four-time NFL MVP’s season-ending Achilles tear on just his fourth play with his new team was a real gut punch.
The shocking injury meant that Zach Wilson – the former No. 2 overall draft pick who had underwhelmed in his two previous years with the team – was thrust back into the starting lineup and the spotlight.
In Week 2, Wilson demonstrated why the team traded for Rodgers during the offseason, as he threw three interceptions in the Jets’ 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys defense – spearheaded by Micah Parsons – is known as one of the league’s best, but Wilson looked lost throughout.
His one bright-spot was an exquisite 68-yard touchdown connection with Garrett Wilson, but it was the Jets’ only touchdown of the day.
Wilson finished with 12-of-27 passing for 170 yards and a touchdown to go along with the three picks and had a team-high 36 rushing yards on five attempts. But despite the result, Wilson believes he’s better prepared to succeed this season in Rodgers’ absence.
“I feel like I’m seeing it well, I really do,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “And it’s really unfortunate to show that as an offense because we’ve got to be better, I need to be better.
“But we’re right there, and so we’re going to go back, and it’s a long season, we’re going to go watch this film and see how we can improve. Everyone trusts and believes in each other, and we all love each other, so we’re excited for the challenge.”
Jets head coach Robert Saleh deflected blame away from Wilson, instead putting the blame on his shoulders.
“I don’t know if we gave (the offense) much of a chance,” Saleh told reporters. “Defensively, we just couldn’t get off the field on third down today, had our opportunities. Give them credit, they were efficient, they were ahead of the chains, and, when we did catch them in third-and-long situations, they were still able to capitalize.
“We just didn’t give ourselves a chance defensively, to get off the field, to give our offense a chance to get any kind of rhythm going.”
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott impressed, throwing 31-of-38 for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the home win, which sent Dallas to 2-0 on the year.
Full Week 2 Sunday scores
Away vs. home
Seattle Seahawks 37-31 Detroit Lions
Kansas City Chiefs 17-9 Jacksonville Jaguars
Los Angeles Chargers 24-27 Tennessee Titans
San Francisco 49ers 30-23 Los Angeles Rams
New York Jets 10-30 Dallas Cowboys
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