The NFL preseason isn't about wins and losses. Participation trophies are handed out like youth sports at the end of the three-game run, four games for the two teams that play in the Hall of Fame Game. However, those "trophies" come in the form of 53-man roster spots as well as practice squad slots.
It's hard to overreact after your team has played only two games in which many starters barely suited up or didn't play at all. With that in mind, here's a look at how each NFL team's second evaluation exhibition went as well as the notable moments as we highlight the good, bad and ugly for all 32 clubs in Week 2 of the 2023 preseason.
Arizona Cardinals (defeated 38-10 by Kansas City Chiefs)
The good: The Cardinals' first-team defense. Reigning NFL and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes played the entire first quarter, and first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon's defense forced two punts on the Chiefs' first two drives. Mahomes did end his day with an 18-yard touchdown pass, but that's a pretty good stand. Inside linebackers Kyzir White, a starter for the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles in 2022, and Krys Barnes, a former Green Bay Packers starter, were active. Both did well in coverage and with surefire tackling. Arizona's defensive starters mostly holding up against Mahomes is a nice feather in their cap.
The bad and the ugly: Cardinals safety Isaiah Simmons. The eighth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft showcased all the reasons why new general manager Monti Ossenfort opted not to pick up his fifth-year option. He got lost in coverage, which led to the Chiefs gaining over 20 yards.
Simmons also appeared to make a lackluster effort on a tackle in the end zone, opting to pull up and make no attempt to jar the ball loose from wide receiver Justin Watson on a play that went for Mahomes' and the first-team offense's only points at the end of the first quarter. Just bad body language and awareness all night long from a player entering a contract year for a new regime.
Atlanta Falcons (tied Cincinnati Bengals 13-13)
The good: Rookie running back Bijan Robinson. His first carry put the top tier agility, vision, burst and acceleration on display as the Texas Longhorn picked up 12 yards and a first down. Robinson was a shoe-string tackle away from breaking off a gigantic gain.
Robinson also hauled in a one-handed catch on screen pass thrown behind him by starting quarterback Desmond Ridder. His play -- four carries for 20 rushing yards and a catch for six yards while soaking up a third of the touches when the Falcons had their starters on the field -- ensured the hype train for his Fantasy football prospects continues full steam ahead.
The bad and the ugly: The penalties. Their 13 committed against the Bengals in their second preseason are tied for the second-most infractions in a game played this week, trailing only the Saints' 14. Their showing in Week 2 of the preseason was a strong departure from their performance in this area from the 2022 regular season when Atlanta was flagged for 68 penalties, the fewest in the NFL. The first-team offense committed four penalties on their opening drive, including two from the NFL's highest-paid guard, Pro Bowler Chris Lindstrom. Head coach Arthur Smith will definitely be all over his offense for those miscues entering their preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Baltimore Ravens (defeated 29-28 by Washington Commanders)
The good: First-round rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers looks like an immediate impact player. The 22nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft cooked the Commanders secondary on his 26-yard touchdown to account for all but 11 of his 37 receiving yards on Monday. Flowers' out route to the right flat sprung himself wide open and a couple of jukes later, and he found himself in the end zone. His speed and agility could be a real weapon right away for Lamar Jackson in new offensive coordinator Todd Monken's pass-friendly attack.
The bad: The Ravens blew their NFL-record 24-game preseason winning streak. It came to an end after they surrendered a 49-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining. Does it matter that they blew a weirdly historic streak? Maybe, maybe not, but now Baltimore is feeling what it's like to lose in the preseason for the first time since 2015 when a number of current NFL starting quarterbacks were still in high school.
The ugly: Wide receiver James Proche's drop that directly led to an end zone interception. Monday night's starting quarterback Josh Johnson lobbed up a nice throw to Proche for what looked like was going to be an easy touchdown after he beat Commanders rookie cornerback Jartavius Martin. However, the football popped right out of Proche's hands on the gather and right into Martin's for a turnover. That play was a 14-point swing as Washington capped off its ensuing drive with its first touchdown of the night, a nine-yard pass from Sam Howell to Antonio Gibson. That play heavily contributed to the Ravens' one-point loss and the conclusion of their historic preseason winning streak.
Buffalo Bills (defeated 27-15 by Pittsburgh Steelers)
The good: Bills second-round rookie guard O'Cyrus Torrence. The 59th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Florida started with the first team from the jump, tasked with protecting face-of-franchise quarterback Josh Allen against the Steelers' ferocious pass rush. He played every snap of Allen's three drives and he only allowed one quarterback pressure on his 18 pass-blocking snaps.
The bad: The Bills may have an offensive tackle problem. Left tackle Dion Dawkins allowed two quarterback hurries and a pressure plus he was rung up for a false-start penalty. That's a tough night for the seventh-year veteran. At right tackle, Spencer Brown, entering his third NFL season, also had a tough go, getting beaten twice, surrendering a pressure and committing two holding penalties. Buffalo doesn't have much reliable depth behind them. A reunion with 41-year-old, nine-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jason Peters, who began his career in Western New York in 2004, would make a lot of sense.
The ugly: The penalties. Their 13 committed against the Steelers in their second preseason are tied for the second-most infractions in a game played this week, trailing only the Saints' 14. Right tackle Spencer Brown committed two holding penalties in a flag-filled night. That has to keep Sean McDermott up at night entering his squad's final preseason tune-up.
Carolina Panthers (defeated 21-19 by New York Giants)
The good: The Panthers scored points this week, and it was with Bryce Young in the game. It was a 15-play, 57-yard drive that ended in a 37-yard field goal. Young appeared much more put together when facing the Giants pass rush, unlike when he was running for his life on almost every dropback against the Jets in Week 1 of the preseason. He finished his night with 35 yards on 3-of-6 passing.
The bad and the ugly: Carolina's offensive line is still a legitimate issue, and it could place a ceiling on Young's development in Year 1. Their sixth overall pick from the 2022 NFL Draft, offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu was worked over by the player taken one pick ahead of him 2022, the Giants' Kayvon Thibodeux.
Young has been pressured on 46.7% of his dropbacks in two games (five possessions). That ranks as the sixth-highest rate among 72 quarterbacks with at least 10 pass attempts this preseason. His offensive line has been largely overwhelmed, which is a critical factor in why Young has only been able to score three points across his five drives. If the Panthers don't fix this problem quickly, Young may go down the path of another former Frank Reich quarterback, Andrew Luck.
Chicago Bears (defeated 24-17 by Indianapolis Colts)
The good: Undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent. The Shepherd University alum dominated playing Division II football, setting the division's career passing touchdowns record with 159. On Saturday against the Colts, he got his first opportunity to play with the Bears' second-string offense instead of the third string, and Bagent shined. He completed nine of his 10 passes for 76 yards and capped off Chicago's first scoring drive with a two-yard touchdown scramble.
The bad: The Bears' other backup quarterback, P.J. Walker. He signed a two-year, $4 million contract this offseason, a deal that signifies he's going to be Justin Fields' backup. However, Walker struggled mightily in his limited work on Saturday, completing just one of his four passes for six yards while taking two sacks. In total this preseason, Walker has amassed 25 passing yards and an interception on 5-of-12 passing. His struggles combined with Bagent's breakout could open the door for true competition at the backup quarterback spot in Chicago.
The ugly: Rookie second-round pick cornerback Tyrique Stevenson's 15-yard late hit penalty. He throws the Colts ball-carrier way after the play once both players went out of bounds. Sure, it's just the preseason, but unnecessary, self-inflicted wounds like that will drive a coach crazy.
Cincinnati Bengals (tied Atlanta Falcons 13-13)
The good: The Bengals defense. The Atlanta Falcons' starting offense threatened to score an opening-drive touchdown, reaching the six after the first 14 plays. However, cornerback Mike Hilton and defensive end Joseph Ossai teamed up to take the football away. Hilton tipped a tight throw from Ridder to Scottie Miller into the air and all Ossai had to do was run in the football for what appeared to be an easy tip-drill interception. Cincy kept Atlanta out of the end zone until late in the third quarter.
The bad and the ugly: Neither of the Bengals' backups -- Jake Browning and Trevor Siemian -- behind Joe Burrow, who is nursing a calf injury, was able to do enough to separate from each other in the race to start should Burrow not be ready for Week 1. While Browning had a decent outing, 140 yards on 16-of-22 passing, he left a sour taste in head coach Zac Taylor's mouth after telegraphing his pass right into the arms of the Falcons secondary with under six minutes left in the game. The Bengals may hit some bumps in the road until Burrow can return to action.
Cleveland Browns (tied 18-18 with Philadelphia Eagles)
The good: Rookie fifth-round pick quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson looks like he has a bright future in the NFL. He displayed nice poise in the pocket, completing 13 of his 25 passes for 164, which resulted in a 72.8 passer rating. Thompson-Robinson also dropped a few dimes like the throw below to a fellow rookie, wide receiver Cedric Tillman. In five quarters of action across three preseason games, the UCLA alum is up to 348 passing yards, 65 rushing yards and two touchdown passes. Thompson-Robinson is the clear-cut backup quarterback to Deshaun Watson, and he's put enough on tape to consider regular-season playtime if Watson struggles mightily again in 2023.
The bad and the ugly: Another preseason game for the Browns, another week that kicker Cade York occupies this spot. The 2022 fourth-round pick missed not one, but two game-winning field goals on Thursday with just about two minutes left to play: a 47-yarder and then his re-kick following an Eagles penalty from 41 yards out. York pushed a 46-yard field goal attempt wide right against the Washington Commanders plus a 49-yard whiff in the Hall of Fame Game as well this preseason, running his overall total to 3 for 6 in 2023 exhibition play. Among the NFL's 32 kickers who attempted at least 20 field goals in 2022, York's 75% conversion rate (24 for 32) ranked tied for 29th or tied for third worst in the entire league. Cleveland may need to start looking for veteran competition at the position at the very least.
Watch Cade York do the impossible: He missed TWO 47-yard field goal attempts in 90 seconds. The first one he pushed right. The second one he pulled left. And again, no wind, perfect hold. This is 100% mental.— Roberto Shenanigans (@Rob_Shenanigans) August 18, 2023
I've been saying this for weeks now... THIS IS A PROBLEM. #Browns https://t.co/HsWrcmAHRp pic.twitter.com/JpXxx2RROq
Dallas Cowboys (defeated 22-14 by Seattle Seahawks)
The good: Rookie sixth-round pick Deuce Vaughn continues to impress. The 5-6, 176-pound rookie was once again the highlight of the game for the Cowboys. Head coach Mike McCarthyafter a strong preseason debut a week ago -- 62 scrimmage yards on 11 touches, including a four-yard rushing touchdown. On Saturday night in Seattle, he produced the game's signature play, utilizing a perfect spin move to waltz into the end zone untouched for a 14-yard rushing touchdown. Vaughn likely won't need to play much in the Cowboys' preseason finale as he's shown his game translates to the NFL.
The bad and the ugly: Rookie third-round linebacker DeMarvion Overshown's torn ACL. The Cowboys lost one of their better training camp performers before the season could even begin. Per The Dallas Morning News, Overshown tore his ACL in the team's Week 2 preseason matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. He reportedly had an MRI Sunday to confirm the diagnosis.
There isn't much depth at their inside linebacker position behind Leighton Vander Esch and Damone Clark. Jabril Cox, a Dallas fourth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, and journeyman Malik Jefferson are likely next in line to fill in for the loss of Overshown. The rookie even earned a stamp of approval from the team's two-time First-Team All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons. Overshown, a third-round pick out of the University of Texas, recorded six combined tackles in Dallas' first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and three tackles Saturday evening vs. the Seahawks before exiting early.
Denver Broncos (defeated 21-20 by San Francisco 49ers)
The good: Running back Javonte Williams' return. He played in his first game since tearing his ACL in Week 4 of the 2022 season. Williams totaled seven touches for 30 yards from scrimmage (three carries for 12 rushing yards and four catches for 18 receiving yards). It was a modest output, but the biggest thing for Williams was certainly reintroducing his body to tackle football. How Denver ramps him up throughout the season will be a storyline to watch.
The bad and the ugly: The Broncos' defense folding in the clutch for the second week in a row. Sure, preseason wins and losses don't matter, but new Denver head coach Sean Payton is looking to set a culture early on. His team blowing a lead in the final seconds of losses to both the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos has to have him a little peeved. The 49ers began their final position down two, 20-18, with 2:01 left to play. The Broncos allowed Trey Lance to complete a couple passes to rookie wideout Ronnie Bell for a combined 57 yards, and then they surrendered a 15-yard run to 49ers backup running back Tyrion Davis-Price that essentially iced the game by getting San Francisco into field goal range.
Not a big deal, but it's something to file away for later if Denver struggles to close out games in the regular season in 2023.
Detroit Lions (defeated 25-7 by Jacksonville Jaguars)
The good: Rookie inside linebacker Jack Campbell. The 18th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft led all players with seven total tackles, and he appeared fluid in pass coverage. Jahmyr Gibbs, the Lions' 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and many of the offensive starters didn't play in Week 2 of the preseason, so Campbell was one of Detroit's few bright spots.
The bad and the ugly: Lions backup quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Nate Sudfeld. Bridgewater looked like a player who has only been on the team for about a couple weeks. His first play was a sack, and he threw for 34 yards while completing only five of his 11 passes behind a backup offensive line. Much of his lack of rhythm could likely be blamed on the offensive line.
Sudfeld continued to do a poor job taking care of the football this preseason, throwing his third interception in the two games played. With Bridgewater no on board, his roster spot is up in the air.
Green Bay Packers (defeated 21-17 by New England Patriots)
The good: The Jordan Love Era looks like it could be a lot of fun. The Green and Gold's new starting quarterback played a short amount of time, but he made the most of it with 84 yards, on 5 of 8 passing, and a 19-yard touchdown on a laser to second-round rookie receiver Jayden Reed.
However, that wasn't even Love's best throw of the night. That distinction goes to the 42-yard completion down the right sideline to receiver Romeo Doubs while Love threw in the shadow of his own end zone. The Packers offense could still be quite fun even without Aaron Rodgers.
Sixth-round rookie defensive lineman Karl Brooks, a Bowling Green alum, also made multiple standout plays on Saturday: a sack, a quarterback pressure that forced a punt on third-and-10 and a tackle for loss on a red zone run by Patriots running back Kevin Harris.
The bad and the ugly: The Packers' botched snap. Love attempted to draw New England offsides with a hard count, but center Josh Myers ended up actually snapping the ball when Love wasn't ready. The football bounced past the quarterback and Patriots linebacker Josh Uche jumped on top of the football, giving New England possession inside the red zone. That's something head coach Matt LaFleur will certainly be looking to clean up ahead of Week 1.
Houston Texans (defeated 28-3 by Miami Dolphins)
The good: Quarterback C.J. Stroud, the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, put significant improvement on display in Week 2 in comparison to his Week 1 performance (13 passing yards and an interception on 2-of-4 passing). He got much more run against the Miami Dolphins, playing the entire first half, which likely helped. A delay-of-game penalty was followed by consecutive incompletions, but Stroud locked in later on.
On the very next drive, Stroud completed some precision throws downfield, including this rollout throw below. He led the Texans on a 61-yard drive that concluded with the game's only points via a 35-yard field goal.
Not to be outdone, defensive Will Anderson Jr., the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, flashed some glimpses of his NFL ceiling: Absolute dominance. Here he is completely annihilating a Dolphins' play-action pass, zooming into the backfield, blowing up the blocking running back and strip-sacking Miami quarterback Skylar Thompson. Plays like this are why the Texans flipped their 2024 first-round selection to the Cardinals for the right to select this potential game-wrecker.
The bad and the ugly: The Texans defense outside of Will Anderson Jr. Houston surrendered 18 plays of 10 or more yards to the Dolphins offense on Saturday, a figure that is tied for the second most in the entire NFL for the second week of the preseason. They trail only the NFL's worst roster, the Arizona Cardinals and their 20 such plays.
Indianapolis Colts (defeated Chicago Bears 24-17)
The good: Backup quarterback Gardner Minshew provides a stable backup quarterback behind 2023 fourth overall pick Anthony Richardson. The veteran completed 13 of his 15 throws for 107 yards and a four-yard touchdown in traffic to receiver Juwann Winfree. He can serve as a calming influence in the quarterback room as Richardson gears up to be the seventh consecutive different quarterback to start a season opener for the Colts.
The bad and the ugly: The Colts' running back room without Jonathan Taylor. None of their running backs totaled 20 rushing yards on Saturday as their leading running back rusher was former fifth-round pick Jason Huntley, who totaled 19 yards on eight carries. Backup quarterback Sam Ehlinger led the team in rushing with 60 yards, including a five-yard touchdown, on eight carries. Should Taylor suit up somewhere else in 2023 after being, Indianapolis' ground game could solely hinge on Richardson read-option runs.
Jacksonville Jaguars (defeated Detroit Lions 25-7)
The good: Third-round rookie running back Tank Bigsby. The Jaguars have been looking for a punishing 1B running back to Travis Etienne's 1A, and it appears Jacksonville may have its guy. He totaled 70 rushing yards on 13 carries for a stellar 5.4 yards per attempt. Three of his carries went for at least double-digit yards as he displayed plenty of burst for a player who was portrayed as a "bigger back" in the pre-draft process.
The bad and the ugly: Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson looks sluggish. It's nit-picking, but the man entrusted to protect Trevor Lawrence's blind side didn't look sharp in his early-season work. These are Robinson's chances to stay fresh before embarking on ato begin the 2023 season after violating the NFL's performance enhancing drug (PED) policy. He committed a holding penalty that nullified a 13-yard scramble by backup quarterback C.J. Beathard. Robinson was also beat by opposing defensive linemen on 13.6% of his snaps this week, the third-highest rate in the NFL among the 113 offensive linemen to play at least 30 snaps this week.
Kansas City Chiefs (defeated Arizona Cardinals 38-10)
The good: The Chiefs are in good hands should anything happen to reigning NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. Obviously an injury to the NFL's best player would be as a big of a deal as any. However against the worst roster in football, his backups Shane Buechele (105 passing yards on 10-of-10 passing, 15-yard rushing touchdown) and Blaine Gabbert (120 passing yards and two passing touchdowns on 7-of-8 passing) took care of business. The first-team defense also didn't allow any points despite still missing 2022 First-Team All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones. That's a win.
The bad and the ugly: Mahomes and the first-team offense didn't have an explosion against the Cardinals despite playing the entire first quarter. Kansas City punted on each of its first two drives before Mahomes marched them down the field on a 10-play drive that ended with an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Justin Watson. Look, it's the Super Bowl champions against the team most likely to end up with the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. There isn't going to be much to nitpick.
Las Vegas Raiders (defeated Los Angeles Rams 34-17)
The good: Fourth-round rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell. O'Connell has been the best rookie quarterback of the entire preseason. His first game against the San Francisco 49ers, he balled out with 154 passing yards and a touchdown on 15-of-18 passing. This week, the rookie out of Purdue was even better. O'Connell completed 11 of his 18 throws for 163 passing yards and two touchdowns for a 127.8 passer rating, the highest among first-year passers in Week 2.
O'Connell isn't exclusively dinking-and-dunking the football out in the flat and taking what the defense is giving him. He has successfully created opportunities: completions over the top of the defense by squeezing the ball past the cornerbacks and safeties downfield, hitting deep posts over the middle in tight coverage plus dropping dimes to the corner of the end zone for touchdowns.
All of that was on display this week against the Los Angeles Rams on the road, and if he can play like this regularly, the Raiders will be in good shape if Jimmy Garoppolo suffers another injury.
The bad and the ugly: Quarterback Brian Hoyer. The Raiders brought him in because of his extensive familiarity with Josh McDaniels' system from years playing with the New England Patriots. However, he had a brutal outing on Saturday. He threw a horrendous pick-six, and his timing on his throws was just off, routinely holding the football for too long. That resulted in 144 yards and the interception on 12-of-22 passing.
Los Angeles Chargers (defeated 22-17 by New Orleans Saints)
The good: Quarterback Easton Stick's running. While he had an uneven night through the air, compiling 233 yards while tossing two interceptions on 21-of-41 passing, Stick's efforts on the ground brought the Chargers within striking distance to attempt a game-winning drive. He executed the read-option well near the goal line, and his 21-yard scamper down the right sideline was Los Angeles' offensive play of the night.
Third-round rookie linebacker Daiyan Henley flashed a few times as well, hitting Saints rookie running back Kendre Miller with a tackle for a loss in the run game, and he also displayed great range covering sideline-to-sideline to make a few tackles. Henley also recorded half of a sack on this nice blitz, clearly identifying the gap and hitting it hard to bring down Jameis Winston.
The bad and the ugly: Easton Stick and the Chargers passing game. Stick rolled out to the left and missed one potential open target on the throw below, and he was late to the target he actually threw to, resulting in an interception. To be fair to Stick, he was under pressure on 31.4% of his dropbacks while playing with the backup offensive line. All in all, it would've been nice to get better results through the air with a quarterback entering his fourth season with the team.
Los Angeles Rams (defeated 34-17 by Las Vegas Raiders)
The good: Linebacker Jake Hummel's pick-six. The second-year, undrafted player out of Iowa State made head coach Sean McVay's night with his pick-six of Raiders backup quarterback Brian Hoyer. It was the best play of the night in a rollercoaster effort by the Rams' inexperienced defense.
The bad an the ugly: Stetson Bennett's regression in Week 2 of the preseason. He was one of the few rookies who regressed in their second dose of NFL action. However, the degree of difficulty was cranked up for him given he was the Rams' Week 2 preseason starter. A week ago, Bennett threw for 191 yards and a touchdown on 17-of-29 passing off the bench against the Chargers. This week, there were no touchdowns and a pick-six. However, Bennett did run for a four-yard score. There were some solid passes, and there were certainly a few he would appreciate a do-over on, of course. How much he can develop in Sean McVay's offense will be a storyline to monitor given Matthew Stafford's injury woes (neck and concussion) last season.
Miami Dolphins (defeated Houston Texans 28-3)
The good: The Dolphins offense bounced back after quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's first-play interception. Head coach Mike McDaniel kept the starters in for the following drive, and Tagovailoa and Co. rewarded his faith with a 93-yard scoring drive lasting 14 plays. Running back Raheem Mostert capped the march with a two-yard touchdown plunge. Tagovailoa completed five of his final six passes for 61 yards. That was it for the starters after two drives, but the offense continued to click, scoring three more touchdowns. Backup Skylar Thompson performed admirably, tossing three touchdowns and 157 yards on 15-of-22 passing.
The bad and the ugly: Tua Tagovailoa's first pass of the day, an interception by Houston linebacker Denzel Perryman. He threw this football straight into Perryman's arms as his intended target was surrounded by a triangle trio of Texans defenders. Can't have a much uglier play to begin a football game.
Minnesota Vikings (defeated 24-16 by Tennessee Titans)
The good: Linebacker Troy Dye's interception of Titans quarterback Malik Willis. The Titans were approaching midfield toward the tail end of the second quarter when Dye undercut a Willis throw when making his man coverage appear like he was dropping into zone. The fourth-year linebacker may be in an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster, but Dye was the standout on Saturday.
The bad and the ugly: Offensive lineman Oli Udoh's tough day at the office. The fifth-year pro had a night to forget after he committed three penalties in the first quarter: consecutive holding infractions and an illegal use of hands call. Udoh was also thrown to the ground numerous times and surrendered two sacks. Absolutely brutal showing.
New England Patriots (defeated Green Bay Packers 21-17)
The good: The Patriots' offense generated a big-play touchdown. Backup quarterback Bailey Zappe hit sixth-round rookie receiver Kayshon Boutte in stride, and the LSU alum did the rest, taking the ball all the way to the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown. Well-executed timing plays like that were liking in theof their offensive led by longtime defensive coach Matt Patricia.
The bad: Defensive lineman Sam Roberts. The 2022 sixth-round pick played with the starters, but he made a couple miscues, drawing two penalties. The first was a 15-yard roughing the passer call for jumping on top of Packers quarterback Jordan Love while he was in process of sliding to the ground. The other was an illegal use of hands infraction. Head coach Bill Belichick is all about making the smart, heady plays, especially from his defense. That wasn't the case for Roberts on Sunday.
The ugly: Cornerback Isaiah Bolden's head injury. The seventh-round rookie cornerback took a scary, helmet-to-helmet hit from teammate and Patriots linebacker Calvin Munson with 10:38 remaining in the fourth quarter. He ended up needing to be stretchered off the field. The scene was so grim Belichick and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur agreed to cancel the rest of the preseason game. Fortunately, Bolden was well enough to.
New Orleans Saints (defeated Los Angeles Chargers 22-17)
The good: Rookie running back Kendre Miller. The TCU Horned Frog willed the Saints into the end zone for their first touchdown. He made an incredible, over-the-shoulder diving catch on a throw from starting quarterback Jameis Winston that resulted in a 27-yard gain down to the Los Angeles 7. Miller ran the ball in himself to gain the final seven yards for the game's first touchdown. Miller finished the half as the Saints' only ball carrier, totaling 23 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. He also added 35 receiving yards on three catches. Miller said he "could do the same thing" as Alvin Kamara earlier this offseason, and he put together a Kamara-like effort in the preseason format. Perhaps he pushes Jamaal Williams, who didn't suit up Sunday, for touches during Kamara's three-game suspension.
The bad and the ugly: New Orleans committed a whopping 14 penalties, across all three phases of football (offense, defense and special teams), which lost them a combined 141 yards. Those 14 infractions are the most committed by any NFL team in a single game this preseason. Naturally, their 141 penalty yards lost are also the most lost by any NFL team in a single game this preseason. These penalties also cost them the opportunity at a red zone touchdown three different times on the same drive as they committed multiple offensive pass interference infractions. While many starters didn't play on Sunday, when the figure is this high, that lets head coach Dennis Allen know he may need to take a decent amount time out of practice to address the issue.
New York Giants (defeated Carolina Panthers 21-19)
The good: The Daniel Jones-Darren Waller connection. Jones targeted his new top weapon on each of the Giants' first three plays. He also connected with new wideout Parris Campbell for a first down after a 13-yard completion. Jones looked polished (69 passing yards and a touchdown on 8-of-9 passing) with his new options and topped off a nice drive with a four-yard scoring strike to one of his favorite targets from last season, tight end Daniel Bellinger. Waller lined up everywhere -- on the line, in the slot and out wide. Seeing 2022 Coach of the Year Brian Daboll scheme new ways for Jones to find Waller should be fun.
Third-round rookie Jalin Hyatt, the 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner (best wide receiver in college football), showcased his game-breaking speed as well for a thrilling 33-yard touchdown.
The bad: Backup, swing offensive tackle Matt Peart struggled after being subbed in at left tackle for Andrew Thomas. He allowed a couple quarterback hurries and a pressure against the Panthers' backups. The Giants could be in trouble if Thomas or right tackle Evan Neal suffer an injury in the regular season.
The ugly: Daboll found another reason to seethe on the sideline after needing to burn a timeout in the second quarter to avoid a 12-men-on-the-field penalty. It's certain he let the guilty hear about it like he did a week after the Giants surrendered a 94-yard punt return touchdown.
New York Jets (defeated 13-6 by Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The good: Offensive tackle Mekhi Becton. The 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft missed the entire 2022 season with a knee injury, but he put together the best performance of his NFL career on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He didn't allow any quarterback pressures and earned a 90.2 Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade as he dished out pancake after pancake. While he didn't start on Saturday, another performance like that in the Jets' preseason finale against the New York Giants would likely have him in line to start in Week 1 of the regular season.
The bad and the ugly: Injuries. Joe Tippmann, the Jets' 43rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft who started Saturday at left guard and later moved to center, suffered a knee injury. Israel Abanikanda, the Jets' fifth-round rookie running back, needed to be carted off after colliding with offensive lineman and teammate Adam Pankey. His injury was a thigh contusion, per The Athletic.
Philadelphia Eagles (tied 18-18 with Cleveland Browns)
The good: The Eagles' other Georgia Bulldog first-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft, linebacker Nolan Smith. The 30th overall selection made his presence felt in all areas. He chased down receiver Anthony Schwartz, the Browns wideout who ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at Auburn's Pro Day in 2021, for a five-yard loss on a reverse play. Smith also set up shop in the Browns backfield all night, repeatedly flustering Cleveland's rookie standout quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Sixth-round rookie Tanner McKee played well enough (147 yards and a touchdown on 10-of-18 passing) to push Marcus Mariota for the right to be Jalen Hurts' backup.
The bad: The injuries. Philadelphia had a few worrisome maladies with both defensive tackle Moro Ojomo and wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland departing on a stretcher with neck injuries. Fortunately, per CBS Sports' Jeff Kerr who was on hand in Philly, both had movement in their limbs. Other Eagles injuries that led to player being ruled out included cornerback Zech McPhearson (ankle) and center Josh Andrews (ankle). Nolan Smith and wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus each had shoulder injuries and exited the field, but they both returned to the sidelines and watched the rest game with their teammates, according to Kerr.
However, McPhearson's injury ended up having the worst possible outcome after an MRI on Friday morning: It announced that Cleveland and McPhearson were waived., per CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin. The tear will end his 2023 season before it officially began. The Eagles eventually
The ugly: Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota. He started the contest with 2022 NFL MVP runner-up Jalen Hurts and the rest of the starting offense having the game off, and Mariota just couldn't get into a rhythm. He threw for 86 yards and an ugly interception on 9-of-17 passing. The Eagles offense also surrendered a safety in the first half. Philadelphia made Mariota one of the higher-paid backup quarterback in the league after signing him to a one-year, $5 million deal to be Hurts' stylistic replacement should anything happen to their QB1.
However after watching an interception like this where Mariota wildly overthrew an open tight end in Grant Calcaterra, general manager Howie Roseman may begin to feel a little buyer's remorse.
Pittsburgh Steelers (defeated Buffalo Bills 27-15)
The good: The offense. The starters punctuated both of their first two drives of the game with touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air. Running back Jaylen Warren finished their opening on its sixth play, breaking loose off the left tackle and exploding all the way to the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown.
Starting quarterback Kenny Pickett only put up 43 yards on 3-of-4 passing, but the bulk of that production -- 25 yards -- came on a touchdown pass to third-year tight end Pat Freiermuth. The Steelers offense struggled in 2022, averaging 18.1 points per game -- the seventh-lowest figure in the entire NFL. If Pickett and Co. can take a leap in his second professional season, Pittsburgh could be one of the NFL's most pleasant surprises in 2023.
Rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. hauling in his first career interception and handing the football to his dad Joey Porter, a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Steelers, was also a heartwarming moment.
The bad and the ugly: Their backup defense allowing the Buffalo Bills to get on the scoreboard after the Steelers took a 27-0 lead into the fourth quarter. Allowing a couple touchdowns after going up four scores is a very small deal in the grand scheme of things.
San Francisco 49ers (defeated Denver Broncos 21-20)
The good: Brock Purdy's healthy return to football. He made his first game appearance since suffering an elbow injury that knocked him out of the NFC Championship game last January. Purdy only played one drive, but it was significant in showing he can be the 49ers' Week 1 starter against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He completed four of his five passes for 65 yards and scrambled once for eight yards, showing he isn't afraid of contact post-injury. Purdy created for four first downs passing, all to his top three wide receivers: Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings. The possession ended with a 20-yard field goal, but the drive's importance extends much further than that.
The bad and the ugly: Center Jon Feliciano. He is entering his ninth NFL season, but he played like a rookie on Saturday. Feliciano allowed a sack and committed a costly holding penalty that erased a 21-yard completion from backup quarterback Sam Darnold to Jennings. He is projected to be the top interior offensive lineman off the bench for the 49ers entering the season, but he sure didn't play like it on Saturday.
Seattle Seahawks (defeated Dallas Cowboys 22-14)
The good: Seattle's 2023 rookie class. First-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba led the team in receiving with 58 yards on three catches as all but 10 of them came on a 48-yard connection from Drew Lock. The play put the Seahawks on the one, and running back DeeJay Dallas punched in a one-yard rushing touchdown on the next play.
Second-round rookie Zach Charbonnet also looked good, exploding for a 29-yard carry in the first quarter. Undrafted wide receiver Jake Bobo, a UCLA alum, picked up a couple first down receptions. Undrafted running back SaRodorick Thompson led all players in rushing yards with 50 on 11 carries while also punching in a one-yard touchdown.
The bad and the ugly: Getting bamboozled by Deuce Vaughn. The Seahawks had control of this game for almost the entire night, but their defense looked absolutely lost in the red zone against the Cowboys 5-6, 176-pound running back Deuce Vaughn. They were left grasping at air, unable to make a play on Vaughn after spin move, allowing the sixth-round rookie to lightly jog into the end zone untouched for a 14-yard rushing touchdown.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (defeated New York Jets 13-6)
The good: Sixth-round rookie wide receiver Trey Palmer's 33-yard touchdown catch. He was well covered in the middle of the end zone by New York Jets cornerback Derrick Langford, but Palmer displayed incredible concentration corralling the football in his arm before landing flat on his back in the end zone. The throw was a dangerous one by backup quarterback Kyle Trask, but Palmer turned it into one of the best plays of the entire preseason. Many of the Buccaneers' offensive starters sat out the contest, paving the way for Palmer to make this play.
The bad and the ugly: Backup quarterback John Wolford taking a shot to the neck on a sack that resulted in him being stretchered off the field. He did give the crowd a thumbs up, showing movement in his extremities after the scary situation.
Tennessee Titans (defeated Minnesota Vikings 24-16)
The good: Third-round rookie running back Tyjae Spears. The Tulane alum didn't need many carries on Saturday to announce his presence. He kicked off the scoring in this contest with an electrifying 33-yard touchdown run. He did it all on the scoring sprint: explode through the hole at the line of scrimmage, jump over a diving defender and then accelerate with ease into the end zone untouched. He went from a player with injury concerns after some collegiate injuries to a now surefire lock to earn play time as Derrick Henry's complementary backup.
The bad and the ugly: Quarterback Malik Willis' miscues. Sure, his overall stat line came out looking mostly pretty: 85 passing yards, a passing touchdown (one-yard), an interception plus 91 rushing yards on 11 carries. However, his interception was put right into Vikings linebacker Troy Dye's chest, and he missed Tre-Shaun Harrison in the end zone on what could have been another touchdown. His performance, particularly the pick, leaves plenty of room for doubt in the battle between him and 2023 second-round pick Will Levis to be Ryan Tannehill's backup in the upcoming season.
Washington Commanders (defeated Baltimore Ravens 29-28)
The good: Starting quarterback Sam Howell looks the part. He and the Commanders starters surprisingly played the entire first half, and Howell delivered. The Commanders put up points on three of Howell's four drives, including touchdowns in each of his last two possessions. His final throw, an 11-yard touchdown to his North Carolina teammate Dyami Brown with 12 seconds left in the half, was the perfect exclamation to his night and an indication that Howell can be cool with time running down. He finished with 188 passing yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-25 passing for 123.4 passer rating.
The bad and the ugly: The Commanders leaving their starters in for the entire resulting in Pro Bowl, No. 1 receiver Terry McLaurin limping off the field with an injury. McLaurin was checked out by the training staff and escorted to the locker room.
Washington announced after halftime that McLaurin suffered a toe injury and was ruled out. CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson reported X-rays on McLaurin's toe were negative. A sigh of relief for head coach Ron Rivera and the entire Commanders franchise.