The bulk of Week 2 of the preseason is in the books with just the Jaguars and Saints left to duke it out on Monday night. With 15 other games wrapped up, however, we're going to dive into the week that was in the NFL and take the temperature on a number of situations that developed over this slate. Of course, the preseason is all about evaluation, so we'll highlight a handful of winners and losers that emerged this week before we head into the final exhibitions and inch that much closer to the regular season.
Are you ready? Here are the winners and losers from Week 2 of the preseason.
Winner: Mitchell Trubisky
Even if the results of this game didn't mean much of anything, Mitchell Trubisky was able to get the better of his former club as the Bills throttled the Bears at Soldier Field on Saturday, 41-15. This was Trubisky's first game against Chicago since signing with Buffalo this offseason and he was downright masterful in Brian Daboll's offense. He got the start with Josh Allen not playing and completed 20 of his 28 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown. Trubisky began the game extremely hot, leading to Bills on four-straight touchdown drives. When he exited the game at halftime, he had Buffalo up 34-6.
Again, earning the win here doesn't hold much weight in the grand scheme of things, but Trubisky certainly looked like the quarterback Chicago always hoped he'd become during his tenure there. Meanwhile, the Bills arguably have one of the better quarterback situations in the league with an MVP caliber player in Allen and a capable backup in Trubisky.
Loser: Bears tackling
I think you could make the case that a wet napkin was stronger than Chicago's tackling efforts on Saturday. While the Trubisky revenge game was the main storyline coming out of that contest, it was a poor showing from the Bears defense in all facets, but particularly with tackling. Bills ball carriers were able to pile up chunks of yards after contact with Chicago's defense showing little resistance at times. One of the more noticeable examples of that came on Buffalo's first touchdown of the day when running back Devin Singletary broke multiple tackles for a touchdown on a fourth-and-1 attempt. Singletary took a pitch from Trubisky and was met at the line of scrimmage by two Bears defenders. Neither was able to bring him down.
That'll need to improve heading into the regular season.
Winner: Cam Newton
The quarterback battle continues to wage on in New England. However, Cam Newton may have solidified himself as the Week 1 starter with his play against the Eagles on Thursday. He was sharp, completing eight of his nine passes for 103 yards and a touchdown to begin the game before departing for the night with the rest of the Patriots' starting offensive line. Newton looked poised in the pocket and was able to climb up the ladder to deliver strong throws as well. What was arguably most impressive about his showing in Week 2 was his deep ball. He started the game with passes that traveled 18, 23, and 10 yards. You could even make the case that was the best he's thrown the ball throughout his time with the Patriots.
While Mac Jones has also played well this preseason, Newton has given Bill Belichick no reason to turn things over to the rookie, giving him a solid grip on this job to begin the year.
Loser: Ja'Marr Chase
Drops, drops and more drops for Ja'Marr Chase. The Bengals first-round receiver struggled against Washington on Saturday as he was targeted three times by quarterback Brandon Allen and dropped all of them. Not every pass was a perfect ball, but they all did hit the No. 5 overall pick in the hands.
"We just gotta continue to work on it every single day. It's key that our receivers do a great job focusing, catching the ball," hed coach Zac Taylor said of Chase's drops, via ESPN's Ben Baby. "He's getting better every day at a lot of the other details that maybe go unnoticed. So we'll just keep looking for improvement there."
Winner: Tua Tagovailoa
All eyes are going to be on Tua Tagovailoa this season and whether or not he'll be able to rebound from a so-so rookie season in 2020. If Miami's most recent preseason matchup with the Falcons is any indication, the Dolphins will be feeling much better about their quarterback situation by the end of this season. Tagovailoa looked really solid, completing 16 of his 23 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. Out of the gate, he was able to lead the Dolphins on back-to-back touchdown drives to begin the game and completed all eight of his throws in the first quarter. That's the type of leap Miami is hoping for in 2021.
Loser: Kyler Murray
It was an outing to forget for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals starting offense as they were shelled by the Chiefs. Murray completed just one of his four pass attempts for two yards and had one rush for eight yards. He was sacked twice and had three three-and-outs when he was under center. In all, Arizona's offense ran nine plays for -1 yard when Murray was in the game.
"Not the outing we had hoped for," Murray told ESPN, via Cards Wire. "But it is what it is. Doesn't count. Look forward to the regular season starting in a couple weeks. I just think we've gotta clean some stuff up, get some things right. They kicked our butt for the three drives we were out there. It is what it is. We'll be better when it counts."
Winner: Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger showed that he'll be just fine operating in new offensive coordinator Matt Canada's system. In his preseason debut, the veteran was perfect, throwing a perfect passer rating of 158.3. He completed eight of his 10 throws for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the three series he played. Both of Big Ben's touchdown throws went to second-round rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth, which is another encouraging development heading into the regular season. The 39-year-old also showed a solid rapport with rookie back Najee Harris in the passing game with the two connecting on a 46-yard pass.
Loser: Justin Fields
Fields continued to show flashes of his potential against the Bills on Saturday, but there were also some rookie lumps mixed in as well. While he continues to impress with his legs (46 yards rushing on four attempts), he wasn't particularly efficient passing, completing nine of his 19 throws for 80 yards. Fields did have a sensational throw to tight end Jesse James off his back foot, but he also exposed himself to a number of hits, including a vicious blow by Bills linebacker Andre Smith.
Even as the Chicago faithful clamor for Fields to get the starting job over Andy Dalton, it's likely those moments -- fair or unfair -- that give head coach Matt Nagy pause from making the switch right now.
Winner: Zach Wilson
It's been a rough week for the New York Jets after losing star pass rusher Carl Lawson for the season due to a ruptured Achilles, but Zach Wilson's showing on Saturday was a positive note the team can hang its hat on. The No. 2 overall pick looked the part against the Packers, completing nine of his 11 passes on the day for 128 yards through the air and a pair of touchdowns. Arguably, the play of the game came in the first quarter when Wilson was able to complete a throw on the run to Corey Davis for 27 yards.
Loser: Any team that plays the Ravens in the preseason
Good luck playing the Ravens in the preseason. With the 20-3 win over the Carolina Panthers, Baltimore now has 19 consecutive wins in the preseason, which ties an NFL record that was set by Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers which stretched from 1959 to 1962.
"I believe everything in life has meaning," Harbaugh said. "... It's something only one other team has done, the Vince Lombardi Packers and I think that is notable."
Not only are the Ravens a virtual lock to win their preseason matchup as of late, but they're also almost a guaranteed cover. Over this historic run, Baltimore is 17-1-1 ATS. They'll go for the record of 20-straight preseason wins on Saturday when they visit the Washington Football Team.