Week 2 of the preseason is nearly in the rearview mirror and teams across the NFL are one step closer to the start of the regular season. While the actual results of these exhibitions don't exactly tell a definitive story about a team, there are significant takeaways from moments during each contest that we can dissect and project what it could mean when the games start to count for real in a couple of weeks.
With 15 games already in the books, let's take a look at some of the biggest winners and losers from Week 2 of the preseason.
Winner: Steelers offense
It was an impressive showing for the Steelers starting offense en route to the 27-15 win over Buffalo. Kenny Pickett started the game and played the opening two series, leading the offense to back-to-back touchdown drives. The second-year quarterback was an efficient 3-for-4 passing for 43 yards, which included a 25-yard touchdown to tight end Pat Freiermuth. Running back Jaylen Warren also dazzled on the opening drive, taking a handoff 62 yards to the house.
After averaging just 18.1 points per game last season, Pittsburgh's offensive development under offensive coordinator Matt Canada was/is a major storyline throughout the summer and heading into the regular season. If Pickett can take a leap and Year 2 and align himself with players like Warren that can score on a single touch, the Steelers could be a surprise team in 2023.
Loser: Bills offense
While the Steelers offense hummed with its starters, the same can't be said for what was going on with their opponent in the Bills. Josh Allen started this game and the offense was stagnant, punting in all three of their possessions with the MVP candidate under center. That includes two three-and-outs and just 36 yards of total offense. What was particularly frustrating for Buffalo was the penalties. They were called for 13 penalties on the night, including four with the first-team offense. One of those infractions erased what would have been a 35-yard completion from Allen to wideout Gabe Davis.
Buffalo is still expected to be a juggernaut offensively, but they have piled up 21 penalties over two preseason exhibitions. That'll need to get cleaned up before the start of the regular season.
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Winner: Bijan Robinson
Rookie running back Bijan Robinson made his preseason debut with the Falcons in their matchup against the Bengals and didn't disappoint. While he didn't get a ton of action, what we did see from the No. 8 overall pick flashed the type of game-breaking ability that many expect him to have right out of the gate. On his first carry, Robinson weaved his way around defenders for a 12-yard gain.
Robinson finished his night with 20 yards on the ground on four carries and caught his lone target for six yards.
Loser: Teddy Bridgewater
The Lions were holding out their first-team offense for their exhibition game with the Jaguars and it showed. Specifically, it was a lackluster showing for veteran signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater, who got the start and played the bulk of the first half. Detroit struggled the move the ball offensively and was shut out throughout the time Bridgewater was under center. That included three-and-outs on four of Bridgewater's six series to begin the game. He also fumbled in the closing minutes of the first quarter. On the day, Bridgewater finished just 5-of-11 for 34 yards.
Winner: Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo made his Raiders debut on Saturday and looked sharp in his minimal action. The veteran played just one series but was able to lead Las Vegas on a 68-yard touchdown drive where he completed all four of his throws for 39 yards before running back Brandon Bolden punched it in from inside the 10. The Raiders will need strong quarterback play from Garoppolo to keep pace in the AFC West and Saturday's brief showing does provide some optimism that they'll be able to hold their own. That said, Garoppolo's ability to play efficiently has never truly been in question, rather his durability. That will continue to be a main focus throughout the year and hold Las Vegas' playoff hopes in the balance. Initially, however, it was about as solid of a debut as you could hope for.
Loser: Panthers offensive line
It hasn't been a great start to the preseason for Carolina's offensive line. No matter if it was Bryce Young or Matt Corral under center, Panthers quarterbacks have been constantly under siege throughout the preseason, which includes Friday's loss to the Giants. On the team's opening drive of the night, it looked like Young was going to lead his team into the end zone, bringing the ball to the 10-yard line. However, he was immediately sacked for a seven-yard loss and Carolina ultimately had to settle for a field goal. That pressure limited Young to 3-of-6 passing for 35 yards in his limited action. The week prior, Panthers quarterbacks were sacked a total of five times. According to Next Gen Stats, Young was pressured on 28.6% of his dropbacks in the preseason opener and then 42.9% of the time on Friday.
Winner: Jordan Love
The Packers may have done it again. Jordan Love has continued to look sharp throughout the preseason, which includes a stellar performance against the Patriots on Saturday night. Love completed five of his eight throws on the night for 84 yards and a touchdown, but his play goes beyond simple stats. A handful of the throws he made in that matchup were eye-popping.
Late in the first quarter, Love dropped back into his end zone and threw a perfectly placed deep ball to Romeo Doubs up the right sideline for a 42-yard gain.
Later in the drive, he then threw a dart to Jayden Reed where only the receiver could haul it in for the touchdown.
If Love can maintain that level of play in the regular season, the Packers have the proper pieces in place to make a legitimate playoff push.
Winner: Saints backfield
The Saints are going to start the season without Alvin Kamara (suspension) for three games. They may be okay in his absence, thanks to the presence of Kendre Miller. The third-round rookie looked like the mini version of Kamara Sunday night, rushing 10 times for 23 yards and a touchdown and catching three passes for 36 yards -- clearly being featured in the offense as both a running and receiving threat out of the backfield.
The Saints seem likely to use Miller as a change of pace back behind Jamaal Williams to start the season. Miller is their pass-catching back out of the backfield, and on Sunday he looked like he could thrive in that role and keep the Saints in decent shape while they await Kamara's return.