We have a jam-packed slate of Week 2 preseason games on Saturday, with eight contests on the schedule. While we should be careful not to draw drastic conclusions based on exhibition games, we can still evaluate which players improved or hurt their stock. Who were the winners and losers from Saturday’s preseason Week 2 action on Saturday?
Ganadores y perdedores de la semana 2 de pretemporada, lista temprana del sábado
Proporcionaremos actualizaciones de existencias y existencias a lo largo del día, así que asegúrese de volver a consultar la cobertura de la pizarra del sábado por la noche.
Ganador: Bills QB Josh Allen y Case Keenum
Josh Allen was in regular-season mode on his only series, finishing the day a good 3-of-3 for 45 yards, a touchdown and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. The obvious highlight of Allen’s day was the 28-yard Dart he threw to Gabriel Davis for a score after spinning around in the pocket to escape pressure. According to Next Generation Statsthe Allen-to-Davis, the score had an expected completion probability of only 21.6%.
After Allen did his damage, Case Keenum came in to play the rest of the second half and was incredibly productive, completing 16 of his 18 attempts for 192 yards and a touchdown. At the end of the first half, Keenum, realizing he had a free play because the Broncos jumped for offsides, hit rookie wide receiver Khalil Shakir down the right sideline for a 25-yard gain. On the next play, he connected with tight end OJ Howard for a seven-yard touchdown.
Loser: Broncos’ depth
The Bills played their starters, while the Broncos mostly didn’t, so everyone expected Allen and company to light up Denver’s backups. But Keenum and the rest of Buffalo’s backups dominated Denver’s reserves throughout the game. The Bills scored six consecutive touchdowns before the Broncos finally found the end zone. In the first half alone, Allen and Keenum combined to complete 19-of-21 for 237 yards, while Buffalo recorded 96 yards on the ground.
Russell Wilson, Javonte Williams, Courtland Sutton, and Jerry Jeudy didn’t dress today, so we won’t draw any real conclusions from Denver’s struggles. But depth is vitally important in the NFL. If the Broncos are dealing with injuries in November and December, they may not have the reinforcements necessary to give them a fighting chance.
Winner: Bills RB Zack Moss
All of the Bills running backs shined on Saturday afternoon, but let’s start with Zack Moss, who many believed would be dropped from Buffalo’s RB rotation after the addition of rookie second-round pick James Cook. That wasn’t the case today, as Moss played ahead of Cook and scored two one-yard touchdowns.
Speaking of Cook, he broke free for 19 yards on his second carry of the day, showing excellent balance and evading a tackle on his way to a long run. On the same series, Cook caught a 12-yard pass from Keenum and took it all the way to the Denver 1-yard line (at which point Moss cashed in for the TD).
Meanwhile, starter Devin Singletary showed some nifty moves on a 14-yard run late in the first quarter. Duke Johnson Jr. finished with 55 yards and two touchdowns, and even fifth-stringer Rasheem Blackshear got in on the fun with 79 total yards.
Loser: Broncos TE Albert Okwuegbunam
Albert Okwuegbunam didn’t make any glaring mistakes on Saturday. Still, the mere fact that he played until the final quarter of Denver’s preseason game after seeing action until halftime in Week 1 could be a concern for his usage. Albert O was expected to be the Broncos’ No. 1 TE following the Noah Fant trade, but it’s unclear if Denver’s new staff sees it that way.
According to camp reports, rookie tight end Greg Dulcich had been gaining ground on Okwuegbunam before being sidelined with an injury. Troy Renck of Denver7 said Albert O needed the blocking reps and noted that Eric Saubert could see more playing time in the regular season if Okwuegbunam’s blocking doesn’t improve.
Winner: Broncos QB Brett Rypien
Veteran quarterback Josh Johnson didn’t play poorly, but Brett Rypien saw much more work and was much more effective. The 26-year-old looked very good, completing 22 of 26 attempts for 191 yards and a touchdown.
In the third quarter, Rypien led the Broncos on their only touchdown series of the day, a 12-play, 84-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Saubert. Rypien, who has been in and out of Denver’s active roster since going undrafted in 2019, is trying to usurp Johnson to become Wilson’s primary backup, and his performance will certainly help his cause.
Winner: Colts QB Sam Ehlinger.
As we move on to the Lions vs. Colts game, let’s start with Sam Ehlinger, who replaced Nick Foles on Indy’s second series and played until the third quarter before giving way to Jack Coan. On his third series, Ehlinger hit high school teammate Kylen Granson for 19 yards before ending the series with a 15-yard strike to Mike Strachan. Midway through the third quarter, Ehlinger scored another touchdown, connecting with Dezmon Patmon on a 50-yard bomb.
Ehlinger probably won’t make Indy’s roster, as the Colts will likely keep only Matt Ryan and Foles in their quarterback room. But the 2021 sixth-round pick is a perfect fit for the Colts’ practice squad if another team doesn’t try to claim him off waivers.
Loser: Lions QB David Blough
David Blough showed some mobility by running for two first downs on his first series and led a touchdown drive. But overall, his scores were uninspiring. While Blough completed 16 of 22 passes, he managed just 76 yards, good for just 3.5 yards per attempt. He also threw an interception.
Tim Boyle played the second half, and while he posted better numbers (6.6 yards per attempt, passer rating of 116.4), he didn’t take the backup quarterback job away from Blough. Today’s results probably didn’t affect the competition that much, so the Lions have one more preseason game to evaluate their No. 2 signal-caller options.
Winner: Colts WRs Mike Strachan and Dezmon Patmon.
Indianapolis has its top four receivers (Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, Parris Campbell and Ashton Dulin) locked in, so Strachan and Patmon are competing to remain the club’s fifth wide receiver. Both players showed up on Saturday, so much so that the Colts could possibly keep six WRs on their roster.
Patmon was Indy’s leading receiver with five receptions for 103 yards, which included Ehlinger’s 50-yard touchdown catch. Strachan, who just came off the PUP list earlier this week, hauled in three receptions for 45 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown on a corner route. Both players will force Colts management to make tough decisions on cutdown day.
Loser: Colts backup offensive line.
With Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith resting on the bench, the Colts’ backup offensive linemen couldn’t get anything going. Indy managed just 1.7 yards per carrying on 18 attempts, while the quarterbacks took three catches. The Colts are implementing two new starters after the loss of Eric Fisher and Mark Glowinski, and it appears they need some additional depth as well.
Winner: Lions WR Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy is right on the Lions roster bubble, but he’s making it very difficult for Detroit to cut him. After leading the Lions with eight receptions for 104 yards in the team’s first preseason game, Kennedy did it again Saturday, catching five passes for 24 yards and two touchdowns. If Detroit is down to six receivers, Kennedy could sneak onto the roster.
Winner: Chiefs TE Jody Fortson
It would be easy to include Patrick Mahomes here, but the NFL’s best quarterback is supposed to play in the preseason. We’ll go with Jody Fortson, who needed a strong performance on Saturday after missing a lot of training camp with a quadriceps injury.
Two touchdown receptions later, Fortson has solidified his place on the Chiefs’ tight end depth chart. After playing just 54 plays a season ago while dealing with injuries and COVID, Fortson could get more looks behind Travis Kelce if he continues to produce.
Loser: RB Antonio Gibson Commanders
Look away, managers of the Antonio Gibson dynasty. After fumbling the ball and playing until the second quarter in Washington’s first preseason game, Gibson practiced with third-and-longs and the clearing crew all week.
In today’s game, Gibson, who has never played a single regular-season snap on special teams, handled the kickoff return and gave up the Commanders’ first ground attempt to Brian Robinson. At halftime, Gibson had two carries for three yards but managed three catches for 37 yards.
Winner: Chiefs DE George Karlaftis
Kansas City nabbed George Karlaftis late in the first round of this year’s draft and has rewarded their faith in him with an outstanding training camp and preseason.
In last week’s game, the Purdue product recorded four pressures and a catch. On Saturday, Karlaftis’ tenacity showed as he fought through a double team and a key to bring down Carson Wentz. He should see plenty of work opposite Frank Clark on the Chiefs’ defensive line.
Loser: Panthers QB Matt Corral
The Panthers played on Friday night, but got some bad news on Saturday – Matt Corral suffered a Lisfranc injury against the Patriots and is likely to miss his entire rookie season.
After Carolina’s acquisition of Baker Mayfield, Corral never had a realistic chance to earn the Panthers’ starting quarterback job. He will miss a season of development, but Carolina can now place him on injured reserve instead of using a roster spot for him. It’s a tough time for Corral, but it doesn’t really change his outlook for 2022.
Sam Darnold still seems likely to open the season as Mayfield’s backup, but if the Panthers can trade Darnold, PJ Walker could emerge as Carolina’s No. 2.