32 things we learned in NFL Week 2: Giants' massive comeback stands above rest

The 32 things we learned from Week 2 of the 2023 NFL season:

1. The AFC is supposedly the NFL’s power conference, correct? Entering Monday, the AFC has two 2-0 teams (Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins) … while the NFC has six, the New Orleans Saints primed to make it seven Monday night. The Cleveland Browns could give the AFC a trio of 2-0s by the end of Week 2, but still not what most envisioned for the conference awash in superstar quarterbacks.

1a. All six teams that started the 2022 season with 2-0 marks ultimately advanced to the playoffs.

2. Whether it be the New York Jets’ Week 1 win over the Buffalo Bills on “Monday Night Football” (trip on the game-winning punt return in overtime?), the Detroit Lions’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday (Detroit DE Aidan Hutchinson held on game-winning TD pass, yes, in overtime?), or the Washington Commanders defeating the Denver Broncos (WR Courtland Sutton interfered with on the two-point attempt that would have forced overtime?), surely doesn’t appear the refs are going to throw a flag in such a high-leverage situation … especially if it’s not Super Bowl 57.

3. Same story, different uniform? After being sacked a league-high 55 times in 2022, Broncos QB Russell Wilson went down seven times Sunday. He was never sacked fewer than 30 times in Seattle and has been bagged at least 40 times in every year entering 2023 save two.

3a. Still, Wilson almost pulled off one of his best moments of quarterbacking wizardry after nearly getting Denver into a fifth period after connecting with Brandon Johnson on a 50-yard Hail Mary TD at the end of regulation.

3b. With a team-best 56 yards on the ground, Wilson topped 5,000 for his career – just the third quarterback in NFL history to do so as he joined Michael Vick and Cam Newton.

4. On the flip side, credit the Commanders for crafting their first 2-0 start in a dozen years after surmounting an 18-point second-quarter deficit.

5. For the second consecutive season, the Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2. Didn’t stop them from winning the AFC North in 2022, but they’re the only team to reach postseason after such a start since the NFL expanded to the 14-team playoff field in 2020.

5a. Cincy’s offense looked better in Sunday’s loss to the division-rival Ravens after nearly getting shut out by Cleveland in Week 1. But WR Ja’Marr Chase continues to be virtually invisible with 10 catches for 70 yards on the season, and QB Joe Burrow aggravated his training camp calf injury. Not great. At all.

6. The New England Patriots are 0-2 for the first time since 2001, ending a 22-year streak of avoiding the oh-fer that was the longest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

6a. Yet the Patriots won their first Super Bowl following the 2001 season ... though they had a guy named Tom Brady on that roster.

7. The New York Giants started their season by being outscored 60-0 through six quarters. Impressive. In the Super Bowl era (since 1966), only the 1978 Baltimore Colts, who gave up 86 straight points to start the season, surrendered more before finally getting on the board.

7a. But those Colts also began with the dreaded 0-2 ledger. These Giants fought back from a 28-7 third-quarter deficit at Arizona on Sunday to beat the Cardinals 31-28 and salvage a 1-1 start.

Jalin Hyatt #13 of the New York Giants celebrates with Daniel Jones #8 after a win over the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona.
Jalin Hyatt #13 of the New York Giants celebrates with Daniel Jones #8 after a win over the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona.

8. New York, New York – the city so nice they named it twice. Or, in the Dallas Cowboys’ case, the city they embarrassed in successive weeks, following up their 40-0 whitewashing of the Giants by thumping the Aaron Rodgers-less Jets 30-10 on Sunday.

8a. Yet, like the cross-state Jets, the Giants may be experiencing their first victory at great cost. Star RB Saquon Barkley (92 total yards, 2 TDs) injuring an ankle late in Sunday's comeback, which could be especially costly given the Giants play again Thursday at San Francisco.

9. After cutting through the Jets like a scythe, Cowboys LB Micah Parsons (forced fumble, recovery, 2 sacks, 3TFLs, 4 QB hits) is your early front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year honors and perhaps very unlikely to relinquish his unofficial lead given the quality of Dallas' defense.

10. The 1999 – and John Elway-less – Broncos were the last defending Super Bowl champion to start a season 0-2. The Kansas City Chiefs kept that streak intact by surviving the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-9, thanks in large part to the returns of TE Travis Kelce (TD catch) and DT Chris Jones (1½ sacks).

10a. K.C. has beaten the Jags three times since November and eight straight overall.

11. And how about reigning league and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes? On his 28th birthday, the Chiefs superstar passed for 305 yards and a pair of TDs. It was his 42nd career 300-yard game, most by any player in his first nine seasons after he surpassed Dan Marino and Matt Ryan. It should be noted, Mahomes is in his seventh season – two games in, to be specific – and made all of one appearance in his rookie year (2017).

12. Speaking of rookies, how about Los Angeles Rams WR Puka Nacua? His 15 receptions (for 147 yards) were a freshman record. His 25 grabs through two games are another new rookie standard, and he’s the first to open with at least 10 catches and at least 100 yards in his first two games. Cooper who?

13. Lions QB Jared Goff had a chance to break Rodgers’ league record for most consecutive passes without an interception (402). Unfortunately for Motown, Goff’s run ended at 383 (third longest ever) courtesy of a pick-six in a game the Lions lost 37-31 to Seattle.

13a. And while 68 points may seem like a shootout, the Lions and Seahawks failed to become the first teams to combine for 80+ points in three consecutive matchups.

13b. Seattle’s 48-45 win at Ford Field last year – the highest-scoring game of 2022 – was the determining reason Detroit didn’t make the playoffs.

14. But really, any surprise the Lions got burglarized – and trolled – in their own house after their fans bought into the blue ski mask schtick endorsed by feisty DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson?

15. The Bills whipped the Las Vegas Raiders 38-10 to even both teams’ records to 1-1. After a rough week off the field, the Bills showed what a dangerous team they can be on it, five different players – none of them named Josh Allen or Stefon Diggs – scoring touchdowns.

16. Allen played a clean game (274 yards, 3 TDs passing), breaking a six-game streak (including playoffs) in which he committed at least one turnover in each.

17. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs rushed for -2 yards. It was the lowest total ever by a reigning rushing champ in the Super Bowl era. He did catch five passes for 51 yards, so the day wasn’t a complete write-off for his many fantasy owners.

18. Still, Sunday was a reminder – Jacobs’ inability to contribute anything toward a winning effort, plus Barkley’s injury – that there’s ample evidence why it’s so risky to shell out big bucks for one gifted running back. (Both Barkley and Jacobs were franchised in the offseason but are scheduled to be free agents in 2024 after failing to strike long-term extensions.)

19. Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love has thrown for three TDs in each of his first two starts this season, better than his legendary predecessors. Hall of Famer Brett Favre threw three TDs total in his first two starts in 1992, while future Hall of Famer Rodgers managed four through two games once he took over for Favre in 2008.

20. However Love couldn’t guide the Pack to a 2-0 start on the road … something that’s never happened in the franchise’s 103-season history.

21. How horrible are the Bears? The team that earned the No. 1 pick of the 2022 draft (and later traded it) are 0-2 out of the chute with a pair of double-digit losses, including Sunday at Tampa. Their defensive coordinator missed the game for mysterious reasons, and QB Justin Fields (4 turnovers this season, sacked 6 times by the Buccaneers) appears to be regressing despite dealing for WR DJ Moore and the money the team spent in free agency this year.

21a. How horrible are the Bears’ alternate uniforms? The Monsters look pretty monstrous with orange helmets topping orange jerseys, but at least they have the sense to terrorize enemy fans on the road rather than sporting this look in Soldier Field.

21b. Naturally, not having Nate Davis in the lineup really hurt Chicago.

22. Once the winningest franchise in NFL history, the Bears have surrendered that distinction to the hated Packers. Chicago is now riding a 12-game losing streak, worst in its 104-season history.

23. No wins in sight for the Bears, but the Tennessee Titans beat the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime – breaking an eight-game skid that began last Thanksgiving weekend.

24. Elsewhere, the San Francisco 49ers have won 12 straight in the regular season after dropping the Rams 30-23.

24a. The Niners have also beaten the Rams nine straight times in the regular season.

24b. That game marked the first time from a quarterbacking perspective that a “Mr. Irrelevant” – the final pick of an NFL draft, the Niners’ Brock Purdy (2022) in this case – matched up against a passer taken No. 1 overall (Matt Stafford in 2009).

25. After collectively going 0-5 in Week 1, first-year head coaches head into Monday night 1-8. The Indianapolis Colts’ Shane Steichen got off the schneid … but had to beat fellow rookie HC DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans) to do it.

26. A week after getting fined for an illegal hit that concussed Raiders WR Jakobi Meyers – he didn’t play in Week 2 – veteran Denver S Kareem Jackson was ejected for an even worse shot on Washington TE Logan Thomas, who hung on to the ball for a 4-yard TD reception. But, apparently, Jackson won't be preemptively ejected from Week 3's game.

27. The Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts has multiple rushing TDs in 10 career games (including playoffs). He’s now one shy of Newton’s all-time record among quarterbacks.

28. Four teams (Giants, Falcons, Commanders and Titans) came back to win while overcoming double-digit holes Sunday.

29. How about Titans P Ryan Stonehouse? After shattering the league record with 53.1 yards per punt in 2022, his rookie season, his five bombs averaged 61.2 yards in Sunday’s win.

30. Just when you think you've seen it all, how about New England's special teams? DB Brenden Schooler's block of a Miami field-goal attempt Sunday night was a fresh, creative thing of beauty.

30a. Just when you think you've seen it all, how about New England nearly getting in position to tie its game with a fourth-down lateral to offensive lineman Cole Strange?

31. Reminder: Two Monday night games to conclude Week 2, ESPN (Saints-Panthers at 7:15 p.m. ET) and ABC (Browns-Steelers at 8:15 p.m. ET) airing them with staggered starts.

32. Let’s end on a high note by extending a virtual bro hug to Texans WR John Metchie III, who made his long awaited NFL debut. A second-round pick out of Alabama in 2022, Metchie missed his rookie season after being diagnosed with leukemia and didn’t play last week due to a hamstring issue. But he caught a 17-yard pass Sunday to finally get on the board after overcoming so much adversity. Props.


Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL Week 2 takeaways: Giants' comeback stands above other big rallies