What we learned from Saturday’s preseason games
Saturday brought us a quintet of Week 2 preseason games that began in the Indianapolis afternoon and carried into the Honolulu evening. That is what we realized:
Cleveland Browns 21, Indianapolis Colts 18
1. The Indianapolis Colts can sleep effectively sparkling Jacoby Brissett can fabricate if Andrew Perfect fortune is never always ready for Week 1. Brissett seemed stellar leading Indy’s first-crew offense Saturday versus quite a lot of the Browns’ starting up protection. The signal-caller did a good job navigating a muddy pocket to search out his targets. Brissett showed mountainous accuracy, especially over the heart, going 8-of-10 for 100 yards and a touchdown for a 141.7 ranking on three drives. He also added an 11-yard lag for a first down. The QB’s easiest two passes went to Expert Bowl tight stop Eric Ebron. The most necessary came on a fourth down when Brissett refrained from a free rusher and slung a lag to Ebron for a first down for 16 yards. Brissett then threaded the needle with wonderful ball-placement to Ebron in the nook of the stop zone. Perfect fortune seemed gorgeous warming up sooner than the preseason tilt, offering some optimism he would possibly be ready for the abnormal season. If he is never any longer gorgeous to transfer, Brissett, a starting up-caliber QB, showed over all another time he can preserve down the citadel.
2. The Browns offense over all another time flashed its depth in the preseason. Backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert seemed gorgeous dicing up the Colts secondary in the foremost half of, winding up 13 of 19 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns for a 127.3 ranking. The 28-365 days-venerable displayed plus accuracy and spread the ball spherical effectively to his targets. If Gilbert continues to fabricate as he did Saturday, he would possibly drive his system onto the roster because the No. 3 QB. In other areas, Cleveland’s depth on the ability positions became on disclose. Rashard Higgins persevered to lock down the No. 3 WR characteristic. Undrafted rookie D.J. 1st viscount montgomery of alamein flashed gorgeous fingers, and mountainous sideline-decide acumen, going for 3 receptions for 77 yards, with a long of 32 yards that region up a short TD. Reserve working back D’Ernest Johnson also displayed dual-threat ability, speeding 10 cases for 53 yards (long of 15) and catching three passes for 26 yards and a TD. Johnson flashed wiggle out of the backfield and the ability to search out open grass in the passing sport. The preseason is about young avid gamers stating their case for roster spots. The Browns’ brigade of green guys spoke loudly on Saturday.
— Kevin Patra
Fresh England Patriots 22, Tennessee Titans 17
3. Welcome back Delanie Walker. In his first sport action since struggling a gruesome season-ending ankle damage in Week 1 of the 2018 advertising campaign, the ragged tight stop displayed his importance to Marcus Mariota. After a shaky first two drives for the Titans, Walker purchased open over the heart for Tennessee’s first first down of the game for a 15-yard snag. Later in the drive, Walker beat coverage down the seam and grabbed a pin-level pass from Mariota for an 11-yard TD. It is easy to forget how powerful Mariota uncared for his security blanket final season. The duo seemed enjoy it hadn’t uncared for a beat, which portends positively for the Titans in 2019.
4. It wasn’t a crisp efficiency from the Patriots who played Saturday, but loads of young of us stood out. On protection, rookie Byron Cowart purchased off to a raging open, bulldozing ragged guard Roger Saffold for a gruesome sack of Mariota on the game’s first sequence. Later, third-rounder Recede Winovich played with his hair on fire, destroying Tennessee’s backup sort out with a bevy of speed moves. A man with an never-ending motor, Winovich picked up five tackles, a sack, two QB hits, two sort out for loss, pressured a preserve, and added a bevy of assorted pressures. Within the secondary, 2d-rounder JoeJuan Williams became stellar in coverage early.
On offense, left sort out Isaiah Wynn, who uncared for all of ultimate season, played three sequence and seemed valid. The LT anchored effectively in pass pro. He can assist in speed blockading, but for his first look, it became certain. Receiver Jacobi Meyers persevered to use up corners off the line of scrimmage (6/82). Rookie working back Damien Harris purchased the extensive majority of the workload in the backfield and answered effectively in every the speed and pass sport, earning 14 rushes for 80 yards and 4 catches for 28 yards. Harris displayed mountainous vision on a 20-yard poke, toughness to energy thru arm tackles, and gorgeous route working to search out free place. Backup QB Jason Stidham also persevered his stalwart preseason, winding up 74 percent of his passes for 193 yards and a good arching back-shoulder TD.
— Kevin Patra
Houston Texans 30, Detroit Lions 23
5. The Deshaun Watson-DeAndre Hopkins connection seemed in midseason procure. In a single sequence, the duo connected twice, first for a 13-yard perform, then for a 4-yard TD to open the scoring. With Detroit bored with bringing strain, Watson had all day to throw and picked apart the Lions. The QB struck for chunk gains, his five completions going for 13, 13, 12, 18 and 4 yards (touchdown). Watson performed 5-of-7 for 60 yards, a TD pass, and also scrambled for a 7-yard perform. It became correct one sequence, but Watson showed how gorgeous he would possibly be when protected. Whether or no longer the Texans can proceed to full so when defenses bring the heat would possibly be the sizable place apart a query to in Houston this season. In that vein, first-spherical offensive lineman Tytus Howard left the game gradual in the foremost half of to procure checked by trainers and did no longer return, per the Houston Legend.
6. In trying to search out positives early in the Lions’ 2d preseason sport, gape on the heart of the protection. With starting up linebacker Jarrad Davis sitting out, two different young LBs made performs. 2nd-spherical bag Jahlani Tavai started and seemed valid in the heart, exhibiting gorgeous instincts diagnosing performs whereas compiling four tackles. Fellow linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin also played with fire, bringing punch to the hole on loads of of his five tackles (one for loss) in precisely over a quarter of play. JRM also displayed his ability in place when he came off overlaying the slot to ruin up a pass. Might perchance Detroit in the destroy beget some linebacker depth?
— Kevin Patra
Pittsburgh Steelers 17, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs 7
7. Sooner than Saturday, working back James Conner had but to journey any contact, even in apply. Upon his first gape, he looks to be to be every bit the terrific runner he became a 365 days prior to now, as his legs carried him to a stellar 365 days on the topic and his personality carried him above a handful of headline-grabbing distractions by job of teammates that beget been emblematic of the Steelers’ stumbles. Conner’s seven touches 34 yards (six carries for 28) on Saturday absolutely is never always anything that jumps out, but seeing Conner back on the topic and taking a gaze ready for the season bodes very effectively for Pittsburgh. “It felt gorgeous to be back out right here,” Conner acknowledged all over the broadcast gradual in the game.
8. Bewildering as it would possibly most likely perchance be, Patrick Mahomes started for the 2d consecutive preseason sport as coach Andy Reid acknowledged he would earlier in the week. The all-galaxy quarterback began with a pair of completions to popular targets Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to open the preseason with six straight completions courting back to the opener. Mahomes ended his evening after two sequence with a somewhat un-Mahomes line of two of 5 for 11 yards and one speed for eight yards. Presumably more necessary than anything is Mahomes emerged damage free. It is generally advanced to doubt Reid just about working an offense, but having the reigning NFL MVP open every of the crew’s preseason tilts to this level is a puny bit bit puzzling.
— Grant Gordon
Dallas Cowboys 14, Los Angeles Rams 10
9. Ezekiel Elliott restful hasn’t returned to the Cowboys. So so long as Zeke see continues, Tony Pollard see will follow it, as effectively. Despite the indisputable fact that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke swimmingly of the rookie runner after a modest four carries for 16 yards in preseason Week 1, Pollard truly became spectacular on Saturday on the onset. Taking handoffs from Dak Prescott on the hole drive, Pollard had five carries for 42 yards, including a 14-yard speed thru the merely facet to pay grime. Pollard seemed promising below the Hawaiian solar and that’s the explanation gorgeous for the Cowboys — in all likelihood in additional suggestions than correct on the topic.
Within the period in-between, Prescott became wonderful, going 5 of 5 for 64 yards in his 2d preseason open in as many games. While there is been masses of noise relating to Prescott’s lofty desires for a brand unique deal, he’s very quietly going about his job, exhibiting up for apply, starting up preseason games (no longer certain why on that one) and taking half in splendidly.
10. In a showdown of squads boasting marquee names, the stars absolutely did no longer near out for both crew all over a high time commute in Hawaii. With the exception of Dak Prescott, the sizable names on every groups beget been absent from the taking half in topic for a lot of reasons. With L.A. QB Jared Goff no longer in action, it became one other likelihood for Blake Bortles to resolve in after a ho-hum debut (3 for 8 for 50 yards and a 59.4 ranking) with the Rams the week prior. Bortles became valid to the tune of a 7-for-11 evening for 62 yards with a 7-yard TD toss and a 108.9 QB ranking in the neighborhood of double his earlier commute. At one level in the game, Rams coach Sean McVay even checked in to full a puny bit dwell play-by-play, so correct what one can gauge from the reigning NFC champs is arduous. Nonetheless having a seasoned backup is continuously an major piece, seriously for a excessive-octane offense and Bortles showed progress. After Bortles’ exit, Brandon Allen took the reins and went 14-of-21 for 115 yards with a bag. It wasn’t stellar, but it absolutely became valid. With Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown absent from play, as effectively, Darrell Henderson purchased some more journey, with the rookie working back exhibiting his abilities out of the backfield with six catches.
— Grant Gordon