NFL Week 2 grades: Browns get 'D' after late collapse vs. Jets, Cowboys earn 'A-' for upset win over Bengals

Sun, Sep 18, 2022
NFL News (AP)

NFL Week 2 grades: Browns get 'D' after late collapse vs. Jets, Cowboys earn 'A-' for upset win over Bengals

There's a reason that Cleveland is once known as the 'Factory of Sadness.' The Browns arguably have more improbable losses than any other team in NFL history and they added another one to their heartbreaking total on Sunday by blowing a 30-17 lead to the New York Jets in just 85 seconds.'

With 1:55 left to play on Sunday, Nick Chubb scored a touchdown to put the Browns up 30-17 and it looked like Cleveland was going to coast to victory, but when you're talking about the Browns, there's no such thing as coasting to victory.'

In a stunning turn of events, the Jets scored two touchdowns just 60 seconds apart, which allowed them to steal a 31-30 win. If you're wondering how improbable the loss was, here's your answer.'

For the most part, the Browns played an impressive game, but they couldn't overcome SIX monumental mistakes, which all took place over the final two minutes.'

The biggest one came from Chubb, who could have sealed the win if he had simply fallen to the ground instead of scoring a TD with 1:55 left. If he had done that, the game would have been over because the run gave Cleveland a first down and the Jets had zero timeouts remaining.

We've seen running backs go down at the 1-yard line before, but Chubb didn't do it here. Even if he had gone out of bounds, the Browns still could have simply kneeled the ball three straight times to pick up the win. '

Chubb's gaffe wasn't the only big mistake the Browns made. Last week's hero for the Browns, Cade York, definitely wasn't the hero this week. The Browns would have had 31 points at the end of the game, but York missed the extra point following Chubb's touchdown. The missed kick left the Browns in front by just 13 points, which helped open the door for the Jets comeback. ''

The mistakes by York and Chubb wouldn't have mattered if the Browns defense didn't give up a long touchdown, which brings us to mistake number three: The Browns somehow left Corey Davis wide open for a 66-yard touchdown.'

(Note: Ignore the NFL's information in the tweet, it was a 66-yard score, not 76.)'

Even after Joe Flacco hit Davis for the score with 1:22 left to cut Cleveland's lead to 30-24, the Browns still could have clinched the win by recovering the Jets' onside kick, but instead, we got mistake number four. On the Jets' onside kick, the ball bounced off the hands of Amari Cooper and into the hands of New York's Justin Hardee.'

Nine plays after the recovery, the Jets would score the go-ahead touchdown with a 15-yard pass from Flacco to Garrett Wilson (Giving up the TD was mistake number five).'

Even after falling behind, the Browns STILL had a chance to win. With six seconds left, the Browns were at their own 46 and they need roughly eight to 10 yards to give York a realistic shot of making a field goal. However, York never got a chance to win the game because Jacoby Brissett threw an interception for mistake number six.'

It was a total of meltdown in a game that the Browns had no business losing. Their 'F-' performance over the final two minutes completely overshadowed the fact that they actually played pretty good football for the better part of three quarters.'

Alright, let's get to the grades for every game from Week 2. If you're looking for a deeper dive on the Chiefs' wild 27-24 win over the Chargers that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here. '

N.Y. Jets 31-30 over Cleveland

A- Jets
The Jets looked to be left for dead with under two minutes left to play, but they somehow overcame a 30-17 deficit in the final 85 seconds to win. Joe Flacco caught fire in the closing two minutes, completing 7 of 11 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns (He threw four TDs on the day). Rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson came up big with two touchdown receptions, including the game-winner. The Jets miracle win was kept alive by Justin Hardee, who recovered an onside kick late in the game. Flacco has owned the Browns over the course of his career, going 18-3, including Sunday's win.'
D Browns
Before the Browns' meltdown started, they actually played well. They ran the ball up and down the field on the Jets, totaling 184 yards and three touchdowns on the ground with Nick Chubb (87) and Kareem Hunt (58) both rushing for more than 55 yards. Also, Jacoby Brissett played nearly perfect football for the first 59 minutes (22 of 26 for 229 yards), but his interception with six seconds left ended up killing Cleveland's hopes at a possible game-winning field goal attempt. The final two minutes ended up bring a total disaster for the Browns and that overshadowed everything else Cleveland did in the game. '

Jets-Browns grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Jacksonville 24-0 over Indianapolis

F Colts
The Colts should just save themselves a trip to Florida and start forfeiting anytime they're scheduled to play in Jacksonville. The Colts have now lost eight straight road games to the Jaguars and their nightmare continued on Sunday. The Colts offense started off the game with an interception on their opening possession and three straight three-and-outs after that, and things only got uglier from there. Matt Ryan threw three interceptions, including two in the fourth quarter that killed any shot at a comeback. This was an embarrassing all-round performance for a Colts team that has now tripped over its own feet and fallen on its face to start the season. '
A+ Jaguars
The Jaguars might not be the best team in the NFL, but every time they play the Colts, they definitely look like they are. In one of the most impressive all-around performances from Week 2, the Jags absolutely destroyed the Colts. Trevor Lawrence actually looked like a star, completing his first eight passes on the way to throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown. As good as the Jags offense was, their defense was better. Not only did they pitch their first shutout since 2018, but they also sacked Matt Ryan five times while forcing three turnovers.'

Colts-Jaguars grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

Detroit 36-27 over Washington

C- Commanders
The Commanders might have been able to win this game if they had shown up for the first half. During a disastrous first two quarters of play, not only did Washington give up a safety, but they also didn't record a single first down until there was under six minutes left in the second quarter. Due to their first half ineptitude, the Lions were able to jump out to a 22-0 lead. The Commanders offense came alive in the second half, but it was much too little too late.'
A- Lions
It's fitting that the Lions are getting an 'A' because they were led by the 'A' Team on Sunday: Amon-Ra St. Brown and Aidan Hutchinson. St. Brown was an offensive star for the Lions, totaling 184 yards on just 11 touches. Not only did he have a 58-yard run in the game, but he also had a 49-yard reception, along with two touchdown catches. As for Hutchinson, he finished with three sacks overall and they all came during a a first half where the Lions defense absolutely dominated. Overall, the Lions sacked Carson Wentz a total of five times in the game. '

Commanders-Lions grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

Miami 42-38 over Baltimore

A Dolphins
If there were any Tua Tagovailoa doubters after Sunday's game, they need to re-watch what they witnessed. Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns as the Dolphins rallied from a' 21-point fourth quarter deficit to stun Baltimore. He threw for 189 yards and four touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, becoming just the second quarterback ever to throw four touchdowns on the road in the final quarter (Joe Montana, 1989). The Dolphins didn't lead until 14 seconds left, as Tagovailoa used the speed of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to get Miami back in the game. Tagovailoa proved he's a franchise quarterback, and now has the pass catchers to back up that claim. Miami has the looks of a playoff team in the early going.'
B Ravens
Baltimore wasted a 300 passing yard, 100 rushing yard performance by Lamar Jackson in blowing a 35-14 lead. The defense looked gassed trying to pressure Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter and the revamped secondary couldn't keep up with the speed of Hill that ultimately got Miami back in it. The Ravens need J.K. Dobbins back, as the running backs had just 33 rushing yards -- and the running game was carried by Jackson again. As good as Jackson is, he can't do it all. Once he was contained slightly, the offense went dormant and couldn't put the game away. Baltimore is a good team, but this roster still has some minor holes to patch.'

Dolphins-Ravens grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

New England 17-14 over Pittsburgh

A- Patriots
The Patriots showed why there were the favorites entering Sunday's game in Pittsburgh. New England's defense held the Steelers to a mere 14 points while forcing Mitch Trubisky into more check downs than the home crowd wanted to see. The offense received a big game from Mac Jones, while the Patriots' special teams came down with a big turnover to set up Damien Harris' game-clinching score. A few too many penalties from the offensive line prevented the Patriots from getting a perfect grade.
C Steelers
The Steelers' defense played well without T.J. Watt. But they were unable to sack Mac Jones and were also unable to come up with a key stop while allowing the Patriots to control the ball for the final six-plus minutes of the game. Pittsburgh continues to struggled to run the ball, as Najee Harris finished with less than 50 yards for a third straight game dating back to last season.

Patriots-Steelers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

Tampa Bay 20-10 over New Orleans

B- Buccaneers
The Buccaneers hardly played a perfect game. After all, they were shut out for the entire first half, but the defense made enough plays to also keep them within striking distance, holding the Saints to just a field goal at the break. Then, Todd Bowles' unit really put Tampa Bay in the driver's seat as they created five second-half turnovers, including a pick-six. Tom Brady didn't play the best game of his career, either, but did make a clutch 28-yard touchdown to Breshad Perriman that broke the 3-3 tie and began Tampa Bay's march toward going 2-0.
D Saints
Out of the gate, it looked like the Saints were going to pull out their typical win over the Buccaneers. Dennis Allen's club was giving Tom Brady and company fits and even shut them out for the entire first half. However, New Orleans had a second-half collapse for the ages, committing five total turnovers over the final two quarters. They allowed Tampa Bay to score a total of 17 points off those miscues, which directly resulted in the loss. Simply an utter collapse against their NFC South foe.

Buccaneers-Saints grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

N.Y. Giants 19-16 over Carolina

C+ Panthers
The Panthers nearly took home a win on Sunday, but unfortunately for Carolina "nearly" doesn't count for anything in the NFL. Christian McCaffrey earns an 'A' for rushing for over 100 yards, but the team clearly has a lot to work on. The red zone offense was a mess and quarterback Baker Mayfield is not as reliable as the Panthers want him to be. Carolina was able to keep it a close game against the Giants, but this was a game they needed to win, as more difficult games come down the stretch.
B- Giants
The Giants winning their second game in a row is huge for the team and their fanbase and that cannot be overlooked, as they are 2-0 for the first time since 2016. If I were to give a grade for the kicking unit, it would be an 'A,' but the team as a whole did not win in convincing fashion. The Giants get a 'B-' for this one because while the long field goals were impressive (Graham Gano hit four, including from 51 and 56), the offense should not put Gano in that position as much as they did. The Giants need to march down the field rather than settle for three and they need to get off to a better start (The Giants didn't score their first touchdown until the third quarter despite being gift excellent field position following two Carolina turnovers in the first quarter). Still, 2-0 is 2-0.

Panthers-Giants grades by Shanna McCarriston (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let'her know on Twitter.)

Dallas 20-17 over Cincinnati

D- Bengals
The Bengals knew they had to fix the offensive line this offseason. While they made several additions that looked good on paper with center Ted Karras, right guard Alex Cappa and right tackle La'el Collins, this offensive front isn't performing any better compared to last year. Burrow was sacked six times, and the offense struggled because of the pressure put on the quarterback. The first Bengals touchdown came in the fourth quarter and gave Cincy a chance at a comeback victory, but then the offense went three-and-out on what could have been the game-winning drive. The Bengals have some issues to correct. Seven teams started 0-2 last season, and none made the 14-team playoff field.
A- Cowboys
Not many were giving Cooper Rush and the Cowboys a chance to upset the reigning AFC champions on Sunday, but that's exactly what happened. Rush was a solid game manager, as he threw for 235 yards and one touchdown, but the real story of the game was the Dallas defense. The Cowboys sacked Joe Burrow six times -- with two takedowns coming from Micah Parsons. For the first three quarters, Burrow couldn't get anything going, as he was under constant duress. Sure, Dallas almost blew the game in the final stanza, but Rush came up clutch in the end, and Brett Maher converted the game-winning 50-yard field goal.

Bengals-Cowboys grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

San Francisco 27-7 over Seattle

D Seahawks
We expected a letdown from Seattle after the emotional victory over Russell Wilson on Monday night, but this was really bad. Seattle's only score came on a blocked field goal. The Seahawks blew a red zone opportunity with an incredibly ill-advised wildcat handoff pass, and just could not get much of anything going all night on offense. The Seahawks also took 10 penalties, with several of those extending San Francisco drives.
A 49ers
San Francisco bounced back from a crushing, season-ending injury to Trey Lance to thoroughly vanquish a division rival and get back to 1-1 on the season. Jimmy Garoppolo responded to Lance's injury with a steady, stay-ready type of performance. The defense was utterly dominant, as it did not allow a score all game and held the Seahawks to just 4.6 yards per play. This is what things will need to look like the rest of the year.

Seahawks-49ers grades by Jared Dubin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Arizona 29-23 over Las Vegas (OT)

A Cardinals
What else does one say when a team is down 20-0 at halftime and rallies to win in overtime -- and the way they accomplished the feat? The Cardinals tied the game on a Kyler Murray run with no time left on the clock -- then needed Murray to throw a perfect pass to A.J. Green for the conversion to force overtime. The Cardinals defense then forced a fumble on Hunter Renfrow in overtime -- when the Raiders needed just a field goal to win it -- and scored an improbable defensive touchdown to cap the 20-point comeback. Murray had 252 total yards in the second half and overtime to rally the Cardinals, making incredible play after incredible play to save their season. He silenced the doubters on whether that contract was deserved.'
D Raiders
Vegas was well on its way toward winning this one, commanding the Cardinals tempo as Kyler Murray looked lost in the first half. Then the Raiders got conservative on offense and allowed Murray to make enough plays to take over the game. Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones -- their star edge rushers -- couldn't wrap Murray up, and their defense couldn't contain him. Murray needed 20 seconds in the pocket on a two-point conversion (and got it) during the comeback and also ran in the touchdown that set up overtime. All Vegas had to do was get a field goal to win the game in overtime, but couldn't hang onto the ball. Now, Vegas is 0-2 -- and their chances to win the AFC West look very dismal.'

Cardinals-Raiders grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

Denver 16-9 over Houston

B- Texans
The Texans defense did its best to help Houston pull off the upset in Denver, but the unit got no help from an offense that struggled to move the ball against the Broncos defense. After leading the Texans to a field on the first goal possession of the second half,'Davis Mills and the offense completely disappeared. If the the Texans learn one thing from this game, it's that they might want to think about getting more touches for Dameon Pierce. The rookie running back averaged 4.6 yards per carry but only got 15 carries in the game.'
B- Broncos
The Broncos somehow won this game despite an ugly performance from Russell Wilson and an equally ugly coaching performance from Nathaniel Hackett. Wilson completed just 45.2% of his passes and struggled to get Denver's offense moving. In the first half, the Broncos got inside Houston's two-yard line on two different possessions and didn't get a touchdown on either drive. They also lost three points when they took a delay of game on a 54-yard field goal attempt (Nathaniel Hackett decided to punt instead of try a 59-yarder). The good news for the Broncos is that their defense bailed them out in a game where the Broncos sacked Davis Mills three times while holding the Texans out of the end zone.'

Texans-Broncos grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

L.A. Rams 31-27 over Atlanta

B- Falcons
No one knows more about blowing a 28-3 lead than the Falcons and, they almost made the Rams blow that exact same lead in this game. The Falcons fell behind early because they kept making big mistakes in the first half. From a missed field goal to a failed fourth down to'Marcus Mariota interceptions, the Falcons couldn't do anything right and the Rams were able to capitalize off their mistakes. (The Rams' three first-half touchdowns all came after one of the mistakes listed above.) In the second half, the Falcons forced two turnovers and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, but they dug themselves too deep a hole to get out of.
B- Rams
In what would have been the ultimate twist of NFL irony, the Rams almost blew a 28-3 lead to the Falcons, but that didn't happen due to a game-saving play from Jalen Ramsey. The All-Pro corner picked off Marcus Mariota with just under 70 seconds to play to seal the win. With Cooper Kupp leading the way (108 yards, 2 touchdowns), this game looked like it was going to be a blowout, but the Rams let Atlanta back in the game with multiple huge mistakes in the second half, including a lost fumble, a Matthew Stafford interception and a blocked punt that the Falcons returned for a touchdown. Despite turning the ball over three times in the game and getting outscored 17-3 in the fourth quarter, the Rams were still able to escape with the win.'

Falcons-Rams grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

Green Bay 27-10 over Chicago

C Bears
The Bears had a chance to make this game interesting, but that chance went out the window after they failed on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Although David Montgomery rushed for 122 yards in the game, the Bears decided to cast him aside and try to score from the 1 on a QB keeper on a play where Justin Fields was lined up in shotgun formation. It wasn't a great call for such a key situation. Montgomery was one of the few bright spots on a night where the Bears simply couldn't move the ball. After scoring a TD on their opening drive, the Bears didn't gain another first down until midway through the third quarter and when you're playing the Packers, that's simply not good enough to win.'
A- Packers
If you're wondering whether Aaron Rodgers still owns the Bears, the answer is yes. The Packers quarterback threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns, but even with those numbers, he wasn't the star of the Packers offense on Sunday. That honor went to Aaron Jones, who gashed up the Bears for 132 yards and a TD on just 15 carries (Jones also tacked on 38 receiving yards and another TD). This was the kind of game the Packers needed after last week's loss: The Packers' offense was able to move the ball at will, the Packers' defense only let the Bears convert one third down and more importantly, Green Bay picked up its first win of the season.'

Bears-Packers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades?'Let him know on Twitter.)

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