The 32 things we learned from Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season:
1. Don’t think Tua Tagovailoa wants to strike deep down the field? All he did was throw four fourth-quarter touchdown passes – including a 48- and 60-yarder to WR Tyreek Hill – Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, leading the Miami Dolphins back from a 35-14 deficit to an improbable 42-38 triumph.
2. Tagovailoa (469 yards) joined Hall of Famers Bob Griese and Dan Marino as the only Dolphins to throw six TDs in a game.
3. More importantly, Tua and his team are off to a 2-0 start, something his more celebrated 2020 first-round draftmates, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, can’t claim.
4. It’s usually not a good idea to try “taking receipts” from the New York media, but that’s the route Jets coach Robert Saleh took last week in the wake of his team’s uninspired Week 1 loss to Baltimore. Looks like the NYJ coach will collect his share of rebates this week after his team shocked the Browns 31-30 in Cleveland, scoring a pair of TDs in the final 82 seconds to complete the comeback.
5. Saleh also started seeing the returns from his vaunted rookie class, first-round WR Garrett Wilson (8 catches, 102 yards, 2 TDs) and second-round RB Breece Hall (60 total yards, TD) both with big afternoons.
6. Interim Jets QB1 Joe Flacco (307 yards passing, 4 TDs) improved to 18-3 all-time against the Browns.
7. The Browns fell to 0-1 with that ridiculous new Keebler-looking elf logo at midfield … but hopefully “Brownie” passed out some delicious postgame Fudge Stripes.
8. Also, no chance QB Jimmy Garoppolo is coming to that Cleveland locker room in 2022 now that San Francisco 49ers starter Trey Lance is lost for the season.
9. Lance will officially be credited with the win from Sunday’s 27-7 thrashing of the Seattle Seahawks. But what a personal catastrophe for the No. 3 pick of the 2021 draft, who was carted off the field in the first quarter with an air cast on his fractured right ankle – one that will require season-ending surgery.
10. As for the “Faithful,” at least it’s no small consolation knowing Jimmy G has gotten this team at least as far as the NFC title game in two of the past three seasons. And given how relatively thin this year’s NFC field appears, no reason to believe the 49ers aren’t still Super Bowl-caliber.
11. However, it’s now the Niners who will suddenly enter the quarterback market. Going into Sunday, Garoppolo gave them the best backup situation in the league. Now that’s been turned on its head, the only other passer on the roster being rookie Brock Purdy, the “Mr. Irrelevant” as the 262nd and final pick of the 2022 NFL draft.
12. Aaron Rodgers’ ownership of the Chicago Bears continues, the Packers star improving to 24-5 all time against Green Bay’s archrival with Sunday night’s 27-10 win. Rodgers also threw his 450th career TD pass, the fifth player in NFL annals to reach the benchmark.
12a. Pack coach Matt LaFleur should get co-ownership status. He’s now 7-0 against the Bears.
12b. The Packers are 104-95-6 overall against Chicago, gaining further breathing room in the league’s longest-running rivalry.
13. Continuing with the comeback theme, Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals couldn’t hit sand from a dune buggy in Las Vegas, trailing the Raiders 20-0 deep into the third quarter. But the Cards came all the way back for a 29-23 triumph thanks to Murray’s improvisational heroics and CB Byron Murphy Jr.’s 59-yard TD off a Hunter Renfrow fumble in overtime.
13a. But the play of the game was Murray’s successful scramble on a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 23-15. Murray actually ran nearly 85 circuitous yards over nearly 21 seconds … on an untimed down.
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14. The wins by Arizona and Miami marked the first time in NFL history that two teams overcame halftime deficits of at least 20 points on the same day.
14a. There have already been 12 games decided by three points or fewer this season, the most after two weeks of play in league history.
15. In the first game following the Russell Wilson era, the Seattle offense mustered two TDs. Sunday, it posted none (and all of 216 yards).
15a. Meanwhile, Wilson was booed lustily for the second straight game – though Sunday’s serenade was much more shocking from a Broncos fan base that had been excited by his arrival this offseason. Wilson was 14-of-31 for 219 yards with one TD and one INT while throwing to a receiving corps depleted of most of its notable players aside from WR Courtland Sutton. But Denver pulled out a 16-9 win over the Houston Texans despite Wilson’s struggles, 13 more Broncos penalties, hapless red-zone play … and the crowd counting down the play clock because that was apparently too much for rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett’s offense to keep track of.
16. Was there ever any doubt Dallas Cowboys QB2 Cooper Rush would up his career record to 2-0 by beating the Cincinnati Bengals in his first start in place of temporarily injured starter Dak Prescott? Was there? Paging my good friend, pessimist Jarrett Bell 😉
16a. The Cowboys were the only team in the league that didn’t score a TD in Week 1, but they hit pay dirt twice against Cincinnati.
17. However, the story of this Dallas team Sunday – as may be the case all season – was a defense that limited the defending AFC champs to 17 points (one TD) and 254 yards while sacking QB Joe Burrow six times.
18. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers broke their seven-game regular-season losing streak to the New Orleans Saints, not that QB Tom Brady will take much solace. Though the Bucs are 2-0, the Brady-led offense has only managed two total TDs this season, and the GOAT spent nearly as much time yelling at his teammates as he did at the Saints.
19. Speaking of which – even though chatty former Saints DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson is now in Philadelphia – TB12 and Co. still got an earful from the Saints, the teams even exchanging blows as Pro Bowlers Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) and Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans) were ejected and potentially facing additional discipline.
20. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was ultimately outdueled by Tagovailoa – he can largely thank his defense for that – but did make more history Sunday. Jackson became the first player in league history to run and pass for TDs of at least 75 yards in the same game. His 119 yards rushing also marked the 11th time in his career he reached the century mark, a record among quarterbacks.
21. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were the top two picks, respectively, of the 2016 NFL draft, though neither remains with his original team. Goff (256 yards passing, 4 TDs) got the best of Wentz and the Commanders, improving to 2-1 against the man he also bested in the draft six years ago.
22. Goff had plenty of help from a young man who’s emerging as one of the league’s top receivers. Amon-Ra St. Brown led Detroit with 68 yards rushing, which was the cherry on top of a nine-catch, 116-yard, two-TD day. It was St. Brown’s sixth consecutive game with at least eight grabs and a TD, a feat never before accomplished during the Super Bowl era (since 1966).
23. Lions DE Aidan Hutchinson made early hay in the defensive rookie of the year race, dumping Wentz for three first-half sacks.
24. Did you really think the Patriots were going to lose to the Steelers? Since Bill Belichick came to New England, the Pats are 13-4 against Pittsburgh.
24a. Did you really think the Patriots were going to lose to the Steelers? Since Bill Belichick came to New England, the Pats haven’t started 0-2 since 2001 … which was before Brady became their starting QB.
25. Hard to explain the Jacksonville Jaguars’ recent dominance of the AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts … and yet Sunday marked the third time the Jags have shut out the Colts in the past six seasons.
26. Indy has lost its last eight trips to Jacksonville.
27. If you were starting Rams WR Brandon Powell on your fantasy team, you were already in trouble. But if you did, you ate minus-26 rushing yards after he intentionally took a safety as Los Angeles desperately outlasted the Falcons, 31-27, a game the champs led 28-3 (yep) in the second half.
28. If you were starting highly touted Atlanta TE Kyle Pitts on your fantasy team … welp, he had two catches for 19 yards – exactly replicating his Week 1 production.
29. A body slam (Chargers S Derwin James on Chiefs TE Travis Kelce), gutty performance (Herbert), script-flipping 99-yard pick-six (Chiefs CB Jaylen Watson) and Patrick Mahomes’ general brilliance? If Thursday night’s Chiefs-Chargers throwdown was indicative of how this year’s AFC West brawls will play out … as Bart Scott would say, “Can’t wait.”
30. That said, as much a devotee to analytics that Bolts coach Brandon Staley is, very limited upside to exposing Herbert (fractured rib cartilage) to further injury – even if the second-year star’s toughness made the final score closer after he threaded two perfect throws, including a 7-yard TD pass, on LA’s final drive.
31.Embattled Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule is off to an 0-2 start for the second time in three seasons. On the bright side, the Nebraska and Arizona State jobs are already open.
32. Ever the first-class organization, the Ravens did a wonderful job honoring the memories of former players Tony Siragusa and Jaylon Ferguson. Both men died in June. A helmet decal was worn to commemorate them, and several of Siragusa’s teammates from Baltimore’s first championship club (2000) emerged from the team’s tunnel in his No. 98 jersey.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.