Football is back. All 32 teams have played at least one game. Now it’s on to Week 2 of the preseason with Kickoff Weekend rapidly approaching.
“It was good to be back out there,” says Detroit Lions running back REGGIE BUSH. “We did some things we can learn from and we did some good things. We have a few more preseason games to go and get ready.”
Seven games will be featured on national TV, starting with the San Diego Chargers visiting the Chicago Bears on Thursday night (8:00 PM ET, ESPN) and concluding with the Washington Redskins hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime on Monday (8:00 PM ET, ESPN).
Thursday, August 15
San Diego at Chicago 8:00 PM ESPN
Friday, August 16
Tampa Bay at New England 8:00 PM FOX
Saturday, August 17
Dallas at Arizona 4:30 PM NFLN
Jacksonville at New York Jets 7:30 PM NFLN
Denver at Seattle 10:30 PM NFLN
Sunday, August 18
Indianapolis at New York Giants 7:00 PM FOX
Monday, August 19
Pittsburgh at Washington 8:00 PM ESPN
Some of the highlight games in Week 2 of the NFL preseason:
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS at CHICAGO BEARS (Thursday, ESPN, 8:00 PM ET)
The Chargers, under new head coach MIKE MC COY, got a strong performance from the first-team units in last week’s preseason opener against Seattle.
“I think the great thing was the way we started the football game,” says McCoy. “Guys were doing what they’re supposed to do. It was a great way to start.”
The Chargers’ offense marched down the field on its first possession and got three points while the defensive starters forced the Seahawks to punt on their first two possessions.
“This is the time to get better,” says Chargers linebacker DWIGHT FREENEY, “but I think it went pretty well.”
The Bears, who led the NFL last year with 44 takeaways and eight interception-return touchdowns, picked up where they left off a season ago. Chicago’s defense forced four turnovers in the preseason opener against Carolina, including a 51-yard interception-return TD by rookie linebacker JON BOSTIC.
“That’s special for a guy in his first pro game,” says Bears linebacker LANCE BRIGGS, who had two INT-TDs last season, about Bostic. “He was in position, he caught it and he got himself into the end zone.”
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (Friday, FOX, 8:00 PM ET)
The Buccaneers faced the Super Bowl champion Ravens in their preseason opener and the starters left with a 3-0 lead.
“It felt very good to be out there,” says Tampa Bay linebacker LAVONTE DAVID. “Everybody was hyped up and ready. It was great to be in that atmosphere, getting ourselves ready for the season.”
Rookie cornerback JOHNTHAN BANKS started for the Buccaneers and led the team with five tackles.
“It wasn’t too big for him and he challenged guys,” says Tampa Bay head coach GREG SCHIANO about Banks.
Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY led New England to a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives on his only two series in the team’s opener at Philadelphia. Brady completed seven of eight passes for 65 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to SHANE VEREEN.
“We’re a better football team now than we were before,” says Brady. “And we’ve got to be a better football team at the end of next week than we are now. It’s a building process. We’ve got a long way to go but it was fun to get out there and play the first real game in seven months.”
DALLAS COWBOYS at ARIZONA CARDINALS (Saturday, NFLN, 4:30 PM ET)
The Cowboys starters got their first action of the preseason in last week’s matchup at Oakland. Dallas’ defense forced a turnover on the Raiders’ first possession as linebacker SEAN LEE registered a sack and knocked the ball loose. Defensive tackle JASON HATCHER recovered the fumble at Oakland’s 16-yard line which set up a field goal.
“It was great to be out there and finally play,” says Lee. “It has been a long time practicing with our team and it’s nice to go against another team in live action. The only way to really get better is to get out there and play hard. We had a good start but we have to get better.”
The Cardinals kicked off the preseason with a 17-0 victory at Green Bay in head coach BRUCE ARIANS’ Arizona debut. Quarterback CARSON PALMER, also playing his first game with the Cardinals, completed four of six passes for 77 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown to ANDRE ROBERTS.
“If the opportunities are there,” says Palmer about throwing the ball downfield, “we’re going to try to take advantage.”
Arizona’s defense, which held the Packers to 223 total yards, recorded three sacks and two turnovers. Rookie TYRANN MATHIEU had four tackles, a sack, a pass defensed and added a 24-yard punt return.
“I’m extremely proud of him,” says Cardinals cornerback and former LSU teammate PATRICK PETERSON. “I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do to help us throughout the regular season.”
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at NEW YORK GIANTS (Sunday, FOX, 7:00 PM ET)
Indianapolis quarterback ANDREW LUCK, entering his second NFL season, completed four of six passes for 51 yards in limited action in the Colts’ preseason opener against Buffalo. His backup, veteran MATT HASSELBECK, threw for 75 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown to T.Y. HILTON.
“What a wonderful ball to T.Y.,” recalls Luck. “You can tell that Matt knows football. He’s been a great addition.”
The Giants started the preseason on a winning note, defeating Pittsburgh 18-13. Quarterback ELI MANNING connected with VICTOR CRUZ on a 57-yard touchdown pass, which was the highlight for New York’s offensive starters.
“Good and bad,” says Manning about his performance in the opener. “Hit a couple nice throws. Sometimes the first game you just have to get back to knowing the defense can hit you now.”
Rookie defensive end DAMONTRE MOORE made a positive impression in his first game for the Giants as he blocked a punt and registered four tackles.
“Moore obviously was a problem for Pittsburgh,” says New York head coach TOM COUGHLIN. “He keeps coming and he likes it.”
PITTSBURGH STEELERS at WASHINGTON REDSKINS (Monday, ESPN, 8:00 PM ET)
The second full week of the NFL preseason concludes on Monday night when the Redskins host the Steelers. Pittsburgh will look to bounce back from a loss to the New York Giants last week while Washington aims to build on its 22-21 victory at Tennessee.
“We’ll learn from the first game and move forward,” says Steelers head coach MIKE TOMLIN. “Obviously, it needs to improve and we want to put together a winning performance next week. That will be our focus as we move forward.”
For the Redskins, quarterback KIRK COUSINS started and completed six of seven passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s been impressive from the moment that he got here,” says Washington head coach MIKE SHANAHAN about Cousins. “He’s a student of the game. He’s got talent and he’s a bright guy who works extremely hard.”