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The best, worst and biggest questions: How Bills, Chiefs and Giants bounced back

Welcome to Week 2 of the NFL regular season. Another week, another painstaking process of trying to figure out which teams are among this season’s elite.

The Bills’ offense came alive against the Raiders, while Chris Jones was the difference-maker in the Chiefs’ win over the Jaguars. Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson left Sunday’s game against the Texans in the first half with a concussion, and the Seahawks and Titans both pulled off overtime victories.

In the late window, the Giants tied their franchise record for biggest comeback against the Cardinals after being down 20-0 at halftime, the 49ers outlasted the Rams and the Cowboys are 2-0 with a win over the Zach Wilson and the Jets. The Dolphins hung on in the night game to start 2-0 and drop the Patriots to 0-2.

Our NFL Nation reporters are reacting to all the action, answering lingering questions coming out of each game and picking out who — or what — is rising and falling for every team. Let’s get to it.

Jump to a matchup:

Did the Dolphins provide a glimpse of how good they could be? Sunday’s win wasn’t perfect — the Dolphins had a field goal blocked, and their defense largely stalled out in the second half — but for at least a half, Miami showed what it could be when it’s firing on both sides of the ball. Its defense pressured Mac Jones 20 times for four sacks, forcing two turnovers in the process. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led an efficient offensive attack until hitting a snag in the second half. It’s September, and no team is expected to be a final product, but the Dolphins provided a glimpse.

Stock up after the win: The rush defense. After allowing 235 rushing yards to the Chargers in Week 1, Miami held the Patriots to 88 yards on the ground and an inefficient 3.5 yards per carry.

Stock down after the win: Mike McDaniel’s challenge record. The Dolphins coach tossed the red flag early in the first half on what he thought was a fumble, but it was confirmed to be an incomplete pass. His record in coach’s challenges dropped to 1-for-6 since the start of last season. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Next game: vs. Broncos (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

At 0-2, are the Patriots in trouble? It seems that way. After dropping their first two games at home, the next two are on the road (Jets, Cowboys), and history isn’t on their side. Since 1990, 31 of 270 teams that began a season 0-2 qualified for the postseason — although the 17-game NFL schedule adopted in 2021 provides a little more margin for error. The difference in explosiveness between the Patriots and Dolphins stood out, as another fourth-quarter rally fell short.

Stock up after the loss: Brenden Schooler, who got a running start and blocked a kick. The second-year player out of Texas was traveling 12.7 mph when the ball was snapped and 13.19 mph when the kick was blocked.

Stock down after the loss: Offensive line. The inability to consistently open holes in the running game against a Dolphins’ defense that surrendered 233 rushing yards in the opener was telling (88 yards/3.5 average), as the Patriots struggled to create balance and QB Mac Jones (4 sacks) once again took some big hits as rushers came free against a unit that was playing without starting left tackle Trent Brown (concussion). — Mike Reiss

Next game: at Jets (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

What’s different about this team compared to the past? Washington has a young quarterback with moxie who makes big-time throws. Sam Howell threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns in his third NFL start, and first on the road. He shakes off bad plays and has the talent to get hot. But the defense also is making plays. Tackle Daron Payne is playing at an elite level, and the unit has forced four turnovers in two games and had chances for more.

Stock up after the win: Running backs. Brian Robinson Jr. rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns, displaying the power and quick feet Washington liked when it drafted him in the third round last year. The backs were also involved in the screen game. Robinson caught two passes for 42 yards while Antonio Gibson added three for 44 yards.

Stock down after the win: Kicking game. Washington’s Joey Slye missed two field goals — the first was a result of another bad snap by Camaron Cheeseman; the second miss was wide right from 59 yards. Cheeseman, a third-year player, has struggled with his snaps since training camp. — John Keim

Next game: vs. Bills (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)

When will the Broncos play the complementary football they’ve promised? The season-opening loss to the Raiders was frustrating, but Sunday’s loss was alarming, late 50-yard Hail Mary touchdown notwithstanding. The Broncos let an 18-point lead get away. The defense let the Commanders go on a 32-12 run over the last three quarters. So, the hoped-for new culture under Sean Payton and staff hasn’t revealed what the Broncos can lean on with the Dolphins, Chiefs (twice), Packers and Bills on the schedule before mid-November.

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