6 playoff teams do not panic, avoid 0-2 starts

Judging NFL teams after a game has always been stupid. It’s even more absurd in a 17-game season.

The Bills, Titans, Ravens, Browns, Bears and Washington lost their first games of the season after making the playoffs last season. Do not panic. Each team bounced back with a win in week two. The Packers are looking to join the squad on Monday night.

The Cowboys, a favorite to face in weak NFC East, also lost their first game to the defending Super Bowl champions Buccaneers on a late placement. They rebounded with a last-second road win over the Chargers on Sunday.

“This is how the NFL works, isn’t it?” We understand that, ”said Buffalo coach Sean McDermott after a 35-0 victory in Miami. “This is why we must remain humble. I saw a hunger in our football team this week. However, we have a lot of work to do. This is what we have to come back to. We’re going to start on the plane as coaches, start watching the movie and try to improve every week. That’s the point.

The Bills, who lost the AFC title game in Kansas City last January, showed why they are class in the division after stumbling at home against Pittsburgh. Josh Allen was efficient while securing his first victory since signing a big contract. Beating Miami is nothing new for Buffalo, who have won six in a row in the series averaging 20 points.

Tennessee avoided a 0-2 start with an impressive return to Seattle, coming back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Derrick Henry ran for two touchdowns in the final 12 and a half minutes, Ryan Tannehill threw for 347 yards and the Titans racked up 532 yards in the overtime win.

The defending AFC South champions responded well after a resounding home loss to Arizona in their opener.

“I think (the performance) was definitely who we are,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of the win.

Baltimore defeated an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Chiefs 36-35 on Sunday night, just six days after losing a 14-0 lead in an overtime loss in Las Vegas. Lamar Jackson ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns, including 2 yards on a fourth and 1 for the Ravens 43 with 1:05 remaining to seal it.

It was a bold call from coach John Harbaugh, whose team persevered despite a series of late-season injuries in key players.

Cleveland, who lost a double-digit lead in a rematch to Kansas City in Game 1, fell behind Houston early, equalized at halftime and pulled away after the Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor was injured.

It was a costly victory, however, as wide receiver Jarvis Landry suffered a medial collateral ligament injury in the second game. Baker Mayfield still had plenty of options, relying on tight ends and running backs.

The Bears lost Andy Dalton to a knee injury in a 20-17 win over Cincinnati, giving Justin Fields a chance to play in the second half and possibly longer. Fields didn’t do much, but the Chicago defense kept Joe Burrow and the Bengals at 248 yards after Matthew Stafford and the Rams torched the Bears in Week 1.

Fields will need to go over 6 of 13 for 60 yards for the Bears to have a chance to return to the playoffs.

“I’m just anxious to see what I missed and what I need to do better,” Fields said. “I didn’t play well. In my eyes, I played well enough to get the win, of course, but I still have a lot of room to improve.

Ten days after nearly leading Dallas to an upset against Tom Brady and Tampa in a thrilling season opener, Dak Prescott made sure the defense couldn’t give one. He was formidable in Los Angeles, leading the Cowboys on a winning run completed when Greg Zuerlein hit a field goal for 56 yards at the end of the time limit.

Dallas allowed Justin Herbert to shoot for 338 yards, but limited the Chargers to 17 points. Not bad for a defense lacking key inputs.

On the flip side, the Eagles and Saints were faced with reality after opening the season with unbalanced wins.

Philadelphia played more like the 4-11-1 club from last year after looking like a team that could go from worst to first. Jalen Hurts couldn’t do much and the offense was halted in a 17-11 loss to San Francisco.

New Orleans, who played as a Super Bowl contender in a 38-3 rout against Green Bay, certainly missed Drew Brees. Jameis Winston threw for just 111 yards and had two picks in a 26-7 loss to Carolina after throwing five touchdowns against the Packers.

It’s a long season. Fifteen games to play. Only seven teams will go winless for two weeks unless the Lions-Packers are tied on Monday night.


Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi and his work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/robmaaddi


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