NFL preseason 2013, Week 2: What we learned on Thursday night

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles' offense is near unstoppable, Atlanta's defense is better than expected, and Brandon Weeden is preseason's Johnny Unitas. It's a look around the league at what we learned Thursday.

As the preseason progresses, we get a better sense of each team's identity for the regular season. Traditionally, the third game is when starters take most of the reps, and fans get glimpses of real-look offenses. If the Philadelphia Eagles are hiding some of their firepower, the rest of the league should be scared.

Philadelphia Eagles defeat Carolina Panthers, 14-9

This game was nowhere near as close as the scoreboard suggests as the Eagles gained 402 yards against a Panthers defense that ranked in the top 10 a year ago.

Chip Kelly arrived in the NFL with the grand ideal of applying his hurry-up offense at football's highest level. Initially there was talk that he'd tweak it and slow it down to adapt to the league's speed -- but so far in preseason, there's no sign of it. Philadelphia's offense ran 69 plays in 30:45, one every 26.7 seconds.

The constant speed is too much for teams to handle, and on Thursday the Panthers' veterans looked flat-footed while their rookies looked completely lost. It remains to be seen whether the Eagles can keep the pace up all season, but this team could be special if they're able to.

Baltimore Ravens defeat Atlanta Falcons, 27-23

The Ravens won, but it was the Falcons that dominated for much of Thursday's game. Kudos to Baltimore's depth for putting together a late-game rally, but Atlanta's first-team defense ultimately stands out as the real story from this contest.

Ray Rice couldn't find a gap, as the elusive back finished the game with just 10 yards on eight carries. This was against a team that allowed 4.8 yards per carry in 2012, one of the worst figures in the league. The hallmark of Atlanta in recent years has been a dominant offense, but lacking defense -- that could be changing as the team becomes more balanced.

Cleveland Browns defeat Detroit Lions, 24-6

Rob Chudzinski arrived in Carolina in 2011 charged with turning around one of the league's worst offenses. He did that, as the Panthers became a top-10 offense. Now he and Norv Turner are having the same effect in Cleveland, where Brandon Weeden looks like a preseason Hall of Fame quarterback.

Weeden finished Thursday's game with 117 yards passing and two touchdowns. Over two games, he's posted a QB rating of 139.8 without turning the ball over. Jason Campbell is benefiting from the Browns' offensive scheme, too, as he's played turnover-free football.

It's becoming impossible to argue against the Browns' plan to side with Weeden to start the regular season. He's been accurate, he's taken care of the football and is doing an excellent job throwing down field. On Thursday, the beneficiary was Josh Gordon, who averaged 24 yards per catch.

Chicago Bears defeat San Diego Chargers, 33-28

Where are the Chargers going to get wide receivers? Reeling from injuries, no game better typified their struggles than Thursday's loss to a Bears team that looked awfully shaky. Matt Forte was the lone bright spot on offense for Chicago on a night where three quarterbacks managed to pass for just 64 yards combined.

San Diego's offense was woeful. Ladarius Green had a standout performance at tight end, but no receiver managed to add more than 30 yards with the exception of a lone 40-yard Robert Meachem reception. There's little question San Diego will be closely watching the league's cuts, hoping someone will pop loose who can help them. First-year head coach Mike McCoy is learning that things are very different from the offensive personnel he had in Denver.

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