NFL Winners and Losers: Tyreek Hill trade has revived Tua Tagovailoa and Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins left a lot for Tyrek Hill.

Miami traded five draft picks to the Kansas City Chiefs for Hill: a first-rounder, a second-rounder, two fourths, and a sixth. The Dolphins then offered Hill a deal worth $120 million over four years. It was one of the biggest moves of the NFL off-season.

That’s what the dolphins did. They make huge off-season headlines and they rarely pay off with playoff wins. But the Hill trade, while expensive, was what the dolphins needed. He needed to find out what he had in common with Tua Tagovailoa.

The Tagoveloa-Hill combo is working great. The Dolphins had one of their best wins in years on Sunday, coming down 21 points to beat the Baltimore Ravens 42-38. Tagovailoa had his best NFL game of all time, throwing six touchdown passes.

Give credit to Tagovailoa, but also to the Dolphins’ front office credit for understanding how Hill will change the whole of Miami’s crime.

Hill had 190 yards on 11 catches, including two long touchdowns in the return. He has a unique ability to slow down the defense. Because teams have to account for their world-class pace on every game, it opens up a lot elsewhere on the field. That’s why Jaylen Waddle had 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Hill’s presence is also one of the main reasons Tagovailoa thinks his career could have a fresh start.

Tagovailoa was criticized and not at all fair. He only played two NFL seasons, and was still working back from a horrific hip injury in his final season in Alabama. It was not her fault that she was framed in front of Justin Herbert, to whom she will always be compared. But mostly, there was nothing around him. He needed Hill, and a coaching staff who believed in him. Ownership did not fully believe in Tagovailoa, considering the Tom Brady molested, which cost Stephen Ross a $1.5 million fine and a suspension.

The Dolphins got Hill, appointed offensive guru Mike McDaniel as their new head coach and they look better than they have been in a long time. The Hill has changed everything about Miami. He is one of the rare non-quarterbacks to have that type of impact. Dolphins don’t always hit on their high-profile moves. But the Hill business looks far from perfect.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyrek Hill (10) gestures as he runs for a touchdown in a comeback win over the Ravens. (AP Photo/Nick Voss)

Here are the rest of the winners and losers of Week 2 of the NFL season:

Winners

Denver Broncosone of a kind: The Broncos win, but another week of criticism from Nathaniel Hackett is on the way.

The Broncos’ rookie head coach made an unpopular decision to attempt a 64-yard field goal in the season opener, and Sunday was another string of sloppy errors. When the Houston Texans were ready to punt, the Broncos wasted a timeout for things like not getting a returner deep. There were weird play calls. The offense was not good.

The Broncos won 16-9, which is good because the heat on Hackett would be ridiculous if Denver lost at home. But the Broncos need to be much better and in a hurry.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Not that Garoppolo wanted to resume the San Francisco 49ers quarterback job after Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

But he did quite well with his chances on Sunday. Garoppolo came for the lance and completed 13 of 21 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown, and added a swift touchdown in a 27-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

It was a typical Garoppolo performance. He wasn’t nimble, but he was solid and the 49ers won. San Francisco didn’t know what it meant to do with Lance, and a quarterback feud could follow the Niners throughout the season. They know what they have in common with Garoppolo. And they know they can win games with him.

Joe Flaco and jet: The New York Jets were poor in Week 1 and trailed 30-17 with less than two minutes to go into Sunday’s game at the Cleveland Browns.

And the Jets somehow won.

Flaco, starting in place of injured Zach Wilson, threw a 66-yard touchdown to Corey Davis to give the Jets hope. Teams rarely get onside kicks because of the new rules. But a great spinning onside kick was mishandled by Brown’s receiver Amari Cooper, and the Jets recovered. Flacco then led a scoring drive that was capped by rookie receiver Garrett Wilson’s second touchdown of the game with 22 seconds remaining. The Jets then caught Jacoby Brissette and the Jets won 31-30.

Flaco has had a stellar career but is in its backup phase. He showed on Sunday that he is still capable of the big moments. His magical act was just too big for the Jets to gain some momentum earlier this season.

Buccaneers Defense: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense hasn’t done much this season, though Tampa has good reason. This is without several key players, including some linemen and receiver Chris Godwin.

The defense looks great though.

A week after strangling the Dallas Cowboys, the Buccaneers closed out the New Orleans Saints in a 20–10 victory. The score was 3-3 in the fourth quarter. The defense held the Bucs until Tom Brady hit Breshad Perriman for a 28-yard touchdown pass, giving Tampa Bay a 10-3 lead. Mike Edwards’ pick-six off Jameis Winston takes the game away. The saints then did a meaningless touch to improve the stat sheet. The Books picked Winston three times.

Tampa Bay’s offense will keep getting healthier and better. We can already see that this season the defense will be very good.

Trevor Lawrence, Maybe Lawrence needs to play the Indianapolis Colts every week.

Lawrence has two great games in the NFL, both against the Colts. He was great the last time the Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars met before Sunday, a huge upset win in last season’s finals that kept the Colts out of the playoffs. Lawrence, who was uneven in a Week 1 loss, looked good again on Sunday against the Colts. He was 14-in-17 for 137 yards, one touchdown and an 119.9 passer rating as the Jaguars took a 17–0 lead at halftime.

The Jaguars won 24–0 against the Colts team without receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and linebacker Shaquille Leonard. Wins mean a lot, but it was even better to see Lawrence like a top-end quarterback.

losers

hunter renfro and attackers: Renfro is a brilliant player but he had a tough overtime for the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Renfro stumbled twice in overtime against the Arizona Cardinals. The first thunder was recovered by the attackers. Renfro wasn’t so lucky the second time around.

Renfro was hit hard by linebacker Isaiah Simmons after a short catch and lifted the ball up. Byron Murphy Jr. scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown for 59 yards and a 29-23 win.

The damage is a bad one for the Raiders. They took a 20-0 lead by halftime. In a rough AFC West they can’t miss a winless game, and are now 0-2.

Sunday’s loss came as they entered the fourth quarter 23-7 and gave the Cardinals several chances to stop them on their final campaign of regulation which ended the game. They will regret Sunday’s loss for a while.

Bengals battling Super Bowl hangover: The Cincinnati Bengals are down 0-2 to start the season.

They have lost two games as considerable betting favourites. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week when they were minus-five in the turnover difference. The offense progressed to nothing in Week 2, and they lost 20–17 in the final game to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Bengals had a chance to win against a Cowboys team led by quarterback Cooper Rush’s replacement. He tied it in the fourth quarter and then punt forcefully. But Joe Burrow and the offense went three-and-out, the Bengals painted from deep in their own field and Rush completed a couple passes to set up the game-winning field goal.

The Bengals begin the season by going three-and-out with the game on the line.

Teams that lose the Super Bowl often struggle in the following season. The Bengals looked like a good candidate to make a comeback after their hot end last season. Losing twice to teams they should have defeated, flipping it too many times in one game and not moving the ball in another, is a discouraging way of pursuing their AFC title.

Los Angeles Ramso, The Rams won on Sunday and that’s certainly the most important thing, but it’s hard to feel good about them after two games.

Memes were blown up in the opener against the Buffalo Bills and then the Atlanta Falcons were in danger of taking a 28-3 lead that won’t be as good this season. The Falcons were behind 31-25 after a Cooper Kupp fumble, but Jalen Ramsey made a brilliant interception to return the comeback effort. That’s the good news.

The Rams are not yet the team that won last season’s Super Bowl. There’s plenty of time to improve, and he played well enough to take a 25-point lead, but no one is going to be impressed by the Rams’ start. At least they’re 1-1 because they figure things out, and that doesn’t explain how they blew up a 28-3 lead and lost to the Falcons.

Carson Wentz, The thing about Wentz isn’t that he gets worse every week. It’s that he’s bad sometimes and you never know which Wentz will show up from week to week.

This week, it was bad Wentz, at least in the first half. really bad. He threw four touchdowns last week and gave Washington Commanders fans hope that the questionable trades made by the franchise to get Wentz would pay off. Then Wentz was poor against the Detroit Lions defense that gave the Philadelphia Eagles 38 points in Week 1.

At halftime, Wentz was 9-for 16 for 59 passing yards and the Commanders were being trashed 22-0 by Detroit. Wentz warmed up in the second half and brought his team back into the game, but that terrible start was a major factor in the 36-27 loss.

Wentz will have his good days. It will be hard to miss them when they have a bad day.

Steelers with offense Michelle Trubisky, There was a report that Mike Tomlin plans not to start rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett this season. He may not have much choice.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got a decent win at the Cincinnati Bengals last week, but they could barely survive overtime despite a plus-five turnover advantage. There was no one left on Sunday. The New England Patriots beat the Steelers 17–14 and it was an ugly game for Pittsburgh’s offense. The Steelers had 243 yards. Trubisky had 168 yards in 33 attempts. Pittsburgh rarely did anything positive when it had the ball.

The Steelers’ offensive issues aren’t all Trubisky’s fault, but he’s in the spotlight with a first-round draft pick waiting on the bench behind him. Pittsburgh plays the Browns on Thursday night, and if Trubisky doesn’t play well again, Tomlin will have some questions about whether he is ready to change his mind on Piquet.

Matt Roulette: Roulette barely kept its job after leading the Carolina Panthers to a 5-12 record last season. That season before was 5-11.

Roulette is now 0-2 and he can’t feel very comfortable. The Panthers, who lost last weekend on a long field goal by the Browns, went down 19-16 in a tough game against the New York Giants on Sunday. Baker Mayfield didn’t make much of an offense with a throw of just 145 yards.

Roulette has a seven-year, $62 million contract. This might give him a little more time. But team owner David Tepper is not very patient, and he has the money to make a mistake and move on.

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