Winners and losers from Week 2 of the NFL season

The second week of the NFL season is now done and there were a number of fantastic gameplays. Planet Sport takes a look at the winners and losers over the last few days.

Week Two of the NFL season brought us more exhilarating American Football.

Kyler Murray dazzled us yet again, while Derrick Henry showed the league why he is "King Henry" after rushing for 182 yards and three touchdowns.

There were a number of other winners and losers too, so let's take a look at who's on a high and who needs to bounce back.

Winners

Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson

There have been doubts about Lamar Jackson ever since he entered the NFL, particularly over whether he could be a successful quarterback. He went on to be awarded MVP in that position in 2019 and this weekend, he proved the doubters wrong again as he guided the Baltimore Ravens to victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Up until the weekend, Jackson was 0-3 against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. He seemed to be headed to 0-4 when he threw a pick-six with just the third play of the game. However, he managed to rally his side and went on to throw for 239 yards and one touchdown, as well as rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns. This made him the first quarterback in NFL history with multiple 100-yard, multi-touchdown games.

Jackson and the Ravens had fallen into a two-score deficit and injuries meant that the weight of expectation was squarely on Jackson's shoulders. He is one of the most talented players in the NFL but on Sunday night he did something he should not have done - not only beat the team he has struggled to beat but to do so with a comeback victory.

He has not yet won a Super Bowl or the passing title, but the list of things he has not achieved is only getting shorter and shorter. It looks like he will definitely be a key player in the NFL this season.

Derek Carr

Derek Carr

Things were stacked against the Las Vegas Raiders and Derek Carr last weekend. They were playing on a short week, they had to travel to the East Coast to play the early game, they were against a 2020 playoff team, and they were without star running back Josh Jacobs.

It needed a big performance from Carr and he certainly delivered. He completed 28 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers lost defensive star T.J. Watt in the second quarter and Carr made them pay, carrying the offense on his arm. He routinely directed the Steelers' secondary including a 61-yard bomb to Henry Ruggs III.

Carr has never had the recognition the Raiders fans believe he deserves. He has thrown for over 4,000 yards in the previous three seasons and is on track to make it four in a row. In the opening two games of the season, Carr has thrown for 817 yards, which is the most in the league.

Mike Evans

There is only one wide receiver in NFL history who has had at least 1,000 yards in his first seven consecutive seasons. That man is Mike Evans.

In Week One of the NFL season, Evans was used sparingly by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense as he had just three catches for 24 yards.

Jump forward a week and it was business as usual for Evans. On the Buccaneers first possession of the game, the ball was thrown to Evans for a 20-yard gain. He led the team with 75 yards receiving and two touchdowns. This helped the Buccaneers set a record with a ninth straight win in which they scored 30+ points.

Evans is a nightmare for defenses as his size and speed make him almost impossible to cover. With Brady as his new quarterback, you wouldn't bet against Evans making it eight straight 1,000 yard seasons.

Sam Darnold

Since his move to Carolina, Sam Darnold has looked like a new man, and for the first time in his NFL career, he has started the season 2-0.

He spent his first three seasons in the league in a struggling New York Jets team who traded him to the Panthers so they could draft Zach Wilson.

In the opening game of this campaign, Darnold beat his former team and he continued this form into last weekend against the New Orleans Saints. In the first half, Darnold went 16 of 20 for 216 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the first half of the win, better than any game he had with the Jets.

In Carolina, he is blessed with a stellar supporting cast including the best running back in the league in Christian McCaffrey. He is taking full advantage and is definitely reminding the league why the Jets selected him third overall in 2018.

The NFC West

Two weeks into the season, the NFC West is looking like the most competitive division in the NFL. It has four of the best quarterbacks in the league - Kyler Murray, Matt Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo and Russell Wilson - and all four of them could quite easily be league MVP.

Murray has made consistent highlight plays with his ability to extend plays with his legs and is playing in an Arizona Cardinals team that will be around for a long time.

Stafford's move to the Rams has been one of the transfers of the off-season - it has benefited both the player and the franchise, giving them a quarterback who can execute Sean McVay's ideas.

In San Francisco, they have begun the season running a two-quarterback system that gets the best out of Garoppolo and rookie quarterback Trey Lance. It has worked well so far, with the hope that Lance will slowly get more reps and eventually take over the role.

The Seahawks are led by former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Wilson. He was tipped by many as a pre-season favourite for MVP and is showing the fans why.

With 16 more weeks of the NFL season, expect fireworks coming out of the NFC West.

Losers

Zach Wilson

The NFL can be a brutal place for rookie quarterbacks and no NFL head coach loves to play rookie quarterbacks more than Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. However, New York Jets' Zach Wilson struggled from the first snap against the Patriots defense. Three of Wilson's first five pass attempts were interceptions. According to NFL research, Wilson became the first player since 1991 to throw three INTs in his first five pass attempts in a game. He finished the game with 210 yards and four interceptions.

Things never improved for Wilson and after over-throwing a receiver in the fourth quarter, the number two overall pick was booed by the home fans. It was the first time the Jets had played in front of their home crowd since December 2019.

It was the 11th straight loss for the New York Jets against the Patriots and the first for Wilson in his young career. Good things should be around the corner for Wilson and the Jets, but the opening weeks of the season have not gone according to plan.

Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa

Nothing seemed to go right for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left the game early due to a rib injury and the team were subsequently shut out. It was their worst shut out loss since the New England Patriots beat them 43-0 in 2019.

On their first drive, Tua was sacked twice as they went three and out and on their next possession, Tagovailoa left the game and never returned. He was replaced by Jacoby Brissett, who completed 24 passes for 169 yards.

Even if Tua is healthy and able to play next week, that would be the only positive to come from this game. The Dolphins struggled to execute in all three phases in a defeat their fans would like to forget.

The taunting penalties

There seems to be one rule that everyone hates every NFL season, and this season it is the new and "improved" taunting penalties. These types of penalties are called when the officials believe a player is mocking another player. The fans love it when players taunt as for them, it is part of the game. However, the league doesn't agree.

On Sunday there were eight taunting penalties called, which is the same number that were called during the entire 2019 season. Some of the "egregious" calls included Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards for crossing the goal line backwards after his second pick-six of the fourth quarter. In addition, they got Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed for flexing at the receiver after an incomplete pass.

The rule was brought in to stop fights between players as taunting can be a reason for players to get rowdy. However, it is known that fights are more common after a big hit, not when a player crosses the goal line backwards. Taunting is merely celebrating at players' expense, which the NFL believe the fans don't like. How wrong they are.

Chargers "home" support

The Chargers' home support

Ever since they left San Diego, the Los Angeles Chargers have had issues playing in front of a home crowd. It was their first game at the SoFi Stadium and for the majority of the game, it felt like it was a Dallas Cowboys home game. In fairness to the Chargers, the Cowboys have fans all over America, but it seems unlikely that Chargers fans being outnumbered at home will be a one-time thing.

The evidence suggests that after their fans did not follow them from San Diego, every game the Chargers play will be an "away" game going forward.

Pittsburgh Steelers' injuries

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their home opener against the Raiders and more things went wrong than just the number in the loss column. The team has a long list of players with injuries that now includes defensive megastar T.J. Watt. He left the game early in the second quarter after making three solo tackles and registering a sack.

Watt joins cornerback Joe Haden and linebacker Devin Bush as three cornerstones of the Steelers defense who are now out of action. It is unclear how much time Watt will miss but this could be a pivotal loss for the Steelers.

They also suffered casualties in offense, as with time expiring and the game already lost, wide receiver Diontae Johnson suffered a knee injury. It was the last play of the game and put a sour note on Johnson's day as he had had two catches for 109 yards. The Steelers moved to 1-1 and with a host of injuries, things might get worse before they get better for Pittsburgh.

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