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

The Miami Dolphins gave up a lot for Tyreek Hill.

Miami traded five picks to the Kansas City Chiefs for Hill: a first-round pick, a second-rounder, two fourths and a sixth. Then they gave Hill a $120 million deal over four years. It was one of the biggest moves of the offseason.

That's what the Dolphins have done. They make huge offseason headlines and they rarely pay off with playoff wins. But the Hill trade, while costly, was exactly what the Dolphins needed. They needed it to figure out what they had with Tua Tagovailoa.

The Tagovailoa-Hill combo is working out pretty well. The Dolphins had one of their best wins in years on Sunday, coming back from 21 points down to beat the Baltimore Ravens 42-38. Tagovailoa had by far his best NFL game, throwing six touchdowns.

Give Tagovailoa credit, but also give the Dolphins front office credit for understanding how Hill would change their entire offense.

Hill had 190 yards on 11 catches including two long touchdowns in the comeback. He has a unique ability to make opposing defenses look slow. Because teams have to account for his world-class speed on every play, it opens up a lot elsewhere in the field. That's a reason Jaylen Waddle had 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Hill's presence is also the main reason Tagovailoa looks like he might have a new start to his career.

Tagovailoa was criticized and not all of it was fair. He had played only two NFL seasons, and was still working back from an awful hip injury his final season at Alabama. It wasn't his fault he was drafted before Justin Herbert, who he'll always be compared to. But mostly, he had nothing around him. He needed Hill, and a coaching staff that believed in him.

The Dolphins got Hill, hired offensive guru Mike McDaniel as their new head coach and they look better than they have in a long time. Hill has changed everything about Miami. He's one of the rare non-quarterbacks who has that type of an impact. The Dolphins haven't always hit on their high-profile moves. But the Hill trade looks perfect so far.

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


Joe Flacco and the Jets: The New York Jets were bad in Week 1 and they were trailing 30-17 with less than two minutes to go in Sunday's game at the Cleveland Browns.

And the Jets somehow won.

Flacco, starting in place of injured Zach Wilson, threw a 66-yard touchdown to Corey Davis to give the Jets some hope. The problem was teams rarely get onside kicks anymore due to new rules. But a great spinning onside kick was mishandled by Browns receiver Amari Cooper, and the Jets recovered. Then Flacco led a scoring drive that was capped by rookie receiver Garrett Wilson's second touchdown of the game with 22 seconds left. The Jets picked off Jacoby Brissett after that and the Jets escaped with a 31-30 win.

Flacco has had a great career but he's in the backup phase of it. He showed Sunday he's still capable of some big moments. His magic act was enormous for the Jets to get some momentum early this season.

Buccaneers defense: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense hasn't done much yet this season, though they have good reasons. They're without several key players, including a few linemen and receiver Chris Godwin.

The defense looks great though.

A week after throttling the Dallas Cowboys, the Buccaneers shut down the New Orleans Saints in a 20-10 win. The score was 3-3 into the fourth quarter. The defense kept the Bucs in it until Tom Brady hit Breshad Perriman for a 28-yard touchdown to give Tampa Bay a 10-3 lead. Mike Edwards' pick-six off Jameis Winston put the game away. The Saints had a meaningless touchdown after that to make the stat sheet look a little better. The Bucs picked off Winston three times.

Tampa Bay's offense will get healthier and better. We can already see that the defense will be more than good enough this season.

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

Lawrence has had two fantastic games in the NFL and both were against the Colts. He was very good the last time the Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars met before Sunday, a big upset win in last season's finale that kept the Colts out of the playoffs. Lawrence, who was uneven in a Week 1 loss, looked great against the Colts again on Sunday. He was 14-of-17 for 137 yards, a touchdown and a 119.9 passer rating as the Jaguars took a 17-0 lead into halftime.

The Jaguars won 24-0 against a Colts team that was without receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and linebacker Shaquille Leonard. The win matters a lot, but seeing Lawrence look like a top-end quarterback was even better.


Carson Wentz: The thing about Wentz isn't that he's bad each 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 hope to Washington Commanders fans that the questionable trade they made to get him would pay off well. Then Wentz was bad against a Detroit Lions defense that gave up 38 points to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.

At halftime, Wentz was 9-of-16 for 59 yards and the Commanders were getting trashed 22-0 by Detroit. Wentz heated up in the second half and got his team back in the game, but that awful start was a big reason for a 36-27 loss.

Wentz will have his good days. It will just be hard to remember them when the bad days come.

The Steelers offense with Mitchell Trubisky: There was a report that Mike Tomlin's plan is to not start rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett at all this season. He might not have much choice.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got a nice win at the Cincinnati Bengals last week, but they also barely escaped in overtime despite a plus-five turnover advantage. There was no escape 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 on 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 the one in the spotlight and with a first-round pick waiting on the bench behind him. Pittsburgh plays on Thursday night at the Browns, and if Trubisky doesn't play well again there will be a few questions for Tomlin on whether he's ready to change his mind on Pickett.

Matt Rhule: Rhule barely kept his job after leading the Carolina Panthers to a 5-12 record last season. He was 5-11 the season before.

Rhule is now 0-2 and he can't feel too comfortable. The Panthers, who lost late last week on a long field goal by the Cleveland Browns, lost 19-16 in a rough game Sunday against the New York Giants. The offense didn't do much, with Baker Mayfield throwing for just 145 yards.

Rhule has a seven-year, $62 million contract. That might buy him a little bit more time. But owner David Tepper isn't very patient, and he has the money to buy out a mistake and move on.