The Miami Dolphins gave up a lot for Tyreek Hill.
Miami traded five picks to the Kansas City Chiefs for Hill: a first rounder, a second rounder, two fourths and a sixth. They then 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 headlines in the offseason and rarely pay 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 works 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 for six touchdowns.
Credit Tagovailoa, and credit the Dolphins for understanding how Hill would change their entire offense.
Hill had 190 yards on 11 catches, including two long touchdown returns. He has a unique ability to make opposing defenses look sluggish. Because teams have to account for his world-class speed on every play, it opens up a lot elsewhere on the field as well. That’s one reason Jaylen Waddle had 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Hill’s presence is also the main reason Tagovailoa looks like he might get a fresh start in his career.
Tagovailoa was criticized and not all was fair. He had only played two NFL seasons and was still working from a gruesome hip injury in his final season at Alabama. It wasn’t his fault he was drafted ahead of Justin Herbert, who he will 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 are looking better than they have in a long time. Hill changed everything in Miami. It’s one of the rare non-quadrupeds that has that kind of appeal. The Dolphins didn’t always hit their high 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 fell behind 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 the injured Zach Wilson, threw a 66-yard touchdown to Corey Davis to give the Jets some hope. The problem was that teams rarely got onside because of the new rules. But a great spin onside kick was mishandled by Browns receiver Amari Cooper, and the Jets rallied. Flacco then drove in a score that was capped by rookie wide 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 his backup phase. He showed on Sunday that he’s still capable of some big moments. His magic act was huge for the Jets to gain some momentum early this season.
Buccaneers Defense: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense hasn’t done much yet this season, though for good reason. They are missing a lot of key players, including some linemen and receiver Chris Godwin.
However, the defense looks excellent.
A week after choking the Dallas Cowboys, the Buccaneers shut 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 to give Tampa Bay a 10-3 lead. Mike Edwards’ pick-six by Jameis Winston put the game away. After that, the Saints had a pointless touchdown to make the stat sheet look a little better. The Bucks picked 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 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 uneventful in a loss in Week 1, 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 halftime lead.
The Jaguars went 24-0 against a Colts team that was without wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and linebacker Shaquille Leonard. Winning means a lot, but seeing Lawrence look like a top quarterback was even better.
Carson Wentz: The thing about Wentz isn’t that he’s bad every week. It’s that he’s bad at times and you never know who Wentz is going to show up from week to week.
This week, Wentz was bad, at least in the first half. Very bad. He threw for four touchdowns last week and gave Washington Commanders fans hope that the questionable trade they made to get him will pay off. 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 into the game, but that awful start was a big reason for the 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 not to start rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett at all this season. He may not have many options.
The Pittsburgh Steelers got a nice win at the Cincinnati Bengals last week, but barely escaped 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 they 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 Thursday night at the Browns, and if Trubisky doesn’t play well again, there will be some questions for Tomlin about whether he’s ready to change his mind about Pickett.
Matt Rhule: Rhule barely kept his job after leading the Carolina Panthers to a 5-12 record last season. They were 5-11 last season.
Rhule is now 0-2 and can’t get too comfortable. The Panthers, who lost late last week on a long field goal to the Cleveland Browns, lost 19-16 in a hard-fought game Sunday to 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. This might buy him a little more time. But owner David Tepper isn’t too patient and has the money to redeem a mistake and move on.