NFL Week 2 Recap: Biggest Winners, Biggest Losers and Standouts
The teams, players and coaches that had notable results in Week 2 of the 2021-22 NFL season.
By Stone Lexington
Updated: Sept. 22, 2021 • 1:25 PM ET
Derek Carr - Wikimedia Commons
Week 2 of the NFL season has concluded, and several teams shined over the weekend. Others didn’t fare so well. Below are the biggest winners, biggest losers and standouts from Week 2 of the 2021-22 NFL season.
Chicago Bears fans
Bears fans may finally get what they’ve been hoping for since the beginning of the season, seeing Justin Fields as the starting quarterback in Chicago. Andy Dalton suffered a knee injury in first half of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and did not return. As a result, Fields will get his first professional start in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots seem to be bringing rookie quarterback Mac Jones along brilliantly, not letting him do too much. Jones has attempted 69 passes in two games and has yet to turn the ball over. He even secured his first win as a professional quarterback, as the Patriots defeated the New York Jets 25-6 on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers
After finishing with a 6-10 record last season, the San Francisco 49ers have started 2-0 this season following victories over the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been solid thus far this season, allowing time for rookie quarterback Trey Lance to watch and learn. The 49ers have a big test next week when they host the Green Bay Packers.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has often been doubted in his career, but he has played well through two games this season. Carr leads the league in passing with 817 yards, while also leading the Raiders to a 2-0 start with wins over the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Carolina Panthers signal caller Sam Darnold looks like a new quarterback now that he’s out of New York. Darnold has been solid through two games this season, throwing for 584 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for a touchdown. Darnold’s steady play has gotten the Panthers off to a 2-0 start.
Have the Denver Broncos finally found a quarterback? It appears that way with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm. Bridgewater has been flawless through two games this season, throwing for 592 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Broncos haven’t reached the postseason since they won the Super Bowl in 2015, but Bridgewater has the Broncos off to a 2-0 start.
The Arizona Cardinals are putting up points in bunches, and it’s largely due to the play of Kyler Murray. Murray has thrown for 689 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for two touchdowns, as the Cardinals have started the season 2-0. If Murray continues his high level of play, the Cardinals could win the AFC West for the first time since 2015.
It wasn’t a stretch to imagine the Dallas Cowboys starting the season 0-2 after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, but the Cowboys escaped a road game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday with a 20-17 victory to get back to .500. A big divisional matchup with the Eagles awaits the Cowboys in Week 3.
The Tennessee Titans looked dreadful in a Week 1 blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but they rebounded in Week 2 with a 33-30 win in Seattle against the Seahawks on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill played well against the Seahawks, and Derrick Henry returned to his dominant form. A divisional matchup against the Colts awaits the Titans in Week 3.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson described his first victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs saying, “It feels good to get that monkey off our back.” After suffering a loss in Week 1 to a surprising Raiders team, the Ravens defeated the Chiefs 36-35 on Sunday Night Football and will face the Detroit Lions in Week 3 with a chance to move above .500.
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New York Giants
The New York Giants have only made the playoffs once (2016) since winning the Super Bowl in 2011. They simply haven’t figured out how to win consistently, and it has already shown this season with an 0-2 start. The Giants lost a 30-29 game to Washington on Thursday Night Football, and they’ll still be seeking their first win of the season this week against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Indianapolis Colts had a chance to win their game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, but they fell just short, 27-24. The loss was particularly rough, as Colts quarterback Carson Wentz had to watch Indianapolis’ final two possessions from the sideline after spraining both ankles. It’s unclear if Wentz will be healthy enough to start Sunday’s divisional game against the Tennessee Titans.
The Miami Dolphins were shutout on Sunday by the Buffalo Bills, which also knocked Tua Tagovailoa out of the game with a rib injury. As a result, Tagovailoa won't play against the Las Vegas Raiders this week.
Although he’s a rookie, Zach Wilson’s four interceptions and zero touchdowns against the Patriots isn’t going to get it done in any game. Wilson’s play aided in the Jets’ 25-6 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, a rough outing by any quarterback’s standards. The Jets can only hope they see Wilson improve throughout the season.
After an impressive five-touchdown performance in Week 1, New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston came back to Earth in Week 2 with a performance he’d like to forget. In the Saints’ 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Winston threw for just 111 yards with no passing touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushed for the Saints’ only touchdown, but New Orleans fell to 1-1 following a dominating outing against the Packers in Week 1.
It’s still early in the 2021-22 season, but the Jacksonville Jaguars look like they could be the worst team in the league. The Jaguars have lost both of their games this season by double-digits, and it’s certainly a possibility that Jacksonville could have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft for the second year in a row.
Starting off the season at 0-2, the Minnesota Vikings look like they could be headed for a second-straight losing season (7-9 in 2020). The Vikings lost a heartbreaker in Arizona to the Cardinals on Sunday, their second-straight loss by three points or less. Minnesota’s schedule doesn’t get any easier, as they’ll face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3 and the Cleveland Browns in Week 4.
Fans in the ATL have to growing tired of the current state of the Atlanta Falcons. With an 0-2 start to the season, the Falcons look like they could be headed for a fourth-straight losing season. Atlanta hasn’t come close to winning either of their first two games, losing both contests to the Eagles and Buccaneers by at least 23 points.
(note: These are players or units from teams that won over the weekend.)
Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke - 336 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception in Washington’s 30-29 victory over the New York Giants
Washington receiver Terry McLaurin - 11 receptions, 107 receiving yards, 1 touchdown in Washington’s 30-29 victory over the New York Giants
Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith - 8 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended, 1 defensive touchdown in the Bears’ 20-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb - 11 carries, 95 rushing yards, 1 touchdown in the Browns’ 31-21 victory over the Houston Texans
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford - 278 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception in the Rams’ 27-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts
Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp - 9 receptions, 163 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns in the Rams’ 27-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts
Buffalo Bills defense - 68 total tackles, 6 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, 6 passes defended, 11 quarterback hits in the Bills’ 35-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots defense - 68 total tackles, 4 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, 7 passes defended, 7 quarterback hits in the Patriots’ 25-6 victory over the New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers defense - 56 total tackles, 2 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 6 passes defended, 3 quarterback hits in the 49ers’ 17-11 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr - 382 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions in the Raiders’ 26-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers
Las Vegas Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs III - 5 receptions, 113 receiving yards, 1 touchdown in the Raiders’ 26-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold - 305 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception in the Panthers’ 26-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey - 24 carries, 72 rushing yards, 1 touchdown; 5 receptions, 65 receiving yards in the Panthers’ 26-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater - 328 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions in the Broncos’ 23-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton - 9 receptions, 159 receiving yards in the Broncos’ 23-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray - 400 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions; 5 carries, 31 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown in the Cardinals’ 34-33 victory over the Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals receiver Rondale Moore - 7 receptions, 114 receiving yards, 1 touchdown in the Cardinals’ 34-33 victory over the Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady - 276 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions in the Buccaneers’ 48-25 victory over the Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans - 5 receptions, 75 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 48-25 victory over the Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski - 4 receptions, 39 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 48-25 victory over the Atlanta Falcons
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard - 13 carries, 109 rushing yards, 1 touchdown; 3 receptions, 31 receiving yards in the Cowboys’ 20-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill - 347 passing yards, 0 interceptions; 4 carries, 27 rushing yards in the Titans’ 33-30 victory over the Seattle Seahawks
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry - 35 carries, 182 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns; 6 receptions, 55 receiving yards in the Titans’ 33-30 victory over the Seattle Seahawks
Tennessee Titans receiver Julio Jones - 6 receptions, 128 receiving yards in the Titans’ 33-30 victory over the Seattle Seahawks
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson - 239 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions; 16 carries, 107 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns in the Ravens’ 36-35 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs
Baltimore Ravens receiver Marquise Brown - 6 receptions, 113 receiving yards, 1 touchdown in the Ravens’ 36-35 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs