NFL Winners and Losers: Jameis Winston outplays Drew Brees in win (Shutdown Corner)

The JaMarcus Russell/Ryan Leaf/fill-in-the-blank quarterback-bust jokes about Jameis Winston were a little premature. Did anything that surprised us in Week 1 repeat itself in Week 2? One of the many things we thought we knew after one week was that Winston was overwhelmed in the NFL. Then he outplayed Drew Brees in the Superdome in Week 2 and the Buccaneers pulled off an upset that ruined a million confidence pools, beating the Saints 26-19. Yep, that happened. The No. 1 pick of the draft looked like a great pick, after a week of “Should the Buccaneers have drafted Marcus Mariota?” was part of our NFL conversation. “I would never lose confidence,” Winston said after the game . “Confidence is who I am.” Winston didn’t throw a ton of passes but was very efficient: 14-of-21 for 207 yards, a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown with no interceptions. For a second NFL start, at such a tough road environment, that was very impressive. Nobody expected him to play better than Brees. It sounded like Winston himself was surprised by outplaying a sure Hall of Famer. “I talked to him, I shook his hand. I was kind of shell shocked,” Winston said. “It’s still Drew Brees. But shouts out to Tampa Bay, we got a win.” Winston will have more days like his first start, when he looked lost as a rookie playing with a really bad team. It seems like a good bet that he’ll have plenty of games like Sunday, too. He made good decisions with the ball. He showed good touch on a touchdown to Vincent Jackson over the Saints’ defense. He displayed a cannon arm when he rolled to his right and hit Louis Murphy on the move for a 54-yard gain. Winston isn’t the quickest athlete at the position in the NFL but he had a nice move to get into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run. There were a lot of skills on display. Winston said this week that he stayed up until after 2 a.m. right after the Week 1 loss watching film. He said after this game that he listened to veterans who said Week 1 was only one game and he had to move on. He then talked about the team having to put the win behind them, just like it did after the loss. “I might not go to sleep; this is an exciting moment,” Winston said. “But Monday the sun is going to come up again, hopefully, in Tampa.” Here are the rest of the winners and losers after Week 2: The 2014 quarterback draft class: Maybe this is just a happy snapshot, and the first four quarterbacks picked in the 2014 draft won’t be able to collectively replicate a day like Sunday. But it’s a nice look for the future of quarterbacking in the NFL. Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns, Teddy Bridgewater of the Minnesota Vikings and Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders all played very well and all four led their teams to big wins on Sunday. The Browns, Jaguars and Raiders are long-suffering franchises and were coming off bad Week 1 losses. The Vikings also looked awful in Week 1. It’s no secret that there aren’t too many can’t-miss quarterbacks under the age of 30 in the NFL, at least outside of Seattle and Indianapolis. Seeing those four second-year quarterbacks play well, to go with Winston’s first time as an NFL winner and what Marcus Mariota has shown so far in the pros, maybe there’s a new foundation of young quarterbacks being built. Oakland Raiders: The Raiders’ win was good enough, as was Carr’s performance, to get a second mention. The same Baltimore Ravens defense that didn’t allow any big plays to Peyton Manning in Week 1 gave up 351 yards to Carr in Week 2. Carr hit a 68-yard touchdown to Amari Cooper early on and got in a nice rhythm after that.  The Raiders found themselves trailing by a field goal with 2:10 left, but Carr calmly led a game-winning drive. Seth Roberts, a rookie, caught a 12-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left for the 37-33 win. For Carr, who came into this season with high hopes , it’s the kind of game that convinces the Raiders they have the right quarterback in place. The Raiders haven’t won too many games like that over the past few seasons. They haven’t won many games period the last few years. Oakland came into the season with a lot of optimism based on their young stars , and after a hiccup in Week 1, they should feel pretty good again going forward. Dallas Cowboys: Of course they’re winners, they’re 2-0! Oh, yeah, they lost Tony Romo with a broken collarbone . But not all hope is lost for Dallas, and there’s an easy reason for that: The Cowboys play in the NFC East. Seriously, who is going to win that division if Dallas doesn’t? The Washington Redskins? Stop it. The New York Giants, who lost at home to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday? Ha. The Philadelphia Eagles are a bad football team right now, so I’m not picking them. This seems like the 2013 NFC North. Aaron Rodgers was out with a broken collarbone, but the Packers strung together just enough wins to stay alive for the division crown until Rodgers returned. That’s mostly because the rest of the division choked. That could repeat in the 2015 NFC East. Adrian Peterson: Peterson had enough moments to nitpick on Sunday, whether it was some fumbles or being unable to punch it in at the goal line. Which makes his final line so impressive. Peterson had 134 yards on 29 carries and added 58 yards on two catches. And that was not on his best day. There won’t be any criticism that Peterson didn’t get the ball enough, as there was last week. Not surprisingly, the Vikings won easily. The Vikings needed to bounce back after a miserable opening-week performance, and Peterson needed to answer some questions too after a mediocre performance after most of last season away from football. It looked on Sunday like whatever happened to the Vikings in Week 1 was an aberration. LOSERS Jeff Fisher: I always find it strange when people defend Fisher. I’m not sure why anyone would. The Super Bowl he lost was 16 seasons ago. Let it go. Were you surprised that a St. Louis Rams team which was good enough to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 was so inept against the Washington Redskins in Week 2? Of course you weren’t. That’s what Fisher’s teams do. There’s no consistency at all. You realize the last time Fisher finished above .500 was 2008? Or that he hasn’t won a playoff game since 2003 (!). Or that this is Fisher’s 21st season and he’s finished above .500 only six times? Maybe the Rams rebound and go on to make the playoffs following a really poor and baffling loss. I won’t be holding my breath. Byron Maxwell: There are many possible scapegoats for the Eagles’ really ugly 20-10 loss that knocked them to 0-2, and many of them have one thing in common: Chip Kelly hand-picked them this offseason. But while there will be plenty of time to talk about Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray, Kelly and everyone else that looked so awful on Sunday, let’s not forget Maxwell. Maxwell got a $63 million contract this offseason to help fix the Eagles’ cornerback issues. He was targeted by Atlanta in Week 1. Then, with the Eagles barely holding onto hope against the Cowboys, he was torched by the Brandon Weeden-to-Terrance Williams combo for a 42-yard touchdown that looked like Williams was playing against air. That sealed the loss. “He just got inside of me. We were on the field all day, he got inside of me, I couldn’t really explode,” Maxwell said, according to CSN Philly . “I didn’t feel tired, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get to him. “You’re a human being, you get tired as the game goes on,” Maxwell said. “That’s how it goes.” That won’t go down in Philly lore like “For who? For what?” but it probably won’t go over well. The chatter in Philadelphia about the Eagles this week should be quite entertaining. Matthew Stafford: Stafford’s line at Minnesota was the perfect microcosm of his career: 32-of-53 for 286 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Hey, 286 yards, not bad! Yeah, it’s bad when it takes 53 attempts to get there. By the end of the year, Stafford’s final line with the Detroit Lions will look decent. It always does. But it’s usually because he throws the ball an insane amount of times and can’t help but put up some OK counting stats. He still doesn’t look any better as a quarterback though, in his seventh season. He didn’t have one completion of more than 19 yards. With those weapons? That’s criminal. Stafford is stuck in the Jay Cutler zone: He’s getting paid like a franchise quarterback, though he clearly isn’t, and the franchise would never let him go although it’s clear by now he’s not going to take a step forward and they won’t win anything with him. If Stafford hasn’t broken through yet, it’s not going to happen. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins spent a lot of money, most of it on Ndamukong Suh, in the offseason to catch the New England Patriots. That window already looks closed. While Tom Brady and the Patriots look great again, the Dolphins look lost. Again. After sleepwalking through a win against the Washington Redskins last week, Miami took on a bad 23-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maybe the Dolphins will prove this wrong, but it’s really hard to imagine this being the year they take the AFC East if they already have taken on a loss to the Jaguars. If just playing poorly wasn’t bad enough, the Dolphins took on a stunningly awful 15-yard penalty on the Jaguars’ winning drive, when defensive end Olivier Vernon lost his mind and got a personal foul. If there was any doubt about he outcome before Vernon’s shove, there wasn’t any after it. A lot of what went wrong in Jacksonville will fall back to Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, and that’s fair. This team has been uninspiring for a long time. Two weeks into this season, it doesn’t seem like that will change, high-priced additions or not. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

from Yahoo Sports



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