The Winners and Losers from the Beginning of the NFL Season
By Ian Jefcoat
The NFL season is fínally here and fans across the country have been able to enjoy a couple weekends of football. The first couple of weeks have brought many surprises. Since there have been so many surprising occurrences in the first couple of weeks, there is a lot to cover so here are the winners and losers from the opening few weeks of the NFL season.
- Derek Carr and the Raiders - The Raiders opened their season playing the Ravens on the first Monday Night Football game of the year. This game went down to the wire with Las Vegas winning 33-27 in overtime. With 37 seconds left in regulation the Ravens were up 27-24 and they needed to drive into field goal range for their kicker. During this drive, Derek Carr threw two strikes downfield to get the Raiders into field goal range for a 55 yard attempt that was drilled as time expired. In overtime the Raiders defense came up huge and forced a fumble. When the Raiders offense took over, Derek Carr threw a bomb to win the game. In week 2 the Raiders headed to Pittsburgh where they beat the Steelers pretty convincingly. Because the Raiders are 2-0 and Derek Carr has been playing great, he is in early season MVP contention.
- Ja’marr Chase - After a dismal training camp and preseason Ja’Marr Chase came into Week 1 of the NFL season with a lot to prove. The 5th overall pick in the NFL draft dropped numerous passes including a screen pass in the preseason which led to slander across all platforms of social media targeted at the rookie wide receiver. In his Week 1 performance he proved all of his doubters wrong by racking up 101 yards of receiving in five catches for an average of 20.2 yards per catch and a touchdown. In Week 2 Chase was a little quieter but still finished the game with 54 yards and a touchdown.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars - In the 2021 draft the Jaguars took Trevor Lawerence, the phenomenal quarterback out of Clemson with the first pick of the draft. He has struggled in the first couple of weeks which is expected for a rookie QB, but the problem is the coaching in Jacksonville. Urban Meyer, former Ohio State head coach is worse of a hire than we all thought, his play-calling is awful and he doesn’t exploit the “weapons’ he has on offense. Combine this with first round pick Travis Etienne being injured for the season, it’s a recipe for disaster.
- The Kicking Situation in Minnesota - Consistently over the years, the Minnesota Vikings have had kicking problems and it looks like this trend is continuing. Minnesota has had a reputation for missing easy kicks at the end of games to tie or take the lead and this happened again in week 2 against the Cardinals which led to a 33-34 defeat. For Vikings fans this is concerning but not surprising as many social media users claimed the missed kick as “the most Vikings thing ever.” Kickers are a vital part in determining the outcome of a football game so the Vikings need to get this problem sorted out.