NFL Week 3 winners and losers: Dolphins' offense explodes, Cowboys flounder originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
It was a busy Sunday afternoon in the NFL.
Several winless teams got their first victory of the season. There were plenty of big plays by stars and unsung heroes. And, as always, there were some shocking results.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from the third Sunday of the 2023 NFL season:
WINNER: Dancing Dolphins roll past Broncos
The Dolphins' first game of the season at Hard Rock Stadium couldn't have gone any better for the home team. From the opening quarter, Tua Tagovailoa was in rhythm and unbothered. First, it was a 54-yard touchdown strike to Tyreek Hill.
Then there was a no-look shuffle pass to rookie Devon Achane for another score, as the trickery by Mike McDaniel completely fooled Denver's defense.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 24, 2023
Tagovailoa completed his first 17 passes to open the game, as the Dolphins jumped out to a 35-13 lead at halftime. The second half got even worse for Denver, with Miami sealing an ridiculous 70-20 win after amassing 726 total yards of offense.
LOSER: Home teams can't handle the rain
A rain storm up and down the east coast impacted several home teams.
Starting in the Meadowlands, the New York Jets suffered their 15th-straight loss against the rival New England Patriots. The Zach Wilson-led offense managed with 171 total yards in a 15-10 loss, dropping to 1-2 on the season.
Heading down to the DMV, both the Washington Commanders and Baltimore Ravens lost at home after starting the season 2-0. Ron Rivera's squad was blown out by the Buffalo Bills, losing 37-3 as Sam Howell struggled (four interceptions). The Ravens, meanwhile, fell to Gardner Minshew and the Indianapolis Colts in a 22-19 overtime upset after Justin Tucker missed a game-winning 61-yard field goal kick at the end of regulation.
WINNER: C.J. Stroud continues to impress
While fellow rookie quarterbacks Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson sat with injuries, Stroud had yet another impressive outing. The second overall pick finished 20 of 30 for 280 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-17 upset win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Stroud, even with a largely unproven cast of weapons, has played mistake-free football through three games (zero interceptions). He went shot-for-shot with Trevor Lawrence on Sunday in what could become a longtime rivalry.
LOSER: Turnovers kill the Vikings (again)
All the close victories the Vikings had in 2022 feel like a distant memory. Minnesota can't buy a close win this season, falling to 0-3 on Sunday after its third straight one-score loss.
Once again, turnovers were the story for the Vikings. They had three giveaways in Week 1, four in Week 2 and two more in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers. The second and final was the most costly, as quarterback Kirk Cousins threw an interception in the end zone in the closing seconds.
— NFL (@NFL) September 24, 2023
At 0-3, Minnesota is facing long odds to make it back to the postseason.
WINNER: Jordan Love does it without his co-stars
The Packers played Week 3 without four of their best players -- running back Aaron Jones, wide receiver Christian Watson, offensive tackle David Bakhtiari and cornerback Jaire Alexander. Then, they fell behind 17-0 to the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints.
What happened next? First-year starter Jordan Love led a furious 18-point fourth-quarter comeback, culminating in a touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs in the final minutes.
Green Bay improved to 2-1 with the victory, keeping them tied with the Detroit Lions -- their opponent this coming Thursday -- atop the NFC North.
LOSER: Cowboys flounder in Arizona
So...Dallas' stock has just dwindled. The Cowboys got off to a contender-worthy start with consecutive wins, but Trevon Diggs' ACL injury foreshadowed the gloom that lied ahead. Josh Dobbs and the Cardinals pulled off a stunning 28-16 upset to kickstart the Jonathan Gannon era, with the Arizona defense assembling a stout performance when it mattered.
Tony Pollard ran for 122 yards on 23 carries but didn't find the end zone, while Dak Prescott threw for 249 yards on 25-for-40 passes, one touchdown and one pick. Kyzir White intercepted Prescott late in the fourth quarter when Dallas attempted a late rally, and Arizona could've been 2-1 on the season had it not blown a double-digit home lead to the New York Giants in Week 2.
WINNER: Taylor Swift
The Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce dating rumors were reignited Sunday when the former was seen sitting in a suite with Kelce's mom, Donna, cheering on Travis and the Kansas City Chiefs. And the 12-time Grammy winner was in for a treat.
Patrick Mahomes tossed three touchdowns in the Chiefs' 41-10 win over the Chicago Bears, and Kelce was one of the recipients to cap off a seven-catch, 69-yard performance that had Swift cheering it on. Let's see if Swift will be at MetLife Stadium next Sunday when Kansas City plays the New York Jets.
LOSER: Justin Fields, Bears' woes continue
While Swift enjoyed a comfortable viewing, it was the complete opposite for Chicago fans. The Bears mustered just 203 total yards of offense while allowing 456 for Kansas City. Justin Fields, in particular, threw for just 99 yards on 11-for-22 completions, one touchdown and one pick to go with 47 rushing yards on 11 carries. The day got worse for Fields when he left with an apparent injury, and Roschon Johnson and Khalil Herbert added almost nothing on the ground, too.
It just keeps getting worse for Chicago between its on-field performances and off-field drama. Week 4 will see the Bears hosting the Denver Broncos, who are coming off a 70-20 loss to Miami. What could go wrong -- or will anything go right -- for either team in this one?