Loser: C.J. Stroud
The Houston Texans fell below .500 with a difficult 15-13 loss to the previously winless Carolina Panthers. Stroud only managed 140 yards without a touchdown. Meanwhile, the No. 1 pick Bryce Young put together a strong game, completing 22-of-31 passes for 235 yards and a TD.
Stroud has been the best rookie in the NFL to date, with very few noticeable blemishes. But... he lost the No. 1 vs. 2 pick matchup by a solid margin, restoring the hope of Carolina fans and leaving a paper-dry taste in the mouths of Houston fans.
One game does not make a career, of course, but this is one Stroud definitely wanted. Rather than a statement win, it was a middling loss. Houston will look to turn it around in a winnable matchup with the Bucs next week.
Winner: Rookie QBs
Will Levis stepped into the Tennessee Titans' starting QB role in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill. Levis was a source of controversy leading up to the NFL Draft. The Kentucky product was widely speculated as a top-10 pick, which led to a nasty discourse cycle. Then... he fell all the way to the second round where the Titans traded up to No. 33 to steal him.
It's only one game, but Levis made a strong first impression. He completed 19-of-29 passes for 238 yards and four TDs, all without a single turnover. Second-year Titans QB Malik Willis got the call for a couple designed runs, but it was Levis' game atop the QB depth chart and he delivered — against a top-10 defense, no less.
On a slightly less impressive note, Giants rookie Tommy DeVito made his debut in place of the injured Tyrod Taylor. He didn't exactly light up the stat sheet — 2-of-7 passes for -1 yard — but he managed a six-yard touchdown scramble in the third quarter for his first career score.
Good for him! Just ignore what happened after the score.