(Cameron Wake photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
Dan Campbell is proof that coaching does matter. The players didn’t change in Miami. The head coach did. And since Campbell took over the Dolphins are 2-0, outscoring opponents 82-36. Now I want to see them vs. Clemson.
2. Better yet, I want to see them Thursday against New England. Campbell said he’s awakened “a sleeping giant,” but not so fast. Under Campbell they beat a couple of teams that are a combined 3-10.
3. The South better rise again because there is absolutely, positively no division worse than the AFC South – and, yes, that includes the NFC East. Not only are the AFC South’s four teams a combined 8-19, all with losing records, but look at first-place Indianapolis (3-4). It just lost its second straight at home … to New Orleans, no less … and now faces, in order, Carolina, Denver and Atlanta – opponents with a combined record of 17-1. Chuck Pagano, I have a realtor you might want to contact.
4. The Colts are 2-0 with Matt Hasselbeck. They’re 1-4 with Andrew Luck. Just sayin’.
5. Consider that a reality check for the New York Jets. Yeah, they’re better, but they’re not good enough to beat Tom Brady … and stop if you’ve heard that before. Sorry, Jets’ fans, but it looks as if Brady can play 10 more years.
6. Brady on the Patriots’ last two scoring drives: 14 for 17 for 150 yards … and that’s against the league’s No. 1 defense AND after his receivers dropped a slew of passes.
7. From the Strange but True Department: When the Raiders commit six or fewer penalties they’re 0-3; when they commit 10 or more they’re 3-0.
8. After watching the Chargers’ latest meltdown, look for L.A. to block a possible Bolts’ move.
9. First, Houston’s Ryan Mallett sleeps through a meeting. Now he says he got caught in traffic, causing him to miss the team’s charter to Miami. Bill O’Brien should do what’s right: Either cut or suspend the guy. Enough’s enough.
10. And that, people, is why Jay Gruden won’t budge on Kirk Cousins.
11. Atlanta looks as if it’s hit a speed bump, but no sweat: The schedule makers are here to help. Before the Falcons play Carolina on Dec. 13 they meet, in order, Tampa Bay (2-4), San Francisco (2-5), Indianapolis (3-4), Minnesota (4-2) and Tampa Bay (2-4) again – five opponents with a combined record of 13-19.
12. Next time someone tells you running backs don’t matter roll the videotape of Todd Gurley.
13. No quarterback, no defense and now no Arian Foster? Houston, you DO have a problem.
14. CBS’ Steve Beuerlein says he has “confidence” that San Diego coach Mike McCoy will get the Chargers turned around. One question: What exactly leads him to that conclusion? In three seasons, McCoy is 20-19 with the Bolts.
15. Greg Hardy in a sideline blowup with coaches and Dez Bryant? Shocking.
16. San Francisco CEO Jed York once said fans should hold him accountable if his team doesn’t compete for championships. OK, fans, that’s your cue.
17. Congratulations to Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer. That was his first division win on the road, and, OK, so it’s not a giant step for mankind. But it is a start.
18. Like I said, parity is dead in the NFL. With Carolina’s defeat of Philadelphia, there are five 6-0 teams in the NFL — and that’s never happened. But there are 21 clubs at .500 or below, too, which means we have the very, very rich … and everyone else.
19. Romeo Crennel, report to the principal’s office.
20. Lovie Smith, you can join him.
21. That makes 10 straight regular-season victories for Carolina, so the Panthers are no mirage. But how good are they? Please stand by. We’ll let you know Nov. 8 when they go to Green Bay.
22. Jarvis Landry is a load. Landry Jones is not.
23. If as Rex Ryan said, he put “everything we have” into the Jacksonville game what does that say about him, his coaching staff or the Bills? Answer: It’s going to be another early winter in Buffalo.
24. Apparently, the exchange rate on penalties doesn’t change in the U.K. The Bills took 10 more in London, bringing their season total to 72 for 670 yards. So much for discipline.
25. Imagine if the Rams had a quarterback.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF FAME
(Tom Brady photo courtesy of the New England Patriots)
New England QB Tom Brady. He throws for 355 yards and two touchdowns, leads the Patriots in rushing and solves the league’s top-ranked defense. Oh, yeah, he keeps New England undefeated, too.
Miami RB Lamar Miller. He and Chris Johnson are the only players in NFL history with TD runs of 85 or more yards and TD catches of 50 or more in the same game. He finished with 236 yards from scrimmage and two TDs in the first half … or before taking the rest of the afternoon off.
Oakland QB Derek Carr. The Raiders finally have a legit quarterback, and Sunday was more proof – with Carr missing only seven of 31 attempts and throwing for three touchdowns.
St. Louis RB Todd Gurley. That’s three straight 100-yard games, with Gurley the first rookie since 2005 (Cadillac Williams) to run for 25 or more yards in three consecutive games. NBC’s Rodney Harrison is right: “He gives the Rams a dimension they haven’t had in years.”
Washington QB Kirk Cousins. Enough with the calls for RG3. Cousins seldom looked better rallying Washington from a 24-0 first-half deficit — the biggest comeback victory in franchise history.
New England WR Danny Amendola. Remember when Amendola critics said his free-agent signing was a mistake? Well, look at his last two weeks: 15 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF SHAME
(Philip Rivers photo courtesy of the San Diego Chargers)
Miami, Fla. The city has interim coaches for its football teams, the Dolphins and University of Miami, and no manager for its baseball team, the Miami Marlins.
Buffalo QB EJ Manuel. Let’s see, two interceptions and one fumble = 21 Jacksonville points? The way I see it, this one is EZ. Manuel was the difference.
Houston coach Bill O’Brien. Shameful. That first half wasn’t bad. It was horrendous, reminiscent of another first-half beatdown – the first game of the season when Kansas City put up 27 on the Texans.
Dallas QB Matt Cassel. He has a reputation for not making big mistakes. So what does he do in his first start with the Cowboys? Uh-huh, throw three second-half interceptions, with one turned into a go-ahead touchdown and the other a field goal. Dallas is 2-0 with Tony Romo; 0-4 without him.
Tennessee QB Zach Mettenberger. Now you know why the Titans jumped at the chance to draft Marcus Mariota. With the loss, Mettenberger’s record as a starter moves to 0-7. Atlanta didn’t win this game. Mettenberger lost it.
San Diego QB Philip Rivers. So he threw for 338 yards and three TDs. He missed throws he never misses and didn’t come around until it was too late. The Chargers are a mess right now, and Rivers cant bail them out by himself … as he proved Sunday.
THIS WEEK’S CANTON NOMINEE
(Ryan Tannehill photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)
Miami QB Ryan Tannehill. He not only threw for four TDs; he completed his first 18 passes, finished 18 of 19 for 282 yards and four scores (including three of 50 or more yards each) and achieved the first perfect passer rating of his career. With eight consecutive completions last weekend, Tannehill had a streak of 25 — an NFL record — stopped with his last incompletion. “I thought Marino walked out again,” said coach Dan Campbell.
SUNDAY’S HALL-OF-FAME QUOTE
“Yeah, I’d say I’m really frustrated out there … Really bad football.” – Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck.
1-11 – Ken Whisenhunt’s home record at Tennessee
5 – Rushing attempts by New England running backs vs. the Jets
7 – Minnesota sacks of Matt Stafford
9 – Blake Bortles TD passes the past three weeks
19 – Career multi-sack games for J.J. Watt
100 – Tom Coughlin wins with the Giants
123 – Philip Rivers passes the past two weeks
1991 – Last time Miami scored 41 first-half points