NFL winners and losers: Watch out for Dolphin assault


There was by no means any purpose to doubt that Mike McDaniel and Miami would have success. The beautiful half is how shortly that success has come. A 20-7 win over the rebuilding Patriots in Week 1 was a really feel good efficiency for followers, however didn’t actually inform us who these Dolphins have been. Their 42-38 comeback in opposition to the Ravens completely did. It was an announcement, one the remainder of the NFL ought to take note of if they’ve Miami on their schedule.

Except you have been out of cellular phone reception all day Sunday, or determined to take a vow of celibacy in opposition to the NFL this season (which, if true, good for you), then you understand the fundamental exploits of what occurred in Baltimore on Sunday. Lamar Jackson was having one in every of his most convincing video games in latest reminiscence, torching Miami each by the air, and on the bottom and main the Ravens to a 28-7 halftime lead with no signal of slowing down. It was poised to be the blowout of the weekend … till it wasn’t.

Getting back from the break like a model new crew, McDaniel and co. drew up one of the crucial sensible offense gameplans in latest reminiscence, which didn’t simply mitigate, however eradicated all of Tua Tagovailoa’s weaknesses and turned him right into a soccer murderer. This, aided by the offense’s confidence in merely letting Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle do their factor, with out an excessive amount of restraint on their route working, gave the entire offense this freeform, experimental jazz taste that the Ravens had no reply for.

Miami hung 28 factors on the Ravens within the fourth quarter alone, and when the mud settled not solely had the Dolphins received, however data have been left of their wake. Tagovailoa tied a franchise-record six passing touchdowns, matching efforts by Dan Marino and Bob Griese, whereas Waddle and Hill turned the primary receiving tandem in NFL historical past to every have 170+ yards receiving, with two touchdowns every.

McDaniel and his teaching workers employed a brutally easy, however genius idea that’s far too usually ignored within the NFL: They deliberate round their gamers, to not a platonic soccer very best. How usually can we hear a couple of quarterback or a crew failing as a result of they “can’t execute a coach’s imaginative and prescient”? Properly, that cuts each methods. Coaches are sometimes too proud, too intractable to vary their methods — and would quite die by their very own sword, than dare seek for a special weapon.

Tagovailoa’s passing chart actually says all of it. Regardless of throwing FIFTY occasions on Sunday, solely 5 makes an attempt required him to throw greater than 20 yards by the air. Half of his complete cross makes an attempt solely requested him to throw 5 yards or much less downfield. This would possibly trigger snobs to scoff on the complete stat line, however significantly, who offers a shit? That is about profitable soccer video games, not ribbons studying “elite quarterback.” Everybody is aware of the limiting issue on Tua’s skill as a passer is that he doesn’t have nice arm energy, or the mechanics to compensate for this lack of bodily energy. So, as an alternative of forcing the sq. peg into the spherical gap, the teaching workers chiseled out that gap.

This skill to be taught by coaches is completely essential, as a result of it’s a key purpose why Tua was nice, however nothing significantly particular in Week 1 in opposition to New England. It’s additionally why he performed like a Corridor of Famer on Sunday. Take a look at the distinction in his passing targets and places from week-to-week, eradicating battled passes on the LOS or throwaways.

Tua Tagovailoa passing — 2022

Week 1 . . . . . Week 2 . . . . .
Week 1 . . . . . Week 2 . . . . .
Distance Makes an attempt Full Landing Interception Cross Share Distance Makes an attempt Completion Landing Interception Cross Share
0-5 13 12 0 0 39% 0-5 25 21 2 0 50%
6-10 7 6 0 0 21% 6-10 8 2 0 1 16%
11-20 6 4 1 0 18% 11-20 11 8 1 0 22%
21+ 5 2 0 0 15% 21+ 5 4 3 1 10%

The crew realized their finest path to victory was by leaning on Tua’s determination making and timing in these first 5 yards to place the ball in gamers’ fingers so they may achieve YAC, however past that, the receiving charts for Hill and Waddle present simply how a lot freedom they got on the sector.

The receiving charts are filled with ideas, however in need of clearly designed routes. It’s virtually as if Hill and Waddle got a common concept of what they need to do, however roughly advised to “simply get open” on performs — they usually did.

Let’s be clear: No one’s route chart seems like a play on Madden. These are people who can’t run an ideal proper angle at will — however when you look across the league there’s much more apparent patterns on the route tree. You see clear slants, posts, and drags, however nothing with as a lot early route freedom which sees a receiver branching off an supposed path to discover a path by defenders, quite than attempting to beat them on their established line. Giving gamers carte blanche to easily “get open” isn’t one thing coaches are sometimes prepared to permit their No. 1 and No. 2 choices do with out immense belief — particularly in the case of a primary yr head coach, who are sometimes extra inclined to consider of their system, quite than their gamers.

Mike McDaniel is a special cat although. We knew this earlier than he ever landed in Miami. His demeanor is completely different, his method to soccer is completely different, and his offensive philosophy is all his personal. It’s what allowed the 49ers to surge, regardless of offensive limitations, and turned Deebo Samuel right into a 1,700 yard all-purpose monster. Now he’s enjoying the hits once more in South Florida, this time with a greater supporting forged, and it’s turned the Dolphins into the crew to look at early this season.

That is now not a crew to disregard or write off, however an absolute drive — and in Week 3 they play the Payments. Get your popcorn prepared. The Dolphins are my first winner of the week.

Winners: The Chiefs AND Chargers

Keep in mind these groups who performed on Thursday evening? Yeah, they’re fairly rattling good. Know who isn’t good? 75% of the AFC. Sure, earlier than you begin typing offended feedback the opposite two groups I’m speaking about are the Payments and the Dolphins, they’re each good — however no person received extra this week in the case of the season as a complete than Kansas Metropolis and Los Angeles.

Why? As a result of abruptly the AFC West seems like a cake stroll for one in every of these groups, and a wild card seems like a certainty for the opposite. Main into 2022 I’d have stated this was probably the most troublesome division within the NFL, however after two weeks I can’t say that’s true anymore. The Broncos are having unbelievable rising pains with Russell Wilson underneath middle, which I don’t suppose can appropriate themselves shortly sufficient to mount an actual problem, and the Raiders, effectively, there’s not a lot good I can say in regards to the Raiders proper now.

The place’s the wild card problem to come back from when you look past the AFC West? The Colts haven’t any receivers exterior of Michael Pittman Jr. who missed this week attributable to a quad harm, the AFC North is a dumpster fireplace of ineptitude proper now, and if you wish to consider both the Patriots or Jets are for actual after their Week 2 wins then I very a lot want to allow you to in on the bottom ground of my new NFT assortment I made in Microsoft Paint.

There are actually 4 groups who management this convention at this level, then a mammoth hole to the remainder. I totally anticipate the Chiefs and Chargers to duke it out for first within the division later this yr, with the Payments and (doubtlessly) Dolphins doing the identical within the AFC East, assuming their type holds.

Loser: Russell Wilson

If you wish to tout a 16-9 comeback win over the Houston Texans as some type of ethical victory, I’m not going to cease you. I’m an enormous believer within the energy of coping mechanisms, as long as they’re not a everlasting substitute for remedy.

There may be completely no sugar coating the final two weeks of Broncos soccer so far as I’m involved. It’s sucked out loud, and Russ has been a giant a part of it.

There by no means would have been a have to combat from behind in opposition to the Houston-friggin-Texans if not for Russ’ terrible first half play on Sunday, and nah Broncos followers, y’all don’t get to defend him after booing his ass out of Mile Excessive for a lot of the afternoon in Denver. That is previous a easy downside of acclimation. Wilson doesn’t look remotely ready — and doesn’t even appear to be the identical quarterback. He’s lacking open throws, his mechanics are sloppy, he seems uncomfortable within the pocket, and has little or no belief for his receivers, guys who’re ok to be worthy of belief.

I by no means purchased in to the lofty Super Bowl expectations hoisted on Denver, primarily as a result of this stuff take time, regardless of what the Buccaneers and Rams would have you ever consider. That stated, I didn’t suppose Russ would come out wanting so terrible based mostly on his previous efficiency. Since Wilson’s arrival in Denver was heralded very like Peyton Manning in 2014, let’s evaluate the 2 after two weeks, lets?

  • Peyton Manning (2014): 43-for-62, 511 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT — 126.48 passer ranking
  • Russell Wilson (2022): 43-for-73, 559 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT — 86.5 passer ranking

Wilson has been fairly actually worse than Teddy Bridgewater was for the Broncos in 2021 to this point. Clearly Russ is the higher QB, that’s not the purpose, however you don’t commerce away each ounce of future draft capital you have got, and signal a quarterback to one of many greatest contracts within the NFL to have him play to a passer ranking decrease than Daniel Jones — and God assist me, that’s an actual stat.

Whether or not it’s friction with Nathanial Hackett, points with the offense, or nonetheless getting used to Denver, Russ wants to repair this quick. Dropping to the Seahawks was forgivable due to teaching, virtually getting beat by the Texans at house will not be.

Winner: Dan Campbell

Is anybody loving life greater than Dan Campbell proper now? On Sunday the Lions coach acquired to see every part he dreamed come collectively on the sector, and he’s getting all of the love off of it too.

On paper beating the Washington Commanders may not seem to be the type of tentpole achievement worthy of reward, however it’s. It is a crew who two years in the past by no means might have imagined hanging 36 factors on an honest opponent in a toss-up recreation. Campbell has everybody believing, and he’s nonetheless ensuring completely every part is completed his manner.

This stability of “benefit from the second, however get able to work” is small, however significant. Don’t get me flawed, I nonetheless suppose Detroit is no less than yet one more season away from actually competing — however we’re seeing this crew come alive. The Lions are now not a simple out. They should be accounted for on the schedule, and he has his gamers shopping for in like no different coach within the NFL.

Within the above video you possibly can hear the crew chanting “Skip.” They did this for offensive guard Dan Skipper, a long-time apply squad participant who has been minimize, re-signed, and clinging onto hope that someday he would possibly truly stick. On Sunday his quantity was referred to as, he had a tremendous recreation — and as an alternative of relegating him to a footnote, Campbell put Skipper entrance and middle.

It’s completely inconceivable to hate Dan Campbell.

Loser: Matt Rhule

From a coach it’s inconceivable to hate, to at least one who’s inconceivable to love. Hello Matt Rhule, welcome to the losers column for the primary time in 2022. I’m positive we’ll see you right here usually.

I really feel a burning have to record Rhule as a loser as many occasions as are truthful this season, principally as a result of he won’t ever, ever do it himself. The NFL’s king of passing the buck, Rhule and the Panthers fell to 0-2 on Sunday with a feckless, cowardly model of offensive soccer that began with “let’s attempt to not lose” and by no means discovered one other gear. Rhule blamed it on “an inability to handle the Giants’ pressure on third down.”

Get the hell out of right here with that nonsense. New York was with out its high two cross rushers. They have been lacking a number of different key defenders. You don’t get to attempt, as soon as once more, in charge the gamers each single time one thing goes flawed. As an alternative, possibly attempt blaming out of the actual issues:

  1. Not including extra safety within the type of a blocking tight finish of fullback when it was clear the Giants have been stacking the field to cease Christian McCaffrey.
  2. Dialing up nothing however quick passes on third down that have been by no means designed to get first downs, however simply restrict turnovers. It was coward’s soccer, and y’all paid for it.
  3. Hiring Ben McAdoo within the first place to be your offensive coordinator, which was primarily a transfer to make sure somebody non-threatening was in a coordinator place who might take over for Rhule if he was fired.

I’m screaming into the void right here. Rhule will stay, as a result of proprietor David Tepper is afraid of admitting he’s flawed and GM Scott Fitterer doesn’t have a lot energy due to Rhule’s silly “full management” contract.

The one factor that may save the Panthers now could be Nebraska and an enormous, secure school contract that can ship Rhule’s ass 1,000 miles away.

The overall sense of 2022 for the Browns was that this crew didn’t have to do something particular for the primary 11 weeks, simply keep the established order. Two weeks in and the Cleveland protection is failing at that miserably.

Certain the crew in 1-1, however that was on the again of a really close to loss to the Panthers in Week 1 (see my treatise on Matt Rhule above), then following by getting torched for 300+ yards and 4 touchdowns by Joe Flacco. Should you’re attempting to provide you with an excuse proper now, don’t. You misplaced to the Jets and it was unhappy as hell.

Myles Garrett did work, as a result of he all the time does — however this Browns secondary is unhealthy. These ought to have been two merely gimme video games to begin the yr, and now it’s an unconvincing win and a loss. Now the crew is on a brief week earlier than enjoying the Steelers, who’re unhealthy in their very own proper, however look infinitely higher than Cleveland does proper now.

Wanting on the schedule out till Week 12 when Deshaun Watson comes off suspension there’s a really actual likelihood this crew may very well be 3-8. Kiss any playoff probabilities goodbye at that time, after which cross your fingers for 2023, hoping promoting your soul for Watson was value it.

It’s actually a whole shock the Browns look this unhealthy so early within the season, and it actually isn’t a product of Jacoby Brissett alone. I imply, he hasn’t been nice — however the points in Cleveland run far deeper.

Winner: The Packers, for opening their third eye

No matter works for you.


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