Tonight, Dolphins backup Matt Moore will attempt to prove he ought to continue quarterbacking for Miami after starter Jay Cutler's ribs heal. With a road win, the Dolphins would be 5-2 and home to the league's most intriguing QB room, if certainly not its most talented. So far, those two have combined for 5.80 yards per attempt, 31st in the NFL. The only team behind them is Miami's Thursday night opponent: The Ravens. Joe Flacco is last in yards per attempt among qualified passers (5.31), and his 70.0 rating beats only DeShone Kizer's. It gets worse.
The decline didn't just begin this fall. Since Flacco's Super Bowl victory, only seven QBs have averaged more than an interception per game with a passer rating below 85: Kizer, Blake Bortles, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Blaine Gabbert and Flacco. And there are few reasons for optimism, because the issues go beyond the signal caller. Five receivers and the team's top pass-catching tight end are either questionable or doubtful for tonight's game, and Baltimore has already lost two starting linemen—including All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda—and two running backs to IR. Add it all up, and you get an offense ranked 31st in yards per game and on pace for the second-fewest yards in franchise history. The defense's lapses during the current 1-4 slide have only further exposed the team's inability to move the ball.
If Miami pulls off the minor upset on the road (8:25 P.M. ET, CBS, NFLN, Amazon), there will be debate on South Beach. But back in Baltimore, there will be bigger questions to answer about one of the league's longest-tenured Coach-QB combinations.
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1. Martavis Bryant will reportedly not be playing this Sunday against Detroit after requesting a trade, claiming on Instagram that he was better than rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster, and missing a meeting Monday. When asked why he wouldn't be playing, Bryant responded, "Social media." The NFL trade deadline, Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. ET, is less than a week away.
2. Rookie DeShone Kizer, last in the NFL in passer rating and already benched twice by the Browns this season, will start when Cleveland travels to London to play the Vikings on Sunday. But fans in England might not get to watch No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett, as the defensive end has entered the concussion protocol.
3. After putting Cliff Avril on IR, the Seahawks have added 37-year-old Dwight Freeney to their defense. So far, Seattle is on pace for the fewest sacks in the Pete Carroll era.
4. This was a great story idea on Yahoo. Jeff Eisenberg rode the only tour bus going from San Diego County to the Chargers-Broncos game. Inside he found "the football equivalent of an endangered species."
5. While Jacoby Brissett's trade made headlines on the eve of the season, it has been two less notable Patriots trades—for Cassius Marsh and Johnson Bademosi—that have proven Bill Belichick's genius once again.
6. 49ers rookies played 170 snaps in Week 1. They played 405 snaps against the Cowboys, as Kyle Shanahan pivots toward the future.
7. Colin Kaepernick will reportedly attend the players' next meeting with NFL owners.
8. This NFL season has been really, really strange. But which team has had the weirdest start to the year?
9. Kevin Seifert finds that replay reversals are up in Year 1 under new senior vice president of officiating Alberto Riveron. Why?
For the Win asks, Can you identify NFL quarterbacks by their pre-snap cadences?