Final NFL Week 3 Observations ... And Former Miami Dolphins Updates
Ryan Fitzpatrick had an outstanding performance in the victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, but it got overshadowed by what three of the best quarterbacks in the game today offered over the weekend.
It started with Russell Wilson, who the Dolphins will see this coming Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, and the show he put on against the Dallas Cowboys, followed by Aaron Rodgers and what he did at New Orleans, and capped by Patrick Mahomes' absurb performance in the Kansas City Chiefs' Monday night mauling of the Baltimore Ravens.
Those three ranks first, third and sixth in the NFL in passer rating, but they look like the top three MVP candidates through the first three weeks of the 2020 season.
On to other observations from the weekend, looking for a Dolphins angle whenever possible:
-- The quarterback currently ranked second in passer rating is Dolphins killer Josh Allen, who again put up big numbers in the Buffalo Bills' wild 35-32 victory against the Los Angeles Rams. But Allen had some of those moments that have hurt him in the past when he makes questionable decisions, such as trying to throw a pitch while scrambling on Buffalo's game-winning drive. He also had some really poor throws, the best example coming on the touchdown to Stefon Diggs that was overturned because the ball hit the ground before Diggs could corral it. Here's the bottom line with Allen, and what we've said all along: He is nowhere near Rodgers or Mahomes in terms of accuracy, but his accuracy has improved, he's got the arm strength to make some throws most quarterbacks in the league can't make, and he adds a special dimension to the offense with his running ability.
-- The Bills, of course, were on the verge of a historic collapse until they were bailed out by a controversial defensive pass interference call that was widely criticized. The reality is there was a lot of contact on the play, though it often goes uncalled. Win or lose, though, the Bills have to be concerned about their defense after it's given up 60 points the past two games.
-- The Patriots aren't going to go away easily, are they? And who puts it past them to come up with a game plan to slow down Mahomes next Sunday? Though New England was carved up by Russell Wilson in Week 2, it's always a mistake to discount them. It just is.
-- Ryan Tannehill continues to roll along for the Titans, but we'll know more about just how good Tennessee after the next two weeks. The Titans are one of six 3-0 teams around the NFL, but they've won by a combined eight points against teams with a combined 1-8 record. They face the Steelers and Bills the next two weeks.
-- On the subject of former Dolphins, we've already seen reports the Jets will be letting Adam Gase go if they lose against the injury-ravaged Denver Broncos in the Thursday night game. The Jets have lost their three games by double digits, they haven't held a lead all season, and quarterback Sam Darnold appears to be regressing. The Jets certainly look like the worst team in the NFL right now, though the Giants aren't far behind (or should that be ahead?).
-- The Jets didn't know as of Wednesday morning who they would be facing at quarterback, and that's pertinent to the Dolphins, who face the Broncos in Denver on Oct. 18. With Drew Lock sidelined with an injury, the options for Denver are Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien or newly signed Blake Bortles.
-- Linebacker Raekwon McMillan made his first start for the Las Vegas Raiders in their game at New England on Sunday. McMillan played 19 defensive snap and was in on four tackles, but if the idea was that he would help the run defense, it certainly didn't work out on this day because the Raiders allowed 250 rushing yards in their 36-20 loss.
-- Defensive end Charles Harris was active for the first time this season for the Atlanta Falcons, who again found a way to blow a big lead in the fourth quarter in their loss against the Chicago Bears. Harris played 32 snaps and recorded his first sack of the season.
-- Finally, we end with coaching decisions that left us shaking our heads and they involve taking the passive approach instead of being aggressive. The first involved former Dolphins quarterback Doug Pederson and his decision to have the Eagles punt on fourth-and-12 from the Cincinnati 46-yard line with 19 seconds left in overtime. The decision to punt was made, of course, because of the concern of an incomplete pass or worse a sack or turnover that would have given the Bengals a chance to win in the final seconds. But what were the odds of a disaster of that magnitude compared to the chances of making the fourth-and-12 to then try a game-winning field goal? This was a case of playing not to lose — and the Eagles succeeded in that regard but failed in not attempting to try. Then there was the curious decision by John Harbaugh on Monday night to kick a field goal at the end of the first drive of the game on a fourth-and-3 from the KC 8-yard line. That came after Lamar Jackson threw a short pass on third-and-3 that gained zero yards. Look, taking the conservative approach is not the way to beat Kansas City when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs can score almost at will.