Friday, December 1, 2023
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Week 3 overreactions, reality checks: Should Dolphins have pursued history? Another QB debate in Washington?

Week 3 in the NFL season certainly was exciting, with four one-score games in the early afternoon slate and five teams putting up 30-plus points. One team even scored 70 in what turned out to be a historic day for the league, as the Miami Dolphins rewrote the record books. 

The Dolphins became the fourth team in NFL history (including postseason) to score at least 70 points in a game and the first to accomplish the feat in 57 years. Miami put up 726 yards of offense — the second-most by any team in a game in league history — in their blowout win over the Broncos.

Could the Dolphins have scored more and set new records? That’s up for debate in this week’s overreactions, highlighting all the storylines from the Sunday afternoon slate of Week 3 games. 

The Dolphins should have kicked the field goal and made history

Overreaction or reality: Reality

There have only been three teams in NFL history to but up 70 points before Sunday, and no team has accomplished it since the merger. The Dolphins did and had a chance for more in the final minute, having a fourth-and-14 with 33 seconds left at the Broncos‘ 27-yard line — but declined to kick and instead took the kneel down. 

Miami actually had 726 yards of offense before taking that kneel down, 9 yards away from tying the NFL record set by the 1951 Los Angeles Rams. That was in play too, but the significant mark was tying the 1940 Chicago Bears for the most points in a game with 73. 

This was the first 70-point game since Washington scored 72 against the New York Giants in 1966. Good chance no team will ever score this many points again (it’s been 57 years after all). Tying the Bears would have been historic, not running up the score or “karma.”

McDaniel likely ended up doing the right thing by being a good sport, but people may have understood why he wanted to chase history. There wasn’t a wrong decision. 

Miami has the greatest offense in the Super Bowl era 

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

After the 70 points the Dolphins put up, Miami has scored 130 points through three games — tied for the second-most in a season through three games in NFL history (only the 1968 Cowboys have more). The 1,651 total yards are the most through three games in NFL history.

The Dolphins are averaging 43.3 points per game and 550.3 points per game. At this pace, these would be NFL records in both categories. This is the best start for any team in NFL history (in points and yards), but there still are 14 games to play. 

Miami did all this without Jaylen Waddle, but keeping up this torrid pace will be extremely hard. The Dolphins would have to eclipse 38.8 points per game by the 1950 Los Angeles Rams and 467.1 yards per game to pass the 2011 New Orleans Saints for both records. 

They’re off to a great start. 

Sam Howell should be benched for Jacoby Brissett

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Howell had a horrible game against a very good defense completing 19 of 29 passes for 170 yards with zero touchdowns and four interceptions. While Howell looked terrible against the Bills he was also sacked nine times hit 15 times, and pressured 22 times in the 37-3 loss. Hard to complete passes facing pressure all game long. 

Howell was efficient in his first two games, but his passer rating took a massive hit as a result of his four-interception performance (down to 74.1). One bad performance shouldn’t spark a quarterback debate in Washington, but it should be a cause for concern. 

Washington’s offensive line gets Philadelphia next week. Howell will be tested again. 

Nathaniel Hackett should be fired as Jets OC

Overreaction or reality: Reality

The Jets offense is embarrassing without Aaron Rodgers. In the two games Rodgers hasn’t played, the Jets have averaged 10.0 points per game and averaged 193 yards per game. Zach Wilson has been abysmal, completing 47.6% of his passes for 327 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

New York punted on eight of its first nine possessions and had 61 yards of offense before its 84-yard touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter. The performance by Hackett is unacceptable as a play-caller, especially since Wilson has shown no signs of improvement. 

A change at quarterback would help. A change at coordinator would be better.

Bears should move on from Justin Fields after this year  

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Field has been horrible after three games, completing 58% of his passes for 526 yards with three touchdowns to four interceptions and a 67.7 passer rating. He looked lost on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, completing 11 of 22 passes for 99 yards with a touchdown and interception (58.7 rating). 

The play-calling in Chicago has been abysmal, but Fields vowed he’d play more freely this week and ended up playing worse. Perhaps Fields is just a running quarterback who can’t develop as a passer (and his running lanes are being taken away too). 

Just three games into the year and Fields has many questions to answer if he can be a passer or not. The Bears shouldn’t move on now, but Field is forcing their hand if these performances keep up. 

Colts should tell Jonathan Taylor to stay home

Overreaction or reality: Reality

While Taylor has wanted a trade and currently sits on the PUP list, the Colts have gotten RB1 production from Zack Moss. In the two games Moss has started, he has rushed for 210 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. That’s more than adaquate production for a team in dire need of a running back in Taylor’s absence. 

The Colts are also 2-0 in games Moss plays and lead the AFC South. If Taylor wants to return, the Colts would be OK with it, but they should just move on from him as they continue their rebuild. Moss is a lot cheaper and the offense is moving no matter what quarterback he plays with. 

Get premium value for Taylor and move forward with Moss for this year. He’s shown he can handle being a No. 1 running back at a position that has significantly lost value over the last decade. 

Cowboys are the same ol’ Cowboys 

Overreaction or reality: Reality

The Cowboys had a bad loss to the Cardinals, playing without Trevon Diggs, Tyler Biadasz and Zack Martin to start the game (and Tyron Smith was active but never played). This is an unacceptable loss to Arizona, one a team with Super Bowl dreams shouldn’t have. 

Same old Cowboys right? Blow out two teams with bad quarterbacks in consecutive weeks and look like the best team in the NFC. Then follow that up with a subpar performance against a bad team — and lose. The same story is told every year. 

Dak Prescott threw an interception in the end zone with 3:05 left to ice the loss, the first time he’s played from behind all year. Prescott went 25 of 40 for 249 yards with a touchdown and interception for a 78.0 rating, as Dallas managed just one touchdown against the Arizona defense. 

Dallas won’t be ultimately judged until January, but this performance has been indicative of the Cowboys every season. Blowout and look great against an inferior opponent, then lay an egg a week later. This is still a very good team, but inconsistent week to week. 

Aidan Hutchinson will be an All-Pro this year

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Hutchinson has been off to a hot start for the Lions this year, having 18 pressures, two sacks, four quarterback hits, and two batted passes through three games. He has a 15.1% pressure rate, among the league’s best at his position. 

The Lions edge rusher had a dominant afternoon against the Falcons, finishing with four tackles, two sacks, two passes defended, a forced fumble, and fumble recovery. Hutchinson is the only player to have 10-plus sacks and three-plus interceptions in his first 20 games, making him one of the unique pass rushers in the game. 

If the Lions defense keeps turning in performances like Sunday, Hutchinson will be an All-Pro for the first time. 

C.J. Stroud is the best rookie QB in this year’s class

Overreaction or reality: Reality

What Stroud has been doing through three games is incredible. Down multiple offensive linemen for several weeks, Stroud has completed 64.5% of his passes for 906 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 98.0 passer rating. 

His 906 passing yards are the third-most through three career games in NFL history. Stroud is the only player with 900 passing yards without an interception through three games since 1950. The Texans are having Stroud sling the ball and he’s not making any mistakes throwing it, making the team better in the process.

Anthony Richardson has been impressive, but Stroud has been the best quarterback through three weeks. 

Saints miss playoffs without Derek Carr

Overreaction or reality: Reality 

The Saints were outscored 18-0 after Carr left the game with a shoulder injury. Jameis Winston went 10 of 16 for 101 yards, but New Orleans punted on his first four possessions and gained just 69 yards during that span, allowing the Green Bay Packers the opportunity to pull off a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback.

The Saints offense just wasn’t as efficient when Winston was in there, and his performance last year was why they signed Carr in the first place. Winston did go 4 of 6 for 45 yards on a drive that resulted in Blake Grupe missing a 46-yard field goal, so maybe the narrative is different if Grupe makes that kick. 

New Orleans just didn’t move the ball when Carr was out. The Saints looked like last year’s team, a great defense that couldn’t score enough to win games. That version was not a playoff team.

They need Carr back. 

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