First off, a thank you to Sprint who has come on board as a sponsor for our Game Balls post, starting this week.
Yes, it was ugly. Yes, it was a loss. But, that doesn't stop the Game Balls.
Even if it does get tough to find 5 Game Ball worthy personnel sometimes.
To recap how the Game Balls work, each week, I will award five Game Balls, ranging from 1- to 5-yards gained. There will also be one sack, where I will award negative yards. Then, by the comments made in the thread, the following week, I will announce the winner of the 1-yard "Fan Game Ball," given either to someone I left out of the other Game Balls, or adding a yard to someone who deserves more than I gave them.
So, without further ado, on to the Game Balls.
Week 2 Fan Game Ball. After a week in which I left off Jake Long and Vontae Davisand got hammered for it (even being told that my "picks for game balls has been average at best"), making me add in additional yards for those two, the fan game ball still goes to the both of them. After my oversight correction, that will give Long 5 yards for Week 2 and Davis 4 yards. Great week for the two of them.
1-Yard Game Ball. Brandon Fields. For the second straight week, Fields gets some Game Ball yardage. This week, Fields punted 4 times, with 3 punts ending inside the Jets' 20-yard line - and one being blocked. With a long of 68 yards, Fields averaged 46 yards per punt this week. Although he did have that one punt blocked, Fields has been one of the most consistent and productive Dolphins so far this year (not that that's really a good thing).
2-Yard Game Ball. Davone Bess. Bess made 6 catches on Sunday night, on just 7 targets. He averaged 14.3 yards per catch, third most on team behind Brian Hartline (16.8) and Brandon Marshall(16.6). But, more importantly, Bess continued to be a monster at moving the sticks on 3rd down. Three of Bess'catches came on 3rd Down with six or more yards to go, and all three resulted in first downs.Similar to Lousaka Polite who is a guaranteed first down on 3rd or 4th and Short, Bess is almost automatic when it's a long distance 3rd down.
3-Yard Game Ball. Vontae Davis. Another week, another team that stays away from throwing towards Vontae. I don't know what it will take to get Davis some respect from the media, but no matter what, I love having him back there. If the team can get either Sean Smith or Jason Allen to a consistent level of play, this secondary really will be as scary as we all hoped last year.
4-Yard Game Ball. Brandon Marshall. Marshall caught 10 balls for 166 yards and a touchdown. Suddenly, the offense seems to be opening up a little more and looking Marshall's way. Some of the 17 times Marshall was targeted could be the result of the Dolphins playing from behind for the first time all season, but even if that was the catalyst, at least now the Dolphins, and Offensive Coordinator Dan Henning, are starting to recognize the weapon they have in Marshall.
5-Yard Game Ball. Chad Henne. Henne threw for a career best 363 yards with 26 completions on 44 attempts, with 2 touchdowns. Did you EVER think this team would rely on Henne's army 44 times? Especially against the Jets. Wasn't this supposed to be a defensive struggle between two great defenses? The Jets defense did its job against the rush, holding Miami to a combined 84-yards, but Henne stepped up and carried the team, coming within one play of sending the game into overtime. The one blemish on the stat line was his 1 interception, but that came on that final 4th down play trying to force the ball into the endzone - a play that was all or nothing either way.
Sack. This week, there were several sack candidates. Ricky Williams, who apparently has forgotten how to hold on to the ball, was a strong candidate. So was Dan Carpenter, who for the second time in the first three weeks of the season, had a kick off go out of bounds. The Orange Jersey receives a look, as it failed to bring the magic that got it to 3&0 before losing for the first time on Sunday. Jason Allen certainly deserves consideration, and probably would get it most weeks, for his misplay with safety help over the top and a pass interference call in the endzone. However, I am going to give a group Sack this week. The group? The entire defense. In a huge Division game, and the hone opener in front of a National TV audience, the defense fell apart. Jets QB Mark Sanchez was hit one time all game. Once. No sacks, no interceptions. 402 yards of total offense allowed (256 yards passing, 146 rushing) - and 31 points allowed. Not a good game across the entire defense. As such, every member of the defense has been given a 2 yard sack.
Well, hopefully this week I was a little more accurate with my Game Ball presentations than last week. But, as always, feel free to let me know who I forgot or who I did not value enough.