This is usually the post where I get to to the happy (or unhappy) recap on the Dolphins' game. But the damn bye week has taken that pleasure away from me. Even still, there are some thoughts that are relevant to the Dolphins that I wanted to share from Sunday's action.
But before I get into Sunday's action, let's start this thing out with a ridiculous Dolphins statistic. Did you know that Chad Henne's combined quarterback rating for his first two career starts is the highest QB rating ever for a quarterback making his first two career starts? That's right - no player has ever began his career as a starting quarterback better than Henne has. Henne has completed 71% of his passes (34/48) for 356 yards and 3 touchdowns, which results in an NFL record 112.9 passer rating. Of course, the most important stat of all for Henne is his team's 2-0 record.
Entering the week, the New York Giants had the top ranked overall defense and the top ranked defense against the pass. All Drew Brees and the Saints did was throw for 369 yards and four touchdowns (averaging 12.3 yards per pass attempt) en route to a 48 point output against that Giants defense. In fact, the Saints scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions on Sunday. And on the one that wasn't a touchdown, the Saints got down to NY's 1 yard line but couldn't punch it in on 3rd or 4th down - turning the ball over on downs.
This Saints offense is going to be a huge problem to the Dolphins defense next Sunday when the Saints come down to Miami. The Saints can protect the quarterback. And they have just a ton of weapons. There probably isn't one team in this league that can throw the amount of skill players at you like New Orleans can. In fact, the Saints had seven different players score a touchdown on Sunday against the Giants, marking only the fourth time since 1970 that a team has had seven different players score a rushing or receiving TD in a single game.
They are just loaded with talent. They are easily four deep at receiver - Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, and Devery Henderson - and then have Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey who also make plays in the passing game. And that's not even mentioning their running game - led by Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell, with some Bush mixed in. This is the NFL's most dangerous offense coming into Miami. And they pose matchup problems all over the field for the Dolphins.
The Saints used multiple formations against the Giants to keep them off balance. They also did an excellent job of attacking the middle of the field with crossing patterns while also attacking the seams with their slot receivers and tight end. My initial gameplan for next Sunday is simple - keep NO's offense off the field and then get pressure on Brees as much as humanly possible - no matter the cost. But needless to say, I'm obviously not too optimistic. Of course, on any given Sunday...
Just three weeks ago, the NY media, Jet fans, and even the national media were all force-feeding this Mark Sanchez bullshit left and right. Even as we watched the Dolphins physically dominate the Jets on Monday night - and even as our own quarterback greatly outperformed Sanchez - all we heard from the MNF crew was how amazing Sanchez is and will be.
But against the same Buffalo defense that Chad Henne completed 64% of his passes against - including a touchdown and no interceptions - in his first career start, Mark Sanchez was simply terrible. He completed just 34% of his passes and threw five interceptions. And that total could have easily been higher - the Bills dropped at least two more interceptions. Regardless, Sanchez completed half as many passes to the Bills (5) as he did to his own team (10). And he's the "Sanchise"? I'm not buying it.
Over his past three games, Sanchez has completed just 45% of his passes and has a 1/8 TD/Int ratio. Most importantly, his team is 0-3. Good luck with that, Jet fans.
For more laughs, I suggest checkout out the post-game press conference (Sanchez begins at the 3:15 mark of video) and SBN's Gang Green Nation. But go easy on them - because we still do see them one more time this year and we don't want to "jinx" ourselves.
AFC Playoff Picture
It's obviously still very early, but Sunday was a pretty good day for the Dolphins as they continue to climb back into the playoff picture despite their 0-3 start. Besides the Jets loss, the Ravens and Bengals (who I still don't think are for real) both lost, dropping Baltimore to 3-3 and Cincy to 4-2. But I think the Bengals have more losses coming their way. Of course, the Texans (who I think will be in this thing all year) are the team who knocked off the Bengals, pulling themselves back to .500.
As it stands, here's how the playoff picture looks in the AFC:
Wildcard #1: (4-2)
Battle for Wildcard #2: Jets, Ravens, , and Texans are all 3-3; are 2-2; Dolphins just .5 back of the 3-3 teams
Not too bad for a team many took for dead just a few weeks back. But there are some big games coming up (Saints, Jets, Pats). However, the schedule suddenly looks less daunting beginning in week 10. The Dolphins begin a stretch against the Bucs, Panthers, Bills, Patriots, Jaguars, and Titans. Outside if New England, the other teams have a combined 7-22 record.