The Miami Dolphins lost to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving this past week, helplessly watching as Dallas kicked a field goal with no time left on the clock to win 20-19. But, there were several Miami players who performed well. Good, solid days.
But, that's the problem this week. Lots of players had solid days, but no one jumped out as better than the rest. And, most players had at least one moment that hurt their chances at picking up the game ball this week.
Take quarterback Matt Moore, for example. He finished the day with 288 yards on 19-for-32 passin, with one touchdown. That gave him a 99.5 quarterback rating. Disregarding the performances of Drew Brees and Eli Manning last night (their stats have not yet been tallied into the rating), Moore's Week 12 performance ranked him as the 8th best quarterback of the week, according to ESPN's Total QBR.
However, his second quarter fumble - and, yes, half of that fumble should have been center Mike Pouncey's fault - directly led to the end of Miami's three games without allowing a touchdown streak. The game changed on that play, and therefore, Moore won't get the game ball.
The two cornerbacks, Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, both get consideration, given the interceptions that each picked up. However, like Moore, they weren't flawless. ProFootballFocus.com ranks their performances, again disregarding the Monday Night game, as the performances of the 31st and 61st, respectively, best cornerbacks of Week 12. That's not a great day.
This week's game ball came down to two players. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Brian Hartline both had very solid days. Marshall finished the game with 103 yards on 5 receptions, with the lone Miami touchdown. Hartline caught four passes for 77 yards. Marshall's receiving average came in at 20.6 yards, while Hartline was right behind him at 19.3 yards. Both players dropped one ball - although Marshall was targeted 10 times, only catching 5, compared to the 5 targets and 4 receptions of Hartline. Heading back to ProFootballFocus.com, Marshall graded out as the 26th best wide out on the week (tied with fellow Dolphin Davone Bess), while Hartline tied with Plaxico Burress for a 6th best wide receiver ranking.
I really want to give the game ball to Marshall, based on the fact that he found pay dirt. But, Hartline caught 80% of the passes thrown his direction, and grades out so much better than Marshall. Since I can't decide, I'm going to chicken out, and let you all decide who gets this week's game ball. Vote in the poll, and if you think it should be someone else, leave a comment below.