There was by no means any cause to doubt that Mike McDaniel and Miami would have success. The beautiful half is how shortly that success has come. A 20-7 win over the rebuilding Patriots in Week 1 was a really feel good efficiency for followers, however didn’t actually inform us who these Dolphins had been. Their 42-38 comeback towards the Ravens completely did. It was a press release, one the remainder of the NFL ought to take note of if they’ve Miami on their schedule.
Except you had been out of cellular phone reception all day Sunday, or determined to take a vow of celibacy towards the NFL this season (which, if true, good for you), then the fundamental exploits of what occurred in Baltimore on Sunday. Lamar Jackson was having one in all his most convincing video games in latest reminiscence, torching Miami each by means of the air, and on the bottom and main the Ravens to a 28-7 halftime lead with no signal of slowing down. It was poised to be the blowout of the weekend … till it wasn’t.
Coming back from the break like a model new crew, McDaniel and co. drew up one of the sensible offense gameplans in latest reminiscence, which didn’t simply mitigate, however eradicated all of Tua Tagovailoa’s weaknesses and turned him right into a soccer murderer. This, aided by the offense’s confidence in merely letting Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle do their factor, with out an excessive amount of restraint on their route operating, gave the entire offense this freeform, experimental jazz taste that the Ravens had no reply for.
Miami hung 28 factors on the Ravens within the fourth quarter alone, and when the mud settled not solely had the Dolphins gained, however information had been left of their wake. Tagovailoa tied a franchise-record six passing touchdowns, matching efforts by Dan Marino and Bob Griese, whereas Waddle and Hill turned the primary receiving tandem in NFL historical past to every have 170+ yards receiving, with two touchdowns every.
McDaniel and his teaching workers employed a brutally easy, however genius idea that’s far too usually ignored within the NFL: They deliberate round their gamers, to not a platonic soccer splendid. How usually can we hear a few quarterback or a crew failing as a result of they “can’t execute a coach’s imaginative and prescient”? Nicely, that cuts each methods. Coaches are sometimes too proud, too intractable to alter their methods — and would moderately die by their very own sword, than dare seek for a special weapon.
Tagovailoa’s passing chart actually says all of it. Regardless of throwing FIFTY instances on Sunday, solely 5 makes an attempt required him to throw greater than 20 yards by means of the air. Half of his whole go makes an attempt solely requested him to throw 5 yards or much less downfield. This may trigger snobs to scoff on the whole stat line, however severely, who offers a shit? That is about successful soccer video games, not ribbons studying “elite quarterback.” Everybody is aware of the limiting issue on Tua’s potential as a passer is that he doesn’t have nice arm power, or the mechanics to compensate for this lack of bodily power. So, as a substitute of forcing the sq. peg into the spherical gap, the teaching workers chiseled out that gap.
This potential to be taught by coaches is completely vital, as a result of it’s a key cause why Tua was wonderful, however nothing notably particular in Week 1 towards New England. It’s additionally why he performed like a Corridor of Famer on Sunday. Take a look at the distinction in his passing targets and places from week-to-week, eradicating battled passes on the LOS or throwaways.
Tua Tagovailoa passing — 2022
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The crew realized their finest path to victory was by means of leaning on Tua’s resolution making and timing in these first 5 yards to place the ball in gamers’ palms so they might acquire YAC, however past that, the receiving charts for Hill and Waddle present simply how a lot freedom they got on the sphere.
The receiving charts are filled with ideas, however wanting clearly designed routes. It’s virtually as if Hill and Waddle got a basic concept of what they need to do, however kind of informed to “simply get open” on performs — they usually did.
Let’s be clear: No person’s route chart seems like a play on Madden. These are people who can’t run an ideal proper angle at will — however for those who look across the league there’s way more apparent patterns on the route tree. You see clear slants, posts, and drags, however nothing with as a lot early route freedom which sees a receiver branching off an supposed path to discover a path by means of defenders, moderately than making an attempt to beat them on their established line. Giving gamers carte blanche to easily “get open” isn’t one thing coaches are sometimes keen to permit their No. 1 and No. 2 choices do with out immense belief — particularly in terms of a primary yr head coach, who are sometimes extra inclined to consider of their system, moderately than their gamers.
Mike McDaniel is a special cat although. We knew this earlier than he ever landed in Miami. His demeanor is totally different, his strategy to soccer is totally different, and his offensive philosophy is all his personal. It’s what allowed the 49ers to surge, regardless of offensive limitations, and turned Deebo Samuel right into a 1,700 yard all-purpose monster. Now he’s enjoying the hits once more in South Florida, this time with a greater supporting solid, and it’s turned the Dolphins into the crew to observe early this season.
That is not a crew to disregard or write off, however an absolute drive — and in Week 3 they play the Payments. Get your popcorn prepared. The Dolphins are my first winner of the week.
Winners: The Chiefs AND Chargers
Keep in mind these groups who performed on Thursday night time? Yeah, they’re fairly rattling good. Know who isn’t good? 75% of the AFC. Sure, earlier than you begin typing indignant feedback the opposite two groups I’m speaking about are the Payments and the Dolphins, they’re each good — however no person gained extra this week in terms of the season as an entire than Kansas Metropolis and Los Angeles.
Why? As a result of all of a sudden the AFC West seems like a cake stroll for one in all these groups, and a wild card seems like a certainty for the opposite. Main into 2022 I might have mentioned this was essentially the most tough division within the NFL, however after two weeks I can’t say that’s true anymore. The Broncos are having unbelievable rising pains with Russell Wilson underneath middle, which I don’t assume can appropriate themselves shortly sufficient to mount an actual problem, and the Raiders, effectively, there’s not a lot good I can say concerning the Raiders proper now.
The place’s the wild card problem to come back from for those who look past the AFC West? The Colts haven’t any receivers exterior of Michael Pittman Jr. who missed this week on account of a quad damage, the AFC North is a dumpster hearth of ineptitude proper now, and if you wish to consider both the Patriots or Jets are for actual after their Week 2 wins then I very a lot wish to allow you to in on the bottom ground of my new NFT assortment I made in Microsoft Paint.
There are actually 4 groups who management this convention at this level, then a mammoth hole to the remainder. I absolutely anticipate the Chiefs and Chargers to duke it out for first within the division later this yr, with the Payments and (probably) Dolphins doing the identical within the AFC East, assuming their type holds.
Loser: Russell Wilson
If you wish to tout a 16-9 comeback win over the Houston Texans as some kind of ethical victory, I’m not going to cease you. I’m an enormous believer within the energy of coping mechanisms, as long as they’re not a everlasting substitute for remedy.
There’s completely no sugar coating the final two weeks of Broncos soccer so far as I’m involved. It’s sucked out loud, and Russ has been an enormous a part of it.
There by no means would have been a must combat from behind towards the Houston-friggin-Texans if not for Russ’ terrible first half play on Sunday, and nah Broncos followers, y’all don’t get to defend him after booing his ass out of Mile Excessive for a lot of the afternoon in Denver. That is previous a easy drawback of acclimation. Wilson doesn’t look remotely ready — and doesn’t even seem like the identical quarterback. He’s lacking open throws, his mechanics are sloppy, he seems uncomfortable within the pocket, and has little or no belief for his receivers, guys who’re ok to be worthy of belief.
I by no means purchased in to the lofty Tremendous Bowl expectations hoisted on Denver, primarily as a result of this stuff take time, regardless of what the Buccaneers and Rams would have you ever consider. That mentioned, I didn’t assume Russ would come out trying so terrible primarily based on his previous efficiency. Since Wilson’s arrival in Denver was heralded very similar to Peyton Manning in 2014, let’s examine the 2 after two weeks, we could?
- Peyton Manning (2014): 43-for-62, 511 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT — 126.48 passer ranking
- Russell Wilson (2022): 43-for-73, 559 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT — 86.5 passer ranking
Wilson has been fairly actually worse than Teddy Bridgewater was for the Broncos in 2021 to date. Clearly Russ is the higher QB, that’s not the purpose, however you don’t commerce away each ounce of future draft capital you’ve gotten, and signal a quarterback to one of many largest contracts within the NFL to have him play to a passer ranking decrease than Daniel Jones — and God assist me, that’s an actual stat.
Whether or not it’s friction with Nathanial Hackett, points with the offense, or nonetheless getting used to Denver, Russ wants to repair this quick. Dropping to the Seahawks was forgivable due to teaching, virtually getting beat by the Texans at dwelling will not be.
Winner: Dan Campbell
Is anybody loving life greater than Dan Campbell proper now? On Sunday the Lions coach acquired to see the whole lot he dreamed come collectively on the sphere, and he’s getting all of the love off of it too.
On paper beating the Washington Commanders may not appear to be the type of tentpole achievement worthy of reward, however it’s. This can be a crew who two years in the past by no means may have imagined hanging 36 factors on a good opponent in a toss-up sport. Campbell has everybody believing, and he’s nonetheless ensuring completely the whole lot is finished his method.
VIDEO: Dan Campbell led a postgame speech after the Lions win that had Dan Skipper in tears.
The entire crew chanted the identify of the guard who began — after he was lower following camp.
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 19, 2022
This steadiness of “benefit from the second, however get able to work” is small, however significant. Don’t get me improper, I nonetheless assume Detroit is not less than yet one more season away from actually competing — however we’re seeing this crew come alive. The Lions are not a straightforward out. They should be accounted for on the schedule, and he has his gamers shopping for in like no different coach within the NFL.
Within the above video you possibly can hear the crew chanting “Skip.” They did this for offensive guard Dan Skipper, a long-time apply squad participant who has been lower, re-signed, and clinging onto hope that in the future he may truly stick. On Sunday his quantity was referred to as, he had an incredible sport — and as a substitute of relegating him to a footnote, Campbell put Skipper entrance and middle.
Dan Campbell despatched reserve OL Dan Skipper to the rostrum earlier than any participant at present — after the primary W.
Skipper’s been a PSquad man right here for a very long time, does no matter’s requested. Performed OG for the primary time at present and is now right here to inform his story.
The Detroit Lions, of us. pic.twitter.com/zBPi9jfAVO
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) September 18, 2022
It’s completely unimaginable to hate Dan Campbell.
Loser: Matt Rhule
From a coach it’s unimaginable to hate, to at least one who’s unimaginable to love. Hello Matt Rhule, welcome to the losers column for the primary time in 2022. I’m certain we’ll see you right here usually.
I really feel a burning must listing Rhule as a loser as many instances as are honest this season, largely as a result of he won’t ever, ever do it himself. The NFL’s king of passing the buck, Rhule and the Panthers fell to 0-2 on Sunday with a feckless, cowardly model of offensive soccer that began with “let’s strive to not lose” and by no means discovered one other gear. Rhule blamed it on “an lack of ability to deal with the Giants’ strain on third down.”
Get the hell out of right here with that nonsense. New York was with out its prime two go rushers. They had been lacking a number of different key defenders. You don’t get to strive, as soon as once more, responsible the gamers each single time one thing goes improper. As an alternative, perhaps strive blaming out of the actual issues:
- Not including further safety within the type of a blocking tight finish of fullback when it was clear the Giants had been stacking the field to cease Christian McCaffrey.
- Dialing up nothing however quick passes on third down that had been by no means designed to get first downs, however simply restrict turnovers. It was coward’s soccer, and y’all paid for it.
- Hiring Ben McAdoo within the first place to be your offensive coordinator, which was primarily a transfer to make sure somebody non-threatening was in a coordinator place who may take over for Rhule if he was fired.
I’m screaming into the void right here. Rhule will stay, as a result of proprietor David Tepper is fearful of admitting he’s improper and GM Scott Fitterer doesn’t have a lot energy due to Rhule’s silly “full management” contract.
The one factor that may save the Panthers now’s Nebraska and an enormous, protected school contract that can ship Rhule’s ass 1,000 miles away.
The overall sense of 2022 for the Browns was that this crew didn’t must do something particular for the primary 11 weeks, simply preserve the established order. Two weeks in and the Cleveland protection is failing at that miserably.
Certain the crew in 1-1, however that was on the again of a really close to loss to the Panthers in Week 1 (see my treatise on Matt Rhule above), then following by getting torched for 300+ yards and 4 touchdowns by Joe Flacco. In case you’re making an attempt to provide you with an excuse proper now, don’t. You misplaced to the Jets and it was unhappy as hell.
Myles Garrett did work, as a result of he all the time does — however this Browns secondary is dangerous. These ought to have been two merely gimme video games to begin the yr, and now it’s an unconvincing win and a loss. Now the crew is on a brief week earlier than enjoying the Steelers, who’re dangerous in their very own proper, however look infinitely higher than Cleveland does proper now.
Trying on the schedule out till Week 12 when Deshaun Watson comes off suspension there’s a really actual probability this crew might be 3-8. Kiss any playoff probabilities goodbye at that time, after which cross your fingers for 2023, hoping promoting your soul for Watson was price it.
It’s truthfully an entire shock the Browns look this dangerous so early within the season, and it actually isn’t a product of Jacoby Brissett alone. I imply, he hasn’t been nice — however the points in Cleveland run far deeper.
Winner: The Packers, for opening their third eye
No matter works for you.