NFL football report

Almost half the league is facing a quarterback crisis

Ben Roethlisberger is set to undergo season-ending elbow surgery, Drew Brees is sidelined until Week 9 with a torn ligament in his thumb, Jameis Winston’s accuracy has been awful and Cam Newton’s production is falling apart.

Then there’s the Indianapolis Colts, who kicked off the season with Andrew Luck’s earth-shattering retirement, and the Jaguars, who lost Nick Foles in Week 1 to a fractured collarbone. Now the Jets are left with Luke Falk, after Sam Darnold got diagnosed with mononucleosis and Trevor Siemian suffered a gruesome ankle injury against the Cleveland Browns.

The Eagles and the Texans must be feeling especially nervous, considering Carson Wentz’s injury history and Deshaun Watson’s tendency to get knocked to the ground. With so many QBs injured or struggling through a bad start to the year (can’t forget to mention Eli Manning here), the outlook for 2019 is changing rapidly just through the first two games of the season.

Adam Vinatieri must be kicking himself

The 46-year-old placekicker, considered one of the greatest at his position, has shown rapid regression in his 26th pro season. In Week 2 Vinatieri hit just one of his three extra-point attempts in Indianapolis’ 19-17 win over Tennessee. Luckily his misses didn’t cost the team, but the same can’t be said for Week 1.

Against the Chargers, Vinatieri missed a 46-yard field goal wide left in the first quarter, then botched a 29-yard field goal to start the third. He added another failed extra-point attempt to his 2019 résumé, as well.

Had Vinatieri connected on just one of those misses, the Colts might have won in regulation. Instead, the game went to overtime, where the Chargers pulled off a 30-24 victory.

Head coach Frank Reich is standing by the veteran, but if Vinatieri’s issues continue much longer, he may find himself moving to the side to make way for younger talent by Week 4.

Dallas’ offense is one of the best in the league

First-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has quarterback Dak Prescott playing at an MVP level and the Cowboys averaging 484 yards per game on offense, second-most in the league.

Prescott finished Week 1 with a perfect quarterback rating, as he threw for 405 yards and four scores in Dallas’ 35-17 win over the Giants. In Week 2 he completed 26 of his 30 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns and added 69 yards on the ground.

The Ravens currently sit in first, with 541.5 yards per game on offense, but they have faced some of the weakest competition in the NFL.

The Cowboys get Miami next, so their scoring and Prescott’s exceptional performance should pick up where it left off. Might want to lock down a contract extension soon, Jerry Jones.

The Patriots defense is even scarier

You can’t put much weight in what any team does against Miami this year, but the New England Patriots defense ate up the beleaguered Dolphins and never let up Sunday.

New England maintained steady control throughout the game and entered the fourth quarter with a 23-0 lead. Then Stephon Gilmore intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass for a 54-yard touchdown return, and Jamie Collins ran another interception back for a 69-yard score on Miami’s next possession.

The Patriots held Miami’s rushing attack to 42 yards in their 43-0 romp. In Week 1 they kept Pittsburgh’s run game to just 32 yards, as James Conner turned 10 carries into just 21 yards for the Steelers.

New England’s defense has given up just three points in 2019—the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to do so through the first two regular-season games—and has allowed the fewest yards per game (246) and yards per play (4.0).

The Patriots host the New York Jets on Sunday and will pick apart yet another offense, especially with the Jets down to their third-string quarterback.

The Miami Dolphins will go down in history

The Dolphins have now lost by an average margin of 46 points through their first two games. In Week 1 the Baltimore Ravens handed Miami a 59-10 beating. The Patriots further embarrassed the Dolphins with a 43-0 shutout.

The Dolphins rank last in total offense, with 192 yards per game, and boast the league’s worst defense (512 yards per game).

It looks increasingly likely Miami will go 0-16 in 2019, which will make it the sixth NFL team to go winless since 1944. The 2017 Cleveland Browns were the last to reach the infamous feat and lost by an average of 11 points per game. The Lions were outscored by an average margin of 15.6 points in their 0-16 season.

Miami might figure out a way to lose by less as the season goes on, but with multiple players requesting trades to flee a hopeless situation, it might get worse.

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