NFL Fallout: Brees is back, Dolphins still winless, Dallas trades
The National Football League has reached its halfway mark and the playoff race is fierce as Eurosport rolls into Week 9 with a few news and notes to get you caught up …
Not only did Drew Brees make a triumphant return in front of a capacity crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, but the NFL’s all-time leading passer also became the first quarterback in league history to surpass 75,000 yards.
The 31-9 victory over the Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1) marks the Saints (7-1) sixth straight win since losing to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2, the same game Brees was forced out due to a thumb injury on his right throwing hand.
Since then, Teddy Bridgewater, who is the NFL’s highest paid backup with a one-year, $7.25 million fully-guaranteed contract, has most certainly earned his keep by guiding the team to a perfect 5-0 record with Brees recovering on the sideline.
Despite the 26-year-old Bridgewater’s success, Brees proved he is at a completely different level. Although his surgically-repaired thumb won’t be fully healed for at least three months, Brees shredded the Cardinals defense.
The seemingly ageless 40-year-old from Purdue completed 34 of 43 passes for 373 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, and led the Saints to 510 yards of total offense, the first time the team has cracked the 500-yard mark since the opening game in which Brees was also under center.
“This was kind of the week that I had in my mind from the moment that I got hurt,” Brees said. “I think the doctors and everybody were saying after the bye week, but I was trying to fast track that as much as possible.”
As Brees mentioned, the Saints have a bye this week and will face NFC South rival Atlanta (1-7) on Sunday, Nov. 10.
Woeful Dolphins underdog against one-win Jets
The end of the 2019/2020 season can’t come soon enough for the winless Miami Dolphins (0-7), who lost on the road to the once mighty Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4) on Monday night.
The loss simply adds to what seems to be a lifetime of misery as the Dolphins have lost 10 straight dating back to last season, and 16 of 20 overall. In fact, the last win came at home against of all teams, the eventual Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots more than 300 days ago.
However, with the equally atrocious New York Jets (1-6) coming to South Florida on Sunday, a game against the “Gang Green” might just be what Miami needs to put a ‘W’ on the board and snap out of the funk.
The Dolphins are only five-point underdogs against the Jets, coached by former Miami coach Adam Gase, who left for New York after spending the three previous seasons with “The Phins.”
Given both Miami and New York’s recent records, one has to wonder just how Gase got another head coaching opportunity in the NFL, let alone two.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick remains hopeful.
"“This whole thing is just a progression,” Fitzpatrick told the Miami Herald. “We’ll continue to go for it.”"
According to Gase’s replacement, one critical factor for the Dolphins to overcome is the turnover bug. Miami is minus-14 in turnover differential — worst in the NFL — including minus-3 to the Steelers (4-1) in Week 8.
“It’s hard to overcome losing the turnover battle in this league,” longtime Patriots assistant and current Dolphins head coach Brian Flores told the Miami Herald. “We’re no different.”
Cowboys wheelin’ and dealin’ to save season
Already considered prior to the season as the “best team money can buy,” Jerry Jones seems keen to keep the check book open just little bit longer and the Dallas Cowboys (4-3) are desperately trying to salvage a Super Bowl run before Tuesday’s (Oct. 29) trade deadline.
After starting the season a perfect 3-0, a Brees-less Saints squad exposed the Cowboys in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 12-0. Since the Week 4 loss to New Orleans, Dallas has gone 1-3, including an embarrassing loss to the Jets — New York’s only win of the season to date.
First on the docket, was former Philadelphia Eagles pass rusher Michael Bennett. The Cowboys acquired 33-year-old veteran defensive end from the New England Patriots.
Bennett has spent 11 seasons in the NFL split between five teams now, but the journeyman has amassed 65.5 sacks along the way, as well as three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks back in 2013.
Bennett only spent one season with the Eagles (2018) before signing with the Patriots.
Bennett had previously been suspended a game for detrimental conduct and had amassed 5 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1 pass defended in six games with the Patriots.
“His resume speaks for itself,” said Dallas defensive end Robert Quinn.
“He plays with edge, tenacity, full confidence in himself,” added Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith. “He’s never out there doubting. You need that.”
The Cowboys are no stranger to making potentially impactful trades mid-season after acquiring wide receiver Armani Cooper from the Oakland Raiders. Cooper was a catalyst in the Cowboys reversing fortune (3-5) and going on a 7-1 to close out the regular season and the NFC East division.
Dallas also had sincere interest in Jets strong safety Jamal Adams. But according to DallasCowboys.com, the Jets’ asking price was too steep for the already overstretched Cowboys, who traded away their 2019 first-round pick for Cooper.
According to team reports, the Cowboys have coveting a “marquee safety” for two years, and were also in talks with the Seahawks about landing Earl Thomas, who signed with the Baltimore Ravens last spring in free agency.
Week 8 of 17, final scores:
- Washington Redskins (1-7) 9, Minnesota Vikings (6-2) 19
- Seattle Seahawks (6-2) 27, Atlanta Falcons (1-7) 20
- San Diego Chargers (3-5) 17, Chicago Bears (3-4) 16
- New York Giants (2-6) 26, Detroit Lions (3-3) 31
- New York Jets (1-6) 15, Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) 29
- Cincinnati Bengals (0-8), Los Angeles Rams (5-3) 24
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) 23, Tennessee Titans (4-4) 27
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) 31, Buffalo Bills (5-2) 13
- Denver Broncos (2-6) 13, Indianapolis Colts (5-2) 15
- Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1) 9, New Orleans Saints (7-1) 31
- Carolina Panthers (4-3) 13, San Francisco 49ers (7-0) 51
- Oakland Raiders (3-4) 24, Houston Texans 27
- Cleveland Browns (2-5) 13, New England Patriots (8-0) 27
- Green Bay Packers (7-1) 31, Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) 24
- Miami Dolphins (0-7) 14, Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4) 27