Two of the NFL teams in the state of Florida will do battle in opposite parts of the continent. This as, the Dolphins will first host AFC East rival, the New York Jets. Then, later in the afternoon the Buccaneers will take on the Seahawks out in Seattle.
First, Miami comes off a short week and a Monday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that game they led 14 – nothing in the first quarter only to have Pittsburgh dominate the last 45 minutes of the game at 27 – 14.
The 0-7 Dolphins will continue to stick with veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (above), who has played decently in their most recent losses.
As for the Jets, after putting together a great performance three weeks ago against the Cowboys, they were humiliated on Monday Night Football in a 33-0 shutout loss to New England. Then, last Sunday they were handled most of the contest in North Florida by the Jaguars.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau this is the first time in NFL history the two of its teams are playing each other with already a -100 or worst point differential, yet having played fewer than eight games each on the season.
That’s translated into: these are two bad teams, and somebody will get a desperate win.
Meanwhile for Tampa Bay, they’ve traveled all the way to the Pacific Northwest to meet one of the top teams year in and year out in the NFC, the Seahawks. The Buccaneers have lost three games in a row, including last Sunday’s 27 – 23 defeat at Tennessee.
In that game quarterback Jameis Winston had two more interceptions and two more fumbles bringing his total to 10 turnovers in their last two contests. Winston has more combined turnovers than any quarterback in the NFL, since the beginning of the 2015 season. Worse for him, he’s going against an opportunistic Seahawks defense that will play at home with a very loud crowd.
Seattle is riding high at 6 – 2 off a win last week over the Atlanta Falcons. Led by quarterback Russell Wilson, Seattle is a perennial playoff team, however, they have shown vulnerability at home having lost two games there already this season.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s season could be hanging in the balance, as they already trail the New Orleans Saints already by 5 games in the NFC South race. A loss Sunday would be four straight and a 2 – 6 record. And that would put them way behind in the NFC wildcard race with 10 games to go.
Dolphins were back to their bumbling ways Sunday
As the Dolphins came back down to earth in a humbling 37 – 20 loss to Buffalo Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, many of the same flaws from their 0- 7 start were back.
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick ended with good numbers and did not throw an interception, Miami lacked offensive punch from the outset.
Miami punted the ball on each of their first four possessions and by the time they had reached the middle of the second quarter, it was already 16 – 0 in favor of the Bills.
The Dolphins could not run the ball as Kalen Ballage had nine carries for only nine yards against what’s a good but not great Buffalo defense. Newly extended receiver Allen Hurns promptly fumbled after a first half reception.
It looked all too familiar to the home fans.
The pass protection was poor as Fitzpatrick suffered seven sacks in the game, and Miami was completely one-dimensional by the time the second half rolled around. Fitzpatrick was efficient in the air at 32 – 45 for 323 yards, but a lot of those yards came when the Dolphins trailed by more than two scores the whole second half.
As for the Bills, they ran the ball just fine with 168 yards on the ground and a 5 yard per carry average. Rookie Devin Singletary of FAU came back to the area and tallied 75 yards. And second year QB Josh Allen showed one of the traits that got him drafted in the top 15, as he scrambled seven times for 56 yards, including a second-half touchdown.
Yes, The Bills are putting themselves in position to be back in the playoffs for the second time in three years, as they completed the season sweep over the Fins.
It’s the kind of improvement under coach Sean McDermott that Miami eventually wants to see with coach Brian Flores. But, days after Flores was doing his best Bill Belichick “we’re on to Buffalo” with media questions, Miami was “on to another loss.”
And, as the Dolphins sank to 2 – 8, their reality is they aren’t talented enough or coached well enough, across-the-board to play good football game in and game out.
Buffalo reminded them of that Sunday.
Dolphins give veteran WR Hurns new deal
In a season that began horribly at 0- 7, the Dolphins have begun to come around and now, put some pieces into place for the future. That includes re-upping a veteran wide receiver on Saturday.
The team announced a new two-year extension for wideout Allen Hurns Saturday. And while it’s only a modest contract, it is a signal but the team is trying to build with at least some veteran players in the future..
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport had the contract details on Hurns is getting a new $8 million dollar extension through 2021:
The #Dolphins signed WR Allen Hurns to a 2-year extension worth $8M, source said. He gets $3.27M guaranteed.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2019
This is a raise over his 1-year 2.5 million contract he signed with Miami on the eve of training camp.
Hurns entered the league undrafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. His best season in North Florida was 2015, where he caught for just over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. After getting a four year extension from the Jags, they cut him loose to free up cap space after the 2017 season.
Hurns then signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys worth $12 million. However, after he played all 16 games in the regular season with 20 catches and 2 TDs, he suffered a horrific broken ankle in the Cowboys playoff win over Seattle, and was placed on injured reserve.
Dallas eventually released Hurns earlier this year and that’s when Dolphins GM Chris Grier swooped in bring a veteran presence to their locker room on a one year deal.
Hurns, who just turned 28 earlier this week, has played in nine games this season with three starts, including the last two. He doesn’t have more than three catches in any of them and only one touchdown, which came in the Monday night loss to the Steelers three weeks ago. Hurns also suffered a severe concussion against his team, Dallas, in week three.
It is obvious that Miami went on a veteran purge for most of their roster in the offseason and the beginning of this year. And, that included getting rid of veteran speedster Kenny Stills in a huge trade with team-mate Laremy Tunsil to the Texans on the eve of the season.
That brought the Dolphins to number one picks in return. Miami also released veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola in a salary cap move earlier this year.
Miami wants to count on former number one pick DeVante Parker. And, they were also very high on undrafted free agent Preston Williams before he suffered an ACL injury in the win over the Jets two weeks ago.
Finally, as has been the case with Hurns’ last couple of deals, the contract only reportedly has $3.2 million guaranteed and is therefore team friendly to get rid of him, if they choose to do so at any point next season.
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