Wild card weekend produced a few very interesting story lines heading into the divisional round and Mike Florio breaks down the biggest NFL playoff news. Florio says a hurt Robert Griffin III is worse than a fully healthy Kirk Cousins and believes the redskins should have pulled their rookie QB earlier. Florio also mentions the chaos surrounding the playoff picture and if Russell Wilson is the best rookie QB this year.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Should RGIII have been pulled?
In Maxwell’s place, the Dolphins started second-year cornerback Tony Lippett instead.
According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Maxwell said he was told early in the week that he would not be starting against the Bengals. He ultimately didn’t end up playing a snap – on defense or special teams – joining Matt Moore and Dallas Thomas as the only Dolphins not to play.
So what was his reaction to the decision?
“It doesn’t matter,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell said it didn’t matter if he was angry about the decision or not either.
Lippett unsurprisingly struggled against one of the premier wide receivers in the league in A.J. Green.
Green caught 10 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins as Lippett was frequently the target of Cincinnati’s attack.
Miami acquired Maxwell via a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason and he started the first three games for the team before being sat against the Bengals.
The Miami Dolphins gained 81 yards and scored a touchdown on their first two offensive plays of the night against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Their offense then went into hibernation the remainder of the night. They gained just 141 yards the rest of the night, averaging just 3.4 yards per play on their final 41 plays of the game. Ryan Tannehill passed for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and had a lost fumble as well as the Dolphins lost 22-7 to the Bengals.
“One of the worst performances I’ve seen from our offense in a long time,” Tannehill said.
Through four games, the Dolphins are averaging just 17.8 points per game offensively and have a minus-5 turnover ratio. They rank 27th in points per game and 23rd in total offense.
“We have to get it fixed soon and by soon, I mean Monday,” Tannehill said. “It’s gone on too long. There’s no more excuses, no more waiting, it’s got to be important to everyone who steps on that field and we have to get it fixed right now.”
Tannehill is in his fifth season with the Dolphins. And yet, the same type of mistakes and errors show up way too frequently. As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes, Trevor Siemian of the Denver Broncos passed for 312 yards and four touchdowns against the Bengals just four days ago in his third career start. And Tannehill, in his fifth season, is still remarkably inconsistent.
The play of Miami’s offensive line certainly didn’t help Thursday night in Cincinnati either. Regardless, the Dolphins have to be much better offensively and have to figure out some way to improve to remain competitive this year.
Running back C.J. Spiller could have taken the balance of his fully-guaranteed $1.7 million salary from the Saints and waited for an inevitable injury to strike at the tailback position for a contending team in, say, late December or early January.
Spilled opted not to delay his return to the NFL, choosing to sign with the Seahawks, who have a short-term need while Thomas Rawls recovers from a leg injury.
Unless the Seahawks are paying Spiller more than $100,000 per week (and if they were, it surely would have been leaked by now), he’s essentially working for free. More importantly, he’s putting himself at risk of injury for no additional compensation.
That’s his right, but it still doesn’t mean it makes much sense. When Rawls heals, Spiller will have a hard time getting on the field — and he won’t be available if someone else with a contending team gets injured. (Unless he gets cut.) Until then, Spiller risks the kind of injury that would make him less attractive to other teams in 2017.
For now, Spiller is getting up to speed in Seattle, where everything is new. It’s so new that he doesn’t know what his role will be.
“I just got here so we haven’t really got into that I’m still swimming I guess you can say,” Spiller told reporters on Thursday. “I’m still trying to get things learned. Places learned, the meeting rooms and all that stuff. So we really haven’t gotten in depth considering I just got here on short notice.”
Seattle may indeed be the right fit for Spiller, and it could work out perfectly for him. At a time, however, when there’s a push to get players to treat football like the business that it is, it wasn’t the best business decision for Spiller to return so quickly, for no more money than he already was going to make from the Saints.
Speaking of the Saints, they’re surely happy about this development. They’ll get a dollar-for-dollar credit for Spiller’s salary in Seattle. From the Saints’ perspective, then, it was a perfect business decision.
The Dolphins scored on their second offensive play Thursday night.
For the rest of the night, the Dolphins got steamrolled.
With wide receiver A.J. Green and the defensive line leading the way, the Bengals overwhelmed the Dolphins and went on to win, 22-7. Mike Nugent kicked five field goals, and the Bengals defense made it so the offense didn’t have to lament settling for those field goals.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills with 9:04 left in the first quarter, and the Dolphins didn’t score again. The Dolphins’ makeshift offensive line was no match for the Bengals defensive front.
It was not one that will go on the Thursday Night Football highlight reel, nor the Dolphins’ highlight reel. Tannehill was 15-of-25 for 189 yards and was sacked five times, twice by Carlos Dunlap. In the fourth quarter Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins basically threw Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod back into Tannehill for a sack, and that summed up the night.
Eight of the Dolphins’ first nine possessions were four plays or fewer. The Bengals had the ball for 21:36 in the first half and 38:02 for the game.
The Bengals had 362 total yards. The Dolphins had 222.
Green had 10 catches for 173 yards and the game’s only touchdown. He was over 100 yards in the first half. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was 22-of-31 for 296 yards.
The Bengals are 2-2 and are at the Cowboys on Oct. 9. The Dolphins are 1-3 and next host the Titans.
The Texans officially placed Watt on injured reserve Wednesday.
Watt missed all of training camp and the preseason after having surgery to repair a herniated disc in July.
The Texans are 2-1 and host the Titans Sunday.
Everything has been a struggle for the Dolphins except third down defense.
The Bengals think they should have more touchdowns than the one they have, but their defense has made it so they’re comfortably in charge. Andy Dalton keeps feeding Green, who had eight catches for 123 yards in the first half and had another big catch on the Bengals’ first field goal drive of the second half.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was just 3-of-9 for 83 yards in the first half despite getting 74 on his second throw, a touchdown to Kenny Stills. The Dolphins have moved the ball in the third quarter but the Bengals defense tightened and sacked Tannehill out of field goal range to end the Dolphins’ first drive.
Midway through the third quarter, Carlos Dunlap has two of the Bengals’ three sacks.
The Dolphins have no answer for Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
Thanks to some stalled Bengals drives and timely defense, the Dolphins are still in the game. They trail at halftime, 16-7.
Green has eight catches for 123 yards. He had five for 80 yards and a touchdown on his first five targets. The Dolphins can’t stop Green but have slowed the Bengals’ run game and forced Andy Dalton to go away from Green on some third downs.
Besides a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills on their second play and third-down defense, not much has gone right. The Bengals had the ball for nearly 22 minutes in the first half and own a huge edge (239-122) in total yardage as well.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was just 3-of-9 for 83 yards despite getting 74 on his second throw.
There are times that Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green just makes it look easy.
On the second drive Thursday night, for example.
Tightly covered along the sideline by Dolphins rookie Xavien Howard, Green just outjumped him and came down inbounds on a 51-yard gain. Two plays later Green caught a 19-yard pass from Andy Dalton, then two plays after that he caught a short pass, gave Tony Lippett a stiffarm and turned it into a 7-yard touchdown.
That score gave the Bengals a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter. Through 12 minutes, Green has five catches on five targets for 80 yards.
The Bengals were blitzing, and it appeared Stills broke off his designed route to go deep.
The touchdown came on the Dolphins’ second play from scrimmage and marked the first time in their last eight road games that the Dolphins have scored a first quarter touchdown.
The Bengals got the ball first and put together a methodical drive that stalled out in Miami territory. Mike Nugent kicked a 42-yard field goal to open the scoring.
The Bengals announced that running back and special teams player Rex Burkhead suffered a hamstring injury on the opening kickoff. His return is doubtful.
The NFL made it official Thursday, announcing that six-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga will headline this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
The news had been previously reported by Sports Business Daily. Super Bowl LI is in Houston on Feb. 5.
A formal announcement that includes an interview with Lady Gaga will air this Sunday, Oct. 2, on FOX’s NFL Sunday pregame show.
Lady Gaga sang the national anthem before last year’s Super Bowl.
Not long after announcing via a team press release that he’d be entering a treatment facility, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon tweeted that he’s been “under some pressure and stress recently [and] had to take a time out for myself. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you.”
Gordon also thanked the NFL and the Browns. In a separate tweet Gordon wrote, “see you soon.”
The announcement that his return, which could have happened next week, is on hold came late Thursday afternoon. On his Thursday evening radio show, Browns coach Hue Jackson said the Browns “support Gordon 100 percent.”
Jackson said “it’s unfortunate” that the Browns won’t be getting Gordon back in their lineup but said “Josh needs to do what’s best for Josh.”
As part of his conditional reinstatement, Gordon had been at the Browns facility and had been allowed to participate in team meetings while sitting out the first four games of the 2016 season.
Left tackle Branden Albert is one of four Dolphins offensive starters inactive for Thursday night’s game at Cincinnati.
Albert had been listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Also out are tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion), center Mike Pouncey (hip) and running back Arian Foster (hamstring). Pouncey has yet to play this season, and Foster also missed last week’s game.
The Dolphins also announced Damien Williams as the starter at running back. Rookie Laremy Tunsil will move out from guard to start in place of Albert, and Billy Turner will start at Tunsil’s usual spot of left guard.
Dolphins Coach Adam Gase had hinted at changes to the lineup even before injuries forced at least a few of them. As previously reported, Tony Lippett is replacing Byron Maxwell in the starting lineup at cornerback.
As expected, Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard will start in place of the injured Dre Kirkpatrick. The Bengals also have decided to keep tight end Tyler Eifert out at least another week. They had listed Eifert and Kirkpatrick as doubtful.
Friday’s PFT Live features a question of the day that focuses on the weekend to come. Specifically, which game is the biggest game of the fourth week of the season?
Pick from one of the five selections below, defend your selection in the comments, attack the selections of others, or complain about the decision to omit a contest like Lions-Bears.
You can also correct preemptively everyone who will improperly refer to this weekend as the “quarter pole” of the season.
Guests include Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, and perhaps someone from the team that wins on Thursday night, when the Dolphins face the Bengals.
The Dolphins, by the way, are 15-3 against Cincinnati since the merger, a fact that is not relevant to Thursday’s game but nevertheless extremely interesting — especially since PFT Live producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera strongly believes it isn’t.
A great Sunday in Cincinnati for the Broncos was followed by a bizarre Monday morning.
Via KUSA in Denver, a man was arrested on Monday for entering the team’s facility, making strange accusations, and issuing a vague threat to a security officer and G.M. John Elway.
36-year-old Cordell Robinson entered through an unlocked door in the team’s media room at 7:10 a.m. local time, walked to the lobby, and began taking photographs of the trophies. Asked to leave, Robinson allegedly claimed that the Broncos owe him money, and that he owns 20 percent of the franchise.
Asked to leave again, Robinson said to the security officer that Robinson would “get him and Elway.”
Robinson faces charges of second-degree criminal trespass.
Maxwell, acquired in a trade with the Eagles last March, has started the first three games. He’s broken up four passes and forced a fumble, but the Dolphins have struggled and the defense has given up too many big plays in the passing game.
The Eagles traded Maxwell a year after signing him to a six-year, $63 million contract.
Lippett is a second-year player who played in nine games as a rookie and has played in all three this season as a backup.