Within one week of good play, the Miami Dolphins experienced a feel-good win against a team coming off a four game
winning streak while also jeopardizing their chance at landing Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
Coming on the heels of an impressive 23-20 overtime victory at home against the talented but underachieving San Diego Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs wrote the Dolphins off about four quarters too early.
The Dolphins went on to rattle off four touchdowns and a field goal, notching their first win of the season.
All of this was done by a team composed primarily of players castoff and rejected from other teams. Matt Moore submitted the most impressive week nine performance among quarterbacks and, posting a 147.5 passer rating, had started the year serving as Chad Henne’s backup.
Running back Reggie Bush, who is new to the Miami organization after the Saints decided he was replaceable, totaled 142 yards on 16 touches with a rushing score.
And then there’s Brandon Marshall, who is generally thought of as the best wide receiver after the catch. He’s a physical freak and one of the more talented receivers in the game. Subject to a tantrum or two, Marshall drove himself out of the Broncos organization prior to last season after he and then-coach Josh McDaniels failed to develop a good relationship. Marshall reeled in eight of the 11 passes thrown in his direction, finishing with his best statistical game of the season.
For the first time all season this rag-tag group of players played soundly as a unit, but it would be foolish to expect anything close to the week nine level of production for the rest of the season.
The most significant consequence of this surprise win might prove to come during the 2012 draft. Already out of playoff contention, the future of the Miami Dolphins lies outside of this season.
The art of tanking is tricky to carry out, as neither the fans nor the players want to lose for the possibility at winning in the future. And yet, the “Suck for Luck” campaign is one of the more steady themes of the 2011.
Luck of course refers to Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who is considered one of the best NFL prospects at the quarterback position of all time.
He’s become such a sensation that fans deprived of winning football teams have actually accepted tanking this season in hopes of landing the first pick in the draft, Andrew Luck.
Miami’s week nine win means that the winless Indianapolis Colts are in sole possession of “first” place for the rights to draft Luck. The problem for the Colts is that they already have a Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning ready to go for next season.
If the Colts do in fact end up receiving the number one overall pick they can do one of three options. They can draft Luck and keep Manning, draft Luck and trade Manning, or draft Luck and trade him (it doesn’t make sense to draft anyone else besides Andrew Luck because they’ll be able to get such a hefty return in a trade if they decide to stick with Manning).
For the Colts, it’s one of the better problems to have. The problem with Manning is that he’s 36 years old and will miss the entire 2011 season with a neck injury. If everything works out Manning could have three productive seasons left, but then again a neck injury isn’t something to disregard. Even if Manning proves to be healthy the entire defense needs to be fixed, and, given the current state of the defense, that’s something that may take longer than three years.
Luck is a once in a generation talent, something that no team can afford to pass up. All three of the possible productive Manning years would come with Luck on his rookie contract, so the Colts could afford to roster both. Three healthy years of Manning and seven of Andrew Luck — if he justifies the hype — would result in annual contention for the next decade.
Of course, it all hinges on Miami’s ability to lose.
McAndrew is a member of the class of 2015.