Tom Brady notches 100th win as Dolphins take the night off

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (L) takes aim as Miami Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi (R) pursues in the first quarter during their NFL football game in Miami, Florida October 4, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

It’s rather amazing to think about how Tom Brady has evolved. He went from a nobody to an American underdog to, “Man I really hate that Tom Brady. Cut your hair, hippie.”

But whether you love him or hate him, as a football fan you have to respect what the man has accomplished over the course of his career.

Thanks to the Patriots’ 41-14 lambasting of the Dolphins on Monday night, Brady notched his 100th win to become the 11th NFL quarterback to reach the milestone. He also needed less starts to accomplish the feat than any other signal caller who has 100 wins in his career.

Dan Marino and Jim Kelly needed 157 starts to reach 100 wins. Peyton Manning needed 154, Brett Favre needed 153 and Terry Bradshaw needed 147. The only QB to come close to Brady’s mark of 130 was Joe Montana, who needed just 139 starts to reach 100 career victories.

Perhaps the best part for Brady tonight is that he didn’t even have to break a sweat to earn his 100th. With his team trailing 7-6 at halftime, Brandon Tate took the second half kickoff 103 yards to give the Pats a 13-7 lead. Then, after New England blocked a punt on Miami’s first possession of the second half, BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for a 12-yard touchdown to put the Pats up 20-7.

Adding insult to insult, the Pats then blocked a Dan Carpenter field goal attempt at the start of the fourth quarter. Kyle Arrington scooped up the loose ball and went 35 yards for the touchdown to essentially put the game away. A Patrick Chung 51-yard interception return for a touchdown capped the scoring at 41-14 and ended an embarrassing night for the Dolphins, who could do nothing right the entire night.

Despite throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns, Chad Henne was picked off three times, including twice in New England territory. And the two touchdown passes were more a testament to Davone Bess and Ricky Williams work after the catch than Henne’s throws. (The screen to Williams was an outstanding play call and well executed on all fronts.)

It’s easy to kick a team while it’s down, but how good does Miami’s two wins look now? They barely beat a horrendous Bills team 15-10 in the opener and then dropped a lifeless Vikings squad 14-10 in Week 2. The past two weeks, they struggled against divisional opponents and tonight they showed little fight after Williams’ touchdown early in the third quarter. There they were down three touchdowns and with over nine minutes left on the clock and they displayed zero sense of urgency.

Enjoy the bye next week, Miami. Because after that you play at Green Bay, home against Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati, at Baltimore and home against the Titans. We’ll certainly find out what this Dolphins team is made of over the course of the next five weeks.

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Panthers blow opportunity to get back into playoff chase

I don’t get the Carolina Panthers.

One week after playing inspired in a 28-19 win over division rival Atlanta, the Panthers laid a dud in a 24-17 loss to the Dolphins on Thursday night in Carolina.

After they beat the Falcons, some pundits started believing in the Panthers again. Hey, why not? They beat the Cardinals in Arizona in Week 8, hung with a powerhouse Saints team in New Orleans in Week 9, and beat a good Falcons team in Week 10.

But after their performance Thursday night, it’s hard to believe that John Fox’s team will play consistent enough throughout the rest of the season to make a postseason run. Jake Delhomme is too mistake-prone, the loss of Jordan Gross kills the offensive line (the Dolphins sacked Delhomme four times), and the defense can’t stop the run.

At best, this is a 7-9 Panthers team. They’ll play hard enough for Fox to stay somewhat alive in the Wild Card race, but they blew a huge opportunity this week to earn a victory at home and put pressure on the Falcons to win in New York (vs. the Giants) on Sunday.

On the other side, the Dolphins still have a pulse at 5-5. Granted, given that they play in a tough AFC they don’t have much of a pulse, but considering they’re still alive without Chad Pennington and Ronnie Brown is quite an accomplishment.

Ricky Williams really stepped up in the absence of Brown, rushing for 119 yards with two touchdowns on 22 carries. He also caught two passes for 19 yards and a touchdown, which proves he can be multi-dimensional.

My TSR cohort John Paulsen made a good point the other day in that Williams doesn’t have the same wear and tear on him as most 32-year olds, given that he was out of football for a couple years. He won’t have the opportunity to face a suspect Carolina front seven every week, but if he continues to run the way he did on Thursday night then he’ll give Miami a chance to win on most game days.

Biggest injury concern: Orton, Turner, Brown or Benson?

Last week, several teams’ playoff hopes took major hits as key players all left their respective games due to various injuries.

The Broncos (Kyle Orton), Falcons (Michael Turner), Dolphins (Ronnie Brown) and Bengals (Cedric Benson) seem to be bitten he hardest by the injury bug but which injury should concern their respective teams the most? Let’s break down all four situations.

Broncos: Without Orton, Denver stands little chance of beating the Chargers at home this Sunday and even less of a chance of winning the AFC West. Orton isn’t Peyton Manning, but he might as well be the Broncos’ version of the star Colts’ QB because Chris Simms proved last week that he isn’t capable of keeping Denver afloat if Orton misses significant time. Now maybe with more preparation Simms will be better, but chances are the Broncos’ hopes of making the playoffs will fall flat with him under center. Orton says that he will play this weekend, even though he has torn ligaments in his left ankle. He admitted last year that he shouldn’t have tried to grit out a right ankle injury when he was playing for the Bears, so there’s a chance that he’s about to make the same mistake twice. This Sunday will be a good indication of how severe Orton’s injury really is.

Falcons: After getting off to a slow start, Turner was back in 2008 form the past couple weeks and even compiled 111 yards on only nine carries against the Panthers last Sunday before suffering a high ankle sprain. Usually those types of injuries take months to heel, but the Falcons don’t seem concerned about Turner missing more than a couple of weeks. The problem is that the Falcons are in the midst of a Wild Card chase in the NFC and they need their bruising back on the field – especially as Matt Ryan continues to struggle in his second year. Atlanta has capable backups in Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood, but the latter can’t stay healthy and the former doesn’t have much experience. If Ryan can step up and prove he can lead the Falcons through the air, then Turner can rest up and be ready in time for a late-season run. If Ryan falters again like he has been, then Turner might feel the need to rush back from his injury sooner than he (or the team) intends.

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The fantasy impact of Ronnie Brown’s season-ending injury

Rotoworld shares the bad news that the Dolphins placed Ronnie Brown on IR, ending his season…

The extent of Brown’s foot injury still hasn’t been revealed, but the Dolphins wouldn’t have ended his season so early if it wasn’t significant. A Lisfranc fracture requiring surgery could jeopardize his availability for 2010 training camp. In standard leagues, Brown has been the No. 8 overall fantasy RB with eight all-purpose touchdowns, 746 total yards, and a rock-solid 4.4 YPC in nine starts. With no CBA deal on the horizon, Brown’s 2010 option will likely kick in, keeping him in Miami. He’s due $5 million in salary next season.

Obviously, this is a big blow to the Dolphins who already have RB Patrick Cobbs on IR. However, they do have a good backup in Ricky Williams who is more than capable of taking over.

From a fantasy point of view, if Williams is somehow available on your waiver wire, pick him up NOW. His matchups in the fantasy playoffs are all decent and the Miami running game is one of the best in the league. There are a few things to keep in mind: 1) He’s 32 years-old and hasn’t had a 25+ carry game since 2005, 2) he was basically out of football for two years so he doesn’t have the normal mileage of a 32 year-old RB, and 3) he has looked damn good this year, averaging a career-high 5.3 ypc.

The Dolphins plan to use Williams as their workhorse back. Lex Hilliard is listed next on the Miami depth chart, so he might be a guy to stash if you have room on your roster. Hilliard is a power back that hasn’t yet carried the ball in his two year career. However, he amassed 3,428 yards and 45 TD in three seasons at Montana. He averaged 107 yards and 1.2 TD in 23 games over his last two years in college. Given his age, Williams is susceptible to injury, and if he were to go down, Hilliard would likely be the lead back in a potent rushing attack.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Ronnie Brown done for the year? reports that Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown could miss the remainder of the season after suffering a foot injury in Miami’s win over the Buccaneers last Sunday.

The Dolphins have not publicly acknowledged that the team fears Brown will miss the remainder of the season.

Per a league source, the current thinking is that Brown will not be able to play again this year. Of course, this could change based upon the advice of the specialist that Brown eventually sees and the success of rehab efforts.

The challenge for the Dolphins will be to decide whether to carry Brown on the roster in the hopes he can return, or to send him to injured reserve and create a roster spot. is hit and miss with its reporting, so take this news with a grain of salt. The site rarely (if ever) reveals its sources, so so nobody knows if its writers are talking to general managers or their imaginary friends.

Still, it’s not unrealistic to think that Brown is out for the year given how concerned the Dolphins were about his injury following Sunday’s win. If he is done, it would be a devastating blow to a team that was already facing an uphill battle to make the playoffs with him in the lineup.

Ricky Williams would shoulder the main running back duties for Miami in Brown’s absence. Williams has been solid this season, but how much of that is because he splits time with Brown? There’s a likely chance that Williams will start to wear down if the Dolphins can’t find a decent replacement for Brown.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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