G4: Oakland 35, Dolphins 17. Preening, redeemed Culpepper has hand in all 5 TDs as Miami's season crumbles
What I've been writing and saying for months you saw for real today: Cam Cameron picked the wrong quarterback. Daunte Culpepper is younger and better than Trent Green and his knee is fine and the exclamation on all of that was today's 35-17 Oakland rout that put Miami at an embarrassing 0-4.
If only the QB situation were Miami's only problem. The run-defense is abysmal, a further embarrassment.
What a mess this once-proud franchise has become. Miami may be the worst team in the NFL today (despite Ronnie Brown's upsurge). I'd have said it was Buffalo, but the Bills just beat a Jets team that just beat Miami.
It may be time now to say to hell with it and hand the football and the season to rookie QB John Beck because, well ... can it get any worse?
Daunte Culpepper could not have dreamed this afternoon any better for himself. Another TD run makes it 35-17, Oakland, in the final minute. He has had a vital hand in all five TDs. Another awful loss for Miami, now 0-4. Embarrassing.
Culpepper is almost singlehandedly beating the team he came here today to show up. His latest TD pass made it a 28-17 Raiders lead, mid-fourth quarter. Then he shot an index finger into the air. Culpepper has had a hand in all four Oakland TDs. And, once again: MCSTBR. Miami Can't Stop The Bleepin' Run.
Trent Green short TD flip to Justin Peele draws Miami with 21-17 in closing seconds of third quarter, the series set up by an Oakland fumble. We got us a game here, folks! Miami's desperation to finally win and Daunte Culpepper's maniacal drive to beat the team that dumped him have combined for some real drama. Good stuff.
Culpepper scores from five out, racing wide of the Dolphin defense and diving inside the pylon -- then rising to triumphantly and repeatedly point to his right knee as if remind Miami it's OK. Culpepper making no effort to hide the fact he really weants to stick it to Cam Cameron and this team. Oakland, 21-10 now, and the ex-Dolphin Daunte with a hand in all three TDs. Defense beaten for a 48-yard run to set up the score.
Good drive fizzles, Dolphins settle for short field goal to draw within 14-10, mid-third. Troubling: Miami continuing with a propensity to waste timeouts early. Two burned already in the second half, meaning only one left in what figures to be a close game late.
Miami down 14-7 at the half, content to let the final 23 seconds expire while holding two timeouts. Hey, Cam. You're 0-3. Why not utilize the TOs and take a few shots down field?
Green's second interception wastes a promising Dolphin drive highlighted by Ronnie Brown's 60-yard run. Another big day for the leaner 'n meaner Brown so far. But an awful pick by Green, lofting up a prayer off his back foot. Dumb. Dolphins gambled successfully on another 4th down. I wonder, though. Trailing 14-7, with 4th-and-2 from the Raider 26, is it smart to not take the makeable 43-yard FG and three almost-sure points?
They're alive! Cameron's 4th-and-4 gamble pays big, on a 37-yard pass setting up an impressive 10-yard TD run by Brown. Fins within 14-7, early second.
Culpepper sneaks in from one yard to put Oakland up, 14-0, late in first. Daunte outplaying Green so far, and Miami looking like it's skidding to 0-4. OY!
Oakland parlays an early Green interception into a short Culpepper touchdown strike and it's Raiders up 7-0. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Brett Favre's 421st career TD pass has topped Dan Marino's record. Not a good day so far for Dolphin QBs.
As for that lightning delay, what is this, baseball? Play ball!
Even with a Dolphin win, we're probably not thinking playoffs. With a loss, though, maybe we should start thinking about a top-three draft pick. This is one of those very winnable games that will help determine whether the Dolphins could be around a respectable .500 this season or maybe be headed to one of those 3-13'ish years.
Daunte Culpepper vs. Trent Green adding obvious spice today.
Comments on the matchup and the Daunte Factor welcome before and during the game -- and afterward on the result and where it leaves the Dolphin season at the one-quarter mark.
I'll have instant blog updates throughout the game, posted within seconds of score changes and significant plays.