Winning the NFC East in 2020 is unlikely to take pride of place on many CVs.

The Washington Football Team came through the worst division in football with a 7-9 record before falling at the first hurdle in the playoffs, battling hard before being beaten by eventual Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But as well as scraping together the most wins, a strange season provided Washington with greater cause for optimism than their divisional rivals.

Ron Rivera's team were particularly strong on defense, as a lack of top-level production at the quarterback position prevented them from being anything more than the best of a bad bunch.

That is evidenced by Stats Perform data, but Washington's offseason moves to date suggest they should get better in 2021.

Offense

Washington had three different starters at quarterback last year, rarely the sign of an effective offensive unit.

And none of Dwayne Haskins (six starts), Alex Smith (six) or Kyle Allen (four) are set to line up under center in the coming campaign following the recruitment of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The new QB ended 2020 as a backup on a non-playoff team in Miami but still undoubtedly offers an upgrade, having played some of the best football of his career in recent seasons.

 

Washington ranked 25th for net passing yards per game (216.6), albeit that still had them second in the division in that regard.

Haskins, a first-round pick in 2019, was released in December after he was pictured partying without a mask at a strip club following a defeat to the Seattle Seahawks and then completed just 50.0 per cent of 28 passes, with no touchdowns and two interceptions, against the Carolina Panthers, earning a wretched passer rating of 36.9.

Among qualifying QBs - 224 attempts for the season - only Nick Foles (5.94) trailed Haskins in yards per attempt (5.97), while his passer rating of 73.0 was third-worst behind Sam Darnold (72.7) and Carson Wentz (72.8).

Haskins was only playing against Seattle and Carolina because Smith, back from his awful, life-threatening leg injury, was out again. Smith won his final five starts of 2020 but finished the year close behind Haskins, with a seventh-worst 6.28 yards per attempt and fifth-worst 78.5 passer rating, and has since been cut.

For Fitzpatrick, this is a low bar to clear.

But the former Dolphins QB should also have the benefit of greater talent on the end of his passes, with wide receiver Teddy McLaurin carrying the load for Washington in 2020 with 87 catches on 134 targets for 1,118 yards and four touchdowns.

McLaurin ranked 14th in the league for receiving yards per game (74.5), with Logan Thomas the team's next best performer in 64th (41.9).

On the ground, Antonio Gibson found more help, effectively protected by his offensive line as he rushed for 170 carries, 795 yards and 11 TDs.

But Washington's total offense put up just 317.3 yards per game and 4.83 per play, ranking 30th and 31st. Improvement should come easy but is desperately required.

Defense

If those offensive yardage numbers effectively sum up Washington's woes on that side of the ball, the figures going the other way do a similar job.

Washington allowed a meagre 304.6 yards per game and 4.85 per play, totals only undercut by the Los Angeles Rams' outstanding defensive unit. Opponents scored just 329 points, the fourth-fewest in the NFL.

Blessed with the star performers that were absent elsewhere in the team, the defense made light work of the other similarly poor NFC East offenses.

Washington have found incredible value up front, where defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young and defensive tackles Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen are all still on their rookie contracts.

Sweat led the team in sacks (9.5 for 83.0 yards), QB hits (20) and tackles for loss (12) and scored a defensive TD on his only pick, while Young was not far behind (7.5 sacks, 12 QB hits, 10 TFL, four forced fumbles and three recovered). Payne had 3.0 sacks, eight QB hits and seven TFL, as Allen had 2.0, 14 and three.

Sweat, Young and Payne also combined to stuff 16.0 runs, contributing to Washington's impressive record in forcing stoppages. Only Pittsburgh's defense (25.0) allowed a lower percentage of conversions on fourth down (37.5).

These players will have to be paid eventually if a talented quartet of the future is to stay together, but these are not worries for this year.

The big defensive offseason questions instead lay elsewhere, notably how would Washington replace cornerback Ronald Darby's production with 16 passes defensed? The signing of William Jackson III has already answered that query.

Offseason

Jackson's three-year, $40.5million signing has been Washington's biggest outlay in free agency, his 11 passes defensed ensuring they should again have a top performer at corner.

The team clearly recognised they could not afford to weaken the strongest area of their roster.

Another safety could yet be of use, although Kamren Curl (63 tackles, three interceptions and a defensive TD) and Landon Collins, recovering from a torn Achilles, are both on the books.

On the offense, Fitzpatrick's one-year, $10m deal showed exactly how Washington see his signing. The 39-year-old is neither a long-term solution nor a game-changer but should instead do enough to keep his new team at the top of the division.

To help the veteran - and McLaurin - the team made a big pick-up at receiver in the form of Curtis Samuel, a second-round draft pick during Rivera's time with the Panthers.

He arrives for three years and $34.5m, having posted a career-high 1,051 yards (851 receiving, 200 rushing) in 2020, along with five TDs.

But Washington still have not quite gone all in - not that they need to.

Even if they do not look a genuine contender at this stage, the team's defense will keep them in most games.

With $20.9m of cap space remaining and their first-round pick at 19, Washington are instead well positioned to seize on any unexpected opportunities that come their way.

It might only take a crazy trade from a team in turmoil or a lucky bounce in a big game to bring the NFC East champions to the fore.

Miami Dolphins veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick said the franchise believe in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as he predicted an improved 2021 season amid doubts over his future.

Tagovailoa – selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft – experienced a challenging rookie season in the NFL, headlined by a costly letdown in the regular-season finale.

The 22-year-old completed 35 of 58 passes for 361 yards, an average of 6.2 yards per attempt, for a touchdown and three interceptions as Miami's playoff hopes were dashed by the Buffalo Bills.

That performance came after Tagovailoa was benched for Fitzpatrick the week prior against the Las Vegas Raiders.

There have been reports claiming the Dolphins could part with Tagovailoa in a bid to acquire disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

But Fitzpatrick anticipates a much improved Tagovailoa in his second season with the Dolphins in Miami.

"Everything is going to be a little more comfortable this year," Fitzpatrick told ESPN on Thursday. "Playing in the league is going to be a little more familiar, your routine through the week and on road games.

"He's no longer trying to figure out where the grocery store is, where he's going to live or what car he's going to drive. All that stuff is figured out. He can solely focus on being an NFL QB.

"To have an offseason, to have repetitions, to have some sense of continuity with [co-offensive coordinators] George Godsey and Eric Studesville in his ear calling the plays and working with him.

"All that stuff points to him having a much better season this year and continuing to progress as a quarterback. That's the most important thing for him -- progression.

"They drafted him in the top five for a reason, with his skill set and what he can do. There are very few people on this planet who can do that. For them to be fully bought in and believe in him, he's going to do the same thing.

"He's going to buy into what they're coaching and I think good results are going to come from it."

In 10 appearances in the 2020 season, Tagovailoa had 186 completions for 1,814 yards at 64.14 per cent, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Ryan Fitzpatrick's match-winning display for the Miami Dolphins against the Las Vegas Raiders showed why he is nicknamed 'FitzMagic', according to starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa was benched in the fourth quarter on Saturday and his replacement Fitzpatrick produced a phenomenal final drive, finding Mack Hollins with a 34-yard Hail Mary down the left sideline despite Raiders defensive lineman Arden Key grabbing his face mask.

Key's infringement added a 15-yard penalty to the play, enabling the Dolphins to secure a dramatic 26-25 win with a 44-yard field goal from Jason Sanders, boosting their hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Miami trailed 16-13 when Fitzpatrick entered the game and his 59-yard touchdown pass to Myles Gaskin helped to create an incredible final four minutes at Allegiant Stadium.

Tagovailoa said: "It always feels good to win. I know outsiders are probably gonna say, 'Well, it wasn't you in there that brought he win'. Of course, it was Fitz.

"I think it was a great effort by not just him but the entire offense. Just him understanding how to get in the groove and where to go quickly with the ball … that's what makes Fitz who he is.

"In a way it wasn't really that shocking in a way what happened. They call him FitzMagic for a reason."

There was a career first for Fitzpatrick even before he headed onto the field, with the backup quarterback having to make a trip to the locker room toilets during the game.

"The tunnel thing was weird because it was the first time in my 16-year career that I had to go to the bathroom so bad that I had to go to the bathroom during the game," said Fitzpatrick.

"So I ran in there to take a pee and when I came back out Flo [coach Brian Flores] said, 'Get ready, you're going in'. So I took the obligatory seven warm-up throws and went out there and tried to make something happen."

Fitzpatrick passed for 182 yards in the fourth quarter - the most by a non-starting QB since Sage Rosenfels had 202 in 2005, also for the Dolphins - tying his career best.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, his 34-yard pass to Hollins, which Fitzpatrick called the best of his career, had a completion probability of just 10.9 per cent, making it the third-most improbable completion of the season.

On that play, Fitzpatrick said: "In that case you're really throwing up a prayer a little bit.

"I didn't know that it was complete, initially. My face mask was getting pulled, and my head was getting ripped off. I turned around to make sure they saw the face mask, then [Dolphins right tackle] Jesse Davis or [running back] Myles Gaskin had to tell me it was completed."

Flores was delighted his decision to call on Fitzpatrick worked out and praised rookie Tagovailoa's maturity for the way he handled the situation.

"If we got to go to a relief pitcher in the ninth [inning], that's what we'll do," Flores said.

"Fitz, he's always ready to go. ... I have a lot of confidence in Tua. He's made a lot of plays for us. He's made plays today. We just felt like we needed a spark. Fitzy gave us that.

"There's a lot of people in that locker room who are trying to win. That's at the forefront of the decisions I'm going to make here today and moving forward as long as I'm here.

"Tua is a resilient kid. He's a tough-minded kid. He's happy that Fitzy went in there and we won the game because he's a selfless, team-first guy; that's why he's here."

Tom Brady was the star of the show as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2007 on Saturday.

Buccaneers quarterback Brady threw four touchdowns to fuel Tampa Bay's drought-ending 47-7 rout of the lowly Detroit Lions.

Ryan Fitzpatrick came off the bench to lead the playoff-chasing Miami Dolphins' wild victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, while the San Francisco 49ers stunned the Arizona Cardinals.

 

BRADY'S BUCS BOOK PLAYOFF BERTH

Six-time Super Bowl champion Brady threw four touchdowns as he reset the single-season franchise high for passing TDs with 36, surpassing former number one pick Jameis Winston's record of 33 posted last season.

Brady produced the best first half of his illustrious career, completing 22 of 27 passes for 348 yards away to the Lions in Detroit, having eclipsed his own record of 340-plus passing yards, four-plus TDs and no interceptions in a single half set with the New England Patriots in 2009.

The 43-year-old superstar became the only NFL player in history to play for 20-plus seasons with one team – the Patriots – and later make the playoffs with another, per NFL Research. Brady is also the first player in the league's history to reach the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons.

Brady, who was replaced by Blaine Gabbert at the start of the third quarter, also became just the fourth non-specialist to play in 300 regular-season games and the 12th player in NFL history to achieve the feat.

Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski recorded two touchdowns apiece for the Bucs (10-5), while Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown also finished with TDs against the Lions.

DOLPHINS REMAIN IN HUNT AS RAIDERS BOW OUT

Miami's hopes of advancing to the playoffs are still alive after prevailing 26-25 in a thrilling clash with the Raiders.

The Dolphins (10-5) eliminated the Raiders (7-8) from postseason contention with Jason Sanders' last second 44-yard field goal, after Fitzpatrick had put Miami in position.

Daniel Carlson's field goal had put the Raiders ahead 25-23 with 23 seconds remaining, after Fitzpatrick replaced Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa and threw a 59-yard pass to Myles Gaskin as the clock ticked under three minutes.

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores benched Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter and his decision to introduce Fitzpatrick proved a masterstroke – the veteran nine of 13 for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Tagovailoa was largely ineffective after finishing 17-of-22 passing for 94 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions, while Raiders counterpart Derek Carr was 21 of 34 for 336 yards and a TD.

CARDINALS' PLAYOFF HOPES DEALT BLOW BY BEATHARD AND 49ERS

The injury-hit 49ers took down the Cardinals 20-12 thanks to third-string quarterback CJ Beathard, who threw three touchdown passes.

San Francisco – already out of the postseason picture – left Arizona's playoff hopes up in the air after Beathard starred in his first start since 2018 and unheralded running back Jeff Wilson ran for 183 yards.

Beathard completed 13 of 22 passes for 182 yards for the 49ers (6-9) as the Cardinals (8-7) no longer control their own destiny in the race for the postseason.

The Cardinals' were also left sweating over the fitness of quarterback Kyler Murray, who hurt his leg in the defeat.

"Hurt his leg, so he's getting examined right now," Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

 

Week 16 scores:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 47-7 Detroit Lions
San Francisco 49ers 20-12 Arizona Cardinals
Miami Dolphins 26-25 Las Vegas Raiders

Ryan Fitzpatrick labelled the Miami Dolphins' decision to demote him and promote Tua Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback "heartbreaking", with the veteran questioning whether he has started his last game in the NFL.

The Dolphins have turned to Tagovailoa – the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft – to start against the Los Angeles Rams following Miami's Week 7 bye on November 1.

Tagovailoa will lead the way, despite Fitzpatrick overseeing blow-out victories against the winless New York Jets (24-0) and San Francisco 49ers (43-17) and a 3-3 record in Miami.

Though his errors did not prove critical against a dismal Jets team, Fitzpatrick was underwhelming in Week 6 as he threw for 191 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Fitzpatrick's seven interceptions are the third-most in the NFL behind Minnesota Vikings signal-caller Kirk Cousins (10) and Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (nine). Fitzpatrick is 18th of 33 qualifying quarterbacks in adjusted net yards per attempt with 6.62.

The 37-year-old Fitzpatrick was always seen as the placeholder for Tagovailoa but the much-travelled quarterback – who has spent time with the Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – told reporters on Wednesday: "I was shocked by it. It definitely caught me off guard. It was a hard thing for me to hear yesterday, just kind of digesting the news. My heart just hurt all day. It was heartbreaking for me.

"[Head coach Brian Flores] Flo kind of said what he said and said what he said to you guys as well, and that's the decision and the direction that the organisation is going in.

"Obviously we've talked in the past, me and you guys, about how I'm the placeholder and this eventually was going to happen.

"It was just a matter of kind of when, not if. It still just ... it broke my heart yesterday. It's a tough thing for me to hear and to now have to deal with, but I'm going to do my best with it."

Fitzpatrick added: "There was a lot of stuff going through my mind yesterday, just from a personal standpoint, not necessarily with the team. Is this it? Like, was that my last game as an NFL player in terms of being the starter and going out there and playing?

"I've been a starter, I've been benched all kinds of different ways, but this one just really more so than any of them ... this organisation and what we've been through the last year and a half, this was kind of the first place other than Buffalo where I just felt fully committed and invested and felt like it was my team.

"To have that, I think that's a lot of the reason why I just ... my heart was so heavy yesterday. But that's the direction that the organisation and I've just got to accept it."

Tagovailoa threw for 7,442 yards, 87 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in a storied career with Alabama that saw him replace Jalen Hurts for the second half of the National Championship game at the end of the 2017 season and lead them to a dramatic overtime win over Georgia.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins when they face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The Dolphins have started 1-3, with questions over when Miami will turn to rookie fifth overall pick Tua Tagovailoa increasing in the wake of last weekend's defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.

Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions in the 31-23 loss, with the Dolphins ending just one of their three red-zone trips with a touchdown.

In his 16th season in the NFL, Fitzpatrick is 25th in the NFL in adjusted net yards per pass attempt with an average of 5.51 yards.

However, head coach Brian Flores is not yet ready to hand the keys to the offense to Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip in his final collegiate game for Alabama last November, with that injury likely playing a role in the Dolphins' decision not to rush him into action.

In a storied career with Alabama, Tagovailoa threw for 7,442 yards and 87 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions. He also added nine touchdowns as a runner.

Ryan Fitzpatrick made history after his three touchdowns fuelled the Miami Dolphins to a 31-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dolphins quarterback Fitzpatrick became the first NFL QB to claim six wins over the same opponent with six teams following Thursday's triumph in Jacksonville.

Fitzpatrick, who also topped the Jaguars during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals (2008), Buffalo Bills (2012), Tennessee Titans (2013), Houston Texans (2014) and New York Jets (2015) starred as the Dolphins posted their first win of the season.

The 37-year-old led the Dolphins as Miami scored touchdowns on their first three drives in a fast start on the road in Week 3.

Fitzpatrick connected on his first 12 pass attempts – a career high – to guide the Dolphins to a 21-7 half-time lead behind touchdown throws to Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki.

Jordan Howard also scored to put the Dolphins in control after two quarters, following James Robinson's TD for the struggling Jaguars.

Fitzpatrick, who finished 18-of-20 for 160 yards and two TDs and seven rushes for 38 yards and a score, rushed for a touchdown to extend Miami's lead to 28-7 in the third period.

Jacksonville's Robinson rushed for another touchdown in the final quarter, but it was too late as Jason Sanders' 30-yard field goal completed the scoring for the Dolphins.

Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II was 30-of-42 for 275 yards, no touchdowns and an interception, to go with four sacks after Jacksonville dropped to 1-2 for the season.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has got the nod over rookie Tua Tagovailoa to be the Miami Dolphins' Week 1 starting quarterback.

Miami head coach Brian Flores confirmed that 37-year-old Fitzpatrick will be under centre against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

"In a year like this with no OTAs, limited time, this is not ground-breaking news," Flores told reporters on Monday.

"[Fitzpatrick] has done a good job throughout training camp."

Fitzpatrick is entering his 16th year in the league and was Miami's starter for 13 of their 16 games in 2019.

They went 5-8 in that time, with Fitzpatrick throwing for 3,529 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, while he added another four scores and 243 yards on the ground.

Having played for seven other franchises, Fitzpatrick made Miami his eighth different home in the NFL when he signed a two-year deal ahead of the 2019 season.

Miami, who entered that campaign clearly in a full-blown rebuild, were always expected to select a long-term answer at quarterback in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

And so it proved as they selected Alabama's Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick.

Tagovailoa had a fine college career with the Crimson Tide but has not played since dislocating his hip and suffering a posterior wall fracture in November.

He was fully cleared for practice when the Dolphins finally got together on the field in August.

However, with the offseason shortened by the coronavirus pandemic and no preseason games taking place this year, Flores has made the decision to sit the rookie behind Fitzpatrick to start the campaign.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is embracing a familiar role as a seasoned mentor to star recruit Tua Tagovailoa.

The Dolphins used the fifth pick on University of Alabama QB Tagovailoa in last month's NFL Draft.

Tagovailoa arrives in Miami amid much hype and well-travelled veteran Fitzpatrick is eager to team up with the 22-year-old.

"I want to go out there and start," Fitzpatrick told reporters on Thursday in a videoconference. "I know there's a lot of forces that go into it from all different sides, so whether that happens or not, who knows?" 

Fitzpatrick still is not viewing Tagovailoa as an adversary. Though he still intends to hold on to his starting job for as long as possible, the 37-year-old is also looking to help the rookie.

It is a position Fitzpatrick has been in several times before during a nomadic 15-year-career in which he has started games for eight different teams. That experience, coupled with strong play down the stretch of last season, prompted the Dolphins to re-sign the former seventh-round pick to a two-year, $11million contract in March. 

"I've been in this situation before a little bit," said Fitzpatrick, who has tutored the likes of Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in previous stops.

"I just try to go in every day and be myself and help them and help the club, try to make sure that they know and they're comfortable with telling me questions. But I'm also going to express my opinions and thoughts on plays that we're watching and the process of how I think through it, right or wrong, just to provide them some perspective. 

"I'm excited for him to be here," he said of Tagovailoa. "I loved watching him play in college and I think he's going to be an awesome addition to the team for a long time."

Fitzpatrick, who recorded a 95.9 passer rating to help Miami win three of their final five 2019 games, is also excited about a reunion with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, his former head coach in Buffalo and offensive coordinator during a later stint with the New York Jets. 

"Chan was really the first guy who truly believed in me and gave me my shot as a starter, and I've always just wanted to prove him right and play well for him. He's a guy that allows players to play to their strengths," Fitzpatrick said.

"He's got an offense that is not very complicated to learn but is very complicated for the defenses, the way they present it to them, and he does a great job of utilising different guys' talents and putting them in a position to succeed." 

Kyle Rudolph produced a highlight-reel moment as the Minnesota Vikings trumped the Dallas Cowboys, while the Green Bay Packers saw off the Carolina Panthers.

Rudolph scored with a one-handed catch during Sunday's 28-24 win over the Cowboys in Week 10 of the NFL season.

The Packers benefited from an Aaron Jones hat-trick as they beat the Panthers 24-16, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins also won.

 

VIKINGS VANQUISH COWBOYS

In Prime Time and under the Arlington lights, the Vikings beat a winning team on the road for the first time in almost two years, having gone 10 games without success.

Dalvin Cook ran for 97 yards, including the decisive touchdown on fourth down, and Kirk Cousins threw for two TDs – both to Rudolph.

Cowboys star Dak Prescott had 397 yards and three touchdowns as Dallas (5-4) fell into a tie for first place with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.

 

JONES INSPIRES PACKERS IN THE SNOW

Jones scored three touchdowns as the Packers proved too strong for the Panthers on a snowy Sunday at Lambeau Field.

For the second time this season, Jones had a hat-trick of TDs – becoming the first Green Bay running back since Jim Taylor in 1962 with multi three-touchdown games in a season.

MVP candidate and Panthers star Christian McCaffrey was stopped by Preston Smith and the Packers (8-2) at the goal line as time expired.

"We all know that Christian is a very talented player, and he's been mentioned in the MVP race. So maybe it's time to start talking about Aaron Jones," said Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who completed 17 of 29 passes for 233 yards, including 118 yards to Devante Adams.

Carolina's McCaffrey had 108 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries for the Panthers, who dropped to 5-4.

 

SILENCE OF THE RAMS AS STEELERS HOLD FIRM

The Steelers extended their winning streak to four games by edging the Rams 17-12 in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh forced four turnovers, while the Rams converted just one of 14 third downs in a performance that yielded a lone touchdown.

As for the Steelers (5-4), their defence came up big to stifle the visiting Rams (5-4), who lost ground to the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers (8-0) and Seattle Seahawks (7-2) in the NFC West.

Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph – who became the ninth QB since the 1970 merger to throw a touchdown in each of his first seven games – finished with 22 of 38 passes for 242 yards and a TD.

 

DOLPHINS GO BACK-TO-BACK

The Dolphins started the season with seven straight defeats, but Miami are riding some momentum after upstaging the Colts 16-12.

Miami claimed back-to-back victories by capitalising on the Colts' (5-4) turnovers – converting three turnovers into 13 points on the road in Indianapolis.

Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambled for an 11-yard touchdown run as Miami (2-7) posted their first away success since September 2018.

"We are starting to come together," said Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. "I think being able to overcome adversity is part of playing in the National Football League. We're starting to do that at a higher level now."

It was a forgettable outing for struggling Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who missed another extra point that ruined a chance for Indianapolis to kick a field goal to send the game into overtime.

Colts coach Frank Reich said: "We've been committed to [Vinatieri]. We're going to always evaluate. Everybody gets measured. Everybody is held accountable, from top to bottom. That's always the case. Nothing meant to read into that. That's the reality of the business. There's been no discussions about that between [general manager] Chris [Ballard] and I. That's just the business."

The Miami Dolphins finally won their first game of the 2019 season as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdowns in a 26-18 victory over the New York Jets.

Miami, who have traded away several of their key players in recent weeks as they look to rebuild, were 0-7 heading into a contest against their AFC East rivals, but finally claimed their first win under rookie head coach Brian Flores.

Former Jets quarterback Fitzpatrick threw for 288 passing yards and three scores, two of which were caught by wide receiver Preston Williams.

The Jets dropped to 1-7 on the season and the loss will heap more pressure on their head coach Adam Gase, who was fired by the Dolphins in December after going 23-25 across three seasons in Miami.

With Miami's victory, the 0-8 Cincinnati Bengals are the only winless team remaining in the NFL.

The Fitzmagic is officially back in Miami.

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores announced on Wednesday that Ryan Fitzpatrick will start this week against the Buffalo Bills.

The move keeps second-year quarterback Josh Rosen on the bench after he was pulled for veteran Fitzpatrick in the Week 6 loss to the Washington Redskins.

Flores had given his backing to Rosen, who replaced Fitzpatrick in Week 3, following the game against the Redskins but he now loses his place.

"We're going to start Fitz this week," Flores said. "We kind of came to that conclusion over the last couple of days.

"We feel that was the best thing for this team and it'll give us the best opportunity for this team to go up into a tough environment and try to pull out a win.

"And we do that on a weekly basis. What's the best grouping, set of players, offense, defense, kicking game to help try to win the game? We felt that was the case this week."

Rosen threw for 85 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions against Washington before Fitzpatrick replaced him at the beginning of the fourth quarter. 

The 36-year-old then completed 12 of 18 passes for 132 yards with one score and no picks as he almost led the Dolphins to a dramatic first win of the season.

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