The Dolphins were struggling Sunday against the Jets when Jay Cutler went down with cracked ribs. Down 28-14 to the Jets, Miami turned to Matt Moore to mount a comeback. After an interception on his fifth attempt, Moore turned it on; he finished 13-21 for 188 yards and two touchdowns and led Miami to 17 unanswered points and another comeback win for the Dolphins. Moore’s play supported claims that he should have been the starter all along, and now some are questioning if Jay Cutler should be the starter when he’s healthy again.
We want some Moore
When Ryan Tannehill went down in the preseason, many thought the Dolphins already had their replacement in Matt Moore. Moore finished 2016 as the Miami quarterback when Tannehill first injured his knee and did a fine job filling in. He went 3-1 in the team’s final four games, and got the Dolphins into the postseason where they fell to Pittsburgh in the wild card game. In those four games, Moore threw eight touchdowns to only three interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 105.6, which would have been third best in the league that year if he played long enough to qualify, better than guys like Aaron Rodgers (104.2) and Drew Brees (101.7).
Miami’s comeback Sunday puts Matt Moore at 4-1 in the last five regular season games he’s appeared in and leaves head coach Adam Gase with a tough decision. His team is 4-2 under Jay Cutler, who led his own 17-point comeback in Week 6 against the Falcons in Atlanta. But Cutler’s seven touchdowns to five interceptions is disappointing, as well as his 165.8 yards per game. Cutler’s 78.8 quarterback rating this year is good enough for 28th in the league, behind struggling guys like Jacoby Brissett, Trevor Siemian, and Andy Dalton. Needless to say, Cutler hasn’t been the spark Adam Gase thought he’d be when they brought him in.
Seizing the moment
For Matt Moore, how he plays this Sunday could very well determine his status the rest of the year. Jay Cutler is not expected to miss more than one game, so if Moore is going to take the job from Cutler, this is his chance. Miami plays the Ravens tonight, a team that seems lost after losing four of their last five games. If the Dolphins win in convincing fashion, and Moore can put together an efficient day, it may be enough to take over the starting job. He has momentum after his comeback last week, but he needs to finish the job if he wants to be the guy in Miami the rest of the year.
A win also puts Miami at 5-2 this year and deep into the playoff picture. This team hasn’t got the recognition its record deserves because people don’t believe they have the offensive ability to stay in the hunt later in the season. But if the Dolphins can get the 2016 Matt Moore, not only will he get the starting job, but people will have to start paying-attention to the Dolphins.
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