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Y’all want to know what the worst part is about penning Studs & Duds every Monday? It’s friggin’ impossible to narrow down a list of candidates now that we’re in to the heart of September. There have been wave after wave of impressionable performances, so please forgive me if your favorites were left off the docket this week.

Welcome to the 7th edition of Studs & Duds!

STUD – Memphis RB Darrell Henderson (14 carries, 233 yards, 2 touchdowns vs. Georgia State)

Henderson enters Week 4 of the CFB season leading the country in rushing yardage with 521 yards, six more than Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. Good stuff.

But Henderson has it on just 36(!) carries, averaging a 14.5 yards per carry average on the year. That is astronomical. I profiled Henderson’s night against the Panthers this past weekend and would like to cordially invite you to familiarize yourself with the junior running back.

DUD – The Florida State Offensive Line (4 sacks allowed, 7 tackles for loss conceded vs. Syracuse)

The college landscape seems to revolve around waiting for several programs to be “back”. Notre Dame. Michigan. Texas. Florida. Miami. Florida State joined the ranks of teams who look longingly back at their heyday last year after going 7-6 and rescheduling cupcake Louisiana Monroe on December 2nd to extend their bowl streak.

Coach Willie Taggart was a widely applauded hire who was ready to flip the script and bring the Seminoles #back. Not with this group up front. The offensive line has been decimated by injuries, with both starting tackles for the Syracuse game actually being back-up Guards.

But don’t let that distract you from the root of the issue: Florida State’s offensive line has been putrid for years. YEARS. In the last 2 seasons, the Seminoles have given up an average of 34 sacks and endless more pressures. For such a high profile program, such poor development cannot be overlooked. Not any longer.

Until the line gets itself up to snuff, Florida State will not be #back.

STUD – Patrick “Mayday” Mahomes (NFL record 10 touchdown passes in first 2 games of a season)

Consider this my first formal apology to Mahomes, who I had some apprehension with coming out in the 2017 NFL Draft. Mahomes’ arm talent was unbelievable…but I was a little apprehensive of his pedigree coming out of the Texas Tech spread.

With a year learning under Alex Smith and the tutelage of Andy Reid, Mahomes has lit the league aflame to start 2018. And his sky-high ceiling appears to be within reach.

I would caution Chiefs fans that Mahomes will undoubtedly have some level of regression. He’s not going to throw for the 80 touchdowns he’s currently on pace for…(at least I don’t think so). But credit where credit is due, Mahomes’ natural talents are in the perfect place for him and he’s going to be a star because of it.

Note: I’m uncertain who to credit for ‘Mayday Mahomes’ but I’ve seen this nickname from several on social media and it’s the only acceptable moniker for Pat in my eyes. 

If you missed Mahomes’ carpet-bombing of the Pittsburgh defense, Cody Tapp has you covered:

DUDS – Patriots and Steelers Defenses (73 combined points allowed and 930 combined yards allowed in Week 2)

The two popular pre-season picks out of the AFC have their work cut out for them after getting diced by Jacksonville and Kansas City, respectively. Yikes.

Things were so bad in Pittsburgh that the Chiefs logged 42 points and saw third down just FIVE TIMES.

Meanwhile, the Patriots allowed the Jaguars to convert on 10 of 14 attempts on third down, including several in the late stages of the game where they failed to account for QB Blake Bortles’ mobility and allowed him to scoot out of the pocket and drain the clock. But more on the Jaguars momentarily…

STUD – The Jacksonville Jaguars Coaching Staff

Not playing scared >>>> everything. The Jaguars didn’t forget how their AFC Championship contest against these same Patriots ended eight months ago, as Tom Brady put 14 points up in the fourth quarter after trailing 20-10 in the final ten minutes.

This time around, the Jaguars took a page out of Herm Edwards’ book and played to win the game!

By continuing to play aggressive down the stretch, Bortles put a dagger into the heart of the Patriots with his final two touchdown passes. One came just before the half, where the Jaguars went 75 yards in the final 3 minutes of the second quarter and Bortles hit TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins to put #Duval up 21-3 at the half.

The second came after New England had put 10 unanswered points on the board mid-way through the fourth quarter: Bortles hit WR Dede Westbrook across the middle and the speedy receiver took the crossing route 61 yards for a touchdown to seal the game. It wasn’t the throw, specifically. It was the mentality: stay aggressive. Put the foot on the throat.

The Jaguars are absolutely the real deal and if Bortles can play half as well as he did on Sunday in the playoffs, I wouldn’t pick anyone in the conference to beat them.

DUD – Vontae Davis’ Halftime Retirement

Okay. There’s a whole lot to unpack here. Davis, who was credited $5M in guaranteed salary after making the opening day roster in Buffalo but was inactive for Week 1, played one half of football this season and promptly decided he’d had enough, quitting on his teammates and leaving the stadium at halftime.

Maybe it was 4.6 speed WR Mike Williams running right past Davis for an early touchdown that created the epiphany?

Although this probably wasn’t the case. If it were a moment on the field, one would have to assume that this comical effort at defense(?) in the pre-season would’ve been the sign needed that you’re not about that life anymore.

No. No, no. Davis’ move is one of the softest I’ve ever seen. I’ve never spent time in an NFL locker room, but I know many active and former NFL players agree. Damien Woody went as far as to say he’d want to fight DavisHis own teammates in Buffalo, namely Lorenzo Alexander and Rafael Bush, called it “disrespectful” and asserted that Davis turned his back and quit on his teammates.

Davis would release a statement shortly after the game. If you haven’t read it yet, please grab a seat and buckle in because it is a DOOZY.

Some of the “highlights”:

  • I meant no disrespect.
  • I hold myself to a standard.
  • I choose to be grateful to God for…making lifelong friends over the last decade. 
  • I am grateful to God…he doesn’t promise any of us an easy journey. 

Allow me to read in between the lines:

  • I meant no disrespect.

Translation: It’s not my fault that I personally viewed myself and my time as more important than every single other person affiliated with the Buffalo Bills organization and you all got offended by that.

  • I hold myself to a standard.

Translation: I hold my play to a (unrealistic) standard. My standards of accountability and brotherhood, however, are non-existent.

  • I choose to be grateful to God for…making lifelong friends over the last decade. 

Translation: I choose to be grateful to God for…making lifelong friends over the last decade. None of them are in the Bills organization.

  • I am grateful to God…he doesn’t promise any of us an easy journey.

Translation: When God doesn’t give you an easy journey, take the easy way out yourself!

I leave you with one more final word of wisdom from Davis himself:

STUDS – NFL Fitzpatricks

Namely Tampa QB Ryan and Miami S Minkah.

Minkah has darn near single handedly transformed Miami’s sub-package play through the team’s first two games of the season. I talked about his impact on Sunday afternoon.

Ryan, on the other hand, oozed with swag after the Bucs upset Philadelphia. (With an assist from Desean Jackson’s wardrobe.)

Consecutive 400+ yard, 4 touchdown performances against the Saints and Eagles? WHO IS THIS GUY?! And how can Tampa possibly turn back to Jameis Winston at this juncture? Regression to the mean is very real. Fitzpatrick can’t possibly play this well for 16 games. But the Bucs suddenly have themselves a very complicated Quarterback room.


Threads Of The Week

Congratulations to the Pac-12. You may play #AfterDark, but you are currently unrivaled in your ability to #LookGoodPlayGood.

Last week’s winners? The Arizona State Sun-Devils. This week’s winning look goes to the Ducks of Eugene.

No pressure, everyone east of the Rockies…but you’ve got your work cut out for you after the last two weeks.