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If your college/pro team has gifted you with nothing but Victory Mondays to this point in the calendar, congratulations. You’re officially having a good start to football season. Let’s give a little love to the undefeated on Studs & Duds this week, shall we? The list gets shorter and shorter by the week, so we need to celebrate while we still can.

Buckle in. Let’s party!

Studs – Stanford Cardinal (4-0) and WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

When was the last time you saw a team running out the game clock fumble, give up a score and then lose the football game? That’s exactly how things shook out when Oregon led 31-28 in Eugene in the final minute.

Stanford was so resilient, clinging to their final timeout to force Oregon to run plays and not kneel. Low and behold the ball squeaked out and Stanford would force extra time, win a jump ball on their first possession and then intercept Oregon’s Justin Herbert to close up shop in a stunning comeback.

I want to acknowledge Arcega-Whiteside specifically. The star receiver caught two touchdowns in the win only to find out afterwards that his grandmother had passed away during the game. Her final video message to Arcega-Whiteside came shortly before Saturday night’s contest, where she told him she only wanted to see two touchdowns and not three.

“Take it easy! Love you, love you, love you, bye!” were her final words. Congratulations to you, J.J., on a terrific game, and thank you for sharing this beautiful story and dedication to your grandmother with all of us.

Dud – Me, Probably

I didn’t want to be here. I really didn’t. But as I watched the Detroit Lions put the bow on a Sunday Night Football win over the New England Patriots, the thought managed to eek its way out of my brain and onto Twitter.

“Are….are the Patriots bad?!” 

As if we haven’t seen this story a dozen times already. I get it. The Patriots aren’t about starting fast, they’re about finishing strong. I get it. The team just traded for Josh Gordon and is eagerly awaiting the return of Julian Edelman. I get it. They still have Bill and Tom. I get it.

But the Pats were not good against Detroit, a second consecutive POOR performance all around. It is the first time since 2002 that the Patriots have lost consecutive games by double digits. And Father Time comes for us all eventually. Could this actually be it? Could this be the year the Patriots dynasty at least suffers a blip in the radar?

Probably not. I’m not prepared to write them off. But we do have to start asking the question until New England (1-2) gives us reason not to. The offensive line is undermanned. The defense has been overwhelmed by speed. The pass rush has been frustrating.

But make no mistake…the Patriots aren’t the dud. Not yet. It’s me for allowing myself to ponder if this is finally it in Week 3.

Studs – Miami Dolphins (3-0) Wide Receivers Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson

Credit to head coach Adam Gase, who has his team off to their best start in five years at 3-0. A lot of that start can be drawn to a duo of diminutive pass catchers, Jakeem Grant (5-foot-6, 165 pounds) and Albert Wilson (5-foot-9, 186 pounds).

What they lack in size, they make up for in speed, something Dolphins fans have not been used to seeing a lot of this millennium.

That speed was on full display during the Dolphins’ 14 point 4th quarter, the team storming back late to outlast Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders, 28-20.

Two 50+ yard touchdowns were the difference, both on the backs of Grant and Wilson. But what really made this dynamic duo a “must have” on this week’s list was the pair streaking towards the end zone in the final minutes to put Miami up 11 and slapping a high five at the Raiders’ fifteen yard line…before Wilson scored.

This is so savage I still can’t believe it happened! It’s like in basketball. There are dunks. And then there’s DUNKS. This was a DUNK on the Raiders if I’ve ever seen one. We are a very petty group here on Studs & Duds, so this is an on-brand move for us.

Duds – Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) Defense

Great news, Chiefs fans. You look unstoppable on offense. Patrick Mahomes is on a record touchdown pace, is in full control of his offense and has the group averaging 39.3 points per game through three games.

Not great news, Chiefs fans. You’re conceding 30.7 points per game on defense. Yes, Pittsburgh and the Chargers have some firepower. Yes, the points you conceded to San Francisco came largely after the game was in hand. But understand this: the 2017 Houston Texans gave up 436 points, worst in the league. Your defense is averaging an extra field goal per game vs. that pace.

I digress. Please don’t allow me to be a wet blanket on your 3-0 parade. Chiefs fans have every right to be thrilled with their undefeated start and the development of their young franchise quarterback.

Studs – The Heisman QB Field

Y’all ready for another QB to win the Heisman? In addition to doing Studs & Duds every Monday, I have been tracking the Heisman field since the season kicked off.

The list is 4 names long: Alabama (4-0) QB Tua Tagovailoa, Oklahoma (4-0) QB Kyler Murray, Ohio State (4-0) QB Dwayne Haskins and West Virginia (3-0) QB Will Grier.

The Crimson Tide is unstoppable. Oklahoma decided to make things interesting against Army, where they only had three offensive possessions in the entire second half. Ohio State will get a big resume building game next week against Penn State. West Virginia handily defeated a team that typically gives them a tough game this past week in Kansas State.

If the Sooners and Mountaineers hold serve, look out. Thanksgiving weekend they play each other…what a treat that late season match-up would be. We’ll have to let things play out before we get any additional clarity on the Heisman field, but that’s your shortlist, folks.

Studs – Los Angeles Rams (3-0) and QB Jared Goff

Psst. Have you checked the NFL’s passing leaders? Jared Goff is currently third in the league with 941 passing yards. Not bad for a guy who so many wanted to write off after seven games on a Jeff Fisher/Jim Fassel coached squad, eh?

Goff has popped off 354 passing yards in each of the team’s last two football games and the Rams in all are playing the most complimentary football of any team in the league. Good defense. A strong ground game and an effective passing attack. It’s all clicking right now for the Rams, who have essentially wrapped up the NFC West already with a 2 game lead on an undermanned Seahawks team and a 49ers team bracing for the news that QB Jimmy Garoppolo is possibly out for the season with a left knee injury. Oh yeah, and the Cardinals are awful. Just a dreadful group this year.


Threads of the Week – Tiger Woods’ Sunday Red

It’s been five years since Tiger Woods last claimed a tournament victory. And through all the health issues and self inflicted wounds that led to such a stunning fall from grace, Woods has now come out the other side.

Seeing an all-time great, regardless of the sport/game, is something we should all try to take appreciation in. A tip of the cap to Woods for enduring and putting off Father Time.

Woods’ Sunday red was a staple of my teenage years, even though I wasn’t an avid golf fan. Everyone know Tiger. He was in the sports section of the newspaper every Monday, raising a trophy in his red polo.

Perhaps for nostalgia’s sake I’ll pick up a paper this morning. It’s been a while since Woods’ Sunday red made the sports section.