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DMN: Ginn responds to the challenge

Let’s crown the Vikings NFC North champs right now. Michael Lombardi

Print This November 02, 2009, 10:29 AM EST

QUOTE: “More grounded, more humble, more selfless makes us more opportunistic.” -- Mike Tomlin

Twice this season, the Miami Dolphins have lost games against undefeated teams (the Saints and Colts) when they have dominated. Sunday, they won for the second time against the Jets despite being outgained 378-104 in total yards (104 is their fewest ever in a win). The Dolphins have won seven of their last eight divisional games and are now 3-0 as they prepare for New England next week. Ted Ginn proved he’s a competitor, rallying to the challenge after being benched as a starter and responding in a huge way. His two kickoff returns were sensational, but what was more impressive was his humble manner after the game discussing his accomplishments.

The Jets started the season 3-0 but are 1-4 since. In fairness, their expectations have been too high. This is not a Super Bowl team. This is a good team that needs to keep growing and keep making trades with Eric “The Secret” Mangini of the Browns. Mangini has given the Jets hope because the two players he has traded to them give them hope. Patience might be the best virtue for the Jets, and possibly getting head coach Rex Ryan some help with game management on Sundays — he loves to go into half time with timeouts in his pocket. Someone I respect once told me that arrogance can cloud your judgment. Kicking the ball twice to Ted Ginn was beyond arrogant.

Two Kick Returns for TDs
Single-game, since 1970

                                           Opponent
MIA '09      Ted Ginn                Jets
HOU '07     Andre' Davis        Jaguars
CHI '06       Devin Hester         Rams
NYJ '02      Chad Morton          Bills
NO '94       Tyrone Hughes     Rams
RAMS '85  Ron Brown           Packers

Ginn is the first player in NFL history with two TD kick returns of more than 100 yards in a game.

Random game thoughts

1. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 NFC North champions are the Minnesota Vikings. I don’t see how they can lose this lead now. Impressive outing for the Vikings on the road -- the last two have been very impressive — even the loss to the Steelers.

2. The Miami wildcat was dead in the Meadowlands as it was in the second half of the Saints game. Is this a trend, or do teams have a handle on this one? The Patriots will have before and after film of the Dolphins-Jets games to help them learn what they should and shouldn’t do when playing Miami.

3. Impressive win for the Cowboys. Yes, I know it was Seattle, but how they handled the Seahawks so easily was very impressive.

4. Keep watching these dreadful games, Randy Lerner. Your Browns are going to keep looking bad. This won’t change until you make a change. It’s one thing to have patience but another to keep going down the wrong road. The Browns are hard to watch on offense -- 191 total yards (held under 200 total yards for the fourth straight game and 10th time in their last 13). Derek Anderson: 6-17, 76 yards, 2 INTs (fourth consecutive start with a completion rate under 50 percent; 40.7 completion percentage in five starts; fewer than 10 completions in three of his past four starts). How bad must Brady Quinn be?

5. Peyton Manning throws for almost 350 yards, but his team scores only 18 points. Wonder why? The 49ers played great in the red zone, holding the Colts to 0 for 4. The Niners lost, but at least they gave themselves a chance.

6. The Rams found a way to win a game, and now we have only one winless team left: the Bucs. Give the Rams credit, they fought for the victory after having lost 17 in a row. Only 40,000 fans showed up to watch two bad teams (the Rams and Lions) play. Both have a long way to go.

7. The Eagles have been saving Leonard Weaver for the right time, and Sunday was the right time. His longest run of his career was 40 yards, and his first run of the day was for 40. There’s no doubt now that the Eagles know how to beat the Giants after beating them for the third straight time.

8. The Giants made the fatal mistake of allowing the Eagles to make big plays. Eagles: four TDs in the first half (all on drives of three plays or fewer). The Birds did what they do best — make big plays.

9. Panthers coach John Fox knew all along that his team was just a trip to Arizona away from turning it around. But in reality, when the big play -- either run or pass -- is part of the Panthers’ offense, they can move the ball. The Cards clearly could not handle the success of their recent road wins.

10. As a team, Baltimore has a big heart. They’re a very competitive team and found ways to make plays to beat Denver. What a weekend of special teams plays. Kickoff coverage was not very good in most cities this weekend.

Off to L.A. Will have much more in the Tavern today after I land.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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