Greg Cote

Greg Cote: AFC East upheaval a bonus for Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sits on the bench during a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sits on the bench during a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. AP

It’s a good week to be a Miami Dolphins fan. The team’s beleaguered army finds solace where it can.

A rarity just happened in the NFL: Miami won and its AFC East-rival Patriots, Jets and Bills all lost in the same week. “I wonder how many time THAT has happened,” a chorus of Dolfans surely wondered.

Answer: Not often. It was only the seventh time since 2002 realignment set the current divisions – seven times in 208 football weeks across 13 seasons. That puts the statistical chances of it happening any one week at 3.4 percent. The other occurrences were in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 (twice) and 2012.

It wasn’t just the results themselves that encouraged South Florida. Mostly it was the one position that a week earlier looked shaky that was now providing the most optimism.

Quarterback. Imagine that.

While Ryan Tannehill in London had his best game of the season by far, trampled Buffalo has panicked to already make a quarterback change, New York fans are howling for the same, and even New England, font of stability and excellence at QB for so long, sees the ground begin to quake beneath its legend.

The Bills’ E.J. Manuel experiment seems to have suddenly ended with the ball now in the hands of journeyman Kyle Orton.

Struggling Geno Smith must prove he is the Jets’ future as fans chant for Michael Vick. (Anybody else find that funny? Looking to Vick as a solution for turnovers is like calling an arsonist to put out your fire).

And even the mighty Tom Brady in New England right now looks like a man on a greased pole trying to slow his fall.

Give me the choice of anybody’s quarterback situation in the AFC East, today, moving forward, factoring Brady’s age, and the choice looks like Miami and Tannehill. That could change, but for me right now that’s it.

A quick bonus on why this is a good week to be a Dolfan:

The Class of ’72 is safe. Perfection has seldom been less threatened.

The only two unbeaten teams remaining are the Bengals and Cardinals (both 3-0), and each has a game it is favored to lose Sunday (Arizona at Denver, Cincy at New England). Neither has a sliver of a chance to survive the schedule treacheries and hit 16-0.

Hope the champagne is chilled and ready, Perfectos.

FIRST-QUARTER AWARDS

Twenty-six of 32 teams have played four games or a fourth of the regular season. That’s reason enough to hand out our King Sport First Quarter Awards:

MVP – Philip Rivers, Chargers QB: Has 114.5 rating, 70.1% completions, nine TDs, one pick for 3-1 Bolts despite little run support.

Offensive Player of Year – DeMarco Murray, Cowboys RB: Running away with yardage lead (534), a pace to threaten Eric Dickerson’s record 2,105.

Defensive POY – J.J. Watt, Texans DE: Did you see his 80-yard interception return TD?

Other categories: Offensive Rookie of Year – Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers WR; Defensive ROY – Kyle Fuller, Bears CB; Coach of Year – Bill O’ Brien, Texans.

Dolphins MVP – Lamar Miller, RB: Losing Knowshon Moreno might have been a crippler but Miller has 277 yards and his 5.7 average is second in NFL. Also has 12 catches, three TDs.

MANNING’S MILESTONE

Peyton Manning is all but certain to reach a milestone Sunday in Denver with his 500th career touchdown pass. Only Brett Favre (508) has more. Miami ties are involved. Manning’s first and 100th TDs both were against the Dolphins, Sept. 6, 1998 and Nov. 11, 2001. And only Marvin Harrison (112) has caught more of his scoring throws than the ex-Hurricane Reggie Wayne, with 67.

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