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‘Thursday Night Football’ tonight: Streaming, TV, why the Dolphins will beat the Ravens – CBSSports.com

The plan was for Ryan Tannehill to build on his 2016 season, when he set career bests in completion percentage (67.1) and passer rating (93.5), and was 8-5 in 13 starts before he was sidelined late in the year by a knee injury. But Tannehill’s 2017 season was over before it started when he underwent surgery in August, prompting coach Adam Gase to turn to Jay Cutler, who was already several months retired.

Gase and Cutler had a history, which included Cutler playing the best football of his career in 2015 when Gase was the offensive coordinator in Chicago. In fact, what Gase did that season played a major part in him getting the Dolphins‘ head-coaching job ahead of the 2016 season.

At one point during the 2014 season, a year before Gase arrived in Chicago, Cutler was benched for Jimmy Clausen. And from 2012-14, Cutler never finished higher than 16th in total QB value, according to Football Outsiders‘ metrics. In 2015, Gase’s first and only year in Chicago, Cutler finished 10th, just behind Kirk CousinsPhilip Rivers and Matthew Stafford. He threw for 3,659 yards with 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, a completion percentage of 64.4 and a passer rating of 92.3. 

Cutler set career bests in passer rating and career lows in interceptions, and his 244 passing yards per game was No. 2 behind only his 2008 season in Denver. And Cutler’s one year with Gase shares a lot of similarities with what Tannehill and Gase accomplished in their first year together in 2016.

Consider Tannehill’s final stat line: 67.1 completion percentage, 230.4 pass yards per game, 19 TDs, 12 INTs, 93.5 passer rating.

So the hope was that Gase and Cutler would magically rediscover what they had two years ago. Hope, as they say, is not a plan. And the reality is that for all of Cutler’s athleticism and arm strength, his poor mechanics were his downfall right up until the moment he announced he was leaving football to join the broadcast booth. That didn’t change when he ended his brief retirement to come to South Beach.

By any measure, Cutler has been horrible, though it’s not entirely his doing. In six starts, he ranked 28th in total value among all quarterbacks, better only than Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, Joe Flacco and DeShone Kizer. Worth noting: Glennon and Kizer have been benched this season. 

But Cutler suffered broken ribs during last week’s win against the Jets and he won’t play against the Ravens on Thursday. Which means backup Matt Moore, the man who helped the Dolphins overcome a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit as Cutler’s replacement, will make his first start of the season. 

Moore, who started three games last year, including the Dolphins’ wild-card matchup against the Steelers, has the full confidence of the coaching staff.

“He’s a fireball,” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said this week. “He comes in there flinging it. He’s fun to watch and I’m glad he’s on our side. You don’t have any doubt when he goes in there that he’s going to make something happen and give yourself a chance to win the thing. …

“He’s an electric guy. He works every day. He comes out there and he’s the pied piper. He takes young guys under his wing. He’s a popular guy in the locker room and I think that his energy is contagious.”

Gase stuck with Cutler as his starter before the injury, perhaps because of their prior success and because the Dolphins are paying him $10 million this season. But beyond that, there’s little reason for Cutler to remain in the job, especially if Moore plays well against the Ravens.  

For comparison’s sake, Cutler ranks 25th this season in passer rating (90.3) when facing no pressure, according to Pro Football Focus. When under pressure, Cutler ranks 24th and his passer rating drops to 55.3. 

During his three starts a season ago, Moore ranked sixth among all quarterbacks in passer rating when kept clean (111.9) and fourth when facing pressure (93.0). So, yes, there is an argument for why he should play. You could make the case that the Dolphins started 1-4 last season before everything came together. And that this team, with Cutler under center, is 4-2. But despite their record, the Dolphins — a playoff team a year ago — have been identified as one of the league’s eight worst teams by Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz, who writes:

“Perhaps the most surprising team in the Awful Eight is Miami. After all, the Dolphins are 4-2. What the hell are they doing down with the winless San Francisco 49ers? The answer is that Miami has not been good. Their four wins all have come by less than a touchdown, against an easy schedule. They also got shut out 20-0 by New Orleans and lost to the Jets 20-6. They’ve gotten lucky from opposing field goal kickers missing 5 of 12 kicks…”

Their is no downside to turning to Moore, who probably deserved the job back in August when Tannehill was first lost for the season.

And Moore’s presence in the lineup — along with too many key injuries to count for a struggling Ravens team — is why we like the Dolphins to win on the road to move to 5-2.

Our prediction: Miami 14 Baltimore 13

How to watch, stream

It’s Color Rush Thursday (again), y’all!

Every Thursday is Color Rush Thursday in the NFL. You’re welcome. 

It’s all purple…

 … Versus all white:

Just like last season, Color Rush will be a Thursday Night Football staple. In the meantime,  here is every team’s Color Rush uniform from 2016.

AFC Color Rush

afc-color-rush-2016.jpg

NFC Color Rush

nfc-color-rush-2016.jpg

Thursday night schedule

  • Week 8: Dolphins at Ravens, Oct. 26 at 8:25 p.m. ET on CBS and NFLN
  • Week 9: Bills at Jets, Nov. 2 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NFL Network
  • Week 10: Seahawks at Cardinals, Nov. 9 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
  • Week 11: Titans at Steelers, Nov. 16 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
  • Week 12: Giants at Redskins, Nov. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC
  • Week 13: Redskins at Cowboys, Nov. 30 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
  • Week 14: Saints at Falcons, Dec. 7 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN
  • Week 15: Broncos at Colts, Dec. 14 at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC and NFLN

‘TNF’ comes to Amazon

After Twitter hosted several “Thursday Night Football” games during the 2016 for live streaming, it lost a bid for the NFL’s 2017 streaming package to Amazon, which will stream 10 Thursday night games during the season — including the Dolphins-Ravens matchup — for Amazon Prime members. You can read more about Amazon’s deal here.

Here are the games available for streaming from Amazon:

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