- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Two teams with a combined record of 1-13 got together Sunday, and the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets, 26-18, in a game so bad it transcended the forgettable and actually became memorable.

The Dolphins, who have been accused all year of trying to tank for the No. 1 overall draft pick, played a better game than their hapless division rivals and emerged with their first win of the season. Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdowns in a quarter, while Jets coach Adam Gase forgot to use his second-half timeouts until it was too late.

Most football fans expected Miami to be the last team to win a game in 2019 — or otherwise finish 0-16. Instead, the league’s basement is so deep, dark and dank that another team has avoided victory longer than Miami: the 0-8 Cincinnati Bengals.

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Yes, it’s crowded down there at the bottom of the league standings. The 1-8 Washington Redskins would know. The “race” for the No. 1 draft pick in 2020 is a mess at the season’s halfway point, as the five worst teams all look deserving of the title of worst in the league: Bengals, Redskins, Jets, Dolphins and 1-7 Atlanta Falcons.

Yet the NFL schedule this season includes a cruel twist: There are four more games like that Jets-Dolphins affair on the way, starting when the Jets visit Washington in Week 11.

Nobody is looking forward to that game, which will feature two offenses averaging a league-low 12 points per game. As of Tuesday evening, the cheapest tickets on StubHub were going for less than $19.

After that, it’s Jets-Bengals in Week 13, the second Jets-Dolphins tilt of the year in Week 14 and Bengals-Dolphins in Week 16.

Redskins fans will recall one of these atrocities was already played last month. Winless Washington visited winless Miami and won, 17-16, with the Dolphins failing to convert a two-point try at the end of the game. (Had Kenyan Drake not dropped that pass, Washington would be 0-9 today.)

That was Week 6, marking the latest into a season that two winless teams squared off since 2004.

If the season ended today, the Redskins would own the second overall draft pick, behind Cincinnati but ahead of the Jets, Dolphins and Falcons, in that order. At any rate, a top-five pick seems likely for Washington, which could give the organization a do-over at quarterback — with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and LSU’s Joe Burrow expected to be available.

If the Redskins prefer to stick to Dwayne Haskins at that position, they could still land a game-changing prospect like Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young or Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy.

But the draft is months off, and due to that platter of putrid games coming up, the order will fluctuate for the next several weeks. Still, it’s a good time to look at the kind of company the Redskins are keeping, starting with their opponent after the bye week.

New York Jets

Not one thing is going right for the Jets. Sam Darnold spent several weeks sidelined with mononucleosis, but he’s come back only for a hot mic to catch him saying he was “seeing ghosts” when facing the Patriots’ defense. Gase is in his first and possibly last season as their coach. The Jets signed Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley in free agency; the latter has missed most of the year with injury and the former looks nothing like he did as a Steeler, managing just two touchdowns and zero 100-yard games.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals benched the “Red Rifle,” Andy Dalton, and will start rookie Ryan Finley at quarterback in Week 10. They certainly could look to move on from Dalton and draft a new face of the franchise like Tagovailoa, especially if they hold onto that top draft spot. But the Bengals are just as bad on defense, allowing a terrible 6.6 yards per play. In addition to playing the Jets and Dolphins, they also still have two games against the Cleveland Browns. They can’t possibly lose all four of those … right?

Miami Dolphins

What else is there to say about the Dolphins? They’ve narrowly avoided a fate of 0-16, just as they did in 2007 with a Week 15 win over the Ravens to finish 1-15. The quarterback of their future is not on their roster; Josh Rosen took over for Fitzpatrick, then lost the job back to the 36-year-old after just three starts. Not much else is on their roster, either, after they traded tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Kenny Stills, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and Drake in the last three months.

Atlanta Falcons

Unlike the rest of these teams, the Falcons doesn’t get the fortune of playing against someone of their caliber. Their next five straight games come against division opponents, the worst of whom, the Buccaneers, have shown they’re still a threat to score in the 30s on any given day. Atlanta’s defense, ranked 30th in DVOA and allowing 31.2 points a game, won’t be happy to see that. Matt Ryan is fighting a sprained ankle, coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat and this looks like the polar opposite of the team that reached the Super Bowl three years ago.

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