The NFL season nearing its midpoint plays out in a macabre context from a Miami vantage, with so much attention fixated on "achieving" the worst record -- perhaps even 0-16? -- and salvaging from a sunken season the loot of a No. 1 overall draft pick and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
It is time, though, to pay heed to two other subplots of a more historical interest to the Dolphins and Dolfans: the Packers' possibility of equaling Miami's long-unmatched 1972 Perfect Season and what looks like a full frontal assault on Dan Marino's enduring 1984 record of 5,084 passing yards.
Perfection: I know, I know. Every year there is this kind of talk, and every year the old '72 Perfectos end up popping champagne. But it's only once every five years or so that there appears a super team (most recently the 2007 Patriots) actually capable of running the table -- as the defending champion Packers look like now. Not to blaspheme the holy name of Don Shula, but it could happen.
Sunday at San Diego (a 5 1/2-point betting line) and Thanksgiving Day at Detroit (a projected 4-point line based on current records) look like the only remaining games in which Green Bay won't be favored by at least seven. A Dec. 4 game at the Giants and Dec. 18 at the Chiefs are the Pack's only other remaining road games.
Of course, 16-0 doesn't cut it. Just ask those '07 Pats. A team would need to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy at 19-0 to share history with 1972.
I'd put Green Bay's likelihood of doing that at maybe 25 percent, but do not discount this mightiest of underdogs.
Passing yards: This is the year. Marino's record finally will be surpassed. It is a triple assault from three elite QBs in three pass-happy offenses in an airborne season. The Saints' Drew Brees is on pace for 5,492 yards, Packer Aaron Rodgers for 5,422 and Patriot Tom Brady for 5,397. Brees needs only 240 yards Sunday to have the most yards ever through nine games. And the Saints, Pats and Pack (in that order) rank 2-3-4 in the NFL in percentage of passing yards compared to rushing yards, with only Seattle more lopsided to the air, undeterred by the absence of a decent passer.
I put the likelihood at 85 percent that Marino's 1984 record is eclipsed, and probably by more than one guy.
Scatter-shooting the league:
Beating Miami on Sunday would make Kansas City only the fifth team since 1970 to start 0-3, then win five in a row, after the 1970 Giants, '86 Raiders, '98 Bills and 2000 Steelers.
Suck for Luck Weep-Stakes watch-list: Colts 0-8; Dolphins 0-7; Cardinals and Rams both 1-6. Teams from list favored this week: Arizona, hosting St. Louis.
Steeler Ben Roethlisberger earned his 75th career win in his 106th start last week. Only Super Bowl-era QBs faster to the plateau: Roger Staubach and Brady (both 99 games) and Ken Stabler (105).
Five times a team has rallied from at least a 20-point deficit to win, already the most ever in one season. It hadn't been done even four times since 1999.
The Ronnie and Ricky Update: Ravens' Ricky Williams leads Eagles' Ronnie Brown, 221-42, in combined season rush/catch yards.
Close counts: Fifty percent of games (58 of 116) have been decided by seven points or less. Season record is 51.3 percent in 1994.