The Miami Dolphins lost today, not surprisingly, but it’s the way they lost that gives a glimmer of hope to the 2012 season and beyond. If you are one of those fans who have nothing but garbage to say, then do yourself and everyone else a favor and stay off this site. Today’s game wasn’t about Ryan Tannehill’s three pick performance or the fact that the Dolphins failed to score a touchdown offensively. It was about far more.
Through one and one half quarters the Dolphins played inspired football. Ryan Tannehill was commanding the offense, moving around the pocket and driving the team down-field. Unfortunately, the lack of quality playmakers became evident as the Dolphins couldn’t make that final push to get into the endzone. Through that same period, the team led by 3 before surrendering a game tying field goal following Tannehill’s first INT.
The story of the day belonged to Tannehill. In a span of five series, the Dolphins turned the ball over four times and each of those TO’s led to points by the Houston Texans. The first, a slant to Legedu Naane was more on Naane than anything else. Naane failed to use his 6-5 frame to shield the defender and instead allowed the defender underneath him on the slant to take the ball away. It wasn’t even a jumped route, Naane did nothing but turn his shoulder away from the ball allowing the defender to muscle through.
Following the first INT for Tannehill of the 2012 season, the next two series will surely drum up debate. Tannehill couldn’t get the ball past the line of scrimmage. Depending on opinion, either Tannehill simply couldn’t make the throws or the offensive line couldn’t control their blocking assignments. On both of the subsequent picks, Tannehill had his passes batted at the line of scrimmage into the air for picks. On both picks, the offensive line failed to keep the defensive lineman from getting their hands up in the air. On the second tipped INT, Jonathan Martin clearly was not engaged in his block allowing JJ Watts the ability to freely jump up and knock the ball down.
The Texans would force a Daniel Thomas fumble on the fourth drive and convert all four turnovers into 24 points. Take away the turnovers and the Texans scored a total of six points off the Dolphins.
The defense struggled as expected from time to time but did a decent job for most of the game. They surrendered the 24 points off turnovers but for most of the 2nd quarter never left the field but for a one play breather until the offense turned it back over. Defensively, Koa Misi looked really good on the outside. He maintained his position and did well in opposite field pursuit.
The Dolphins were simply outmatched. The Texans are a team many believe will be a Super Bowl contender and the Dolphins played well enough to win for all but five plays. If nothing else, it’s the positives that came from today’s games that should really be focused on.
A: Ryan Tannehill wasn’t rattled by the blitzing Texas linebackers and did well to shrug off not one but three INT’s.
B: The Dolphins may have finally found a legit return guy in RB Marcus Thigpen. Thigpen returned a punt for a TD. Something that the Dolphins haven’t seen since Ted Ginn was still here. Or at least that’s how it seems and to be honest, I don’t want to look it up to find out.
C: Reggie Bush is the real deal. Bush rushed for 69 yards and would likely have eclipsed the 100 yard mark if the team hadn’t had such a disastrous 2nd quarter. He added another 46 in the passing game.
D: The Dolphins will likely make a move this week for another WR, possibly two. Brian Hartline caught 3 passes for 50 yards and Bess was his usual reliable self. The only other WR to register a catch was Anthony Armstrong.
E: Joe Philbin kept his team in the game and made no glaring rookie mistakes. No ill timed uses of time outs, no bad challenges, and for the most part kept his team focused. Second half adjustments are hard to really gauge considering the team entered the 2nd half down by three touchdowns.
Coming out of this week, a game in which the Dolphins were almost guaranteed to lose, they showed that they are not as bad as the pre-season indicated. With the Raiders coming to town next week for the teams home opener, it’s very possible that the Dolphins could be 1-1 going into week 3. They showed enough to believe that this team may finally have made a turn, whether that turn is yet another dead end or the road to recovery remains to be seen.
We will take a look at the worst events from today, later or early tomorrow.