Well fans, it was a tough test to begin the season for the Miami Dolphins. Miami has never beaten the Houston Texans in franchise history – not to mention Houston is a hot favorite for Super Bowl contention, while Miami is a favorite for the top draft spot in April.
No, the team did not put up much of a fight against a talented Houston team. But the squad was able to impress me and exceed my expectations.
-Ryan Tannehill (20-36 219 yards 3 INTS) looked calm in the pocket for the first quarter and a half. Tannehill was getting rid of the ball quickly and efficiently to his receivers. Although Tannehill threw 3 interceptions – I truly believe none of the 3 were his fault. Tannehill’s first INT was a good read by the defender on a jumped route – not to mention Legedu Naanee should have at least put forth some sort of effort to catch the ball. The other two were tipped at the line of scrimmage by Houston defensive end, JJ Watt – it just so happened the ball was tipped straight up to one of Watt’s teammates.
-Reggie Bush looked great – 14 carries 69 yards 6 receptions 46 yards. Bush showed his explosiveness that we all witnessed last year, along with the tenacious running style between the tackles that most believed Bush could never do successfully. Bush showed his unique skill set is a perfect fit for the Dolphins new offensive scheme.
-Anthony Fasano (3 receptions 19 yards) impressed me. Bottom line. Fasano was the safety valve for Mr. Tannehill. When Ryan found himself in trouble or in need of a play, he found Fasano.
-Jonathan Martin impressed me in the first half, but seemed to remind me of his nightmare preseason in the second half. Martin needs to get his act together and play like an NFL starter – or he will be replaced.
-Davone Bess and Brian Hartline were easily the two biggest threats at wide receiver for Miami in this one. Bess hauled in 5 receptions for 45 yards and looked like Tannehill’s favorite target. Tannehill found Bess on numerous third down situations and while facing the blitz. Hartline hauled in 3 receptions for 50 yards, including a 34 yard reception down the sideline.
-Running Back Daniel Thomas left the game with an apparent head injury and did not return.
-It was clear that Miami was lacking a threat at wide receiver during this contest. Whether or not Miami will try to bring someone in to fill this void remains to be seen – but don’t sleep on this offense.
-Koa Misi played his butt off today. Misi was able to track down the ball carrier for 11 total tackles – 10 solo, 1 assist. Although Misi was very frustrating in pass coverage, he was able to tackle cleanly and stuff Houston’s rush attack.
-Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett showed why Miami’s coaching staff is so high on this linebacking corp. Dansby finished the day with 9 total tackles – 6 solo, 3 assists – and finally looked the part of Miami’s best linebacker. Burnett finished with 5 total tackles – 3 solo, 2 assists – and was constantly taking on the lead blocker on rushing downs.
-Miami’s run defense, again, was the strong point in this one. Miami was able to hold the league’s best running back combination to 31 attempts for 85 yards and two touchdowns. That’s quite impressive.
-Randy Starks played his butt off and was easily the team’s defensive MVP. Starks was able to muster two sacks against Houston’s offensive line. Not only was Starks disrupting on passing downs, he was also constantly in the back field on rushing downs.
-Chris Clemons was depressing when forced to make an open field tackle. Clemons “whiffed” on numerous occasions. It seems as though Miami has a bigger void at safety than the organization thought.
-Owen Daniels carved Miami’s defense up – again – on what seemed like play after play after play. Covering tight ends is clearly this team’s weakness – still.
-Miami’s defense held Houston to a mere 3 points during the first 25 minutes of the game. Yes, the same Houston offense who is thought to be one of the league’s best. Although the team let up during the remainder of the game, it is hard to overlook this feat.
-Marcus Thigpen was the highlight of the day – scoring Miami’s only touchdown of the contest on a 72 yard punt return. Thigpen also almost broke the big one on a kick return, but was tripped up just as he hit the hole.
-Miami’s punt and kick coverages were as good as always. Marlon Moore and Jimmy Wilson were the two standouts of the day on kick coverage pinning Houston deep in their own territory.
-Brandon Fields – well, he’s a god.
-Dan Carpenter was his good old self hitting an easy 39 yard chip shot.
Miami still has a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball. Offensively the team needs to find an identity – and the offensive line NEEDS to gel together. Defensively the team needs to find a way to cover tight ends – PLEASE!
Well, it’s on to Oakland, fans!!
Keep your fins up!!!
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