What a game this past Sunday down in the “Sun Shine State”, huh? The Miami Dolphins picked up their first win of the season against the Oakland Raiders – 35-13.
Miami was able to pull together after a 10-7 deficit at half-time and put together a well rounded effort to earn themselves a big “W”.
The squad was able to do many great things – but of course there were some “not so good” plays or instances in the game. Here are some thoughts and observations I was able to pick up on:
-Ryan Tannehill – What a day for this young gun, huh? Completing 18 of 30 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown. Did I mention that he also rushed 3 times for 14 yards and a score? The “Tan-chise” scored his first passing touchdown of his career and his first rushing touchdown of his career in the same game! Mike Sherman helped Tannehill cut down on tipped passes at the line of scrimmage by moving the pocket and utilizing Tannehill’s unique athletic ability.
-Reggie Bush had a spectacular day – If Bush is not the player of the week then I will be upset. Bush had a career high 26 carries on the day for 172 yards and two touchdowns (3 receptions for 25 yards also). Bush scored on a long run of 65 yards, but the play of the day was easily his electric 23 yard scamper for a score. Reggie took the ball up the middle, yes between the tackles, and was able to fend off would-be tacklers for the score. Bush easily deserves the game ball for his heroic performance.
-Lamar Miller – The rookie was able to step in for the injured Daniel Thomas (concussion) and perform at the highest level possible. Miller, a former Miami Hurricane, was given 10 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown in his home opener. Miller was also in on pass protection on many occasions and was able to hold his own against on coming rushers.
-Brian Hartline looked like Tannehill’s favorite target on the day – early and often. Hartline finished the day with 9 receptions for 111 yards. Hartline was even double covered in some instances and was still able to find an opening in the defense to give his rookie quarterback a target. Welcome back, Brian.
-Legadu Naanee – Did you even play? Where were you? Why is this guy still on the team? Why is he even starting…?
-The offensive line struggled to open the game, quite a bit. Jake Long looked sluggish during the first half – easily the worst first half of his career (Giving up one sack and numerous pressures). Rookie right tackle, Jonathan Martin, actually impressed me quite a bit in this contest. Martin held his own against a strong Oakland defensive line. Kudos to the rookie. John Jerry was easily the best run blocker of the day – although I noticed on one run up the middle Jerry missed a key block (if he had hit the backer, Bush would have been gone). In the long run, the offensive line turned it all around in the second half, helping the offense score 4 touchdowns in the second half to just one Oakland field goal.
-Overall, (per nfl.com) the team ran 43 running plays for 263 rushing yards good for a 6.1 yard per carry average – DOMINANCE!
-The front seven played their butts off once again. The team has yet to allow a 100 yard rusher in 16 consecutive regular season games. Impressive? Want something even more impressive? So far this season Miami has faced Arian Foster – Houston, and Darren McFadden – Oakland – Miami is fourth in the league in rushing defense allowing 53.0 yards per game on the ground (those are two all-pro running backs). That’s impressive!
-Thanks to the great play of Miami’s front seven, Darren McFadden was not able to get anything going on the ground – 11 carries for 22 yards – and Oakland as a team was only able to muster 23 yards on 14 carries for the day. That’s a great game for Miami’s front seven.
-Koa Misi has seemed to find a new life in Miami’s new scheme on defense. Although Misi only recorded 3 tackles on the day, all three were huge stops. Hopefully Misi can keep this up.
-Carson Palmer was able to find success against our secondary – surprise, surprise! Miami really needs to upgrade this unit during the offseason.
-Chris Clemons played well at times, and other times he played horrendous. That’s all I’ve got.
-Reshad Jones actually played well Sunday. Jones stuck his head in there on 3 occasions for the tackle and was able to intercept a Carson Palmer pass (although he should have had another). If we put aside his dropped interception, Jones played great.
-Karlos Dansby had 8 combined tackles (7 solo, 1 assist) but actually did not impress me. Dansby looked great last week against Houston in coverage but was beat at least three times by Oakland tight end – Brandon Myers. Dansby needs to be the leader of this great defense – hopefully he steps up his game during the next few days or Dustin Keller will shred this team.
-Marcus Thigpen had a few nice returns this week against Oakland (5 returns for 14 yard per return average). Is it just me, or do you also get really excited whenever this kid fields a punt?
-Davone Bess was back to return punts when Oakland was punting near mid-field. It seems as though the staff cherishes Bess’ sure hands.
-Brandon Fields continues to impress, of course. Fields is a freak of nature with a boot!
-Dan Carpenter was able to go 5/5 on extra points and gave us a little “pooch punt” on a long field goal attempt.
-Olivier Vernon , a former Miami Hurricane, dished out one of the hardest hits I’ve seen in awhile on kick coverage. Vernon is quickly playing himself into a role on this Miami Dolphins team.
-Miami played excellent in the second half, earning themselves a victory. If Miami is able to pull off an upset over the rival New York Jets this Sunday, the Dolphins will have quite a foundation to build on this season. Expect a hard fought game – especially if Jets’ star corner Darrelle Revis cannot go.
As always, Keep your Fins up!!!