Well Dolphins fans, week 4 is in the books and unfortunately the Dolphins are 1-3. If your an optimist the moral victory is that they are only 3 missed field goals away from being 3-1, but moral victories aren’t good enough. Today the Dolphins played a hell of a game against the Arizona Cardinals. Cameron Wake, Brian Hartline, Ryan Tannehill, and Sean Smith ALL had career games, still, all the Dolphins have to show for it is an overtime loss. There isn’t much to say other than: it’s too bad.
It’s too bad that Ryan Tannehill’s 431 yard effort will get overshadowed by an over time pick that led to the winning scoring drive. It’s too bad that Sean Smith’s game saving interception (his second of the day) in the end zone did not ultimately save the game. It’s too bad that Cameron Wakes 5 sacks did not rattle Kevin Kolb to the breaking point. It’s too bad that Brian Hartline’s historic day, the best day for a wide receiver in Dolphin’s history, occurred in a painful, painful loss.
The silver lining is we learned a lot about this team. Here are just a few of those things.
#1) The Run D Is Stellar: This is something we say seemingly every week, but they allowed 28 yards…. just 28. Total. They were so good the Cardinals practically gave up trying to run… which leads to point number two.
#2) The Secondary Isn’t BAD, But It Certainly Is Not Clutch: It’s hard to classify the Dolphins secondary as bad. Sean Smith had a pretty great game and for the most part they shut down demigod Larry Fitzgerald. Sure, Richard Marshall gets beat too often to feel comfortable with him being the starting number two corner on the team, but the pass defense comes up with its share of stops as well. This is especially true when the pass rush is there. When there is pressure on the QB the secondary is often lights out (obviously), but given any amount of time a decent quarterback has no trouble picking apart our zone D. So far this season it seems that has been happening most often on crucial third and fourth down plays late in the game.
#3) Legadu Naanee and Daniel Thomas are running out of time: Both Thomas and Naanee had bad games today. Thomas’ problem is that he isn’t as good as Javorski Lane in short yardage situations and he doesn’t have the burst to be a play maker like Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller. He is going to have to distinguish himself soon or he may be losing a lot of snaps.
As For Naanee, he has caught just one pass so far this season. It came today on a beautiful throw from Ryan Tannehill. That catch was good for a first down, at least it would have been. Naanee immediately fumbled the football despite the fact he was untouched. The ball was picked up by the Cardinals and returned to Miami’s own three. You have to figure his future is in danger.
#4) Tannehill…. the real deal: Here is the stat line on Ryan Tannehill today. 26-41 for 431 yards 1 TD 2 INTs and a passer rating of 86.5. At least one of those two INTs were not his fault. Hartline slipped on a timing pattern and only the CB was left to make the play. The second pick came in over time and even that probably wouldn’t have been an interception if Tannehill had just a fraction of a second longer to throw ( he was hit as he released the ball). Forget the interceptions, Tannehill looked amazing. He did not lose the game for the Dolphins. He did nearly everything in his power to get them the win. He threw crisp, accurate passes all day. He threaded needles, he found open men, he made smart decisions (mostly). Its to early to christen him anything other than a rookie with tremendous potential, but as a fan you have got to be excited to watch him grow up.
While this was a tough loss to swallow, there were a lot of bright spots. We would be celebrating them all had this one fallen our way, but since it did not we have a long week ahead of us. Just remember to keep your Phins up and hope we play this well next week against the Bengals.