It’s official, after a big-time win over the St. Louis Rams (3-3), the Miami Dolphins are now 3-3 entering their bye week.
Miami was able to win a hard fought defensive struggle Sunday, by a 17-14 margin. If not for 3 Greg Zuerlein field goals – the rookie had been perfect from the field until Sunday – the game could have looked A LOT different.
The Rams won the yardage battle 462 to 192 – does something look wrong here? St. Louis seemingly ran Miami’s defense all over the field Sunday, but simply could not come up big with scoring plays. Miami, on the other hand, came up with scoring drives when the team needed to.
Although Miami won, there were many things that simply did NOT impress me at all…
-Rookie Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is a serious contender for Offensive Rookie Of The Year in my eyes. Nobody, including myself, thought Tannehill could come in and be this impressive so early on in the season. Tannehill finished Sunday with a stat line of 21-29 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. This kid seriously looks like the real deal, Miami fans.
-Running Back Reggie Bush looked good in spurts, again. Bush seems scared to run between the tackles now – 12 carries for 17 yards, 5 receptions for 44 yards – after beginning the season fearlessly. Some of the blame can be placed upon the offensive line for not creating gaping holes, but Bush needs to stick his foot into the ground and get himself up field. On a side note, it was awesome to see Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman involve Bush in the passing game. Keep it up.
-Disappointing not to see more of Rookie Tail Back Lamar Miller. Miller has way too much talent and big play ability to sit on the bench. Bush clearly was not getting it done on the ground, why not give Miller some looks?
-Wide Receiver Brian Hartline WAS leading the league in receiving yards, that is until the St. Louis defense and corner Cortland Finnegan shut him out. Hartline was only targeted on two occasions and was held without a catch. Finnegan was all over Hartline.
-Wide Receivers Davone Bess – 6 receptions 42 yards – and Marlon Moore – 3 receptions 43 yards 1 touchdown – both stepped up for their rookie signal caller. Bess truly is Mr. Third-Down. It’s amazing to think that going into Sunday, Bess had 22 receptions – 17 of which were first downs. Moore, on the other hand, had some what of a coming out party. It will be interesting to see if the 25 year old speedster can be a key part of this offense going forward.
-Kind of seems like Sherman wants to get tight end Charles Clay involved as much as he can – 1 reception for 8 yards. Clay needs to start catching anything thrown his way – he has serious talent to become a big play threat, all he has to do is hang on to the ball.
-Tight End Anthony Fasano put together another solid game – 4 receptions 33 yards 1 touchdown. Fasano may be having his best season as a dolphin – I guess a tight end really is a rookie quarterback’s best friend, huh?
-The Offensive Line disappointed me run blocking wise. It’s disappointing to see our guards stink at run blocking – mostly because they are both huge dudes. Richie Incognito and John Jerry looked horrific, although Jake Long and Jonathan Martin didn’t look any better. There was constantly a St. Louis defender breaking through the protection on stretch plays and blasts to the 5 and 6 holes. Terrible.
-Pass Blocking was a strong suite of the line, Sunday. Miami’s Offensive Line only surrendered two sacks to a ferocious pass rush coming fresh off a 9-sack performance.
-Oh boy, the run defense was finally exploited. It seems that shift and speedy running backs are giving Miami’s front seven a hard time. The Rams were able to muster 162 yards on 27 carries against the former #1 unit against the run. Miami now falls from #1 against the run, to #5 at 78.2 yards per game.
-Defensive Tackle Randy Starks, can you have a better season? Seriously..Big Randy Starks is quietly having a season for the ages. Starks only had 1 tackle Sunday, but was constantly forcing runs to the outside – which allows his speedy linebackers to make the play. Starks quite possibly is the defense’s most valuable player.
-Defensive End Cameron Wake – 3 tackles 1 sack – has finally gotten himself on a roll. Wake is quietly contesting for the lead among sack leaders at 6.5 on the season. Is there a pass rusher out there as feared as Wake is based on pure pass rushing ability?
-Linebacker Karlos Dansby was really the only linebacker that stood out Sunday – 9 total tackles. Dansby was constantly stuffing the run, but was again exploited in coverage. Oh well. Seems like a reoccurring theme.
-Miami’s defensive back field had a day to forget. Take a look at these stats – Chris Clemons – 9 total tackles, Nolan Carroll – 6 total tackles, Reshad Jones – 6 total tackles, Sean Smith – 5 total tackles. Typically, you don’t want your starting secondary racking up 26 tackles. From constantly allowing one receiver to break free to shaky tackling, the defensive back field just had a bad day. This young secondary needs to step up and play more consistent for this Miami defense to become one of the NFL’s more respected units.
-Corner back Sean Smith, you let me down brother. From absolutely owning two of the league’s elite receivers, Smith took a huge step back Sunday getting OWNED by Wide Receiver Brandon Gibson. Step it up, Sean!
-One last positive, a Miami Hurricane had a huge impact on the game Sunday!! Rookie Defensive End Olivier Vernon played his butt off – 4 tackles 2 sacks. Vernon finally figured out how to get to the quarterback, and get to him often! Keep it up big fella.
Special Teams -
-Kicker Dan Carpenter finally nailed a 42 yard attempt. Nice to see Carpenter nail a field goal with swirling winds.
-Punter Brandon Fields punted 6 times for an average of 50.3 yards per kick. Fields was able to flip the field for Miami whenever the offense could not get anything going. Not to mention he had a long of 63 yards. MVP.
-Kick-Punt Returner Marcus Thigpen wasn’t given many looks Sunday. Thigpen returned two kicks for a 34 yard average – a long of 44 yards. Hopefully Thigpen will get more chances!
- Defensive Back Jimmy Wilson was an absolute monster on kick and punt coverage. Wilson may never be a starting caliber safety-corner, but he has turned into quite a beast on special teams!
Miami definitely has many things to fix and tweak going into the bye week. One positive is having two weeks to prepare for the New York Jets! Hopefully Miami can capitalize on their opportunity here and get HEALTHY!
As always, Keep Your Fins UP!!
—-ALL STATISTICS TAKEN FROM NFL.COM—-