The Miami Dolphins had a tough go of it this past Sunday, getting torn up by Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Luck threw for a NFL rookie record, 433 yards and led his team to an astounding 13 of 19 3rd down conversions on what was the number one defense in the NFL at stopping third down plays.
The ‘Phins offense also wasn’t effective; seeming one dimensional at times. Ryan Tannehill played a solid game going 22 of 38 for 290 yards and one touchdown, but against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, he should not have had nearly as many attempts. The Dolphins only ran the ball a total of 18 times in the game for 85 yards and one spectacular, ankle breaking touchdown by Reggie Bush. Outside of the play by Bush, the run game was ineffective and relatively abandoned by offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.
The loss this past Sunday was in my opinion, the most painful this season, ( hard to believe with the ‘Phins two overtime losses that had no business even going to overtime, *cough* Dan Carpenter *cough* ) the Dolphins got whooped in all three phases of the game. The worst part is, in the midst of getting destroyed by Luck and Reggie Wayne, the Dolphins had two chances to score a go ahead touch down or tie the game with a field goal. Anyone who follows the NFL knows, there is a huge difference between 4-4 and 5-3, making those failed last minute drives even more heart wrenching.
We may be down, but we’re not out. The Dolphins still have an outside chance of claiming a wild card playoff spot.
The ‘Phins upcoming schedule is pretty favorable. They have the Tennessee Titans at home (30th in total defense), @ Buffalo Bills (31st in total defense), and home against the Seattle Seahawks (4th in total defense, but 29th in total offense).
Examining the first match up against the Titans, this is the perfect game to get this team back into the winning column. The Titans defense is 30th in the NFL giving up 141.6 yards per game on the ground. If the Dolphins can start getting their stable of running backs going in Bush, Daniel Thomas, and Lamar Miller (hopefully he gets touches) it’ll open up all kinds of opportunities in the passing game going forward.
Against the Colts, the Dolphins run defense lived up to expectations only giving up 97 total rushing yards, but the pass defense was once again exploited. If the run defense continues to be as stout as it has been all season then a 3 game winning streak is completely in reach. The Titans are the only “solid” passing attack this team is going to face over the next three weeks (Buffalo is 27th and Seattle is 31st), but Jake Locker hasn’t played in five games so who knows how they are going to fair through the air.
If the Dolphins can get their ground game moving again and the defense to start batting down or heaven forbid intercepting balls (Talking to you Sean “Stonehands” Smith!) this team has still got a legitimate chance to contend for a playoff berth. The game against the Titans this Sunday is the perfect match up to catapult this team to what could be their best all season.
So, Dolphins fans, keep your heads up and remain optimistic, we aren’t contending for a Super Bowl this year, but a chance at a playoff berth let alone a winning season, is a step in the right direction.