Sep 8, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Field. The Dolphins won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins Week 1 Observations


The Miami Dolphins opened the 2013 season with a 23-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. No, this game was not a pretty win for Miami. Nor was it as big of a blow out as the score indicates.


Cleveland was ahead 7-6 entering half-time after Brandon Weeden led his team for a late second quarter touchdown. After that, however, Miami’s defense truly took over.


Yes it was a win for the defense. The offense? Not so much. Here are some observations from Sunday’s win:


  • QB Ryan Tannehill looked shaky to begin the game, which seems like a reoccurring theme. Tannehill finished the day with a pretty stat-line, though – 24/38 272 yards 1 touchdown 1 interception.
  • The running game was awful. And that may be putting it nicely, to be quite honest. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for 18 carries and 17 freakin’ yards. Oh and one touchdown I guess. Yes, Cleveland’s defense deserves some praise here. But Miami’s offensive line sucked. And the running backs did not help themselves either. If this continues we may see GM Jeff Ireland making a few calls to see what kind of shape some free agents are in (McGahee, Turner?).
  • The offensive line sucked run blocking for the entire game. Just awful. Terrible. Moving on. The line did well in pass pro. Aside from a few coverage sacks (4 total sacks) and their young QB holding onto the ball too long, the line did well (Cog was beaten badly, though..). Definitely something to build on, but not a great performance.
  • The receivers looked pretty good for the majority of the game. Brandon Gibson did have a drop, but he rebounded well finishing the game with 7 receptions for 77 yards. Brian Hartline also had a great game. He finished the night with 9 receptions for 114 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Mike Wallace played a good game, in my opinion. I understand that one reception for 15 yards is not exciting. But we felt his presence. Hartline and Gibson were open all day long. Wallace was also over-thrown and under-thrown by Tannehill on numerous occasions. Oh and he faced one of the league’s best corners in Joe Haden. Give the guy a break on this one. Next week however, he best be able to torch former Dolphin, Vontae Davis. Send him calling for his grandma.
  • The tight ends impressed me ten fold compared to ANY other group offensively. Dion Sims and Michael Egnew did not record a reception, but both did an excellent job blocking. Egnew has impressed me a ton with his blocking ability lately. The former third-round pick needs to keep it up.
  • We officially have a Charles Clay sighting. Miami Dolphins fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Clay did a great job filling in for the injured, Dustin Keller. Clay finished the day with 5 receptions for 54 yards. I know, I’m just as surprised as you are.
  • The defense, what can I say about his defense…They won the game for Miami. Point blank. Look at the tape.

    Sep 8, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (59) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Field. The Dolphins won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

  • This defense was swarming all game long. With an exception for Cleveland’s first drive, which ended in a Nolan Carroll interception, this defense looked like one of the fastest defenses this league has seen in ten years.
  • The defensive line logged SIX sacks. Cameron Wake, of course, had 2.5, Randy Starks had 1.5, Derrick Shelby had 1 strip sack and rookie first-round pick Dion Jordan also logged one sack. This defensive line is fast. They were getting constant pressure on QB Brandon Weeden and Weeden’s decision making showed it.
  • How so? He tossed three interceptions. Nolan Carroll grabbed one on the game’s first drive and Dimitri Patterson grabbed two Weeden throws. Quite an intriguing start to the season for this defensive back field.
  • One thing I did have an issue with, however, was an issue with coverage when pressure was not being forced. TE Jordan Cameron grabbed 9 balls for 108 yards and 1 beautifully thrown touchdown before the half. Hopefully tight ends do not become a problem for this team again.
  • Do I even need to mention special teams? Of course I do. Rookie K Caleb Sturgis was perfect from the field on 3/3 attempts with a long of 49. Brandon Fields is Jesus’ reincarnation booming 5 punts for a 47.6 yard average. And Marcus Thigpen looked good in the return game. If not for a Nolan Carroll (ugh) holding penalty, Thigpen would have taken a punt 74 yards to the house untouched.
  • In terms of statistics, Miami’s third down efficiency on offense was great at 50% (8-16). That being said, picking up 1 first down via running the football is not good. And committing 10 penalties for 77 yards is not something HC Joe Philbin will be happy about.
  • Miami’s defense held Cleveland to 7% third down efficiency (1/14). Beautiful.
  • They did, however, let up on fourth downs allowing Cleveland to convert on 2/4 fourth downs late in the game.


Overall grades for the game:

Offense: C-

Defense: A

Special Teams: A-


Miami will travel to Indianapolis to play the Andrew Luck led Indianapolis Colts next Sunday at 1 pm Eastern.


I will leave you with this. Don’t try to block Cameron Wake with a running back…Just a bad idea…


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Tags: Brian Hartline Cameron Wake Dimitri Patterson Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehill

  • Johnny

    Wallace wasn’t overthrown.. If you watch the play or should I say replay.. His stride was broke with alittle hand on hand action with Haden… ( which should have been illegal contact, but also like the way the ref stayed out of it )… If he didn’t get tripped up that was a touchdown!!!

    • Johnny

      Then he wouldn’t have had his little hissy fit crybaby crap… Lost respect for a Wallace who’s worried more about his individual stats then coming out with a WIN!!!

      • Johnny

        Oh yeh… And it want “numerous”
        occasions.. Don’t know what game you were watching…

        • TylerMcMullen

          Re-watch the game, Johnny.

    • TylerMcMullen

      While that’s true, it still was a poorly thrown ball. It would have been a great play by Wallace. And I counted two more occasions in which Tannehill overthrew receivers ( Wallace and Hartline and under-threw Wallace which should have been picked by Haden).

  • Cid Fernandez

    The first deep ball was a good throw. The second ball was badly placed. It should’ve been to te outside. Now you’re absolutely right about this defense but your take on the running game lacked the observation in that not once did Ryan check off the run o something else. How man of the run plays were the browns not blitzing? He’s gotta be more involved on running downs and make the call. If they’ve got 7 or 8 guys in the box audible. Mike does need to understand how to address the media even if he bothered. First week of the season is emotional so give him a pass but he will have his day.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Good break-down, Cid. Honestly, I don’t know what the issue was. Tannehill not making checks at the line or if it’s Sherman’s horrendous play calling. Thanks for the read and the comment!

  • Johnny

    Tannehill completed over 63% of his passes!!! . Which is ideal by NFL standards!!
    And if you add about 3-4 drops.. That’s over 70%!!! Why your saying Tannehill threw alot of bad passes (like to Wallace and then replied 2 more occasions)
    Is ridiculous bro!!!
    Do you expect 38 for 38?? From Tannehill and every other QB in the NFL?? Why bother having a defense??
    And you don’t count the 3-4 drops either… Just the negative…
    The fact::: Tannehill carried the team to a VICTORY…
    7 of 8 on that long drive with Thomas capping off a 1yd Touchdown…
    AND BAD OLINE.. sacked 4 times not including “hits”
    or “HURRIES”…
    Tannehill carried this team…
    Give credit where it’s due.. And count all factors like drops, hurries. and no running game…
    If you account for that.. Tannehill had a GREAT A+ game…

    • Cid Fernandez

      A+ take alot more than 24-38. Look the kid played solid but yesterday was the defenses day. If you sit there giving this win to tannehill then you senile. Listen we’re all dolphins fans here but lets be honest thT this offense looked mediocre.

    • TylerMcMullen

      The defense carried the team to a victory…

    • Pygskyn

      I appreciate the enthusiasm, and agree that Tanny had a great day under the kind of pressure he had to be feeling from a relentless pass rush, but that said, the Defense came in, lead the way and dominated. Tanny’s win? The Defenses win? Screw all of it, this was a Miami Dolphins Win! Nuff said and PHINS UP!

      • TylerMcMullen

        Lol well there you go!

  • William Varner

    Tannehill performed top notch considering he had no running game and harrassed most of the afternoon. Any complaints about a couple throws is moronic. Dan Marino would’ve been hard pressed to do the same.

    • TylerMcMullen

      It’s moronic to say that Tannehill overthrowing our multi-million dollar receiver is bad? Interesting…Top notch in the second half, yes. The first half? Did you watch the same game I did? Was Tannehill keeping us in the game? Didn’t think so. Thanks for the read and the comment, though.

      • uawphinfan

        Yeah we were in the game in the first half it was 6 to 7 at half time. Tannehill was not on the field when the defense gave up the touchdown.

        The issue in Miami is everybody remembers how great Marino was but forgets he never won us a ring!

        Marino was the greatest Phins qb ever but he fell short. Give Tannehill a chance.

        Just be glad we didn’t draft Brady Quinn like so many Phin fan’s wanted too. That would have been great!

        Phins up!

        • TylerMcMullen

          Did someone on the defense throw that interception? Was Tannehill out there picking off Weeden and consistently shutting down Cleveland’s offense? Oh. Who gave our offense great field position to begin with? Oh. Was the offense able to capitalize by putting up points? Well, I guess field goals are points.

          Everyone is over-reacting to the phrase “shaky in the first half”. Re-watch the game and I think you will agree. He had no time, was holding onto the ball waaay too long and couldn’t make the correct reads. His second half performance, however, was great.

  • Cid Fernandez

    Why is everyone getting so thin skinned with tannehill. He was solid not spectacular. I like this kid alot but there is more he needs to do. Marino would’ve seen the blitZ and checked to a pass play. I understand the run game was crap but to me it looked more like a scheme failure than a line and rb failure

  • William Varner

    Tyler, you are right..The defense won the game. No denying that. But these comments of negativity should focus more on the real negatives..the running game, O-Line, penalties..Im not being a Tannehill homer but he had one of the better QB performances this weekend. Don’t worry..Wallace will get his deep catches. For the record I do enjoy reading your articles and I wasn’t saying people were moronic just don’t think Tannehill deserves negativity this week.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Oh no I totally understand, William. Tannehill deserves his credit. He played spectacular in the second half including the kill drive which he went 7 of 8 and looked the part of a top tier NFL signal caller. Some just over-react to the phrase “shaky to begin the game”. Lol. No problems here, William. I enjoy reading what you and everyone else has to say! I’ve got tough skin :)

  • William Varner

    On a lighter note. Do you guys know where I can find some Phins fans in Jacksonville? I just moved here and unfortunately picked a Buffalo Bills bar to watch the

  • Frank DiFabio

    Tanny was much like Pennington. He managed the game. Our D won the game hands down. If the O line doesn’t push forward, its gonna be another long season, period.Wallace need to shut the eff up, he did exactly what we want him to do….open up the middle. If we can average 100 yds rushing a game, and Wallace can continue to draw a safety away from the middle, this O will do well. He will get his touches…but maybe not for a week or two more. Our front 7 might do some things on defense that we haven’t seen in football for quite sometime.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Frank, as of right now, hoping the team will average 100 yards rushing is looking like a lost cause lol. Unfortunately, this offensive line stinks at run blocking. Cleveland’s defense deserves some credit, but these guys were not getting a push up front. ON a side note, if we can get the passing attack going early it will open up the opportunity to have a strong running game. But the offensive line still has got to block. Thanks for the read and the comment, Frank!

  • drew

    The defense was definitely dominant, but what I thought changed the game was Miami’s play calling in the second half. Going deep to Mike Wallace changed Cleveland’s approach defensively. They threw a bunch of kill shots to start the half, and even if they don’t land them, it changed the way they defended. After that everyone was open. Miami’s offense played well though especially considering the running game ended up with less yards than actual carries. They scored 17 in the second half, and had 2 long drives that stalled in the first half.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Exactly, exactly. Sherman’s play calling in the second half to finally target Wallace deep and make him a threat helped change the game and really open it up. Good observation on the first half drives and second half drives, seems like we think alike. It was disappointing to see the team stall in the first half and have to resort to kicking two field goals instead of capitalizing on the defense’s stellar play. I was quite happy with the play of not only Tannehill and his receivers in the second half, but the offensive line in pass protection also. Giving Tannehill time to find his targets definitely is the only way this team is a threat in the AFC. Thanks for the read and the comment, Drew!