Miami Dolphins Week 2 Observations

Sep 15, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (21) celebrates with teammate after intercepting a pass during the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Wow what a game! The Miami Dolphins scored a huge win over the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 24-20.

As the score indicates, this was quite a tight and very, very close game up until the closing minutes. Indianapolis’ offense slowly moved the ball within scoring position late in the fourth quarter, but linebacker Philip Wheeler came flying through the middle of Indianapolis’ offensive line and sacked QB Andrew Luck on fourth-down securing the upset win for Miami.

 

Man, what a win. My heart is still pumping. Let’s take a look at a few observations I made during Miami’s 24-20 win.

 

  • QB Ryan Tannehill may be maturing into one of the league’s top young talents right in front of our eyes. Tannehill was able to best Luck in their second meeting, Luck won last season in a very similar game. Tannehill finished the night with a very nice stat-line of 23 for 34 for 319 yards and 1 touchdown. Tannehill looked cool and calm in the pocket when given time. I was only able to count one occasion in which Tannehill should have thrown the ball away instead of holding onto the ball and taking the sack.
  • There WAS a running game present! Sure, the running game was present, but it was not overly impressive. RB Lamar Miller impressed with a 14 carry, 69 yard game to go along with a nice 14-yard touchdown run showing his speed to the left side. Aside from Miller, the run game was anemic except for a 12-yard power run by RB Daniel Thomas. Thomas finished the day with 8 carries for 30 yards, but looked slow and indecisive.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, introducing WR Mike Wallace. Wallace had a coming out party, like we all predicted. Wallace did the majority of his damage facing CB Greg Toler, but also snagged some balls against former Dolphin, Vontae Davis. Wallace finished the night with 9 grabs for 115 yards, but it was his 18-yard touchdown that opened eyes. Combine that with OC Mike Sherman allowing Wallace to run more than just go-routes (proving that he is more than just a one-trick pony), Wallace had quite a spectacular night.

    Sep 15, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace (11) runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

  • TE Charles Clay may be the most under-rated guy on this Miami offense. In an offense with names such as Ryan Tannehill, Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson, Brian Hartline, and even Lamar Miller, a guy like Charles Clay goes unnoticed for the most part. Make no mistake, though, Clay is turning into quite a nice seam-threat tight end. I honestly had terrible expectations for Clay this season, and I know you did also. But Clay is proving us all wrong by showing consistent route running skills and pretty consistent hands. Clay finished the night with 5 grabs for 109 yards, including a 67-yard bomb from QB Ryan Tannehill.
  • The offensive line was awful in pass protection again, for the majority of the game. That being said, it really is not the left side of the offensive line that is struggling. Jonathan Martin held opposing rushers sack-less and Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey both performed well. RG John Jerry and RT Tyson Clabo are AWFUL. The worst part is that I am not sure that there is an immediate fix on the roster or out there as a free agent. Miami will likely have to ride this out and wait until the free agency period and draft-time to fill this huge void along the offensive line.
  • The pass rush that we saw against Cleveland was non-existent against Indianapolis. Honestly, I don’t know where these guys were. DE Cameron Wake did not look like himself allowing RT Godser Cherilus to own him all game. QB Andrew Luck even broke out of Wake’s grasp at one point. DE Olivier Vernon was owned all game by LT Anthony Castanzo and the DT trio could not get to luck to save their lives. DE Derrick Shelby did however grab a strip sack for the second week in a row, but this defensive line should have owned Indianapolis’ offensive line.
  • Take a look at these stats: Dannell Ellerbe 14 total tackles (6 solo), Philip Wheeler 12 total tackles (8 solo), Koa Misi 3 total tackles (0 solo). While it looks like the linebackers played a pretty good game, they didn’t. I was unimpressed with these three in coverage. Ellerbe looks slow in coverage. The other two looked alright. Ellerbe and Misi seem to be catching tackles instead of attacking the ball carrier against the run. And I would like to see Wheeler really take over against the run. I would like to point out Philip Wheeler’s impressive game clinching sack, however. He’s fast.
  • Okay, Brent Grimes and Nolan Carroll played admirably. They did their best job. Hell, Reggie Wayne was held to 5 receptions for 46 yards. That’s excellent. Heck Darrius Heyward-Bey only snagged 2 balls for 10 yards before being limited due to an injury. That’s impressive, add in Grimes’ incredibly athletic interception and they both played a great game. My issue here is Jimmy Wilson. Wilson saw the majority of his work against WR T.Y. Hilton. Um, WHY!? Wilson looked awful and I’m beginning to question if he won’t be cut once rookies Will Davis and Jamar Taylor get themselves healthy. Cross your fingers.
  • The safety play left much to be desired. Chris Clemons had two opportunities to come up with an interception and as commentator Dan Fouts said, “Stone-hands Chris Clemons” could not come up with it. Other than that, I thought Clemons played a good game. Reshad Jones, on the other hand, disappointed me. And has disappointed me during both of Miami’s games. Jones was beaten numerous times by TE Coby Fleener. Fleener ended the night with 4 receptions for 69 yards and 1 touchdown. I pray that covering tight ends will not become an issue for this Miami team again.
  • K Caleb Strugis has ice blood running through his body. The kid has a strong leg and pairs it with very good accuracy.

 

Miami will be facing one of the NFC’s powerhouses next Sunday as they take on the Atlanta Falcons (1-1). Miami will need the defense that played against Cleveland if they want any shot at stealing a victory from a play-off favorite for the second week in a row. If Miami’s offense plays with the same efficiency they did this week paired with the defense that we saw against Cleveland, this game could end up being a real nail-biter. If not, Atlanta’s high powered offense could end up taking over early and quite often. This game will prove if Miami belongs in the play-off conversation.

Remember, for the best deals on Miami Dolphins tickets throughout the season, visit our friends at TiqIQ.com.

Topics: Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins, Mike Wallace, Philip Wheeler, Ryan Tannehill

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  • Karen Melanson Hartman

    Good show Dolphins, I like how Philbin is quiet & confident , but doesn’t give out compliments too easily. Good coaching staff produces effective play. I wish I could say the same thing about our men

    • TylerMcMullen

      Wish I could say the same about our offensive line.

  • Johnny

    107.9 QB rating… That’s all.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Yup!

  • Eric Burkes

    I agree with everything, except Brent Grimes. If he would have spent half the effort he put into trying to intercept the ball, in trying to defend the pass, then the game would have gone a lot more in Dolphins favor. He gave up some large gains. And what was up with the 20 yard buffer off of the receiver? Is he really that slow that he would be that worried about being beat? The Dolphins gave him 5 million for 1 year.

    • Jcartwright67

      Eric…he’s our most athletic CB and worth every penny in NFL salary terms. I saw a different game. I saw a guy in great position on just about every play. He came through when we needed him.

    • TylerMcMullen

      Eric, for some reason I can’t read your comment. But judging from J’s reply I’m assuming you think Grimes played badly? Honestly, I thought Grimes played well. Sure he was beaten a few times, but he’s a gambler. I’d rather have him than not have him. Not to mention, the play by T.Y. Hilton was just an amazing grab. Grimes is consistently in the correct position every single play. The most consistent CB we have had in years upon years upon years.

  • Jcartwright67

    Its like I thought it and you wrote. Great minds!!! I was coming unglued after our anemic 2nd Q but Sturgis closed it well for us. Great showing for Tanny, Wallace and Clay…where’d Gibson go…I’m never satisfied. I’m looking forward to this Sunday…I use to cringe when seeing a playoff team on our schedule..now I like our chances. We improved week one to two as a team. I’d like to see our O-line improve…maybe Ross should send a tweet like Indy’s owner…it worked didn’t it!

    • TylerMcMullen

      I hear you on that second quarter man. I was right there with you lol. But I was happy they put together a decent drive and Sturgis nailed a 54 yarder. Man does that kid have a leg on him. We consistently step up our game against potential play-off teams therefore I like our chances at a 9-11 win season. Hopefully our oline gets us there. If there’s one conclusion I can draw from the first two weeks here about this team it’s that this team will only go as far as the offensive line allows them. Thanks for the read and the comment as always man!

  • William Varner

    This game unfolded as it should. I never expected the defense to shut them down, just limit them. The greatest thing fans should be excited about is when we needed it the most, someone stepped up for us on offense, defense and special teams. Now if we don’t get pressure all day on Matt Ryan this Sunday, it’s going to take our offense matching them score for score. Im most worried about our CBs vs Atlanta’s big, fast receivers. I don’t think we match up well. So have a pass rush is going to be crucial to our success..Awwrriigghht Miami!! 2-0 looking for #3 at home.

    • TylerMcMullen

      We definitely do not match up well with Atlanta’s receivers if Patterson is limited again. With Julio, Roddy and Harry Douglas in the slot, it’s going to be tough for our secondary to keep them in check. Similar to what you said, we just have to limit them. If Ryan has all day to throw like Luck did, Miami has absolutely no shot of winning. Even if Miami can drive the ball on offense, I would still put my money on Atlanta’s offense in the end. It will be interesting, however, to see if RB Steven Jackson is good to go. If he’s not, it almost makes Atlanta’s offense one dimensional. Which could help Miami’s defense. But it could also hurt them. Here’s hoping!

  • Chris

    I agree with all of your observations, Ty. I think the lack of a pass rush against Indy could be a blessing in disguise, in that Wake + Co will be extra hungry for next week’s game. I imagine Cam feels some kind of way about sliding off Luck in the backfield and that’ll probably show against Atlanta. I like Clay’s development so far this year. Hopefully, him and Sims can start wreaking havoc together. Probably we’ll see Egnew, Wilson, Jerry and Clabo gone next season. I’ve been rooting for Jimmy since he made the team but he’s proven to be a consistent liability in the secondary. Teams blatantly throw at him because they know what kind of plays he’ll give up. I hope he turns it around quick. The Fins will have their work cut out for them the next 3 weeks. We’ll learn who really is ready to step up and play at the next level and who’s going to get exposed. Go Fins!

    • TylerMcMullen

      I really hope they can get a pass rush going against Atlanta, Chris. Giving Luck all of the time in the world to throw is one thing with limited weapons, but Ryan with Julio, Roddy White, Harry Douglas and T-Gonzo not to mention Jackson if he’s fully healthy, that could be dangerous for Miami. A pass rush is a must in this week 3 match-up.

      As for the tight ends, I’m impressed also. Clay has impressed me so much thus far and Egnew’s blocking is getting quite good.

      And agreed on Wilson. He was a great story out of Montana, but he’s a liability in the secondary and teams consistently target him. We must get healthy back there to fix this! And fast!! Thanks for the read and the comment, Chris! Keep on giving us your input, man!

      • Chris

        After reading this, this morning: “Vernon is statistically rated the NFL’s worst defensive end after two games. Making matters worse is the fact Derrick Shelby, his backup, has recorded four tackles, two sacks and a two forced fumbles in his 37 snaps.”
        What are your thoughts on this? If Shelby is producing, at what point do you start getting him more snaps? If it were me, I’d have whoever is hot taking more snaps. With Jordan and Shelby, where does a struggling Vernon fit in?

        • TylerMcMullen

          Well, and remember this is just my opinion, Shelby is picking up “fake” sacks. Now, I’m not dishing on Shelby. He’s a good player and a pretty good pass rusher. But 1. He has two strip sacks. All he has done is punched the ball out from behind. 2. He’s getting the benefit of the doubt due to Wake, Vernon, etc. being double teamed on the play. With that being said, I don’t doubt the team might give Shelby a bigger look during games to see if he can “play with the big dogs” or at least start and give the team a better edge player than Vernon. Vernon is disappointing me a crap load, I’m one of his biggest supporters since his college days. In the end, the hope is that Jordan will eventually win the job from Vernon giving Vernon the same role he had last year as a situational guy. I think in reality that’s what we all want lol.

          • Chris

            Yeah, hopefully Jordan learns quick because Atlanta will be tough. In my opinion though, 1. I could argue a “fake sack” in which the football is stripped from the QB is better than a “real” sack where the QB holds on to the ball. We know how much emphasis Philbin has put on winning the TO battle and stripping the ball out of the QB’s hands is a good start. 2. I didn’t realize Shelby was seeing the field when both Wake and Vernon were out there is well. I thought he was subbing in for Vernon, in which case he’d be receiving the same benefit of the doubt as Vernon, with opponents double teaming Wake. All I know is, if Shelby has 2 FF’s in 37 snaps, maybe give him a few more? Especially with Soliai out…Fins Up

          • TylerMcMullen

            This is true, this is true. I’d give him some more reps especially this week against Atlanta. We need a pass rush. If Vernon is slacking off again, sub in Shelby and see if he can get a push!

  • FlFred

    Finally !! In the Colts game, I was sure that I was the only one who found #27 ( JW ) standing around after the tackle wondering – what happened ? And Coach Philbin praised JW’s play for God’s sake.
    Go figure… Having said all that, I enjoy your analysis Tyler and welcome your columns . Atlanta should be
    quite a challenge. Go Dolphins !!

    • TylerMcMullen

      Lol I’m thinking Philbin is doing a coaches job there to try and shield his player from being attacked. Wilson sucks. Lol. Thank you for your kind words, my man! Really means a lot. And yes! Atlanta should be quite a challenge. But it’s looking like it might turn into quite a game with Atlanta’s quad being so beat up! We shall see!