I’m sick. I’m disappointed. I’m unsettled. After a 3-0 start which included victories over teams such as the Indianapolis Colts and the Atlanta Falcons, the Miami Dolphins were riding high. Tannehill was playing smart football. The defense was generating pressure and forcing turnovers and the coaching staff was making the appropriate decisions to achieve success. Now, with the Dolphins in the midst of a three game losing streak, it seems as if the first three weeks of the season was just an honest fluke.
The loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football was expected. The loss to the Baltimore Ravens was discouraging. But the loss to the Buffalo Bills? Well, that’s just inexcusable.
Prior to today’s game, the last time the Miami Dolphins took to the field was October 6th. That means the coaching staff had two long weeks to help prepare for the Buffalo Bills. Coach Philbin and his staff had the chance to implement a game plan that can help get them back into the win column. Two weeks to prepare for a backup quarterback who was playing on the road in just his second career start. Instead, the coaching staff failed miserably.
Over the course of the season, some of the biggest problems that the Dolphins have been up against has been the running game and the offensive line. Today, the running game was actually quite impressive. For the first time all season, running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for over 100 yards on the ground. Miller, rushed for 43 yards on 9 carries, while Thomas ran for a season high 60 yards on 12 carries.
The offensive line also played pretty decent. Game after game Ryan Tannehill has been mostly seen on his back. Even though the line isn’t entirely at fault for the record amount of sacks that have been given up, they have not yet played up to their expectations. Through the first five games, Tannehill has been sacked 4,5,5,4 and 6 times. With a tremendous amount of pressure put on the line to perform today, they had a season best performance, allowing just two sacks.
With two of the biggest issues virtually being positives today, the Dolphins were in a great position to improve to 4-2. Instead, the coaching staff decided to blow the game. With the team up by a point late in the fourth quarter, all they had to do was run and protect the football, which they have been doing very well all day. Successfully doing so would have either put the game away or give the ball to Bills quarterback, Thaddeus Lewis, with very little time remaining and no timeouts.
But what did offensive coordinator Mike Sherman do instead of running the football? He thought it would be a genius idea to let Tannehill throw the ball. Throwing the ball in that situation had many negatives. A risk of a bad snap. The possibility of throwing an interception. An incomplete pass, which would have stopped the clock or a sack which could turn into a fumble.
Wait. That last one. What did I say? I said a sack that could result in a fumble. No that would never happen. The Dolphins offensive line normally doesn’t let up big sacks. Oh wait, they do? That’s right! They do! The Miami Dolphins offensive line is on pace to allow the most sacks ever in a single season. Obviously, putting the game in the hands of the line is a much better idea than running the football, especially when you have been able to SUCCESSFULLY run the ball. With just a few minutes left in the game, Sherman called a pass play. Tannehill steps back and guess what happens next. Mario Williams blows up Tyson Clabo for a strip sack on Ryan Tannehill, giving the Bills a very short field to work with.
Throughout the season, the Dolphins offensive line has caused a lot of problems. Despite giving up the game losing sack earlier today, they are not the reason why the Dolphins lost today’s game. It blows my mind that an offensive coordinator in the NFL lacks the common knowledge to run the ball late in the game to milk the clock. I also don’t understand how he can possibly call a pass play, knowing that the offensive line and Tannehill are having a historically bad season in terms of sacks allowed.
I hate to say this, especially since Ryan Tannehill has only played close to a season and a half, but Mike Sherman needs to go. Switching coordinators early on in a quarterback’s career can definitely have a negative impact on their progression. Sherman has had many questionable play calls throughout the season. Abandoning the run, throwing in obvious run situations and not properly guiding Tannehill through games has been the main problem with Sherman and it’s a problem that needs fixing immediately.
Man, I wish the Dolphins had another bye week this season to fix things!
Thanks for Reading!