The Miami Dolphins entered Week 7 of the NFL season with a 3-2 record hosting the 2-4 Buffalo Bills. Miami was coming off their bye week and was well rested, therefore many were picking this team to blow Buffalo away. Four quarters later, Miami fans world wide are stunned, shocked, disgusted and appalled by the performance their favorite team put forth Sunday in a 23-21 losing effort.
Buffalo’s defense deserves a great deal of recognition here for intercepting two Ryan Tannehill passes, one of which was returned for a touchdown the other on a Tannehill attempt to WR Brian Hartline for a hopeful score. Buffalo’s star defensive end Mario Williams also notched Buffalo’s only sacks of the day and forced a critical Ryan Tannehill fumble late in the fourth quarter leading to the go ahead Dan Carpenter field goal, which eventually lead to the win.
Before I dive into my observations I want to point out that I am absolutely disgusted with this team, therefore if you’re weak at heart and cannot read someone pointing out how bad this team is playing right now, stop reading now.
……here we go…
—-Let’s get this one right out of the way, QB Ryan Tannehill had what I believe was his worst game as a Dolphin. Tannehill threw two crucial interceptions, one on his first throw of the game while staring down WR Brandon Gibson. Buffalo CB Nickell Robey easily jumped the route and returned the ball 19-yards for a touchdown. Tannehill also nonchalantly tossed the football in the area of WR Brian Hartline which was, again, easily intercepted by FS Aaron Williams playing under-neath Hartline’s route in the endzone.
It’s quite alarming that Tannehill threw two costly interceptions, especially when these two throws were absolutely terrible decisions. 100% on Tannehill.
Tannehill did bounce back for the majority of the remainder of the game completing 19 of 37 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns on the day. He showed good pocket awareness today except for one key turnover which I will get to in a second. He deserves a ton of credit on Miami’s final desperation Hail Mary in which he received no help from his offensive line and was able to elude Buffalo’s pass rush to throw the ball into the end zone and give his receivers a chance.
Why not end it with a terrible note, huh? Tannehill deserves some of the blame here on the Mario Williams strip sack. Yes, it was an awful play call – I will get to that later also. But Tannehill has shown a terrible knack of fumbling the football this season. I had thought the second-year QB had turned it around, I guess I was wrong.
—-The running backs played a great game. It’s crazy what happens when you try, isn’t it Mike Sherman? RB Daniel Thomas received the bulk of the carries on the day running for 60 yards on 12 carries with a long of 16 yards. We finally saw a glimpse of the RB we thought we had on our hands during his rookie season. RB Lamar Miller also played well slashing Buffalo for 43 yards on 9 carries with a long of 30 yards. Yeah, yeah, take away that 30 yarder and he ends up with 13 yards on 8 carries. Big whoop.
Just something to ponder here, why would we absolutely abandon the run game when we have no only the lead, but also the game in the bag practically? Again, we’ll get to this later.
—-The receivers also played well today. WR Mike Wallace had what I believe was his second best day as a Dolphin grabbing 5 passes for 76 yards with a long of 46. WR Brian Hartline grabbed 6 balls for 69 yards and WR Brandon Gibson asserted himself as Miami’s red-zone target at the wide receiver position grabbing 5 balls for 40 yards and two key touchdowns. Gibson needs to be targeted more often.
—-The TE group played well today also. TE Charles Clay grabbed a 7-yard touchdown on his only reception of the day and TE Michael Egnew blocked well today. The team used Egnew as a lead blocking fullback a bit and he looked good in that role. Clay, on the other hand, needs to be more involved in this offense going forward. He is a huge match-up nightmare for opposing teams, but once again, we will get to this later.
—-I thought the offensive line played exceptional for about three and a half quarters. Miami held Buffalo’s pass rush to just two sacks on the day – RT Tyson Clabo surrendered both to the same guy (Williams) and, thus, will likely be replaced by Miami’s newest acquisition in T Bryant Mckinnie. The line was able to move the line of scrimmage on run plays and give QB Ryan Tannehill time in the pocket for the majority of the game.
One guy I want to single out here is LT Jonathan Martin. I thought Martin was Miami’s best offensive lineman on the day. Martin held his own against All-Pro DE Mario Williams when the two faced off and played exceptionally well. If Martin can continue to get stronger and work on his speed and technique, he may turn out to be a good blind side protector.
—-Miami’s run defense was spot on for much of the game – Buffalo’s final drive the team was able to successfully run the football. That was the defense’s chance to make a stance and give Miami’s offense more time to potentially score. Regardless, the defense held Buffalo’s run game in check surrendering 90 yards on 30 carries good for only 3.0 yards per tote. CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson combined for just 47 yards on 15 carries.
—-Miami’s pass defense still needs some work, but was there grabbing a Thad Lewis interception and allowing just 178 yards through the air to Buffalo’s speedy receivers.
—-Miami’s pass rush was finally on for much of the game collecting 4 sacks – 1 – Vernon, Starks (also forced a fumble), Patterson and Jones. Throw together the sacks, hits and pressures and Miami’s defensive pass rush was finally kicking into gear.
—-LB Philip Wheeler played well. Wheeler collected 8 tackles on the day and looked like Miami’s best linebacker on the day.
—-LB Jason Trusnik filled in well for LB Dannell Ellerbe, but simply should not be starting. Too slow in coverage and lacks big play ability. LB Jelani Jenkins also saw some snaps in nickle and dime situations for Miami and looked great. Jenkins has been singled out by HC Joe Philbin as a guy the team needs to see more from on in game situations, and we saw his speed on display.
Since we’re on Jenkins, there is one thing I want to rant about for a second. Jenkins was wrongly, and I mean wrongly, penalized for a roughing the passer penalty late in the third quarter. Jenkins timed his blitz perfectly and his QB Thad Lewis so hard that Lewis’ helmet flew off. Lewis hit the ground and threw his hands up for a flag and received it after b**ching and complaining. Jenkins made absolutely no contact with Lewis’ head and was wrongly penalized. Don’t try and change my mind or opinion because you can’t. Moving on.
—-LB Koa Misi sucks in coverage but played the run well. That’s all I’ve got. It was a very “Misi-like” game. No extraordinary plays.
—-CB Jimmy Wilson missed a few tackles, yet again. But played well in coverage along with the majority of Miami’s other corners.
—-SS Chris Clemons played a great game. Clemons grabbed an interception and two tackles. Maybe I think he played a great game because we didn’t see him blow coverage very often.
—-FS Reshad Jones played a very inconsistent game. Jones grabbed ten tackles on the day along with a sack but allowed a fricken fullback to burst through the hole and pick up 16-yards. Jones was scared to hit the 250-pound Frank Summers. Jones needs to pick up his play.
—-Gunner Don Jones needs to realized and understand the rules – if you go out of bounds you cannot be the first to touch the football. He did just that on a beautiful 70+ yard punt by P Brandon Fields which pinned Buffalo deep. Instead Buffalo elected for Miami to re-kick and received the ball at the Miami 44 instead of Buffalo’s 16 yard line, which lead to a Fred Jackson 2-yard touchdown. Come on rookie.
—-PK Caleb Sturgis missed another kick Sunday. The rookie kicker attempted a 51-yard field goal but the gusting wind pushed his attempt wide right. Sturgis needs to bank a few short yard field goals to get his confidence back up.
—-And finally, the play calling. OC Mike Sherman needs his ass fired immediately. Sherman did a terrible job calling plays for Miami offensively yesterday. And against Baltimore. And New Orleans. And so on and so forth. Sherman lacks the mindset to set up plays i.e. something as simple as run, run, pass, run, PLAY FRICKEN ACTION.
Sherman also lacks the capability to utilize his skilled players. GM Jeff Ireland has assembled a very talented and explosive young offense for Sherman, yet Sherman is very bland in his play calling. Hi, we have one of the fastest receivers in the league. Two very deceptively fast possession receivers. A match-up nightmare at tight end in Charles Clay. And a stable of explosive running backs. Hello?
As if that was not enough, Sherman cannot exploit specific match-ups which go in Miami’s fricken favor. A guy like Mike Wallace has speed on just about every DB in the league. What? A guy like Charles Clay at the tight end position can beat just about every linebacker and safety Miami plays. A guy like Lamar Miller or Marcus Thigpen at the running back position. Both have exceptional speed and explosion. Hi?
Lastly, and before you buy into his “we were trying to be aggressive” bullsh*t excuse, Sherman should be fired for Miami’s inability to perform on the “kill” drive late in the fourth quarter. Miami has the ball with 3:39 left in the game. I’m feeling pretty good about our chances as the run game was playing well against Buffalo’s defense. First play, run with Daniel Thomas for two yards. Next play? 2:57 left in the game, PASS. Are you kidding me? No, seriously. Are you kidding me? Who the hell in their right mind would call a pass in that situation? You’re up 21-20 with 2:57 left. Worst case scenario is you don’t pick up the first down after three straight runs and Buffalo is pinned deep in their own territory with 2 minutes or so left in the game. THEY HAVE TO GET TO YOUR 40 TO EVEN ATTEMPT A GAME WINNING FIELD GOAL! AGAINST YOUR DEFENSE THE WAY THEY WERE PLAYING!? Come on.
Miami will be riding a 3 game skid after opening the season 3-0 into New England of all places to face the 4-2 Patriots who now have TE Rob Gronkowski back. This game will be a huge test for Miami moving forward. The team needs to correct a boat load of stupid mistakes and errors. The defense cannot continue to allow opposing offenses to convert on third and long, rather third and fricken forever. The offense, oh the offense. The offense NEEDS to clean up their play and play some smart football.
That’s all. Big game this week. Better have a damn good week of practice all around.