The Miami Dolphins have been in quite a slump for the past three games, and that slump continued yesterday as Miami dropped their fourth straight game by a score of 27-17 to the New England Patriots. Miami is now 0-2 in AFC East play this season and looks to be regressing after a great start to the season.
The score may not show it, but Miami was kicking the crap out of New England during the first half going into half-time with the 17-3 lead. And then the Miami team we all know and love finally came out of the locker room allowing 24 unanswered points, dropping the game in the process.
I want to make a few things clear here before I go into my observations.
- The players did not quit on the coaches. I saw a bogus article suggesting this idea today. The players were just as pissed, if not more pissed off about this loss than the coaching staff was.
- I know, New England received some fishy calls yesterday. DE Olivier Vernon was the recipient of two of those bogus calls, one of which was debateable as Vernon swatted the ball but could have been attempting to pull it in. Let them play. The second was a bogus pass interference call on Vernon while covering TE Rob Gronkowski. Vernon had great coverage. Bogus call. Rant over.
Don’t blame the refs for a loss. The refs aren’t the ones who score touchdowns or block anyone. Sure they may blow a ton of calls, but Miami should have won this game especially seeing how they were up 17-3 at the half and pretty much had the game in the bag.
Here are my observations from yesterday’s loss:
—- I thought QB Ryan Tannehill had a very up and down day. Going into the half Tannehill looked like he was ready to prove he was the guy for Miami. Coming out of the half Tannehill looked like another mediocre QB Miami has thrown in there. Tannehill made some very questionable throws throughout the day, I’ll point you towards his attempt to hit WR Mike Wallace deep in double coverage. While the defensive backs both made an incredible tip-drill play for the interception, I’m not sure what Tannehill saw there. It’s becoming increasingly alarming when I look at his interceptions just how bad these decisions are. I don’t think he sees the safety or corner underneath, and that is a huge problem. Tannehill did make some beautiful throws, one of which TE Charles Clay dropped. That was a b-e-a-utiful ball. But, and of course, Tannehill threw two interceptions on the day, was strip sacked once by rookie CB Logan Ryan, and struggled with accuracy and ball placement. Tannehill needs to progress, but he continues to regress. And it’s eye opening.
—-The running backs played great, that is when they were given the opportunity to do so. Obviously OC Mike Sherman forgets about his running backs during the second half as he continues to give up on running the football during the latter portion of each game. Miami’s platoon of RB Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for 27 carries for 136 yards on the day. It was nice to see Miller receive 18 carries as he showed he can be a decent bell-cow style running back. But I was very impressed with the play of Daniel Thomas, and I have been for a few weeks now. Thomas looks the part of a good running back and has been running the football with authority. This stable is proving to be what we thought we had during the offseason.
—-The receivers played okay. I’m not going to get into much detail but Mike Wallace was a disappointment yet again. WR Brian Hartline has been missing in this offense for quite some time now. And WR Rishard Matthews was up and down attempting to replace the injured Brandon Gibson. Since we are on Gibson, it’s awful to hear that he is out for the remainder of the season. Gibson was proving to be Miami’s best receiver in recent weeks and the most reliable threat offensively for Miami. I wish Gibson the best, and keep an eye on where Miami goes from here. Do they see what’s out there on the trade market for a slot guy? Will they bring in a fourth receiver as the loss of Gibson puts them at 3 now? Does this mean we will see Wallace finally be used a bit in the slot? That would be greaaaaat.
—-The tight ends were solid in spurts. TE Charles Clay continues to be one of Miami’s better options via the passing game grabbing 5 balls. But dropped a beautiful ball from QB Ryan Tannehill. Mike Egnew and Dion Sims will likely begin to see their roles increase with the loss of Gibson. I’d like to see more of Egnew.
—-I’m not going to dabble into the offensive line play much, if you want to see how they played click here. I thought they played well for the majority of the game. I’m not upset about allowing 6 sacks as the majority of those were either in garbage time or were caused by coverage due to Tannehill’s receivers not getting open and Tannehill not having a working “inner clock”. LT Bryant McKinnie clearly made a difference, as did RT Jon Martin.
—-The run defense was there early for Miami, but then seemed to let up during the second half. Miami allowed 152 yards on 37 carries on the day. Not very Miami-like there.
—-DE Dion Jordan deserves some credit. We saw more of the kid yesterday and he did not disappoint. While I would like to see Jordan finish the play and actually grab some sacks, the kid is getting pressure and that’s key for Miami defensively. Because…
—-DE Cameron Wake is missing. Where are you? Are you alive? Because I don’t see you and I don’t feel your presence, sir.
—-DT’s Randy Starks and Jared Odrick played well and probably both deserve the game ball here. Although they probably won’t grade well against the run, both were a constant nuisance for QB Tom Brady for the majority of the game.
—-The linebackers did okay in this one also. LB Dannell Ellerbe had his best game as a Dolphin, but under-whelmed. LB Philip Wheeler was a nuisance while blitzing but struggled stopping the run and continues to struggle in coverage. And Koa Misi, well, he had another very Koa Misi-like game. No impact.
—-I thought the secondary played surprisingly well. Aside from CB Nolan Carroll being beaten badly on a beautiful route by rookie WR Aaron Dobson for a 14-yard touchdown. We didn’t see much from CB Brent Grimes which is a good thing and CB Dimitri Patterson’s impact was felt as he snagged a first quarter interception. Hopefully Patterson is 100% because he makes a clear difference defensively for Miami.
—-The safety play was great, in my opinion. I though S Chris Clemons had one of his best games of the season in coverage and stopping the run. S Reshad Jones was quiet on the afternoon but that might be a good thing as Jones has struggled quite a bit this season in coverage and in run support.
—-T Nate Garner was absolutely owned by DE Chandler Jones on a field goal attempt which led to a blocked field goal, which ultimately killed Miami’s chances of a comeback.
—-K Caleb Sturgis has hit a slump and needs to regain his confidence with a big game Thursday.
—-P Brandon Fields makes me smile.
—-K/PR Marcus Thigpen needs to pick up his return game and give Miami’s offense a spark by picking up a huge return or two.
Well, that’s all I have got this week. I apologize that I didn’t get into much detail. I’m just trying to wrap my head around the second-half ass kicking Miami received yesterday by New England.
Miami better get their crap together and prepare themselves for this Cincinnati Bengals team that just thrashed the New York Jets 49-9 yesterday. Or else it could be another ass kicking for Miami in prime time television. You can purchase Miami Dolphins tickets from PrimeSport for Thursday night’s tilt against Cincinnati if you’re looking to check out the Fins in action.
One last thing, this is when we find out who HC Joe Philbin really is. This is the time where a good coach can rally his troops and light a fire under their asses. The only issue is, I’m not so sure Philbin is capable of doing so.