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Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) has the ball stripped from him by New England Patriots strong safety Logan Ryan (26) during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium. New England recovered the fumble. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Observations From The Miami Dolphins' 27-17 Loss

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins (91) attempts to tackle Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (33) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports


—-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.

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Tags: AFC East Miami Dolphins New England Patriots Ryan Tannehill

  • Scott Stewart

    I don’t want to come off as a homer here but the refs did make a difference in this game. They made momentum changing calls that NE always seems to get. I was in class tonight, wearing my Dolphins hat proud, and the gal next to leans over and says “I’m not a Dolphin fan but I think there were some crazy calls yesterday that ultimately changed the game for your team.” At some point teams feel as if their not only playing against the Pats but against the refs as well. Yes, Miami let this one get away but when the momentum swings in NE favor, we all know what the typical outcome is. Win or lose, phins up!

    • TylerMcMullen

      No, no. I don’t think that makes you come off as a homer, Scott. It’s clear they definitely did, even most analysts have agreed when recapping the game that the refs made some terrible calls. One in particular is the “batted ball” call. It kind of makes you wonder how much the refs had on the game? I have to agree with Omar Kelly also, it seems fishy how the stadium only showed one angle of the Matthews sideline grab for what would have been a big first down. I thought he was in and tapped both toes down before falling out of bounds. But we only saw one angle and it did not clearly show Matthews’ feet. And remember, the coaches see what we see. Thanks for the input man! I’d like to hear more from you on a weekly basis!

  • John Smith

    Hate to say it but our coaching is not good enough. So far the season has PROVED that we missed the boat on Brandon Albert – evidenced by McKinney coming in and definitely improving the OL play. Of course, he’s at the tail end of his career. In other words the coaches/Ireland thought our OL would be fine despite Fins fans worry about Martin all off season. Turns out Martin has been ok but we have NO depth at all – No plan B. Couple that with the FACT that Tannyhill is not a dynamic like Kapernick or Russell Wilson and a damn good line is imperative – ala Alex Smith. – with a good line, running game, and defense. In other words, Tanny would probably have the Chiefs undefeated as well but don’t count on him to MAKE the team a winner by himself.

    The past 2 games have proved that the coaching is not on par. You don’t lose a game at home (Bills) against division rival w/ both running backs hurt and 3rd string qb after a bye week. This is completely unacceptable. EVERYONE knew that the Bills were going to run and Fins should have been ALL OUT against the run to make Thad (whoever) beat them with his arm. Did we stop the run – NO! And we should have been running against a tired and beat up defense and we did not. Coaches didn’t have them ready.

    Against the Pats, Fins had it going in the first half and played perfectly. They ran the ball and kept Brady off the field. In the 2nd half they gave the game away with stupid plays.

    I understand that the Fins are still not stocked with talent that gets them to the upper echelon in the league. Some of the other teams have just a little too much. However, considering that the Fins by in large are in very good shape on the injury front as compared to the Patriots and many other teams around the league – we should be competing with anyone. And we are not.

    Passing the ball 75% of the time is not going to work. If there is a remote chance of getting to the playoffs this season it will be on Lamar Miller and the Fins OL to get a serious running game going. If the coaches can’t see that then we might have to make a change.

    • TylerMcMullen

      I don’t think I could have said it better myself, John. Really, excellent breakdown. You’ve left me speechless. Lol. It will be telling what happens in the remaining weeks. Miami drops two more in a row I think Philbin HAS to be fired. If Miami finishes the season with a record less than 7-9 I think Philbin and Sherman are both gone and I would love to see the organization bring in Kevin Sumlin from Texas A&M. No, not because of the Texas A&M ties but because the guy reminds me so much of Mike Tomlin. He’s a players coach, very down to earth and listens to players. Weee shall see. Thanks for the excellent comment, John.

      • Chris

        Awesome breakdown John. You’ve managed to sum up months of aggravation and frustration in a couple of paragraphs. The loss to Buffalo was as mad as I’ve ever been over a Dolphins game and you made some great points. I’m always one of the last fans to throw in the towel on a coaching staff but I’m getting ready to start reaching for it. The egregious O-Line play so far has to fall on the coaches and Ireland. When is the last time our O-line was stout? I remember the same problems with Sparano, the alleged “O-line guru”. I was so excited for this season and here we are with the same old Dolphins football I’ve been watching for years and years! Nothing is panning out – Tannehill looks to be regressing (as evident by his “deer froze in headlights” play in crunch time last Sunday). O-Line is on pace for record number of sacks allowed. Keller and now Gibson are done for the season. Where is the Wake and Jordan combo I had dreamt about since April? Why is Wallace suddenly a non factor? I thought Reshad was ready to break out? Why is Nolan Carrol and Jimmy Wilson still on the field so much? Where are our draft picks from the last 2 years? Why do we continue to lose close games? Where was Miami’s “hurry up” I was hearing about all training camp when we were trailing to NE late in the 4? Why is there articles about Miami broadcasting their play calls before the ball is snapped with a 1 or 2 count snap count? When is the last time Miami dominated an opponent on the scoreboard? C’mon Man!