Oct 20, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws the ball with pressure from Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams (94) in the first quarter of a game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins Should Continue to Use Quick Passing Attack

Written by Matthew Cannata. Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PhinManiacs

 Last week against the Jets, the Dolphins showed us that they love the short passing game and if they want to be successful on Sunday against the Steelers, they should continue to emphasize it throughout the game. During the Jets game, the Dolphins employed 13 different personnel groups throughout the game on Sunday and ran a total of 81 plays. In the first half, they ran 52 plays and had 34 passing plays and 18 running plays. In the second half, they ran 29 plays and had 13 passing plays and 16 running plays. As you can see, it was much more balanced in the last half of the game. For the game total, there were 47 passing plays and 34 running plays. Obviously, the Dolphins would like more overall balance throughout the entire game.

Their two favorite formations were 4WR, 0TE, 1RB along with 3WR, 1TE, 1RB. Both formations were used 19 times each throughout the game. Their third favorite formation was 2WR, 2TE, 1RB, which was used 16 times throughout the game.

They ran the ball 15 times to the left, 12 times to the right, and 7 times up the middle. This shows balance between the left and right side, but seems that they don’t like to run it up the middle a whole lot.

I define a short pass as under ten yards, and intermediate pass between 10 and 20 yards, and a deep pass over 20 yards. There were five attempts at deep passes, 15 attempts at intermediate passes, and 22 attempts at short passes. There were three attempts at screens. One play resulted in a QB scramble and one play resulted in a QB sack. The Dolphins went to a short and quick passing game against the Jets mixed in with quite a bit of intermediate throws. There were only five attempts at deep passes with a few of them not even getting out of Tannehill’s hands or target.

Here is the breakdown by personnel group.

 

Personnel Group: 1 WR | 2 TE | 2RB (5 times throughout the game)

First Half: The Dolphins didn’t use this group at all in the first half.

Second Half: They used it five times in the second half and all of them were running plays. There were three runs to the left side, one up the middle, and one to the right side. This formation was used when the Dolphins were trying to run out the clock at the end of the game.

Analysis: Not much to see from this game because the Dolphins were up by 17 and were simply trying to milk the clock.

 

Personnel Group: 2 WR | 1 TE | 2 RB (10 times throughout the game) 

First Half:  They used it eight times in the first half and ran four pass plays and four running plays out of this formation. There were three runs to the left side and one run up the middle. There were three deep passes and one intermediate pass. 

Second Half: They used it two times in the second half and ran zero passing plays and two running plays. They ran to the right side both times. 

Analysis: The Dolphins used this formation ten times throughout the game and saw four pass plays and six run plays, which is almost perfectly balanced. We can see the adjustment they made in the second half by switching it up and running towards the right side. It’s interesting that there were no short passes out of this formation.

 

Personnel Group: 2 WR | 2 TE | 1 RB (16 times throughout the game)

First Half: They used it nine times in the first half. They had three passing plays and seven running plays. They ran it three times to the left, one time up the middle, and three times to the right.  All three of their passing plays were short throws.

Second Half: They used it seven times in the second half. They had four passing plays and three running plays. They ran it twice to the left and once up the middle. Two of the passes were short and two were deep.

Analysis: They used this sixteen times throughout the game for a total of seven passing plays and ten running plays. There was no clear pattern in this formation, which means the Dolphins did a good job of mixing it up when they had this personnel group on the field.

 

Personnel Group: 3 WR | 1 TE | 1 RB (19 times throughout the game)

First Half: They used this formation fourteen times and had ten passing plays and four running plays. They ran two times to the right, once to the left, and once up the middle. There were five short passes and four intermediate passes. One pass ended up in a QB sack.

Second Half: They used this formation five times in the second half and had three passing plays and two running plays. They ran once to the left and once to the right. There were two short passes and one intermediate pass.

Analysis: They used this formation 19 times throughout the game and had 13 passing plays and six running plays. It appears they do not like to run up the middle but they are unpredictable in terms of which side they will run on. There were no deep passes from this formation – all short and intermediate.

 

Personnel Group: 4 WR | 0 TE | 1 RB (19 times throughout the game)

First Half:  They used this formation 15 times in the first half and all of them were passing plays. Four of them were short, seven of them were intermediate, three were screens, and one was a QB scramble.

Second Half: There were four plays run out of this formation. Three of them were passing plays and one was a running play. They ran the ball to the right side. Two passes were short and one was intermediate.

Analysis: They used this formation 19 times throughout the game and had 18 passing plays and one running play. It’s easy to see that they do not run the ball out of this formation. They had six short passes, eight intermediate, and three screens. Although the defense pretty much knows this is a passing formation, the balance between short and intermediate passes is pretty balanced.

 

Personnel Group: 5 WR | 0 TE | 0 RB (3 times throughout the game) 

First Half:  They used this formation one time in the first half and it was a short pass.

Second Half: They used this formation two times in the second half and both were short passes.

Analysis: They only used this formation three times throughout the game so it is tough to get a clear pattern. However, we can see that all three passes were short and quick.

 

Miscellaneous Groupings 

  • 0WR, 3TE, 2RB was used once and was a FB dive up the middle.
  • 0WR, 4TE, 1RB was used once and was a run to the right side
  • 1WR, 2TE, 2RB was used twice and were both running plays – one to the left and one up the middle
  • 1WR, 3TE, 1RB was used once and was a run to the left
  • 1WR, 3TE, 2RB was used once and was a run to the right
  • 3WR, 0TE, 2RB was used once and was an intermediate pass
  • 4WR, 1TE, 0RB was used once and was a short pass

 

 

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