Analysis of Dolphins Offense Against Steelers


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

On Sunday, the Dolphins used a variety of different formations against the Steelers. Throughout the game, the Dolphins ran 62 plays. This was much lower than the previous week against the Jets, where they ran 81 plays. Their favorite formation was 3WR, 1TE, 1RB and was used 17 times throughout the game. Their second favorite formation was 2WR, 2TE, 1RB along with 4WR, 0TE, 1RB, which were both used 14 times each throughout the game. These three formations were the top three used in the Jets game as well.

First Half: In the first half against the Steelers, the Dolphins ran 28 plays. Nine of them were running plays and 19 were passing plays. They ran to the left one time, up the middle six times, and to the right two times. They attempted seven short passes, six intermediate passes, four deep passes, and two screen passes.

Second Half: In the second half, the Dolphins ran 34 plays. They ran the ball 15 times and passed 19 times, which shows more balance than the first half. They ran to the left six times, up the middle eight times, and to the right one time. They attempted 13 short passes, three intermediate passes, two deep passes, and one screen pass.

Analysis: The Dolphins became more balanced in the second half compared to the first. This was also a similar case in the Jets game. It appears that the Dolphins felt very comfortable running up the middle on Sunday as they did it 14 times throughout the game. It’s interesting to note that they ran to the left six times in the second half compared to only once throughout the first half.

Throughout the game, the Dolphins ran to the left seven times, up the middle 14 times, and to the right three times. They attempted 20 short passes, nine intermediate passes, six deep passes, and three screen passes. That means the Dolphins ran the ball 24 times and passed 38 times. Please note that I consider a short pass less than 10 yards, and intermediate pass between 10 and 20 yards, and a deep pass anything over 20 yards. I do not count yards after catch – it is simply determined where the player caught it.

In terms of passing, the Dolphins once again lived off the short passing game, attempting 20 passes. They didn’t throw as many intermediate passes as I thought they would, finishing with nine. They did attempt to go deep more than usual with six passes.

I will now break down the game by personnel groups.

Personnel Group: 2WR | 1TE | 2RB (Used once during the game)

First Half: This formation wasn’t used

Second Half: One play was ran and it was a deep pass

Analysis: Not much to see here as the Dolphins only used this formation once throughout the entire game.

Personnel Group: 2WR | 2TE | 1RB (Used 14 times throughout the game)

First Half: The Dolphins used this formation seven times. They ran up the middle three times, ran to the right once, one intermediate pass, and two deep passes.

Second Half: They used this formation seven times. One was a run up the middle, four were short passes, one was a deep pass, and one was an intermediate pass.

Analysis: The Dolphins preferred to pass out of this formation. They only ran the ball five times and passed the ball nine times. They didn’t throw any short passes in the first half but mixed it up and threw four in the second half. They threw 50% of their deep passes out of this formation.

Personnel Group: 3WR | 0TE | 2B (Used 9 times throughout the game)

First Half: The Dolphins ran five plays out of this group. One play was a read option where Tannehill ran to the left, one was a run up the middle, two were intermediate passes, and one was a deep pass.

Second Half: They ran four plays out of this group. One was a run up the middle, one was a run to the left, one was a short pass, and one was an intermediate pass.

Analysis: The Dolphins ran the ball four times and passed five times. This was a balanced formation throughout the game that kept the Steelers guessing what the Dolphins would do. The Dolphins were all over the map with this formation, which is a good thing.

Personnel Group: 3WR | 1TE | 1RB (Used 17 times throughout the game)

First Half: They ran seven plays out of this formation. Two of them were runs up the middle, one was a run to the right, there were three short passes, and one screen pass.

Second Half: They ran ten plays out of this formation. One was a run to the right, five were runs up the middle, two were runs to the left, one was a short pass, and one was a screen.

Analysis: The Dolphins loved running out of this formation. They ran the ball eleven times and passed six times. They especially liked running up the middle as they ran it that way seven times. They didn’t attempt any intermediate passes out of this group – only short and screens.

Personnel Group: 3 WR | 2TE | 1B (Used 1 time throughout the game)

First Half: Formation wasn’t used

Second Half: This formation was used once and it was a run to the left

Analysis: Nothing to see here as they only used it once during the game.

Personnel Group: 4WR | 0TE | 1RB (Used 14 times throughout the game)

First Half: The Dolphins used this formation nine times. They had one deep pass, four short passes, three intermediate passes, and one screen pass.

Second Half: The Dolphins used this formation five times. All five plays were short passes.

Analysis: The Dolphins didn’t run once out of this formation and preferred short passes as they attempted nine of them. They threw in one deep pass and three intermediate passes along with a screen.

Personnel Group: 4WR | 1TE | 0RB (Used once throughout the game)

First Half: Formation wasn’t used

Second Half: The Dolphins used this formation once and it was an intermediate pass

Analysis: Nothing to see here as they only used it once during the game.

Personnel Group: 5WR | 0TE | 0 RB (Used twice throughout the game)

First Half: Formation not used

Second Half: The Dolphins used this formation twice. One was a deep pass and one was a short pass

Analysis: Nothing to see here as they only used it twice during the game. However, it’s obvious to everyone that it’s a passing formation.

Personnel Group: 0WR | 3TE | 2RB (Used once throughout the game)

First Half: Formation wasn’t used

Second Half: They ran one play out of this formation and it was a run to the left

Analysis: Nothing to see here as they only used it once during the game.

Personnel Group: 1WR | 3TE | 1RB (Used twice throughout the game)

First Half: Formation wasn’t used

Second Half: They ran two plays out of this formation and it was a run up the middle and a run to the left

Analysis: Nothing to see here as they only used it only twice during the game.

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Tags: Miami Dolphins Offense Steelers Tannehill