Detailed Analysis of Dolphins Offense Against Patriots

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

The Dolphins defeated the Patriots, 24 – 20 and used a heavy passing attack to win the game. Throughout the game, they ran the ball 22 times, passed 39 times, and gave up 4 sacks. We all know that the Dolphins love to pass but these numbers from Sunday, along with numbers from the past few weeks, provide further evidence that the Dolphins are a pass-first team and will rely on Tannehill’s arm to control and win the game.

The Dolphins used 6 different formations against the Patriots. When I list formations, please note that I only count it as a tight end position if the player is lined up where a tight end normally would line up on the field. If they are in the slot or on the outside, they are considered a receiver.

Their favorite formation was 3WR, 1TE, 1RB, which was run 17 times. 4WR, 0TE, 1RB was their second favorite and was used 14 times. 2WR, 2TE, 1RB was used 12 times and 5WR, 0TE, 0RB was used 11 times. 3WR, 0TE, 2RB was used 5 times, and 2WR, 1TE, 2RB was used 4 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.

Throughout the game, they ran to the left 5 times, up the middle 15 times, and to the right 2 times. They attempted 18 short passes, 15 intermediate passes, and 6 deep passes. They were sacked 4 times.

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

First Half: The Dolphins ran 9 plays out of this formation in the first half. They ran to the left 2 times (including a reverse), up the middle 4 times, and to the right 0 times. They attempted 2 short passes, 1 intermediate pass, and 0 deep passes.

Second Half: The Dolphins ran 8 plays out of this formation. They ran to the left 0 times, up the middle 3 times, and to the right 0 times. They attempted 3 short passes, 1 intermediate pass, and 1 deep pass.

Analysis: The Dolphins ran to the left 2 times, up the middle 7 times, and to the right 0 times. They attempted 5 short passes, 2 intermediate passes, and 1 deep pass. That means they ran the ball 9 times and passed 8 times out of this formation. Once again, the Dolphins were very balanced out of this formation and you never knew what was coming. It is interesting though that they didn’t even try running to the right side of the line.

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

First Half: They ran 10 plays out of this formation. They ran to the left 0 times, up the middle 1 time, and to the right 0 times. They attempted 2 short passes, 3 intermediate passes, and 4 deep passes.

Second Half: They ran only 4 plays out of this formation in the second half, which was somewhat surprising. They didn’t run at all. They attempted 2 short passes, 2 intermediate pass, and 0 deep passes.

Analysis: A trend with the Dolphins is that they will only run 1 or 2 times out of this formation per game. When you see this formation on the field, there is basically a 99% chance that it will be a passing play. Out of this formation, they ran up the middle once and attempted 4 short passes, 5 intermediate passes, and 4 deep passes. As far as the depths of the routes out of this formation, it was very balanced.

Personnel Group: 2WR, 2TE, 1RB (Used 12 times throughout the game)

First Half: The Dolphins only ran 4 plays out of this formation. They ran to the left 0 times, up the middle 0 times, and to the right 1 time. They attempted 1 short pass, 0 intermediate passes, and 0 deep passes. They were sacked 2 times.

Second Half: The Dolphins ran 8 plays out of this formation. They ran to the left 2 times, up the middle 3 times, and to the right 0 times. They attempted 1 short pass, 1 intermediate pass, and 1 deep pass.

Analysis: The Dolphins ran to the left 2 times, up the middle 3 times, and to the right 1 time. They attempted 2 short passes, 1 intermediate pass, and 1 deep pass. That means they ran the ball 6 times and passed 4 times and Tannehill was sacked twice. This was a pretty balanced formation from the Dolphins.

Personnel Group: 5WR, 0TE, 0RB (Used 11 times throughout the game)

First Half: They ran 4 plays out of this formation and for obvious reasons, all were pass attempts. They attempted 3 short passes, 1 intermediate pass, and 0 deep passes.

Second Half: They ran 7 plays out of this formation. They attempted 4 short passes, 2 intermediate passes, and 0 deep passes. Tannehill was sacked 1 time.

Analysis: The Dolphins attempted 7 short passes, 3 intermediate passes, and 0 deep passes. They used the quick passing attack out of this formation and didn’t attempt any deep balls. This is most likely because there wasn’t enough protection for a receiver to run deep.

Personnel Group: 3WR, 0TE, 2RB (Used 5 times throughout the game)

First Half: They ran 3 plays out of this formation. They ran to the left 0 times, up the middle 0 times, and to the right 1 time. They attempted 0 short passes, 1 intermediate pass, and 0 deep passes. Tannehill was sacked once.

Second Half: They only ran 2 plays out of this formation. Both of them were runs up the middle.

Analysis: The Dolphins mainly ran out of this formation in this small sample size. They ran 3 times and passed 2 times. Since they didn’t use it often, there wasn’t much to see, but it was balanced.

Personnel group: 2WR, 1TE, 2RB (Used 4 times throughout the game)

First Half: The Dolphins ran 3 plays out of this formation. They ran to the left 1 time, up the middle 1 time, and to the right 0 times. They attempted 0 short passes, 1 intermediate pass, and 0 deep passes.

Second Half: The Dolphins only ran 1 play out of this formation and it was a run up the middle.

Analysis: Another small sample where we can’t figure out much. They ran 3 times and passed 1 time. If anything, this formation during Sunday’s game tipped the defense off that it was most likely a running play.

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Tags: Miami Dolphins Offense Patriots Ryan Tannehill

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