Miami Dolphins Week 1 Observations


Sep 8, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Field. The Dolphins won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins opened the 2013 season with a 23-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. No, this game was not a pretty win for Miami. Nor was it as big of a blow out as the score indicates.

Cleveland was ahead 7-6 entering half-time after Brandon Weeden led his team for a late second quarter touchdown. After that, however, Miami’s defense truly took over.

Yes it was a win for the defense. The offense? Not so much. Here are some observations from Sunday’s win:

  • QB Ryan Tannehill looked shaky to begin the game, which seems like a reoccurring theme. Tannehill finished the day with a pretty stat-line, though – 24/38 272 yards 1 touchdown 1 interception.
  • The running game was awful. And that may be putting it nicely, to be quite honest. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for 18 carries and 17 freakin’ yards. Oh and one touchdown I guess. Yes, Cleveland’s defense deserves some praise here. But Miami’s offensive line sucked. And the running backs did not help themselves either. If this continues we may see GM Jeff Ireland making a few calls to see what kind of shape some free agents are in (McGahee, Turner?).
  • The offensive line sucked run blocking for the entire game. Just awful. Terrible. Moving on. The line did well in pass pro. Aside from a few coverage sacks (4 total sacks) and their young QB holding onto the ball too long, the line did well (Cog was beaten badly, though..). Definitely something to build on, but not a great performance.
  • The receivers looked pretty good for the majority of the game. Brandon Gibson did have a drop, but he rebounded well finishing the game with 7 receptions for 77 yards. Brian Hartline also had a great game. He finished the night with 9 receptions for 114 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Mike Wallace played a good game, in my opinion. I understand that one reception for 15 yards is not exciting. But we felt his presence. Hartline and Gibson were open all day long. Wallace was also over-thrown and under-thrown by Tannehill on numerous occasions. Oh and he faced one of the league’s best corners in Joe Haden. Give the guy a break on this one. Next week however, he best be able to torch former Dolphin, Vontae Davis. Send him calling for his grandma.
  • The tight ends impressed me ten fold compared to ANY other group offensively. Dion Sims and Michael Egnew did not record a reception, but both did an excellent job blocking. Egnew has impressed me a ton with his blocking ability lately. The former third-round pick needs to keep it up.
  • We officially have a Charles Clay sighting. Miami Dolphins fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Clay did a great job filling in for the injured, Dustin Keller. Clay finished the day with 5 receptions for 54 yards. I know, I’m just as surprised as you are.
  • The defense, what can I say about his defense…They won the game for Miami. Point blank. Look at the tape.

    Sep 8, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (59) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Field. The Dolphins won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

  • This defense was swarming all game long. With an exception for Cleveland’s first drive, which ended in a Nolan Carroll interception, this defense looked like one of the fastest defenses this league has seen in ten years.
  • The defensive line logged SIX sacks. Cameron Wake, of course, had 2.5, Randy Starks had 1.5, Derrick Shelby had 1 strip sack and rookie first-round pick Dion Jordan also logged one sack. This defensive line is fast. They were getting constant pressure on QB Brandon Weeden and Weeden’s decision making showed it.
  • How so? He tossed three interceptions. Nolan Carroll grabbed one on the game’s first drive and Dimitri Patterson grabbed two Weeden throws. Quite an intriguing start to the season for this defensive back field.
  • One thing I did have an issue with, however, was an issue with coverage when pressure was not being forced. TE Jordan Cameron grabbed 9 balls for 108 yards and 1 beautifully thrown touchdown before the half. Hopefully tight ends do not become a problem for this team again.
  • Do I even need to mention special teams? Of course I do. Rookie K Caleb Sturgis was perfect from the field on 3/3 attempts with a long of 49. Brandon Fields is Jesus’ reincarnation booming 5 punts for a 47.6 yard average. And Marcus Thigpen looked good in the return game. If not for a Nolan Carroll (ugh) holding penalty, Thigpen would have taken a punt 74 yards to the house untouched.
  • In terms of statistics, Miami’s third down efficiency on offense was great at 50% (8-16). That being said, picking up 1 first down via running the football is not good. And committing 10 penalties for 77 yards is not something HC Joe Philbin will be happy about.
  • Miami’s defense held Cleveland to 7% third down efficiency (1/14). Beautiful.

    They did, however, let up on fourth downs allowing Cleveland to convert on 2/4 fourth downs late in the game.

    Overall grades for the game:

    Offense: C-

    Defense: A

    Special Teams: A-

    Miami will travel to Indianapolis to play the Andrew Luck led Indianapolis Colts next Sunday at 1 pm Eastern.

    I will leave you with this. Don’t try to block Cameron Wake with a running back…Just a bad idea…