The Miami Dolphins exploded for 38 points on Sunday leading many to ponder whether the Dolphins offensive ineptitude was a result of Joe Philbin or Bill Lazor. Sunday’s game was the most they have scored since 2003. The Dolphins put 40 points on the board against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Last season the Dolphins came close when they put up 37 against the visiting San Diego Chargers.
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On Sunday against the Titans the Dolphins offense looked much more efficient than any time in the Joe Philbin era. Last years game against San Diego fell after a week of practice without Joe Philbin coaching due to his fathers passing. The Dolphins offense looked very good in that game and it was clear they played with a lot of passion. They played with passion and aggressiveness on Sunday.
The topic of Philbin vs. Lazor has been hot since Lazor arrived in Miami ahead of last season. The Dolphins management had forced Philbin to fire long time mentor and friend Mike Sherman prior to the season and Bill Lazor’s arrival was supposed to usher in a new offensive style. Yet for everything we had heard about Lazor, the Dolphins continued to play conservative football on offense.
It has often been debated that Philbin toned down Bill Lazor’s play calling but that can’t be proven by any stretch. Yet in his first game without Philbin, Lazor was far more aggressive with his play calling. The Dolphins were also far more balanced than at any time this season. Miami rushed 32 times to 29 passes on the day. Lazor, when coming to Miami, had said his approach was balanced but we had yet to really see that.
The Dolphins attacked with the run and never let up. They rushed on all three downs but the one play that was taken out of the offense was the 3rd and long sweep that amounted to nothing for Miami in the first four weeks and last three seasons. On Sunday Miami was five of nine on third down.
Lazor didn’t just mix in more running plays, he got his tight-ends involved. Three passes were incomplete to Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims made two big plays. Cameron ended the game with a touchdown reception with the Dolphins well ahead of the Titans and 4:05 left in the game. At the end of the half, the Dolphins tried to drive the length of the field with just under 2:00 minutes remaining. The series ended in a Ryan Tannehill interception but Miami showed they could play aggressive offensively.
If we are to assume that Philbin held sway over Lazor we may also have to assume that interim head coach Dan Campbell laid out what he wanted from Lazor as well. It was however a game that was called by Lazor and it worked.
If Miami is going to have continued success this season they will need Lazor to continue his approach from Sunday. Let the team play, call the right plays, stay aggressive, and take some chances. The Dolphins took chances and they paid off. The Dolphins also kep the throttle open the entire game and that too paid off. Whether it was Joe Philbin, Bill Lazor, or a combination of the two, yesterday Dolphins fans got a glimpse of the talent that the team has been talking about.
Time will tell.