Dolphins traveled to Seattle to take on the mighty Seahawks, where they put up a good fight, only to “pull a Dolphin” and run out of gas at the end.
As I said a few months ago, the Dolphins offense would be unable to make a dent in the Seahawks defense. /https://phinphanatic.com/2016/05/10/look-back-draft-2016-season-prediction/
I told you so.
Now, why does that not make me feel any better about today’s loss?
I don’t know, you tell me.
Could it be that Ryan Tannehill, again, was outplayed down the stretch by the opposing quarterback? It doesn’t matter whether he is facing super bowl winning quarterbacks like Russell Wilson today, or Aaron Rodgers, or Peyton Manning, or if he is competing against unproven guys like Geno Smith, Tyrod Taylor, or Blake Bortles. The opposing team’s quarterback always seems to get the better of him. This has been a recurrent problem. I can remember, without even searching Google, at least 10 games since Tannehill has been the quarterback where the opposing quarterback has led a game winning drive to win the game at the buzzer. I do not remember Tannehill doing that even once. Maybe you can remember that game and remind me.
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Perhaps I am disappointed by the defense playing its collective heart out, only to let up the game winning touchdown after Tannehill and the offense somehow awakened long enough to get a 4 point lead near the end of the fourth quarter. Playoff caliber teams win these types of games. The Dolphins on the other hand constantly give up the game winning score in this situation (and never leave enough time for a counterscore).
After head coach Adam Gase drew up a number of beautiful offensive plays with about 7 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, including a wonderful screen pass to Damien Williams, and a draw play by Tannehill to get the Dolphins’ only touchdown of the game, who could fault me and all other Dolphins fans for having that sense of deja vu that the Seahawks were going to march down the field for a game sealing touchdown? Maybe it was seeing the Dolphins defensive line come out for the Seahawks’ final drive missing Mario Williams.
After the Dolphins defensive line manhandled Wilson and his offensive line for three and a half quarters, including a number of bookend hits from Williams and Cameron Wake, it was so Dolphin-esque that Williams would be unable to come out for the ultimate drive. Unfortunately, it looks like Williams suffered a concussion, so we wish him well in recovery. He really played a great game while he was able, constantly flushing Russell Wilson out of the pocket, and containing the outside runs. But once he was out of the game for the final drive, the Dolphins pass rush fizzled.
This loss is squarely in the arms of the offense and special teams. They really need to start seizing the momentum when the defense makes its big plays. Nothing is more demoralizing for a defense than to sell out and make plays, and then be back on the field 3 plays later with no points to show for it. The less said about the Dolphins’ poor field goal kicking, the better. To Kenny Stills, a wise person said that if you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both – you have to be focused on the job at hand and pull in that catch.
A lot of players came up big, including Jakeem Grant, Arian Foster, Jason Jones, Reshad Jones, and Branden Albert. However, this season is going to rise or fall on the shoulders of T-Hill. It is a lot of responsibility, but that is why quarterback is the most important position in football, and perhaps all of sports. There is no way to consistently win when the opposing quarterback is always coming out of top. It is time for Ryan Tannehill to take the next step, and focus on getting this team over the hump.
Luckily, there should be no lasting damage from this game. The Dolphins were expected to lose, and this was an out-of-conference road game, which lessens any potential playoff tie-breaker impact at the end of the season. The Dolphins showed some good signs today, particularly on defense, and can start getting ready for the Tom Brady-less Patriots next week. And Ryan Tannehill should spend all week mentally getting ready to outplay the unproven Jimmy Garoppolo. With Gase’s excellent playcalling, and a strong defense, the Dolphins have a great opportunity in front of them – they just need to seize it!