How do the Miami Dolphins beat the San Francisco 49ers? These three keys will help.
The Miami Dolphins are coming off of a disappointing loss to the Seattle Seahawks. While Seattle is one of the best teams in the NFL, the Dolphins had every opportunity to take over the game.
Against a superstar quarterback like Russell Wilson, field goals just will not get it done. After another two turnover day, Ryan Fitzpatrick might be closing in on his finale with the Dolphins. Head coach Brian Flores had to answer questions about who his starting quarterback would be against the San Francisco 49ers. He would not commit to the veteran right away. Going into San Francisco, what must the Dolphins do to beat an extremely beat up team?
Take advantage of defensive injuries
The 49ers defensive secondary may take the cake as the most injury ravaged unit in the NFL. On Sunday, the 49ers will likely be without Richard Sherman, Jimmy Ward, Emmanuel Moseley, K’Waun Williams, and Ahkello Witherspoon. That is just in their secondary. On top of that, they are missing numerous defensive lineman and potentially young coverage linebacker Dre Greenlaw. That is a lot of their pass defense most likely on the sideline for Sunday’s game. The Dolphins may be without left tackle Austin Jackson, but it is a hit they can take when they are essentially playing a defense full of backups. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins must be able to move the ball. They need to stay aggressive and put pressure on inexperienced players.
Tackle, tackle, and tackle again
The film room will be an interesting one next week. The 49ers have built a YAC offense. Yards after the catch are their bread and butter. Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle have feasted on teams, whether this year or last year, after the catch. All three have a rare breed of contact balance, speed, and strength. The 49ers may be playing with a second or third string quarterback. Whoever it is will absolutely rely on short passes to get these guys going in space, or one on one with Dolphins defenders. Miami faced a player like this in week three against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rookie receiver Laviska Shenault only had about one play where he got loose from tacklers and made a play. The Dolphins better bring it on Sunday, or the 49ers are going to be breaking tackles left and right all day long.
Field goals won’t do it
The Miami Dolphins settled for five field goals on Sunday. That is simply unacceptable. They were playing a defense who could not stop anyone all year, and were without an All-Pro safety in Jamal Adams. Brian Flores and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey must take some risks to win this game. Injuries or not, the 49ers are still the defending NFC champions and have an elite coaching staff from top to bottom. The Dolphins are the underdog on the road. At that point, you cannot afford to be passive. The Dolphins have a great opportunity to get a road win against a well coached team, but playing like last week will just get them another close loss.