Miami Dolphins offense not nearly as off as the knee-jerk reactions from Friday

Following the win over the Jets, the Miami Dolphins offense looked sluggish and out of sync again. On rewatch, it wasn't nearly that bad.

East Rutherford, NJ     November 24, 2023 -- Miami quarterback,Tua Tagovailoa in the first half as
East Rutherford, NJ November 24, 2023 -- Miami quarterback,Tua Tagovailoa in the first half as / Chris Pedota, / USA

Tua Tagovailoa did not have a perfect game against the Jets but the Miami Dolphins didn't need him to. They needed him to lead the team, and he did.

There is no getting around how bad the pick-6 turnover was at the end of the first half. It was a horrible read, a horrible throw, and Tua has to do better than that. On the ensuing drive, Tua threw another bad pass that was intercepted.

Lucky for the Dolphins that final interception led to one final throw by Tim Boyle and a 99-yard pick-6 for Jevon Holland, all in the span of 3 seconds.

On Friday, I said that the Dolphins' offense was sluggish and was bailed out by a strong defensive showing. The defense part is still spot on but after the knee-jerk reactions following the game, and a reason I hate writing post-game articles, is that you take a longer look at the game, after it is over. The emotion of a loss or even a win is gone.

I'm not saying Tua was perfect but what should be noted is that the Dolphins didn't play an offensive game plan designed to make Tua the hero of the game. He was a mechanic of the offense, not the gears that made it work.

Mike McDaniel didn't take the pass-happy approach and instead attacked the Jets defense at their core. For the first time as the Dolphins head coach, McDaniel stayed with the run game and pounded the Jets strong defense until they finally caved.

On Friday, Miami's offense was the most physical they have been all year. Miami posted 22 first-downs and rushed for 167 yards on 37 carries. That resulted in two TDs. The offensive line opened up holes and when the early part of the game saw the Jets defense shut Miami's rushing attack, McDaniel stuck with it.

Miami ran the ball 7 times more than they passed it and when Tua was asked to pass it, most of those throws were short. His longest pass of the day was only 35 yards.

Yes, Miami's offense looked sluggish on Sunday because we have been conditioned to see a high-powered machine that rolls up and down the field and frankly, we haven't seen that since before the Germany trip.

Tua wasn't asked to win the game from the start. He was only asked not to lose it. He was calculated and methodical. The Jets' defense took away his first reads and forced him to alter his throws. That is what you expect to happen from a top defense.

McDaniel ran it instead. It's pretty sad when you can be less than thrilled with an offense that produces 243 yards passing. It's a shame when you realize that two of your WRs went over 100 yards against a secondary that many think is in the top 5.

It's hard to realize that your top receiver also got banged up and may not have been himself the entire game. But when you sit back, rewatch, and rethink, you also see that the focus wasn't to take big risks downfield but instead to smack the defense in the mouth by running it down their throat.

On Friday, the Dolphins played smash-mouth football and they won because of it. Not because of Tua not having a great game or a bad one. On Friday, Tua was good. Compared to Tua of 2023, he was average. But he didn't need to be great, he needed to be good.

The Dolphins rushing attack on Sunday isn't being talked about enough. For a stretch of five games, the Dolphins rushed far more than just 100 yards. In that stretch, the lowest production was 142 yards on the ground. Over the last five games, Miami's best rushing output was 117 yards against the Chiefs. On Friday, Miami got back to what they do well. 167 yards against one of the best run defenses in the league.