On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins allowed Lamar Jackson to make a statement to the NFL that he deserves to be the league MVP. Now they face the Josh Allen Bills who beat them in week 4.
They say that each game lost is a lesson that can be learned. The Miami Dolphins have a lot of lessons to learn from Sunday. The question is whether or not there are enough hours in the week to learn them.
Miami lost on defense. Vic Fangio had no answer for the Ravens offense. The Dolphins, down Xaiven Howard early in the game couldn't contain the Ravens receivers. They couldn't get pressure on Jackson, who didn't need to run the ball to win the game.
If the game wasn't bad enough, they lost Bradley Chubb for the season with what appears to be an ACL tear. We will know more about that later today. We should learn more about Howard as well.
Miami lost on offense. Miami jumped out to a quick 7-0 start and could have made it 14-3 on their next series but Tyreek Hill dropped a perfectly thrown pass, uncontested, in the end zone. Miami settled for a field goal.
The drop didn't lose the game for the Dolphins but the momentum seemed to shift entirely and the Ravens took control of the game afterward.
Tua Tagovailoa lost the game. Early on, Tua was on fire but some of the decisions that were working early didn't later when he started to feel pressure from the Ravens defense. Tua threw two bad interceptions, one at the end of the 2nd half.
That interception came on a drive after the Ravens scored a TD late in quarter two. They scored again before the quarter ended and scored with the ball to open the 2nd half. It was a 3-score swing that put the Ravens up 35-13 after the first drive of the 2nd half.
Mike McDaniel lost the game. McDaniel looked as though he was going to showcase his team early in the first quarter but as the Ravens adjusted, McDaniel did not. His running game was working, yet he steered away from the outside and tried to move the ball inside.
McDaniel again went back to the fade routes in the red zone and again it failed. His playcalling wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either. McDaniel was not able to adjust to the Ravens defense and that kept Miami from moving the ball and staying in the game.
The Miami Dolphins have to learn from this but there are questions whether or not they can.
Miami will limp home to face the Bills Sunday night. The winner takes the AFC East and the number 2 seed in the AFC. They will play without Bradley Chubb who likely tore his ACL. They could and likely will be without Xavien Howard who left the Ravens game in the first quarter with a foot injury. They will likely be without Jaylen Waddle who has a high ankle sprain.
The communication on defense is something that must improve. Jalen Ramsey was visibly upset after one score because of miscommunication. Fangio has to get this right and whatever beef he has with Cam Smith, he may want to put aside.
Eli Apple was horrible on Sunday and Cam Smith, Miami's first pick (round 2) of last year's draft has not played at corner. The Bills are probably not the team to throw him in against but Sunday was a mess with Apple.
Offensively, the Dolphins have to have an answer for the Bills defense. They are playing possessed. They are creating turnovers and getting pressure against everyone they play. Miami's offense wasn't good against the Bills defense earlier in the season and they have to find a way to create opportunities Sunday night. Mike McDaniel has to give his team high-percentage opportunities to win one-on-one or they will fail from the start.
Buffalo comes to Miami favored by almost three points. That should tell the Miami Dolphins something right there.