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The Bad

Phinfever, Rich Rodriguez, Miami Dolphins, BlogOffensive Line (specifically Dallas Thomas) - Let's call it what it is. Dallas Thomas is not even a mediocre right tackle. 3 sacks and 2 pressures allowed. But to be fair, the entire offensive line struggled. The running lanes disappeared in the 2nd half, when the Dolphins would even bother calling a run, but more importantly, the offensive line failed to protect Ryan Tannehill. 6 sacks and 14 pressures allowed. That means Tannehill was under some kind of duress for about half of his drop backs. This isn't the first time this season that Tannehill is facing some sort of pressure on about half his drop backs. Poor protection doesn't give receivers time to get open when the Dolphins want to go downfield, which isn't often. The announcers kept talking about how the Dolphins didn't go downfield or call deep routes. Well, I can partially understand why seeing as how this offensive line at this point isn't much better than last year's unit at pass protection. There is still work to do, especially at guard and with depth on this unit.

Kevin Coyle's Defense - I specifically mention Kevin Coyle's defense because this is the unit he built. His philosophy of bending but not breaking doesn't work in December. What works is pressure, hitting, aggressiveness. All too often, Dolphins defenders are asked to sit back and react. This gives the offense an advantage, especially when the offense has a competent quarterback. The Dolphins came out aggressive, playing press coverage, hitting, getting penetration. That disappeared towards the end of the first half, when the Dolphins went into their predictable prevent defense against the 2 minute drill. It was completely invisible in the second half. From day one, Coyle put his imprint on this defense, switching it from a very effective 3-4 to the 4-3 unit we see today. That was the first mistake. The second mistake was going more zone heavy and moving away from the press coverage most good defenses in the NFL play. He owns it.

Officiating - The Dolphins lost because they got beat, but the officials certainly didn't help with some bad calls. Specifically the ineligible man downfield calls against Mike Pouncey. Those calls happened on big plays and they were wrong. The worst one was when Tannehill completed a 31 yard pass to Mike Wallace that set up the Dolphins in the red zone. The bad call wiped out the 31 yard play and on the next couple of plays the Dolphins started moving back and were taken out of field goal range. Another call that cost the Dolphins points was when the Dolphins sacked Joe Flacco for a safety. The correct thing to do would have been to call it a safety and then review the play. Because the refs didn't call it a safety, they put the onus on the Dolphins to ask for the play to be reviewed. Another thing to point out is that they kept calling the Dolphins for ineligible man downfield, but failed to call the Ravens for a pick on the Steve Smith touchdown when it was clear Torrey Smith was doing nothing but blocking the DB as soon as the ball was snapped. Every game has bad calls, but they usually even themselves out. They did not in this game at all.

 

Overall

The Dolphins now have a tough road to finish with a winning record, let alone get into the playoffs. The biggest failure on this team has been the coaching, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and the play of the offensive line in protecting the quarterback. At the very least, Kevin Coyle needs to be replaced, but ideally the Dolphins replace Joe Philbin and bring in a coach with more guts. Playing it safe only gets you to around .500 at best. That is what the Dolphins are, a reflection of their head coach.

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