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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
When the Dolphins beat the Patriots, this list gets considerably longer.
Let's start with the game winning play. It is being called the Miracle in Miami and required perfect execution by multiple people including a good pass by Ryan Tannehill, two well executed laterals by Stills and Parker and a terrific finish by Kenyan Drake. This is a once in a generation play and we're lucky to have experienced it in such a big game against a big time opponent.
Ryan Tannehill. Even though he didn't have to do much, what he did was near perfect. 14 of 19, 265 yards and 3 TDs against a team that completely shut him down earlier in the season.
The running game was in beast mode, gaining 189 yards on 21 carries and 2 touchdowns. Aside from the typicaly game by Frank Gore, Brandon Bolden, the former Patriot, made huge contributions with two runs for two touchdowns, including a 54 yarder.
It was nice to see Kenny Stills get in on the action with 8 catches for 135 yards and 1 TD.
The run defense was the best it has been all year, holding the Patriots to 77 yards on 30 carries. The last time the Dolphins faced the Patriots, they allowed 175 rushing yards. An almost 100 yard swing. Honorable mention to Raekwon McMillan, who was in on 9 tackles and honestly looked like a different player than he has all season.
The Patriots still gained 344 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air. The absence of Xavien Howard was felt. The Patriots were still very efficient on 3rd down conversions and were able to hold the ball for 35 minutes.
What happened on special teams? The punts blocked by the Patriots. Our best unit failed to show up on the day that our two bad units sort of did.
While the offensive line created nice holes for the running backs, they also created nice holes for pass rushers. The interior line continues to be an issue in pass protection.
The Dolphins are very much in the playoff hunt. That being said, the Ravens seem to currently own all of the tie-breakers against Miami and the Colts while the Colts hold a head-to-head win against Miami. Miami needs to sweep the remaining three games and have some chips fall their way to make the playoffs. There is a chance the Dolphins could finish the season 10-6 and miss the playoffs.
Up next, the 6-5-1 Vikings (pending outcome of game against Seahawks), a team that boasts one of the better defenses in the NFL but a middle of the road offense that is last in rushing. It should be an interesting match up that could position the Dolphins well to finish the season off strong.
The New England Patriots come to Miami for a 1 PM game against the Dolphins. Miami is a 7.5 point underdog and the over/under is 47.
Lots of talk up here in Boston sports radio about Tom Brady's troubles in Miami previously, but not much fear this year. We aren't the only people noticing a complete lack of energy on offense and a defense that gives up a ton of yards. We saw in Week 4 how Bill Belichick completely neutralized Miami's offense and Brady and company eventually steam rolled the defense.
Brady isn't going to throw at Xavien Howard and give Miami a shot to get short fields. I also think Belichick is just going to run the ball to death like he did with Sony Michel in the previous game. Unless the pass rush miraculously comes alive I doubt we'll see New England have a lot of hiccups.
One thing that was pointed out to me was New England's linebackers really struggle in coverage so Miami might look to feature the running backs in the passing game. I'm sure Belichick tries to take that away and force Wounded Wing Ryan Tannehill to throw downfield. Belichick will also try to make sure the Miami running game is ineffective to force Tannehill into 3rd and longs.
Funny thing about Tannehill is that he used to thrive moving the ball between the 20s but not consistently find the end zone. Now he can punch it in when close but can't move the ball when starting on his side of the 50 yard line. If the defense can't produce a turnovers or Special Teams can't set the offense up with good field position I think you'll see another ho hum result.
The good thing is that Brady has not been himself this year and the defense forced a couple of interceptions in Week 4. So it isn't impossible for Miami to pull this off. I'm just not expecting it.
New England 31
Hopefully I'm wrong.