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Week 6: Dolphins at da Bears
Ryan Tannehill went 23 of 31 for 278 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception. At one point, Tannehill completed 14 passes in a row and looked accurate throughout most of the game. He had at least 8 throws that went over 15 yards, including a deep 35 yard throw to Hartline that was right on the money and a perfect 18 yard touchdown throw to Dion Sims. Tannehill's lone blemish was an interception on a pass that bounced of the hands of Dion Sims. The pass was a little behind Sims, but was a back shoulder throw because there was a defender that could have made a play on the ball in front of Sims. Tannehill also ran 5 times for 35 yards, including a long of 18. This is the best game Ryan Tannehill has had since last year's second game against the Patriots.
Bill Lazor threw everything at the Raiders. The run to pass ratio (35 runs, 31 passes) is exactly what you want to see. The distribution of the football (9 different receivers caught a pass, 6 different players ran the ball) is the kind you want to see from a team that does not have an alpha player.
The running game was clicking, led by Lamar Miller with 64 yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 carries. Daniel Thomas added 35 yards on 5 carries. The Dolphins averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The Dolphins gained 157 yards on the ground.
The wide receivers made plays, including big catches by Hartline on 3rd down and a nice touchdown by Mike Wallace in which he took on three defenders to push heis way into the endzone.
The offensive line opened huge holes for the running game and did not allow a single sack.
The Dolphins secondary had three interceptions (Grimes, Wilson, Aikens) and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown (Finnegan). The Dolphins had not intercepted a pass all season (including all preseason) and started to make up for it today as those picks came in bunches.
Derrick Shelby got two sacks today, a little bit of a coming out party for 2014.
Too many fumbles today, but Wallace, Miller and Landry. The Dolphins were lucky that only one of those three was lost. They have to clean that up. Against better teams, those are fatal.
Dion Sims had that pass, a little bit behind him, but in his hands and it should have been caught. Not catching it led to an interception for the lone blemish on Tannehill's stat line.
Definitely a step in the right direction for this team.
Offensive numbers: 435 total yards, 157 rushing and 278 passing, no sacks and 38 points is exactly what you want to see. 5 of 11 on third downs and 24 first downs.
Defensive number: 317 yards allowed, only 53 yards rushing and 14 points allowed.
It was a complete win. It takes a team to win in the NFL and hopefully this win allows for some building of confidence and chemistry. You could not have asked any better going into the bye week.
The 1-2 Miami Dolphins travel to the UK to take on the 0-3 Oakland Raiders in a 1:00 kickoff on CBS. Miami is coming off an extremely disappointing 34-15 loss at home to Kansas City while the Raiders lost in Foxboro to New England 16-9. Needless to say that impressive opening game day win over the New England Patriots seems like a distand memory after only 2 weeks.
The loss to Kansas City was troubling in many ways last week. The defense came out early and was dominant, but by the 2nd quarter, the Chiefs had made adjustment and it became very obvious that the linebacker corps for the Dolphins would be a factor in a major way. While Jelani Jenkins had a nice day from a statistics standpoint, he missed many tackles, which is becoming a theme again for this defense. Jason Trusnik is a special teams player, and I will leave it at that. Phillip Wheeler continues to be a disappointment. The secondary has their issues as well. Brent Grimes is a solid cover corner, but his tackling leaves a lot to be desired as does safety Jimmy Wilson. The off coverage played by the secondary allows to many short passes to be completed and the pass rush has been inconsistent.
Offensively, I thought Ryan Tannehill was better from an accuracy standpoint, but the Dolphins wide receivers continued a troubling trend in regards to drop passes. Miami LEADS the NFL in drop passes, and with the exception of Mike Wallace, the play from the wide receivers has left a lot to be desired this season. The OL is still a work in progress and OC Bill Lazor has become far to dependent on the pass game when the run game for the Dolphins has been very good so for in 2014. There is NO balance at all to the offense, and that has to change.
Miami comes into the game offensively averaging 327 yards per game, 190 yards passing and 137.3 yards per game rushing while scoring 19.3 points per game. QB Ryan Tannehill is completing 56.5 percent of his passes for 624 yards and 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Mike Wallace is the leading WR for Miami with 17 catches for 211 yards while Lamar Miller is the leading rusher with 37 carries for 213 yards, and is coming off a 15 carries for 108 yard game last week. They face an Oakland defense giving up 342 yards per game, 183 yards passing, 159 yards rushing. The Raiders are allowing 21.7 points per game.
The key for Miami offensively is BALANCE. The Dolphins have attempted 124 passes while only running the ball 79 times. When your rushing attack ranks 7th in the NFL, featuring the run game more is going to be key. Whether Lazor comes out and does that is another thing. Also, the OL needs to continue to improve and the wide receivers for the Dolphins have to start catching the ball. I believe Ryan has done a better job over the weeks from an accuracy standpoint, he needs his receivers to step up and do what they are paid to do, catch the ball.
Defensively, the Dolphins come into the game giving up 324 yards per game, 199 passing and 125 against the rush, while giving up 27.7 points per game. 2nd year LB Jelani Jenkins is the leading tackler and Miami comes into the game with 9 sacks. They will face a Raiders offense that is only averaging 254 yards per game, 190 yards passing and 64 yards rushing per game. The Raiders are averagaing 12.3 points per game. Rookie QB Derek Carr is completing 63.0 percent of his passes for 588 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Darren McFadden is the leading rusher for the Raiders with 34 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. James Jones is the leading receiver with 15 catches for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Point blank, this is a game the defense has a chance to dominate, but the linebacker play has to get better along with the tackling. The Raiders are REALLY struggling offensively. That said, the Chiefs were struggling offensively as well, and after the 1st quarter, the Dolphin defense allowed KC to get going offensively the rest of the game. The defensive front for the Dolphins has to have a dominant performance to help this linebacker corp, or they could find the Raiders having success.
This is a BIG game for the Dolphins this early in the season. After coming off the impressive win over New England, the Dolphins have looked awful in losing to Buffalo and Kansas City. To make matters worst, HC Joe Phiblin initally did not give QB Ryan Tannehill his backing as the starting QB, which started a media whirlwind. Things could turn UGLY very quickly for the Dolphins if they cannot get a win over the winless Oakland Raiders.
Let's Go Miami.