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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Ryan Tannehill played a clean game, completing 75% of his passes for 309 yards and a 8.6 yards per attempt average.
Lamar Miller had 141 yards from scrimmage, including 97 yards receiving as well as 2 rushing touchdowns.
Good to see Jay Ajayi get some playing time and be effective with 5 rushes for 41 yards. Can we see more?
Jarvis Landry had another Jarvis Landry game. That being said, I would like to see the Dolphins use him downfield a little more. I know he is good on the bubble screens and short stuff, but I think he could be a weapon that we use 10+ yards downfield as well.
Can't complain about Ndamukong Suh in a game he should have had 2 sacks in and at one point was disrupting quite a bit. It is unforunate the officials could not call the game by the rules during those plays. In one play, Suh had Taylor in the grasp and the officials did not rule it a sack. On the next play, Suh was held quite obviously and no call from the refs.
Dan Campbell made some boneheaded decisions in this game. Prior to halftime, the Dolphins failed to leave some time on the clock by using their last timeout. With 2 seconds left, the Dolphins went for it despite being 1 yard out. They went for a pass that fell incomplete. The Dolphins could have kicked the field goal, run the ball or even gone for a QB sneak to get that one yard, but went for a pass instead. In a similar scenario after halftime, the Dolphins decided to run it in that same situation and got a touchdown. Another boneheaded decision was on 3rd and 4 when the Dolphins stopped the Bills. The officials called a penalty and the Dolphins accepted. If the Dolphins had declined, the Bills would have attempted a 51-yard field goal. Instead, the Bills got another shot and turned it into a bomb for a touchdown. These two decisions were, at minimum, a 7 point swing for the Dolphins and could have been as much as a 14 point swing. In a game the Dolphins lost by 16, that's huge.
The defense gave up 266 rushing yards. No further analysis necessary here.
Jason Fox gotta go.
Brent Grimes may have well had his worst game as a Dolphin, being schooled by Sammy Watkins on two deep plays, including a long of 63 yards. Grimes seemed to have issues with his balance.
A combination of bad run defense, poor pass defense by Grimes and poor decisions by Dan Campbell in key moments led to this loss. The Dolphins now find themselves firmly entrenched in last place in the AFC East, having gone 0-4 in the division, and close to a lottery pick than to a wild card berth.
Next week, the Dolphins play at Philadelphia against another team disappointing team, but one that is 2-1 at home. Even though the schedule appears to get easier, the fact is the Dolphins are the poster child for inconsistency. It is hard to predict which team will show up.
The 3-4 Miami Dolphins, coming off a sound thrasing in Foxboro against New England 36-7, are back on the road again to take on the 3-4 Buffalo Bills, coming off a bye. The game is a 1:00 kickoff on CBS.
This is a big game for both teams as they try to keep playoff hopes alive. For Miami, this is an even bigger game, as they lost every game within the division the 1st time around. The acumulations of losses in the AFC hurts in regards to a wildcard spot as well.
Let's take a look at how these teams matchup.
Offensively, the Dolphins are generating 352.3 yards per game, ranking 15th in the NFL. Miami is producing 249.4 yards per game via the pass, 102.9 yards per game rushing. This ranks 15th and 17th in the league respectively, and the Dolphins are scoring 22.0 points a game, which comes in at 18th. They face a Buffalo defense that is giving up 347.3 yards per game, which comes in at 13th. The Bills are giving up 255.4 yards a game via the pass, 91.9 yards per game via the pass. This ranks 22nd and 6th respectively in the NFL. The Bills are giving up 24.7 points per game, which ranks 20th.
Miami had looked very good offensively in games against the Titans and Texans, but crashed back to earth in the Thursday Night embrassment against the Patriots. RB Lamar Miller, coming off of back to back 100 yard plus games was held well below that number, and OC Bill Lazor once again went pass happy and gave up on the run. To compound matters, QB Ryan Tannehill struggled in this game as well. This is something that has to change in regards to Tannehill and his up and down play. It was reported that Tannehill has REALLY struggled on the road in games against division opponents. That has got to change this weeked against a Bills defense that has not been nearly as dominant as they were in 2014. The formula for success in Dan Campbell's 1st 2 games was BALANCE. OC Bill Lazor must get back to that formula. Stay with the run game, as attempts are just as key as the yardage. Tannehill does a great job of spreading the ball around in the passing game, and he will need to continue to do this. I would not mind seeing him use his legs more also. Don't be scared to make a play if the pocket is collapsing.
Defensively, the Dolphins are giving up 379.4 yards per game, which comes in at 24th. Miami is giving up 255.0 yards passing, 124.4 yards per game rushing. That comes in at 21st and 25th respectively. The Dolphins are giving up 24.7 points a game, which ranks 19th in the NFL. The Dolphins face a Bills offense that is generating 340.6 yards per game, which ranks 23rd. Buffalo is generating 216.7 yards per game passing, while they are producing 123.9 yards per game rushing. This comes in at 25th and 11th respectively in the NFL. The Bills are scoring 25.1 points per game, which ranks 9th.
The Dolphins are coming off one of their better performances, even if they don't have a lot to show for it. After the Patriots scored on their first possession of the game, the Dolphins really contained the Patriots and got good pressure on Tom Brady. They finally wore down late 3rd quarter and the remainder of the game as the offense did nothing the help the defense. Miami must have a repeat performance in regards to getting pressure on Tyrod Taylor, back after missing a couple of games due to injury. That task was just made harder with the loss of DE Cameron Wake to a torn achellis tendon in the Patriots game. One Ndamankong Suh along with the rest of the defensive front will have to step up their play. The one thing that does need to improve is coverage on Tight Ends. Buffalo crossed Miami up in the 1st game and came out throwing the ball, especially to TE and former Dolphin Charles Clay. The Bills will not have WR Percy Harvin, but they do get WR Sammy Watkins back. I would expect the Bills to try to establish the run game a little earlier than they did last time. Miami has to be ready for that.
This is the 1st time this team has faced adversity under Dan Campbell. Can the Dolphins bounce back and get a key win on the road against a division rival and a team that has given them fits, especially in Buffalo? The answer to that needs to be YES if the Dolphins want to have legitimate playoffs hopes.
Who’s got next!
Over the last 17 years I’ve had one season where I sat back and enjoyed the ride. That was 2008. There was something special about Pennington and I had this nagging gut feeling that he was going to lead Miami to the playoffs. I’m having that feeling again but this time it isn’t about a QB. Dan Campbell has the type of fire in his veins that has been lacking for a long time. Yes it is a little premature to hype it too much. But just like 2008 I saw something special in that team. I kept nervously expecting it to end. It never did. They won the division title that year and despite an ugly end in the playoffs, it will remain a loan bright spot in a decade of futility. Campbell’s Team has that same spark. They’re playing with renewed passion. It doesn’t mean they’re going to win every week but it means they’re going to be tough to beat. NE better bring their game tonight because if they don’t, this Dolphins Team will beat them in their own back yard. What a special night that would be. There’s a funny thread going on in our forums. It is Dan Campbell as Chuck Norris.
When NE has the ball, there’s no question its Brady and a trio of very good players. Edelmen, Amendola and Gronk are all dangerous. Brady will feed the hot hand the ball and keep going there. The Jets did a beautiful job of shutting it down with press coverage in the first 3 quarters but inexplicably went to a zone- blitz scheme in the 2nd half with the DBs playing off. I watched Coyle fail at this approach to games the very same way. Brady flourished with this approach. They blitzed, he took a 3 step drop and hit Edelmen or Amendola. Since the DBs were off they marched down the field at a 5-7yd clip. Then, Brady would find the occasional blown coverage and grab a larger chunk. He was even sacked a few times but not enough to make a big difference. The jets should have stayed with the man coverage on the WRs because it allowed the DL time to get to Brady. The blitzing in the 2nd half would’ve been much more effective with WRs being jammed at the LOS. Ultimately the Jets did prove one thing: they could hang with the Patriots until the end in Foxboro. That also tells me Miami can do the same thing.
When Miami has the ball NE’s defense will do the same thing they did last week in Q1 against the Jets. They’ll stack the box with 8-9 guys early in the game and blitz trying to create a big play. Miami’s interior line isn’t as good as the Jets. If they play a single safety Miami’s going to have to attack with the TE in the seam and the WRs on slants. Just like the Jets, Miami is going to have to force the running game. While the Jets average per carry was really bad, they put themselves in 3rd and 3-4 yds which proved manageable most of the game. This made for long, time consuming drives which kept Brady on the sideline. The Jets don’t have the offensive weaponry that Miami has. RT and company are going to have to carry their weight in this game by scoring 30 points. NE’s secondary is terrible. They were committing penalties all evening that weren’t being called. Miami should test them deep… a lot.
Overall, it is hard to predict a win here. Even though my gut is saying they’ll do it this is still the NE Patriots and they’re still the defending super bowl champs. So win or lose, I’m going to watch the defense and offense open a can of Campbells Cream of Whoopazz Soup.
Dan…be the man.
Addendum – I had that artcle cued up and ready to go when I realized Tony Simmons had already posted a pregame post. But some of the insights I offered were keys to why they lost. DBs in zone, 10yds off the ball. Terrible. Offensive play calling, they didn’t force the run and when they did it wasn’t a direct, right at them approach it was cutsey off-tackle, pull the guard stuff. The same plays NY Jets failed at last week that they quickly abandoned in favor of a more between the tackles approach. Finally, one more point. About Ryan Tannehill. He followed his best game ever with what could be close to his worst. Miami needed him to lead. They needed him to come out passionate about winning and trying everything he could to make that happen. He was listless. He was unenthusiastic. He was about as distant as a QB could be from the game. At one point staring off to the right as the ball was snapped. It was mind boggling to watch. A guy in his 5th season who looked like a new rookie out there. It really damaged my faith in him. Instead of anticipating, creating time… he looked for a place to fall at the first sign of pressure. Instead of attacking downfield…he was checking off to the back on 3rd and 18 down by 22. It was if he just didn’t care. The OL held up its end of the bargain. They gave him a lot of time to throw on most occasions and when the plays were between the tackles they were gritting out 3-4 yards.
Just one more observation: Bill Lazor still doesn’t have an effective audible system in place. At one point in the first half the patriots had a DE lined up on Lamar Miller who was split wide left. This should be a no brainer. As a matter of fact there was confusion on the Patriots side of the ball as the DE scrambled out late to line up on Miller. Any veteran QB would’ve seen the mismatch immediately and exploited it. Not RT and Lazor…. Stick with the play. The play lost 4 yards. In order for this offense to be successful, Lazor is going to have to be less creative and more basic. He needs to simplify the offense like they did the defense. Give RT the ability to audible.