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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
It's honestly kind of hard to write this up given last night's events. Last night turned out to be more about an individual who suffered a scary injury than a game. So the good news is that Tua was discharged from the hospital and got to travel back with his teammates. He had movement in all his extremities. Here's hoping the team and the player both take the right path on his recovery.
Tyreek Hill was explosive with 10 catches for 160 yards.
I felt the Dolphins defense played well given the injury situation in the secondary with Xavien Howard playing through a groin injury and Byron Jones being out. Also given how many snaps they played the week before and on a shot turnaround. They absolutely stuffed the run as the Bengals only gained 67 yards for a 2.2 YPC clip. The Bengals had 14 points through 3 quarters and the defense had to overcome 2 turnovers by the offense.
It is the first loss of the season and it happened in a terrible way, with Tua Tagovailoa coming out of the game after a scary hit. Some people have said the play by Josh Tupou was dirty. I disagree. I think he was working his but off to make a play and given the angle and momentum, it was just an unfortunate result.
Teddy Bridgewater played better than his short stint against Buffalo, but he was off on some throws, including the interception late in the game. Obviously, he probably didn't practice much this week and hasn't developed chemistry with the first-team receivers. It's looking like he will have an opportunity to do that now as I expect Tua to miss at least a couple of games after the concussion.
You can also tell McDaniel didn't trust Bridgewater against the Bengals. The play calls went very conservative as the Dolphins ran the ball more (and were actually somewhat effective) or went to safer plays. When the play did call for Bridgewater to make a play, the results were mixed, so perhaps McDaniel had good reason for this. Honestly, purely speculative here but I also think McDaniel was impacted by the injury to Tua and didn't seem like the same guy on that sideline the rest of the game.
There will be a lot of second-guessing by the medical "experts" on Twitter. Did the Dolphins cover up a concussion against the Bills? Should McDaniel have allowed Tua to play? Most people don't seem to know that, against the Bills, Tua had to be cleared by an independent neurologist and he would have been evaluated throughout the week for a concussion. According to the medical experts that were in the room, he did not have a concussion. I could be wrong, but I don't see McDaniel as the type to try to influence the situation if one of his players is at risk. All this irresponsible speculation by people who don't know what they are talking about is dangerous, but it seems to be the way of the world. Eventually, the facts will come out, but people seem incapable of waiting for that to happen.
As for the Dolphins, they are 3-1. No one saw this happening. So they are in a better spot than expected. And the schedule lightens up considerably from the murderer's row of teams they just faced (3 Superbowl contenders in a row). But Tua will most likely be out against the Jets. The Dolphins will need to change their approach to a more run-heavy offense and utilize Bridgewater as a game manager. Hopefully, the team doesn't play down to the competition as they have done in past seasons.
The Dolphins finally beat the Bills after a 7-game losing streak against them. Even if the way it happened and the stats were not pretty, it potentially helps the Dolphins overcome a huge psychological hurdle.
I know the numbers aren't statistically pretty. The Dolphins allowed 400 yards passing and 2 TDs by Josh Allen. The Bills rushed for 115 yards, including a 43-yarder from Zack Moss. The Bills gained 31 first downs, were 11-18 in third down efficiency and held onto the ball for over 40 minutes. Yet, at the end of the game, the Dolphins defense was able to hold tough again. Another goal line stand. Another 4th quarter where they shut down an offense that was moving it at will. The numbers don't look pretty, but the big plays at the right time do.
The offensive line did struggle this game as the running backs had very little room in a 41 yards, 2.4 yards per carry performance. The lone bright spot in the running game was the 2 touchdowns by Chase Edmonds. Tua did only get sacked once and the pass protection wasn't horrific, but it could have been better and, at some point this season, the Dolphins are going to need to get the run game going.
The Dolphins may have one-upped the infamous Mark Sanchez butt fumble with the "butt punt". Honestly, I will probably catch heat for what I am about to type here, but I believe this was a poor decision by McDaniel. With so little room, it would have probably been better to just take the safety here. The Dolphins were fortunate that the ball didn't go straight up, as a Bills recovery in the end zone would have been a touchdown and completely changed the complexion of the game. A safety and a long safety punt were the safest course of action here, and while that is what wound up happening, it could have gone tragically wrong if not for the lucky.... bounce?
What can you say? The Dolphins are 3-0 to start the season. They have beaten the Patriots, Ravens and Bills. Kind of a murderer's row of football teams to face early in the year. In years past, the Ravens and Bills blow the Dolphins out. This year, you can definitely see the difference.
Now the Dolphins face the AFC Champion Bengals in Cincy on a short week. We can all agree that McDaniel's young tenure as the Dolphins head coach has been put to the test. No one expected 3-0, but if the Dolphins come out of this stretch 4-0, this will only make the start of the season that much more incredible.