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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Raheem Mostert was the lone bright spot on offense in this game. Mostert had 113 yards and 1 TD at 6.3 ypc, giving the Dolphins a ground game that should have led to a better passing game via playaction.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins couldn't take advantage of the running game because they were down to their 3rd string QB, a 7th round pick who looked good in preseason against back ups and therefore some thought should get a chance to start against 1st stringers. I'm guessing that notion has been oblitered after Skylar Thompson's performance. No fault of Skylar's, he was put in a tough spot that he clearly was not ready for.
The Dolphins defense is starting to resemble the old "bent but don't break" defenses of the Tom Olivadotti days, that eventually broke. Against the Patriots, the defense played well. Against the Ravens and Bills, the defense gave up a ton of yards, but they were able to create stops at criticam moments in the game. Against the Bengals and Jets, the defense gave up some plays and have been unable to stop anyone. The defense bent and it's now broken. Granted, the defense is based on having two shutdown corners on the outside and that isn't the case with both high-paid corners riding the pine.
The NFL's new concussion protocols are a joke. It is an over-reaction to the Tua injury. Now, a guy who tweaks an ankle can be considered needing to be in the protocol because he looked a little shaky to a spotter while trying to walk it off. This will backfire on the NFL and they will need to peel this back.
The Dolphins are now 3-2 and it has become clear just how important Tua is to this team. They are not in the game without him. The defense isn't dependable. Special teams are shaky. You can see the difference in the efficiency of the passing game when Tua is in versus Bridgewater and obviously Thompson.
You can bet the Dolphins will now push for Tua to return before the season gets out of hand.
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.