AFCE

Miami Dolphins: This is how I see it.

Miami Dolphins: This is how I see it.
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17/29 257 yards 1 td 5 carries for 17 yds 1 Td qb rating – 99.35
 
Football is a strange sport because one play can be the difference between all-time sporting highs and people wanting your job.
 
16/29 186 yards 0 td 5 carries for 17 yds 1 TD qb rating 74.78
 
The difference in those stat lines is one dropped pass.
 
Miami went into Seattle to play a team that was in the top 2 of every power ranking that existed. They went in with over a 10-point spread, an absolute absurd spread for a NFL game. They went into a game against what is supposed to be an elite defense, a borderline HOF qb, and the hardest stadium to play in the NFL. If there is a week for moral victories, losing last second by 2 points to the Seattle Seahawks on the road in the first game of a new head coach should be where you find it. Instead the way the loss occurred is just disheartening.
 
As expected Miami’s pass rush destroyed the Seattle Oline for much of the game. Suh was a force to be reckoned with, ending the day with four run stops, three hurries, a sack, and a nicely done leg stomp. The front four covered for the back seven for almost the entire game. The constant four-man pressure allowed the safeties to play like ball hawks, this lead to a timely interception by Abdul-Quddus and great all around play by Reshad Jones. In all, the Defensive line came up with 3 sacks, with Mario Williams shadowing Russell Wilson the entire game and not letting his athletic ability turn into any big plays. The defense lost its edge right when it needed it the most. The last drive by Seattle included two fourth down conversions. After losing two starters and Cam Wake on a limited snap count for the last drive, the difference was noticeable in the lack of pass rush. The defense, which hadn’t needed to dial up blitzes all game, instead decided to rush only 4 the entire last drive, running a prevent defense that predictably prevented the Dolphins from squeezing out a great victory on the road.
 
The Dolphins should not have been in the need to stop a last minute drive anyways. There are very few games where the difference in victory or defeat can be centered around two plays. This is one of them. A dropped pass that would have been a 71-yard TD, silencing the crowd and shocking the Seahawks. A missed assignment by the rookie Tunsil that led to a blocked field goal attempt. Ten points left on the board against an elite defense while on the road. You can’t do that in the NFL and expect to win. The narrative is instead how dominating the Seattle defense was.
 
There are some positives to take from this game though. Tannehill looked comfortable in the new offense. While I disliked his audible in the 4th and inches, he made several throughout the game that garnered great results. The most positive being the audible to a swing pass to Foster on an outside linebacker blitz that led to a 50-yard reception by Foster. Our offensive of line was considerably better. The five sack total is very misleading. One sack came on a 3rd and goal where Tannehill ran out of bounds with two coming on the last two plays of the game. It should be noted that while they graded much better than usual, Tannehill was still under pressure on 45% of his drop backs, which was the most in the NFL in week one.
 
Tannehill missed a couple throws that in a perfect world he would make. There was a difficult throw to the back of the end zone for Stills and a nearly impossible throw to Stills on the last drive that would have gone for a 50-yard gain if he had been able to hold on. With all that, the QB put the team in the position to win the game by leading an 86 yard drive late in the 4th to take the lead. If the defense holds, the narrative is once again completely different, and the talk is how Tannehill played a gritty game and stepped up when it mattered most.
 
The team is seemingly moving in the right direction under Gase, the question remains how competitive will the Dolphins be the rest of this season.
 
Fins vs. Patriots
 
Sometimes match-ups can be very player dependent. This is one of them. It’s hard to predict what will happen his weekend with so much still up in the air as who will be playing Sunday. If Mario is healthy, Miami has a very good chance of going into Foxborough and pulling off an upset week 2 without Tom Brady. If I was the Patriots I wouldn’t bother with rushing Gronk back either, you already have a win where you didn’t expect it in the first four weeks. Expect BB to have a brilliant game plan as always, but the Patriots D isn’t the Seattle D and Boston isn’t Seattle. I expect the offense of the Dolphins to be much better against the Patriots this week. The question is if the Defense of Miami can have a similar showing and take advantage of an injured and mediocre Patriots offensive line.
 
Prediction – None yet, as there simply isn’t enough information.
 
Additional Notes
 
– NFL’s vice president of officiating agrees with me on the Cam Newton situation. The only missed call was the one by Brandon Marshall where he launched himself into the head of Cam. Every other situation Cam was acting like a runner, and he loses the additional protections of a QB at that time.
– Chris Ivory isn’t dead yet. Yeldon remains a true number 1 for now. Although Yeldon ran well, I fully expect them to split carries when Ivory is back. If you can sell Yeldon high for right now, I would.
– CJ Spiller is out in New Orleans, does he make it back to Buffalo?
– BB will go down as the greatest coach in the history of the NFL.
– Jack Del Rio has no expectations and is loving it. I approve. His Twitter snark at ESPN was of legendary proportions.

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