Missed opportunities and mishaps galore, The Miami Dolphins still managed to keep this loss to the Patriots a one score game. The Miami Dolphins didn’t look horrible in this loss, but as usual a few plays make the game. Between the 4 fumbles, the botched punt, the roughing the kicker penalty, or the confusing coaching decisions, the day looked more like the Dolphins lost that game, rather than the Patriots won.
The Offense, simply put, did not do enough. Ryan Tannehill completed only 44% of his passes, however there were 3 drops, 1 throw away, 2 Hit as thrown, and a spiked pass. The adjusted accuracy percentage for Tannehill is 64%. He and Brian Hartline failed to connect on two deep passing attempts. The first, I put on Hartline. After doing some tape breakdown, Hartline visibly slowed on the route as his head came around (was running at a rate of 26 feet per second from the 40 yard line to the 20. He ran 24 feet per second between the 20 and 10 yard lines), and the ball was in his fingertips. The second however, was on Tannehill. Tannehill threw the ball behind Hartline, when he had an empty field in front of him. Hartline made a great adjustment and manipulated his body into position to cradle the ball, but the defender was able to rattle Hartline and cause the drop. Tannehill did have a nice completed deep attempt to rookie wide receiver Richard Matthews. Tannehill had a crucial fumble, that lead to a Patriots score. Another missed opportunity occured when Tannehill lead Hartline just a little to far at the back of the endzone, which resulted in Hartline not being able to get a second foot down. The following play was a 3rd down, and Jonathan Martin left a lane open to double team a rusher that Daniel Thomas had engaged, resulting a huge sack (and hit) on Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins running backs went up against a top 10 run defense and came out OK. Reggie Bush had 15 attempts for 64 yards, with a 4.3 yard per carry average. Daniel Thomas did not fair as well with a 2.0 ypc average. Thomas did have a huge play on 4th down to pick up the new set of downs, and caught a pass from Tannehill that got another in red-zone territory. The run blocking was not up to par, as only one offensive lineman (Pouncey) came out with a positive overall grade in that regard.
The defense played well, but a coaching decision to keep starting defensive ends Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick out on the final drive, cost the defense an opportunity to give the ball back to Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense. Tom Brady was limited to his lowest QB rating of the year and threw 1 touchdown and an interception. Reshad Jones, Dolphins Safety, showed even more reason why he should be a focal point in the secondary for years to come with the interception, a sack. a QB hit, and 10 tackles. This game is just another in a season of good games by Jones. Cam Wake also had a good game, accounting for a sack, 2 QB hits, and 5 hurries. He also stopped the run twice. The Dolphins Defensive line also got good pressure on Brady up the middle with Soliai gaining a sack, and a QB hit. Outside Line Backer, Koa Misi also brought some heat to Brady as he accounted for a sack.
Overall, Special teams did not play well. A low snap from perennial long snapper John Denny on a punt, became a turnover on downs, leading to a easy score by the patriots. Then there was the costly penalty on 4th down where Dolphins CB Jimmy Wilson roughed the kicker, leading to another Patriots score.
Coach Philbin and his Coordinators really need to ask themselves a few questions. Why was Wake & Odrick out at a crucial moment? Why go for the field goal late in the 4th on 2nd down? Why does the offence really only use the Play Action in the 4th quarter? Can Jonathan Martin replace what Jake Long brought to the table?
The Dolphins, now 5-7 on the year, head to San Francisco to take on the 49’s in week 14. They will need to cut down on the mistakes and hit on some of these opportunity’s. Stay tuned for a pre-game analysis on next weeks game.