As expected a loss to the 49’ers may have been, its chances were helped by Miami’s performance on sunday, which ranged from mediocre to poor. Once again there were too many mistakes, and too many plays missing a playmaker. That goes for both sides of the ball. In a game where there was no room for mistakes, the team suffered from a case of butterfingers in which there were 3 fumbles, and 2 drops (and another deep pass dropped by Marlon Moore that was nullified by a penalty). Mental mistakes, and on one occasion the refs (possibly 2), did not help the matter either. Read on for the full game review.
The 49’ers did not bring a lot of extra help to get to Tannehill, as they only blitzed him on 5 of his attempts. then again, they had no need for it when Tannehill was pressured on 30.6% of his drop-backs anyway. Tannehill did come away from a match-up against a incredibly tough defense with a touchdown and no interceptions, but this game was a bit of a “game of two Tannehill’s”, as he was far more accurate in the first half than in the second. Overall he was accurate on 65.5% of his aimed passes, with a completion rate of 51.5%. Part of that low completion percentage is due to 2 drops, a batted pass, and 3 throw-aways. It was clearly his least accurate day in both the deep ball (14.3%) and while under pressure (33%), with most of that inaccuracy occurring in the 4th quarter. It may be true that Davone Bess nor Marlon Moore had separation from their defenders on two of the biggest deep attempts, but a perfectly (and nothing short of) placed pass would have yielded a completion. There has to be a question the coaches should ask themselves when it comes to the play action. Tannehill has been phenomenal out of play action this year, yielding a 109 passer rating out of the formation; why were only 3 of these plays called?
The offensive line looked OK considering the competition, but fans should not be pleased. They allowed 2 sacks, a hit, and 7 hurries for a total of 10 pressures. In surprising fashion Nate Garner was the most effective pass blocker, followed by center Mike Pouncey. Newly extradited tackle, Jonathan Martin had the daunting task of going up against Aldon Smith who is currently the NFL sacks leader. He performed rather poorly allowing a sack, and 4 hurries while seemingly struggling to hold Smith at bay. Richie Incognito also had a tumultuous day as he allowed a sack, a hit and a hurry on Tannehill. John Jerry was average as far as pass blocking goes.
Some key performances in run blocking also showed the 49’ers dominance over our line. Martin was average when blocking for the run, while Incognito was rather good. Pouncey had the rare negative (only slightly) run blocking performance, and Jerry was rarely dominant in this role. A surprise though, is that tight end Anthony Fasano had a down day blocking for the run.
Despite a overall negative run blocking day, Reggie Bush was still able to muster a respectable 4.6 yards per carry on 14 attempts for 65 yards. His longest run was a 17 yard gain between Incognito and Pouncey. Bush’s agility was on display as fans watched Bush cause two missed tackles. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas were barely used in this game, combining for 5 attempts between them.
It was nice to see the Dolphins finally start to get Reggie Bush involved in the passing game. Bush had 7 targets against the 49’ers. Davone Bess had 8 and Brian Hartline had 5. Bush, Fasano, and Miller were the only offensive players to get a positive grade from ProFootballFocus as a receiver. Fasano had a beautiful catch in the back corner of the end-zone and was able to get his knee down before sliding out of bounds. Davone Bess had a fumble that the Dolphins were lucky enough to have Incognito fall on. Jorvorskie Lane also had a fumble on a reception that he was able to recover. Brian Hartline Had a drop, but he also had a nice 28 yard reception in the first half. Reggie Bush also had a drop, on a low but catch-able pass.
Cameron Wake really should be earning a ticket to Hawaii this year, as he put in yet another multi-sack performance. He had 3 sacks on Kaepernick before the 1st half was over. He also was very good at stopping the run, with 2 run stops and 3 additional tackles. In the center Paul Soliai had most likely his worst day of the season, save a pass rush play where he put a hurry on Kaepernick. He was generally dominated by Mike Iupati and left the feild with negative grades all around. Luckily for the Dolphins defense Randy Starks came out of his recent funk with a strong performance in both the run and passing defense. Jared Odrick also did not perform as his usual self against the run, though he did manage to apply a sack and 2 hurries on Kaepernick. Koa Misi was not so lucky as he was having a very good day till he was sidelined with an injury. Dansby and Burnett both had their tackles but it was generally a bad day for them against the run.
Cornerback Sean Smith will want to forget this day and move to the next page. Every starting wide receiver, had at least 1 catch against Smith. Smith also committed a questionable pass interference penalty, but he did reach through the receiver. Smith’s coverage was targeted 6 times and 5 were completed for 68 yards. Kaepernick had a 113.9 passer rating when targeting Smith’s coverage, with results like that, its no wonder he targeted Smith the most. Nolan Carroll performed pretty good, as he only allowed 1 of 2 targets to be completed for 9 yards and a 62.5 passer rating. Neither Reshad Jones or Chris Clemons were targeted, and Kaepernick only threw 1 pass over 20 yards. Kaepernick and the 49’ers offense chipped away at the defense for most of the game, throwing underneath routes and gaining plenty of yards after the catch. Kaepernick may have thrown for 185 yards but 100 of those were after the catch.
Here is where the game was really put in jeopardy. A fumble from kick returner Marcus Thigpen on a punt gave the ball back to the 49’ers offense on the 9 yard line. Running back Frank Gore, simply powered his way to the end-zone afterwords. A very questionable call by the refs on a Dolphins punt deemed a touchback, instead of the ball starting on the 3rd yard line. I say questionable because of when the whistle was blown Freeney had not stepped onto the end-zone line yet, but did so on the next step. If you are going by the whistle as an idnetifier of a dead ball, the play should have been stopped a 1/2 inch from the end-zone. This lead to a field goal by the 49’ers and quite possibly could have been a no point drive.
In the end, it is very difficult to win a game when you score only 13 points, though it has happened when two good defenses play each other. The offense simply needs to do more. Miami’s defense did not play like the top 5 defense they are, as they allowed at least 20 points to be scored on real drives (not including the TD after the Punt-Fumble). They could not stop the powerful run game of San Francisco, nor could Sean Smith stop Michael Crabtree. In the end, its effectively the end of the Dolphin’s playoff hopes, marking a 4 year drought.