Did the Miami Dolphins actually fly to New England this weekend? Im not so sure they did. While I may have predicted a loss for the Dolphins, I by no means predicted a shutout caused by a plethora of mental mistakes. The Dolphins finish out the year with a losing record for the 4th time in a row (now a franchise record), while the Patriots have a Post-season bye week. Where exactly did Miami lay down? Lets take a look after the break.
The Dolphins offensive line simply did not perform well in week 17. Richie Incognito was the only lineman to have a good day, allowing only a single hurry in pass protection. Both Jonathan Martin, and Nate Garner allowed way too much pressure on the edges. The O-line was 30th in PBE (Pass Blocking Efficiency) in week 17, allowing 1 sack, 1 hit, and 15 hurries. The Patriots had 7 sacks on Tannehill, but Tannehill also took an unnecessary sack; the other 5 were “coverage sacks”. Incognito & Garner had a decent day while run blocking but Jerry, Martin, and (shockingly) even Pouncey had negative days.
Believe it or not, Jared Odrick had the best overall performance. He contributed 3 qb hurries, 1 batted pass and 2 run stops. Cameron Wake did not have his usual success rushing the passer, earning only 1 QB hurry; Wake did however perform very well against the run, in which he had 5 run stops and an additional tackle. Soliai & Starks we pretty much handled throughout the game, combining for only 2 run stops and an assisted tackle.
On the Ground
With the poor play of the O-line the run game never got much going. The entire offense totaled 47 yards rushing, with 8 of those coming from a scramble by Tannehill. The Dolphins had 4 rushing first-downs and one was by the QB. Reggie Bush was aiming for at least 40 yards, to solidify a back to back 1000+ yard season; he however was only able to accumulate 26 yards on 9 attempts. He busted a 13 yard run late in the game, but his 2.9 yards per carry average is far from a good performance. Rookie, Lamar Miller did no better on his 5 attempts, gaining 13 yards and a 2.6 yard per carry average.
Dolphins Defense vs Patriots Rushing
The Patriots ran the ball 38 times and had a successful day with a 4.4 yard per carry average, and 2 TD’s. . Steven Ridley got the majority of those snaps (20), but New England really got creative with the substitutions. Shane Vereen (8), Brandon Bolden (6), and Danny Woodhead (3), split the remaining 18 snaps. No doubt about it tho, Ridley was the star rusher, and accumalted 74 yards on his 20 snaps for a 3.7 ypc average. He also scored both rushing TD’s. Shane Vereen was able to run through the massive holes created by the O-line to gain 4.8 ypc on 8 attempts, for 38 yards. Brandon Bolden also had success, with 26 yards on 6 attempts, constituting a 4.3 ypc average. Danny Woodhead only had 3 attempts but he averaged 6 ypc. The Patriots had the most success running up the middle, with 86 of the total 167 rushing yards coming on either side of their Center. There is a reason Ryan Wendell is the 2nd best run blocking C in the NFL.
In the Air
Tannehill, Dolphins Passing Attack
The Patriots blitzed Tannehill on 38% of his 42 dropbacks, and was successful at causing a QB pressure on every blitz.. Typically very accurate while under pressure, Tannehill saw his accuracy while under pressure percentage drop to 55% this week, while his average on the year is 72.9%. Tannehill also threw an INT on a play where there was double edge pressure. It was a poor decision weather he could see Hartline in the Flat, or not, and tried to force it to a double covered R. Matthews. The Patriots scored on the very next play. Despite his 1 INT, I am not sure I can blame the offensive woes of the day on Ryan. His 57.1 completion % was not aided by the 4 passes dropped by the offense. With just those 4 drops, his adjusted accuracy percentage is 68%, which is not great, but a lot more respectable than 57%. One of those drops would have been a TD, to Armon Binns, who seems to have come into contact with the “The Curse of Jersey #19 “. Reggie Bush also had 2 drops on his 5 targets, of which 4 were catch-able. Brian Hartline had another respectable day, pulling in 69 yards on 5 receptions, with no drops.
Brady, Patriots Passing Attack vs Dolphins Defense
I said in my game preview that the only way to stop Brady is to apply pressure. The Dolphins apparently forgot that as they only blitzed 8 times (21% of Brady’s drop-backs). Not only did they blitz conservatively, they did so on a day where they only applied pressure on 6 plays. They got 1 sack, and it was on a CB blitz by Bryan McCann. Brady sat back comfortably and picked apart a weak Dolphins secondary by throwing 76.5% of his passes accurately. He was even uncharacteristically accurate while under pressure, with a 75% day. He threw a 61% completion rate, 284 yards and 2 TD’s. Brady and the Pat’s knew to attack the middle of the field, with 41% of Brady’s throws going into either J. Wilson’s coverage or K. Dansby’s. It was an effective strategy, due to Dansby’s poor day in coverage. He was targeted 6 times and allowed 4 to be completed for 73 yards and a TD. Brady had a 147.9 passer rating when throwing against Dansby. Jimmy Wilson allowed a 90.6 Passer rating to Brady, with 5 of 8 being completed for 70 yards. Sean Smith had a rough day as well, as 3 of 4 were completed on him for 38 yards and a passer rating of 104. Dimitri Patterson played well again, albeit for limited snaps due to injury. He allowed only a 43.8 passer rating, with 1 of 3 targets being a completion. Bryan McCann also demonstrated some nice coverage skills with a 50% completion rate (3/6) for only 25 yards. Clemons had a bad day, allowing a 100% completion rate and a TD. Reshad Jones showed once again why he was in the running for a Pro-Bowl Ballot, with only 1 reception on him for 5 yards. He limited Brady to a 56.3 passer rating in his coverage.