Browns 24 (0-3)
Dolphins 30 (1-2) OT
The old adage is that there are no bad wins and no such thing as moral victories. The Dolphins defied the former by putting together a victory that no Dol-fan takes solace in.
Miami were, again, out coached, the defense was atrocious, and the offense lacked identity and struggled to execute the majority of the day.
Needing an extra frame to beat a Cleveland Browns team that were more depleted than the Marshall football program following that historic plane crash. With a short turn around on the road in Cincinnati on Thursday night, not many will give the Dolphins much of a chance.
Let’s get to the game review.
This game starts with the coaching staff. I thought Vance Joseph’s overall plan was better but there was a habitual lack of execution. Then there was the head coach and his offense.
Adam Gase channeled his inner-Dave Wannstedt in this game. Despite some successful drives with passes to the intermediate portion of the field, he’d go back to run, run, pass then punt. It wasn’t working and he refused to get away from it. It was a conservative game plan trying not to lose the game and something I never thought I’d see from Gase.
The fans calling for his head are the same fans that wear their Wal-Mart bought jerseys to local reservation casino and waste their government checks on penny slots, but this is a real black mark on Coach Gase’s resume. How he responds in the Cincinnati game will be very telling.
I’d also like to see him wrangle in his star receiver, Jarvis Landry. Yes, Landry is becoming a bonafide star, but his little tantrums, poor body language and excessive celebration penalties should not be tolerated. Put up Antonio Brown numbers, and then we’ll revisit the issue. Until then, Jarvis is as much of a diva as he is a star.
Devante Parker is awesome. The way he bent that route to the perimeter and put his big frame in front of the defender for the touchdown was gorgeous – textbook route running.
Anthony Steen looks like he’s playing football for the first time. I counted five times where the play had started and finished and Steen never found anybody to get his hands on – he’s literally a wasted player on a handful of plays.
Ja’Wuan James got a dose of bench for his pitiful run blocking performance. The entire right side of the line (that would include Jermon Bushrod) was a turnstile all day. He also got embarrassed on the pick six as he allowed pressure in Tannehill’s face as he was throwing.
Billy Turner got the call for James and even saw some time in heavy alignments with six linemen. This should be in the plans moving forward getting some extra beef onto the to help the ground game.
The backs need to do their part in the ground game too. Kenyan Drake has a nice burst and is the most decisive, but needs a running mate to share the load. Arian Foster can’t stay healthy and Jay Ajayi, despite his walk off touchdown run, made plenty more mistakes today. On top of some poor running, his chip on the Tannehill pick six was a joke of an effort.
I am a staunch Ryan Tannehill supporter and believer, but this was not his best game. His timing was pretty bad for most of the game missing early reads, failing to throw with anticipation and his accuracy was just never there. I’ll have to check the film to get a better feel for his decision making but he needs to process things quicker.
That said, he had three touchdown passes and his highest passer rating of the season (93.9.)
Reshad Jones remains the best football player on the field every time the Dolphins play. It’s shocking that there aren’t actually two or three of him out there because he’s making plays at every level of the field and it’s such a treat to watch.
Kiko Alonso and Jelani Jenkins had games they’d each like to forget. Alonso is constantly slow to fill and Jenkins is, well it would take a lot less time to tell you about the things he did right. Coverage and run defense were both massive liabilities for the Dolphins linebackers today.
I’m certain I’ve never before seen the technique Byron Maxwell is going with currently. Literally the only route he is preventing is the go route and everything else is just pitch and catch for the offense. He faces up his man, immediately flips his hips and begins to wall off the receiver to the sideline before the route has even been ran. He’s chasing behind these slant plays by a solid two or three steps every time and is hoping a safety can make a tackle. His play has been more horrendous than his wizard sleeves and it’s time to see what Tony Lippett can do, if not, activate Chris Culliver.
Base looks had Mario Williams playing the left end position with Jason Jones on the right and then Cam Wake came in for Jones while Williams flipped sides in passing down.
Speaking of Williams, his effort against the run (and the rush for that matter) was piss poor today. He has the look of a guy that will only show up for big games and that’s not the message this young team needs.
If the Dolphins had lost this game, and I’m in charge, I’m approaching Cam Wake and asking him if he has any desire to leave Miami and play for a contender. This is a guy that could have a massive impact for a contender as a pass rush specialist. He is destroying folks off the line and those fresh legs make him a nightmare for right tackles. Austin Pazstor allowed a strip sack from Wake, had two false starts and three holding penalties in the game going against Wake.
Isa Abdul-Quddus has really cooled off since his hot start in Seattle and was completely juked out of his jockstrap on a third quarter run by Duke Johnson.
I don’t think a lot more needs to be said about this game. If the Browns didn’t have to sign a kicker off the street on Friday, the Dolphins would be 0-3 and this article would have a lot of information about Dalvin Cook, Myles Garrett and the other top draft prospects.
The Dolphins may have been robbed in Seattle and potentially even New England, but they stole one today. It won’t mean anything if they don’t capitalize and put together a string of victories.
I don’t like to put too much stock into any game one way or the other. Hell, Cam Newton threw three picks in a loss today, the Seahawks scored three points in Los Angeles last week, and a bevy of other good teams have been beaten by bad teams this year.
That’s what the NFL is – a league of parity. Each team has 16 different versions of itself and this will likely be the very worst Dolphins team the NFL sees this year. Perhaps the short week is a good thing as the team can bury the Cleveland showing and put forth its best performance on Thursday.
They are absolutely going to need it to beat Cincinnati.
I will be joining Sam on the podcast for the game review and Cincinnati preview this week.
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