Here we go again, the Miami Dolphins vaulted to the top with blood and sweat, one road win and two home wins until they met the chilly reception of a Patriots team having lost two in a row.
The Miami Dolphins displayed the best blue print on how teams can beat them-Be physical, run the ball, and pressure 6th year QB Ryan Tannehill, whose come off of two serious knee injuries.
Clearly, jamming the receivers as much as the radio signals and make doubly sure the receivers can’t get off the ball.
Put a big receiver (Josh Gordon) on Xavien Howard who was less of the X-factor and pro bowl hopeful than less have boasted about.
Dolphins fans, at least some of them go with where the wind blows-they can be quite negative when the Dolphins fail to show up and say I -told -you so when they win, barely.
Statistically, this looked like a fair matchup and the Dolphins were right on par with the big boys in the NFL after being number one in takeaways and Tannehill hadn’t yet thrown too many interceptions with only two.
However, the Dolphins showed “their warts” (Omar Kelly) and played below where they are capable of playing.
This performance was akin to Ryan Tannehill’s first trip to New England where the Dolphins lost control of the game and continued to succumb to New England’s coverage and pressure up the middle.
What we saw yesterday was a step back and perhaps, at the suggestion of Travis Wingfield-Gase must reinvent this team’s offensive approach.
Offensively, while the offense was balanced (featuring run and pass) early on, the Dolphins could not convert a 3rd down until late in the second half.
Defensively, the Dolphins couldn’t stop the Patriots air attack from the second quarter on as Brady found Cordarelle Patterson for 54 yards after Xavien Howard watched Patterson glide to the ball and into the end zone.
Coming into Sunday’s matchup, Xavien Howard was a top 5 cornerback who already amassed three interceptions. Surely, Howard had a bad game, but since Reshad Jones was not there to cover his mistakes, the end result was an enormous amount of pressure on Howard, especially after Bobby McCain went out with a leg injury.
Not only should Adam Gase reinvent their offensive approach since Ryan Tannehill seemed to look locked up and his knee seemed to lack mobility and the freshness of the week before-the Dolphins offense lacks rhythm and tempo.
Maybe Adam Gase needs to take a hard look at what Tannehill can’t do and perhaps re-examine if this is the legacy he wants to lead and instead look closely at Brock Osweiler who commanded the offense as a seasoned veteran.
While I’m not certain that there isn’t any ounce of a chance that Gase doesn’t go with Osweiler at some point, Tannehill’s career could be in limbo if the players on the team lose confidence in him.
They say that success breeds success and if you’re gonna talk the talk, you’d better walk the walk.
The Dolphins missed out on Josh Rosen in the 2018 draft and that couldn’t have made Stephen Ross happy, that is if you believe reports.
It will take a lot for Tannehill and the team to bounce back, but how he bounces back will be critical in the evaluation those above Adam Gase are ready to make and could in fact allow Gase the freedom to make a change if need be.
Consequently, an offense that cannot sustain drives can’t be put squarely on the quarterback, but the quarterback is where you look and holds the most accountability.
Let’s not forget, the Dolphins have had 18 starting QBs since Dan Marino.
This is a quarterback town.
Fans want a QB. They are starving for the QB to challenge Brady and the Patriots.
If it’s not Tannehill, 2018 will be telling for the Dolphins decision makers.
Maybe we’ll see a spot start by Osweiler if things go from bad to worse.
For the Dolphins, put this one in the rear view (maybe) and it’s on to Cincinnati.
(Photo credit: Fox Sports)