The Miami Dolphins performance tonight against the Tampa Buccaneers seemed very reminiscent of their 2010 performances. Some parts of the team show up, some don't. The highs and lows of the Miami Dolphins aren't the normal season crests and troughs, but rather a series of games highs and lows.
And, it's frustrating.
Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne looked good for the second game in a row. He was taken out of the game in the third quarter, having gone 10-for-13, 175 yards, and 1 touchdowns. He looked in control of the offense, and was clearly reading his progressions, looking for the right receiver and finishing the game with a 143.9 passer rating. Second string QB Matt Moore took over in the third quarter, finishing the game at 8-for-16 for 90 yards (67.2 passer rating) and never seemed to get the offense moving.
But, the running game stalled. Rookie Daniel Thomas lead the team in carries and yards with 8 carries for 16 yards, while starter Reggie Bush slid backwards, finishing with -6 yards on 5 carries.
Brandon Marshall was taken out of the game early, but managed to gain 90 yards, catching the ball both times he was targeted. He had a beautiful 60-yard touchdown catch, taking a perfectly thrown ball from Henne, breaking a tackle, tip-toeing the sideline, and getting the 6-points. Marshall had the only Dolphins turnover, however, fumbling the ball away.
The offensive line struggled tonight, giving up 5 sacks, along with opening up very few running lanes. So far, even without Jake Long playing in a game yet, this is clearly the most disappointing portion of the Dolphins' preseason performance.
Nothing about the starting defense immediately jumped out as outstanding, or horrible. They held starter LeGarrette Blount to just 10 yards rushing on 5 carries, and the Bucs were 2 for 14 on third down conversions (Miami wasn't much better at 2 for 12). But, at the same time, it seemed like Miami had some difficulty containing the running backs and tight ends coming out for receptions. This could just be a factor of knowing the Dolphins history of these problems making it seem worse, so, I'll reserve judgement for when I rewatch the game.
The second and third team defense looked bad. The Bucs were able to pick them a part, with too many receivers wide open throughout the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Things got chippy during the game, with Mike Pouncey and Bush getting into an altercation with most of the Buccaneers bench during the first half - including Bush having his helmet ripped off his head - and Tampa Bay's offensive lineman James Lee and Miami's Jason Taylor wrestling on the turf for a few minutes in the second half, with Lee appearing to take a couple of swings at Taylor's head.
The Dolphins made too many penalties during the game. The committed 11 of them, for 79 yards, although the Buccaneers out did Miami, committing 15 for 135 yards. None of the Miami penalties were as disheartening as Taylor's illegal contact penalty. Will Allen, seeing his first game action in two years, tallied a sack for a safety, only to have it negated by Taylor's penalty.
Check out the Dolphins vs Buccaneers boxscore for more statistics from the game, and look for more in dpeth analysis tomorrow.