The Miami Dolphins could not sustain a full 60 minutes game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, with the defense initially stopping any drive the Cowboys tried to mount before wearing down and being run over at the end of the game. Throughout the game, the Dolphins continued to try to come back against the visiting Cowboys, but in the end, they just could not do enough on offense or defense to keep themselves in the game.
The game was the first win in eight weeks for the Cowboys, and the first time Tony Romo has played since breaking his collarbone in Week 2. The Dolphins, who beat the Philadelphia Eagles last week to stay in the AFC playoff chase, now are looking up at a difficult climb to try to get back into AFC Wildcard contention.
Throughout the game, I recorded my thoughts and reactions. You can see those below. We will provide full recaps and discussions of the game tonight and over the next few days.
- Lamar Miller looking good on his first two carries. First one went for 12 yards, second for 9 yards.
- Whoa. A Ryan Tannehill running play. Have not seen those a lot this year. If the Dolphins can add that to the offense, it could open up some running lanes for Miller.
- Third and long - the bane of the Dolphins offense this year - and no conversion. Time to punt.
- GREAT punt! Matt Darr coffin-corners the ball inside the five-yard line.
- Here comes the rain! Absolutely pouring now.
- Almost a safety! And the Dolphins would have been on the right side of this one. Somehow, Tony Romo lobs the ball to Darren McFadden left handed to get it out of the endzone. Fails to convert on third down. Cowboys punting.
- Dolphins get good field position, but do nothing with it. Punting. The team has to find a way to get to third and short. They always seem to be playing behind the chains.
- Dallas starting to move the ball. The Dolphins have to figure out how to guard a tight end. Gavin Escobar with a big first down catch and nearly a touchdown.
- PICK! Brent Grimes with the interception at the goal line!
- Ouch. Tannehill starts the second quarter with a pick six. Threw toward Greg Jennings, and never saw Rolando McClain underneath. Dallas 7-0.
- Miami starts after the touchdown with Lamar Miller picking up 16 yards. He is hot early, but that is about all that is working for the Miami offense at this point. A penalty, a seven-yard Tannehill run, two incomplete passes, and another punt.
- Three and out for Dallas.
- Amazing offenses so far in this game. No one can seem to do anything. Four minutes into the second quarter and it's 86 yards of offense for Dallas to 54 for Miami.
- Third-and-long, and Tannehill has all day to throw - find Cameron beyond the sticks, but the tight end comes back to the ball and catches it on the wrong side of the line. Miami punting again.
- That's 0-for-5 on third down today. That is not going to get it done whenever Dallas finds their rhythm.
- Another good punt from Darr, with the ball downed at the seven-yard line.
- Jordan Phillips with the pass deflection. He needs more playing time. Should be getting experience next to Ndamukong Suh.
- Olivier Vernon with the sack and ends another Cowboys possession with a punt. Crap. Where did that flag come from? Holding on Jamar Taylor? For that? Come on, refs. These are not the Patriots. You do not have to make horrendous calls like that.
- Phillips almost comes up with a sack straight up the middle, but he is clearly held. Oh, but no flag on the play. Why would there be, since it would have helped the Dolphins?
- There, OV got his sack back a few plays later.
- Wow, a penalty on the Cowboys. Who knew that could happen?
- Touchdown Cowboys. 31-yard pass from Romo to Terrance Williams, who beat Taylor and managed to come down with it despite help from Brice McCain. Cowboys 14-0.
- A taunting penalty on the Cowboys after the touchdown gives Miami outstanding field position with a little over a minute to go in the first half.
- 47-yard pass from Tannehill to Landry! The Dolphins are in business for the first time today.
- And TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!! Tannehill rolls to his right, keeping his eyes in the endzone and throwing a laser to Jordan Cameron in the back of endzone! Cowboys 14-7.
- Ouch. Dallas is moving the ball well on this first possession. Darren McFadden just gouged the defense for 20 yards.
- McFadden just learned why you do not run at Ndamukong Suh's chest. A four yard loss.
- And PICK! Neville Hewitt with the grab of a bad overthrow by Romo.
- I think at this point, the refs may just be leaving the flags on the field for each play. 1st and 10, chop block on Mike Pouncey, 1st and 25, false start on Jordan Cameron, 2nd and 30, defensive offsides. What a bad set of plays. Time for another punt, and Miami wastes the turnover.
- It doesn't really matter, I guess, since the Cowboys cannot move the ball either.
- Dolphins giving the ball to Jay Ajayi. How was this guy a fifth round pick? Five yards on a right guard run, then 20 yards through the air, then four yards on a right tackle run.
- Mike Pouncey had to think the Dolphins were really backed up in their own territory with the horrible low snap. Looked like he was trying to give up the safety. Tannehill did a great job to pick it up and throw it away.
- TOUCHDOWN!!!! Tannehill to Kenny Stills for 29 yards. TIE 14-14.
- Cowboys answer right back. 80-yard drive straight down the field, highlighted by a Darren McFadden 35-yard run. Romo finds Dez Bryant for the 16-yard touchdown pass. Why was Neville Hewitt guarding Bryant? Cowboys 21-14.
- On the kickoff, Landry lets the ball bounce in the endzone, and it bounces back out of the endzone. Landry jumps on the ball at the four-yard line. Dangerously close to safety range for the Dolphins.
- Wait, Landry was already out of bounds when he fielded that kick. Shouldn't that be a kickoff out of bounds?
- The Dolphins would pick up a first down on the drive, but it was negated by a holding penalty. Miami would again punt.
- Field goal Dallas. Miami's defense is just wearing down now. Cowboys 24-14.
- The Dolphins pick up 23 yards on what appears to be a good drive starter, with Tannehill connecting with Stills again. The drive would not go anywhere after that, however, as Tannehill would be sacked for an 11 yard loss two plays later, and then Miami would end up punting again shortly after that.
- The Cowboys are eating the clock now, and Miami cannot stop the run. Dallas is triple teaming Suh, and none of the other linemen are stepping up to do anything.
- Miami is getting the ball back down 10 with about one minute to play. And Tannehill is sacked on the first play, with just a four-man rush blowing up the offensive line.
Dallas 24 - Miami 14
The Dolphins losing this game hurts, but it is not overly surprising. The Cowboys with Romo should be a better team than the seven-game losing streak team that has been seen the last few weeks. The Dolphins were not blown out, which should mean they are making progress toward being the team interim head coach Dan Campbell wants them to be, but they are not ready to compete with the top teams in the NFL. Even at 3-7, the Cowboys should be considered one of the league's top teams now that they have their triplets in place. Miami has to now get ready to head north to play the New York Jets next weekend, hopefully winning an AFC East game for the first time this year.