Once again, the Miami Dolphins are destined for a non-winning season, losing their eighth game of the year with a 31-24 loss to the New York Giants. The game started well for the Dolphins, who actually looked like they had an offensive rhythm early in a game, and they were able to move the ball with Ryan Tannehill throwing the ball well, the tight ends getting involved in the game plan, Jarvis Landry playing like Jarvis Landry, Lamar Miller running like Lamar Miller, and even Tannehill getting involved in the running game. The defense stood tall early, with Ndamukong Suh making plays in the backfield, and the pass rush closing on Eli Manning over and over, even if they did not get the sack.,
Then it all fell apart. The offense stopped working. The defense wasted away. And, the Giants pulled away for the win. This morning, we look back at the game in our weekly, good, bad, and ugly breakdown for the Dolphins.
Before we get to the break down from the game, the throwback jerseys definitely were a good aspect.
The Dolphins top wide receiver had another great game, this time catching 11 passes for 99 yards. He now has 89 receptions this year, surpassing his total from last year, and sitting one catch under the team record for receptions in a season, a mark set by O.J. McDuffie in 1998. Landry has three games to obliterate that record, with him currently on pace to finish the year with 110 receptions. Landry also became only the second player in team history to record two 80-plus reception seasons, joining Brandon Marshall. Landry continues to fight for yardage he has no business gaining, and he knows how to put himself in position to help Ryan Tannehill when the pressure mounts.
The rule for this post is one good, one bad, and one ugly official selection. This week, that gets broken because Lamar Miller deserves the good as well. Once again, Miami limited Miller's carries, reaching 12 this week. That continues the streak in which Miami is 0-8 in games in which Miller carries the ball 12 or fewer times, while being 5-0 in games in which he has 13 or more carries. Miller picked up 89 yards on those 12 carries, giving him an average of 7.4 yards per carry, plus he added two touchdowns. This game was tied going into the fourth quarter, with the two offenses going back-and-forth, but Miami again decided to go away from Miller and turn to a pass-first offense. Until the Dolphins bring balance back to the offense on a routine basis, they are going to struggle to win games. Miller is an amazing running back who just cannot get enough carries to keep the team in these games.
Yes. Three goods. Darr punted the ball 6 times, averaging 46.7 yards per punt. And, they only reason that average is not higher is because Darr routinely was kicking on a shorter field as Miami's offensive drive started, and the rookie punter was asked to pin the Giants inside their 20 - which he did on 4 of his 6 punts. The only touchback Darr kicked on Monday was because the Dolphins coverage team slid into the endzone with the ball. If not for that, Darr would have pinned the Giants inside the five yard-line three time. He had an absolute rocket of a kick, which officially traveled 68 yards. Brandon Fields used to kick like this for the Dolphins, and Darr beat him out this preseason, with a lot of people assuming it was all about the money. Darr is proving there was more to that decision than just the dollar.
Yes, Landry is the good and the bad in this week's selection. And, really, it is not Landry so much as it is the offense that seems to be built solely on Landry. Consider this, Landry had 11 receptions on Monday night. The next three receivers for the game, Kenny Stills, Jordan Cameron, and DeVante Parker, had 12 targets. Cameron and fellow tight end Dion Sims each had three receptions during the game, which led the team in catches for players not named Landry. For obvious reasons, Landry gets the ball more than everyone else, and he usually does something with the ball when it is in his hands, but 18 targets to the rest of the team's 23 is way out of balance. The Dolphins offense has gone from a balanced run-pass offense to a pass-only offense to now a pass-only-to-Landry offense. The team is absolutely limiting themselves and it is killing any rhythm the rest of the team has, and, honestly, it is hurting Landry, who is working hard every play, and it is hurting Tannehill, who almost has to throw the ball to Landry as his only option.
Miami's defense stepped up early in the game, making some great stops including forcing a New York field goal after a fumble turned the ball over to the Giants at the Miami 36-yard line. Ndamukong Suh opened the game as a terror, blasting through the offensive line repeatedly and making tackles in the backfield. Eli Manning was doing a great job of getting the ball out of his hands quickly, because the Miami pass rush was getting there one-step later. The Dolphins linebackers were making plays behind the line of scrimmage, and Olivier Vernon was having another great game. Then it all changed. The 70 degree weather with 90-percent humidity ate away the Miami defense as the offense failed to sustain drives and the Giants began to run the ball right down Miami's throat. Add in plays like leaving Odell Beckham, Jr. all alone down the seam of the field, and the defense had an absolutely horrible showing in the second half of the game.
If the rules are being broken for the good, they may as well be broken for the ugly, and it is exactly breaking rules that fall into this category. Miami was penalized 12 times in the game, giving New York a free 123 yards. A couple of them may have been phantom calls, like the late hit personal foul on Oliver Vernon on the 45-yard pass from Manning to Beckham; Vernon appeared to hit Manning cleanly, just after the ball was thrown, then kept Manning from hitting the ground. That seemed like a questionable call. There were, however, ridiculous penalties, like Jordan Phillips crushing Manning well after the ball was thrown and Landry throwing a defender to the ground. Miami is being penalized way too often, and it cost them a lot in this game.