In last week's edition, I urged calm by suggesting the season had not been lost after only 4 games. However, things have changed. The Dolphins lost to a team they should have beaten, and in brutal fashion. This will be an honest assessment of which players' stocks are up, and down, as the team slip to 1-4 for the season.
After a performance like this, it's a struggle to find a player whose stock is up, but kudos must be given to rookie Jakeem Grant, who displayed some serious speed with his 74-yard punt-return touchdown, by breaking 4 tackles and tying up the game 7-7 early on.
Williams also showed some flashes of his ability by converting a short pass into a 58-yard gain by breaking 3 tackles. Will he get more game time?
Ajayi once again makes it onto my ‘stock up' list. While he only made 42 yards from 13 runs, he was not given space by the offensive line and had to literally run face to face against oncoming defenders. He also finished the day with 1 touchdown.
Things appear to have hit rock bottom for Ryan Tannehill, as fans on Sunday called for him to be benched in favor of second-string quarterback Matt Moore. However, Adam Gase has so far continued to back his quarterback.
"You can ask me that 100 times, but Ryan's going to be our quarterback the rest of the season," Gase stated.
Tannehill once again just couldn't get things going on offense, completing only 12 of 18 passes for 191 yards, no touchdowns and a passer rating of 62.3. In fact, once again, the team did not get things done on third down, converting just 34.4% of third downs against the Titans, of which Tannehill must be part of the blame. He also continues to hold onto the ball for far too long, evidenced by getting sacked 6 times. Some of these sacks could have been avoided by Tannehill either throwing the ball away or by escaping the pocket. Does Tannehill sense the pressure in the pocket? This is the most worrying part to his game right now.
While it's true that Branden Albert was out of the game due to illness, and Laremy Tunsil appeared to have injured himself in the shower before the game, the offensive line has to do better. They allowed Tannehill to get sacked 6 times on the day. Whatever this front office has done, it appears the offensive line is far from fixed, even though Mike Pouncey returned to the starting lineup.
The Whole Defense
I hate to admit it, but if I'm being brutally honest, this defense has looked like a pathetically assembled group of overpaid players that don't understand what it stands for to play in a Dolphins jersey.
While Titans' quarterback Marcus Mariota's statistics didn't jump off the page (he made 20 of 29 passes for only 163 yards), he made his plays count with 3 touchdown, 60 rushing yards and even a quarterback sneak for a touchdown. He was made to look like a Pro Bowl quarterback, when it should have been Miami's defense that were playing like Pro Bowlers.
Byron Maxwell in particular, only starting due to an injury to rookie cornerback Xavien Howard, gave up 2 five-yard touchdowns, one of which when Maxwell took a particularly bad angle during Mariota's running touchdown.
In the run game, Miami also couldn't contain DeMarco Murray, who repeatedly saw success on the outside as he finished the day for 121 yards off 27 carries. Even worse for Miami, the Titans running game amassed 235 yards on the ground from 41 attempts. Ndamukong Suh could not stop the running attack, himself being repeatedly double-teamed all day long, with only 1 tackle recorded by him on the day.
Miami must do better against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are 4-1 and scored 4 touchdowns last week.
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter@AlexParish89.