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Miami Dolphins Season In Review: Week 4 - Jets

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After getting blasted at home by the Bills, their next "home" game in London against the Jets wouldn't go much better.

Somebody block for me... PLEASE!!!
Somebody block for me... PLEASE!!!
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins took their show on the road with a "home game" in jolly ol' London. Unfortunately for the good Dolphins fans in the UK, they wanted to watch an NFL football game, not Joe Philbin's three ring circus. The Dolphins sank to 1-3 following another unwatchable loss to the rival Jets. The silver lining to this dark cloud was this game marked the end of the Joe Philbin era in Miami.


The Dolphins maintained their unbalanced attack, only rushing 11 times. Of those 11 rushes, one was a Tannehill scramble for 4 yards on a pass play. In reality, they only called 10 running plays. Two of those 10 were rushing plays to Jarvis Landry. That means Philbin and Lazor called 8 rushing plays to running backs (and we wonder why Miller wanted to leave). I would chart how many of these 11 rushes were first half and second half, but what's the point? Only 11 rushes in a game is ludicrous. This would be understandable if it was just a case of Miami facing a tough run defense and the Jets were taking the run away. But abandoning the run is Miami's modus operandi under the Philbin regime.

Keeping track over the season, Miami has now rushed 65 times on the season. Ryan Tannehill understandably struggled against a tough Jets defense that could tee off on the pass. He went 19-44, 198 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. He was sacked 3 times. Adding those to the attempts, plus the scramble, that adds up to 48 pass plays called vs. 10 runs for a pass-to-run percentage of 83%. That's beyond unacceptable. Now that we know Tannehill was unable to audible out of plays, we can safely deduce that the Philbin/Lazor combo was responsible for such a ridiculously high percentage. In the first four games, Miami has passed 67%, 74%, 72%, and 83%. Cumulatively, Miami has called 182 pass plays to 65 rushing plays. That's pass plays called on 74% of the offense. For perspective: the Patriots are a very pass-happy team with a Hall of Fame coach, a Hall of Fame QB, a tight end that may go down as the best tight end ever, and replacement level running backs. At this point in the season, the Pats with all of that stuff I listed, have a pass rate of 65%. They have called 171 pass plays and 94 rushing plays. The Dolphins are averaging 16.25 rush attempts per game, meaning they'd have to play nearly two more games to match the rushing total of the pass-happy Patriots.

Kenny Stills was the leading receiver for the Dolphins, finishing 5-81-1. Jake Stoneburner got back on the board with a nice 1st half touchdown (highlights later).

The Jets nearly matched the Dolphins season rushing attempts total in this game with 43 rushing attempts, led by Chris Ivory with 29 rushes, 166 yards (5.7 yards per attempts) and 1 TD. Ryan Fitzpatrick was shaky, going 16-29, 218 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. The Dolphins defense fell apart early as the Jets hit a big pass play to Marshall over Grimes, followed by 2 runs by Ivory to get into the end zone. Marshall led the Jets' receivers going 7-128-0. Eric Decker was the recipient of the lone Fitzpatrick TD toss, going 4-40-1.


There was not much to highlight from this game, but there are a couple of plays that warrant review.  Let's look first at an interception by Tannehill.

The Dolphins are lined up 3 wide with Jordan Cameron lined up in-line.  Jarvis Landry is lined up in the slot left.

This is the moment where Tannehill is releasing the ball.  He sees Landry moving to the goal line.  The partial (and poorly drawn) circle at the right of the picture is the area Tannehill needs to throw the ball.  You can see Tannehill is throwing off of his back foot due to the pressure.  He's having to float the pass, making it a jump ball situation for Landry.

Before anyone says Tannehill failed to see the blitz, here's the look just after the snap.  Each arrow is pointing to a blocker on a defender.  Miller is poised to block the edge defender and Ja'Wuan James is about to engage an edge player just outside of the picture.  Jordan Cameron and Jason Fox have already started failing in their assignments.

You can see that the Dolphins have picked up the blitz.  Except two blockers have simply failed causing the pressure.  Fans can complain about Tannehill's pocket presence all day long. But at some point, the big boys up front MUST do their job.  This is pressure that could have been avoided if those two blockers did their jobs.  Tannehill can't look around for other players.  He has to make a split second decision due to the immediate pressure.  He can either throw it up for Landry or try to run away.  Tannehill sees Landry in his route and decides to throw the ball instead of attempting a run.

Tannehill has released the ball, putting it in a place where his Pro Bowl receiver can make a play on it.

This the moment that Landry gets his feet tangled up.  If he stays upright, he's in position to make a play on the ball.

Here, I have circled the ball at the apex of it's trajectory.  Landry is hitting the dirt, obviously something that the QB can't account for.

Here is the moment where Revis extends to intercept the pass.  Had Landry stayed upright, he makes a play for this ball and could come down with a TD.  But he tripped, allowing Revis a chance to make a play.

The next play I highlighted shows another instance where multiple failures led to a sack.  Fortunately for the Dolphins, a defensive penalty nullified the play so it didn't count.  But it still highlighted issues often seen with the OL.

Here's the set-up.  Miller lined up right to the strong side.  The Jets have a four man front with a linebacker to the right and another defender just off to the right of the picture.

Here's the play after the snap.  Lamar Miller is just a tick late to pick up the blitzer.  But that's ok if Tannehill moves to the right.  

Miller has whiffed on the block and Tannehill starts moving to his right to avoid the rush.

Ja'Wuan James has failed at his block and his defender is moving just into the area Tannehill was using to escape the initial rush.  You can see Tannehill has avoided the rusher Miller missed.  You can also see Dallas Thomas is on the wrong side of his block.

In general, a QB naturally avoids pressure by climbing the pocket.  This is what Tannehill tries to do, but the pocket collapses so quickly and so terribly, that his only choice is to take the sack.  There is no chance he can look up to find a WR to even try to throw the ball away.  Between this picture and the previous picture, he had no option but to go into retreat mode.  On this play, Tannehill's pocket presence was good.  His OL was just hideous.

Defensive Failures

As mentioned above, Chris Ivory went off on the Dolphins.  Here's a play showing the kinds of stuff he did to the Dolphins defense.

Here's the Jets formation.  They have two receivers left and two tight ends to the right.  The Dolphins have 8 in the box.  Reshad Jones is the deep safety.

Here's the handoff.  Misi has crashed from the edge.  There is a big gap just ahead of Ivory, but that's due to Mitchell clearing out for Suh to come behind and clean up.

Here you can see Suh has a clean shot on Ivory.  If he can stonewall him, Misi can come from behind and clean up.

Suh takes his shot.  Meanwhile, the LT and LG have peeled off Olivier Vernon and block Misi, preventing him from cleaning up.

Ivory has bounced off Suh and spun around to his left.  Walt Aikens was coming in for support, but overshot the play.  That's most likely due to the fact he expected Suh to get the stop.  If Ivory doesn't bounce off, Aikens is there for the assist.

This Reshad Jones doing the tackling, as was typical of the season.  Unfortunately, this tackle was 10+ yards down the field.  This is a play Ndamukong Suh normally makes, but Ivory just got the better of him here.

Now to some good.

Here's the formation.  Zach Bowman is lined up on Devin Smith at the bottom of the picture.  There is a single high safety (Jones).  This is the type of situation where a QB should look deep.

Jones is deep in centerfield and Smith has one-on-one coverage from Bowman with no help.  Fitzpatrick sees it and takes the shot.

Here's the coverage and the route.  Smith is going straight down the sideline.

Here's a picture to show where Smith was going and how much open field he had.  If Bowman fails, this is a TD.

This is the end zone angle.  SO.  MUCH.  SPACE.

Ok, so there was probably a little pass interference here.  But they didn't call it.  Ball don't lie.  Here is the distance from the sideline where they were running.

Here's the distance from the sideline to where Bowman picked off the pass.  Not only was the pass severely underthrown, it's about a half a parsec too far inside.  A while back, I posted a fanshot with an article discussing Ryan Tannehill and the deep ball.  The author showed a play from Fitzpatrick where he underthrows a pass that Brandon Marshall makes a great play on to score a TD.  The author discusses how some people thought Fitzpatrick "threw him open".  His argument was that Fitzpatrick may have, but he normally doesn't make throws like that.  He doesn't get the benefit of the doubt like say, Aaron Rodgers, because Rodgers makes those kinds of throws routinely.  Well, here is evidence to back up the author of that post.

Jake Stoneburner strikes again!

Miami called some plays for Jake Stoneburner early on in the season and he didn't disappoint.

Here's Miami in the red zone.  Two receivers out right, and two tight ends bunched up left.

Miami runs a fake pitch to the right.  Stoneburner is just to the right of linebacker #52.

Tannehill, in order to sell the fake, turns his back to the edge defender #98.  That defender initially buys the fake, but has turned back towards Tannehill.  You can see Tannehill is having to throw the ball at an awkward angle off of his back foot.

The Jets have ignored Stoneburner completely.  He's running to the sideline and tracking the ball.

Despite the awkward throwing angle, Tannehill drops this in the bucket.  Stoneburner does a little toe-tap just to make sure he's in and scores his second NFL TD.  I really hope this guy continues to develop and step up.


The Dolphins flat out stunk this game in just about every facet.  But the Dolphins would head home and would have a new head coach by the time they'd play again.  Up next: the bye week, Dan Campbell, and the rout of the Tennessee Titans.