The Dan Campbell Era started with a bang. But that's not unexpected with the new coach. The team would be fired up to win for the interim coach (a coach they all liked). But could they sustain success? The Dolphins were playing in Joe Robbie Stadium for the first time since the Buffalo debacle. They were facing the Houston Texans - a team they had never beaten. Would there be a hangover from the "win for the new guy" game?
This game was one of those games that Dolphins fans expect to happen TO their team. This game was over by halftime. The Dolphins put up 41 points in the first half and then put it on cruise control. The Texans scored 26 garbage time points, but no one cared as the Dolphins took the Texans out behind the woodshed.
Let's start with these nuggets:
- At one point in the 2nd quarter, the Dolphins had 35 points while the Texans had 0 yards. Let me repeat that: 35 POINTS to 0 YARDS!
- The Dolphins were the first team in at least 75 years to score 4 TDs of 50 or more yards in a single game.
- Ryan Tannehill set a franchise record for most consecutive passes completed (25 - carried over from the Titans game)
- Ryan Tannehill was the first QB since 1998 (Randall Cunningham) to throw 3 or more TD passes of 50 yards or more.
The Dolphins offense clicked in this game. Tannehill was nearly perfect going 18-19, 282 yards, and 4 TDs. He earned a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in this game. Matt Moore pitched in going 1-1, 14 yards. Lamar Miller had 14 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown, which came on an 85 yard run. He also caught 3 passes for 61 yards and a TD in which he took a screen pass 54 yards untouched. He did all of that in the first half and sat the second half. Amazingly, he once again did not crumble into dust after the end of the game. Jarvis Landry had the play of the game, and perhaps the season, when he caught a 13 yard out, and somehow weaved his way across the field for a 50 yard catch-and-run TD. He finished 5-83-2.
As a team, the Dolphins rushed 35 times for 248 yards. They only had 24 total dropbacks, but given the nature of the game, there was no real need to pass in the second half.
The Dolphins defense clamped down on the Texans, preventing them from picking up a first down until the second quarter. They held the Texans to 71 rushing yards on 25 carries. Brian Hoyer went 23-49, 273 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. However, all three scores came after the score was 41-0 Miami. Reshad Jones picked up another pick-six. Wake chipped in 2 sacks and Ndamukong Suh finally got on the board with 2 sacks also.
For probably the only time this season, there was not really any bad plays to highlight. There was plenty of good. Let's start with Lamar Miller's touchdown run. The Dolphins defense just had a fourth down stand deep in their own territory. The Dolphins, up 35-0, came out running and after a 6 yard run, had 2nd and 4 from their own 15.
Here are the Dolphins with a single back set, 2 WRs, and 2 TEs lined up to the left. The Texans appear to be in their base 3-4 with a safety creeping down into the box.
At the snap, Jordan Cameron, who had gone in motion to the right, comes back across to the left to block the edge player. Dallas Thomas and Mike Pouncey double team nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
Dallas Thomas bounces off Wilfork, who has been thoroughly blocked out of the play. Thomas then gets to the second level to block the linebacker. The arrows highlight how well the right side of the OL blocks this play, as well as Dallas Thomas' effort. Unseen on the left side of the O-line, Jordan Cameron about to attempt to cut block the edge player.
The OL has done their job and give Miller a great rushing lane, as highlighted. The safety (#29) has overplayed the outside run possibility and is not in position to meet Miller in the hole.
Miller easily gets away from the arm tackle of the safety. The other safety (#26) is the last line of defense.
Here is the All-22 view of it.
Miller uses a little jab-step fake to juke #26.
That little juke was all Miller needed. The safety cannot make the tackle.
GREAT DEFENSIVE CALL
Late in the second quarter, Miami uses a well disguised blitz to allow Ndamukong Suh to sack Brian Hoyer untouched.
Here's the setup. Texans have 4 wide. Miami is in nickel with Walt Aikens as the deep safety. Reshad Jones is covering the slot player on the left side of the offense.
Miami has Kelvin Sheppard and Neville Hewitt showing a "Double A-Gap Blitz" (the gaps between the center and guard, as highlighted). At this point, it would appear to be 6 rushers on 5 blockers.
The right guard #72 doesn't seem to know his assignment. QB Brian Hoyer appears to point it out, pointing in the direction of Hewitt.
Here's the snap and Hewitt has moved inside. Number 72 gives a passing glance to Suh, who he may have been passing off to the right tackle.
Hewitt, however, has only faked the blitz and is now dropping into zone coverage. The fake was enough to slow up the right guard to where he couldn't stop the real threat: Suh.
The right guard cannot recover and Suh is past him.
Suh gets his second sack, with his first coming on the previous play. Either the QB misread the assignment or the OL messed up a switch. Either way, the fake blitz by Hewitt caused enough confusion to allow Suh to get free and get to the QB.
WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOING YOUR WAY
At the 14:03 mark in the second quarter, Miami had a 28-0 lead and Houston had 0 yards. After an incomplete pass on 1st down, the Texans had 2nd and 10 from the 20.
Texans have 3 wide with running back Arian Foster coming in motion to the backfield. Miami is in their nickel defense. Walt Aikens appears to be the deep safety with Reshad Jones in coverage on either the back or tight end.
From this shot, you can see Jones (blue arrow) in coverage on the tight end (red arrow). You can see the ball already on it's way to the tight end.
The ball hits the tight end in the hands.
But he cannot corral it and it pops into the air. Tip drill time.
Here's another angle of the mishandled.
Reshad Jones hauls in the tip, to the utter and absolute delight of the fans in the background.
Jones has green grass in front of him.
Midway through the first quarter, and up 7-0, Miami has a 1st and 10 from the 50. Ryan Tannehill throws a simple 13 yard out to Jarvis Landry. And the rest is greatness.
Miami comes out with 2 receivers to the left. Jarvis Landry is out wide with Rishard Matthews in the slot. They have two tight ends lined up right. The Texans appear to be in their base package, with a safety covering the slot.
Jarvis Landry comes in motion to the spot behind Matthews. At the snap, Landry runs to the safety. Notice how close the safety is to Landry at this point.
Here's the moment Landry catches the ball. Notice how far the safety is. That's good separation by Landry. Normally, this play goes out of bounds for a first down.
Here's Landry again at the catch point.
Instead of running out of bounds, he comes to a halt and cuts it back inside.
Landry evades the safety and cuts upfield. Linebacker Brian Cushing has the angle to stop him.
Landry puts the jab-step on him.
Landry is now moving back to the middle of the field after putting a move on Cushing.
Landry laughs at your tackle attempts.
Landry sees his O-line trucking it downfield and decides to let the big boys get in position to pave the road.
Landry gets behind his blockers and turns it upfield.
Plenty of open field in front of him. Rishard Matthews is unaware of the defender behind him. If he blocks him, Landry runs into the end zone untouched.
At this point, Landry is gauging whether he can beat the angle of the defender or not.
He decides he cannot and cuts back inside. The defenders cannot recover.
The only defender that has a shot is Brian Cushing, the linebacker that Landry eluded way back up the field.
Cushing makes the tackle. But Landry extends JUST far enough before going to the ground...
It was fun to have a game where everything went Miami's way instead of against them. Dan Campbell is now 2-0, but has a gargantuan task ahead of him: a Thursday night game on the road against New England.