Miami's game against the New England Patriots on Sunday was a tale of two halves. Let's check out whose stock is up, and down...
There could be a case for quarterback Ryan Tannehill's stock to be up, or down after week 2. In the first half, the offense repeatedly went 3 and out until their field goal towards the end of the half, and Tannehill repeatedly made bad decisions when throwing the football, even though the pass blocking was much improved from week 1. It was only when the Dolphins were down 31-3 in the second half and had nothing to lose, that Tannehill finally came back into the game. For now, we'll give Tannehill the benefit of the doubt. We'll credit him for pulling himself together and making things respectable against the Patriots. After all, a 71 percent completion rating for 389 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions isn't a terrible day at the office.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
When the lights came on in the second half, Miami's wide receivers and tight ends were really impressive. Back from injury, DeVante Parker displayed what a great deep threat he poses for this team. He reeled in 8 catches for 106 yards, including an amazing one-handed grab. His presence really frees up his colleagues on offense. Meanwhile, Jarvis Landry continued to show that he is one of Tannehill's favorite targets, with 10 catches from 13 receiving opportunities. On the day, he averaged 13.7 yards, with a long of 33 yards. And how about our long lost friend Jordan Cameron? Often maligned for not producing the goods in an Adam Gase offense where the tight ends are so important, he had an encouraging day with 5 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. Expect to see more of the same against Cleveland.
In only the second game of the season, running back Arian Foster left the game in the second quarter with a groin injury. While the injury is not thought to be serious (Foster should hopefully be back in one or two games), the fact that Foster is already injured is not good news for Miami. Before Miami played Seattle, Foster has only played in 25 games during the last 3 seasons. This season he's only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. While he's the most complete back on the roster, his injury could open up an opportunity for someone like Kenyan Drake, who scored a touchdown against New England.
In the first half of Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, things got ugly as the Miami went 24-3 down. Jimmy Garoppolo torched the Dolphins' defense, completing 18 of his 27 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns. However, after Garoppolo left the game with a shoulder injury, Miami's play picked up, though New England's third string quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, still completed 6 of 9 throws for 92 yards and a touchdown. Of course, the defense were not helped when the offense went 3 and out on consecutive plays in the first half, but Miami must still analyse the tape to see what went wrong against the Patriots' second string quarterback. The team will be hoping that Miami's dominant defensive play against Seattle returns for this week's game against Cleveland.
Against New England, Miami really struggled to generate a consistent ground game. But who's at fault - the run blocking from the offensive line or the running backs? It may be a little bit of both. With Arian Foster out, the running back situation certainly is becoming a concern for Miami. Jay Ajayi, left out against Seattle due to the coach's decision, returned on Sunday to rush for only 14 yards off 5 carries, and a fumble. Kenyan Drake, who scored a touchdown, must take the bull by the horns and become Miami's ‘go to' player in the running game. If he doesn't, the team could be in trouble on the ground.
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter@AlexParish89.