Sunday was ugly for the Miami Dolphins, and really, the entire game should be considered the answer to the ugly section of this week’s Good, Bad, Ugly review. That said, we cannot assume there was no good at all in the game - we just have to look hard for it. And, that is what we have done in looking back at the game.
It was hard. Especially since it was a game against the New York Jets.
Reshad Jones. The Pro Bowl safety seems to be rounding back into his normal playing style after looking a little rusty last week. After missing the last 10 games last year, then the extra week off to start the season for the team, it is not surprising Jones was rusty, but on Sunday against the Jets, he turned in a performance that started to look like Reshad Jones again. He tied for the team lead with eight tackles (Kiko Alonso also tallied eight), with one tackle for a loss. He was once again up in the box playing as a linebacker while also working in the secondary. The game was rough overall, and the defense could have played better, but at least Jones is starting to look like himself again.
Linebackers. This may end up being a season-long bad, and not necessarily for the play on the field. There is just such a void at the position with Koa Misi and Raekwon McMillan on injured reserve and Lawrence Timmons suspended/wanting to return to Pittsburgh. Alonso and Mike Hull started, with Alonso playing all 63 defensive snaps while Hull missed one play. Undrafted rookie Chase Allen, who is the replacement for Timmons until the suspension is lifted, played 28 snaps. That is the entire linebacker group for the Dolphins, where Rey Maualuga is continually inactive,Justin March-Lilliard played only on special teams, and Stephone Anthony was active but did not play days after being traded from the New Orleans Saints to Miami.
The entire offense. Where is the identity? Where is the passion? Where is the creative play calling and precision execution? All of it seems to be missing. The offensive line was getting beat on Sunday, and running back Jay Ajayi - who must be the identity of the offense - struggled because of it. The offense just never found a rhythm and struggled against everything the Jets threw at them. Jay Cutler struggled throughout the game, especially once the pressure started mounting against him, and he never seemed to get comfortable, throwing for 220 yards on 26-for-44 passing with a touchdown and an interception, giving him just a 70.3 passer rating. The team did not convert a third down until the fourth quarter. They were 0-for-3 on fourth down attempts - including a fake punt that resulted in an interception. There was not a lot of pretty on the offense during the game, and they deserve to get the ugly tag.
Especially since head coach Adam Gase’s explanation of the games was, “They just beat the shit out of us. That’s the best way to put it.”