The Miami Dolphins were shellacked by the Buffalo Bills in Week 2, with the Bills shredding Miami’s defense. There was plenty of criticism surrounding the team, including whispers wondering if head coach Brian Flores could actually construct a winning defense. Then, coming into a Thursday Night Game with a short week of preparation, the Dolphins came out and smacked the Jacksonville Jaguars in the mouth. And they did it right from the get go.
I’m sure the fine folks on the NFL Network pregame were astonished to see the Dolphins come out and push around Jacksonville. I mean, how can the word of these insightful former players ever be anything short of on-point?
Sharp analysts and picks from this crew of people. Maybe just maybe dig a little deeper in to these teams besides getting hung up on facial hair. I can only imagine that the humor level that is enjoyed by this collections of ex-athletes is the equivalent of a clown falling off a tricycle.
Much to the surprise to the NFL Network crew, the Dolphins actually did take the field against the mighty Jaguars. They received the ball and they did something I haven’t seen them do in many moons, they actually put together an actual real offensive football drive. It was amazing. I can’t tell to you the last time the Dolphins were that efficient, and that precise. It was if they were executing a plan developed by Danny Ocean. They faced just one third down on the opening drive, executed a trick play, chewed up seven minutes of clock and capped it all off with a three-yard strike to Preston Williams to go up seven.
I don’t know when the last time the Dolphins scored on their first drive. It feels like it was somewhere around the last few years of Marino. This drive was physically surgical. The game was a blast for Miami fans and the performance certainly jolted life back into a team that needed it. Here’s what else I saw.
On that opening drive and most of the game, the Dolphin’s offensive line were dominant upfront. There was a run by Gaskin on the first drive where the offensive line simply collapsed the defensive line of Jacksonville. Just a straight up mauling by this group. I don’t think I’m out of line saying this but the Dolphin’s offensive line is, currently, their strongest unit figuratively and literally. The Dolphins ran for 110 yards, using the running backs - and wide receiver Jakeem Grant. Add another 38 from the current team rushing champion, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and you have 148. That’s consistent. The big runs will come but for now, grinding out 4-6 yard runs and completing long drives is quite alright with me.
This unit, technically, gave up one sack. I say technically because it was Fitzpatrick’s fault for not throwing the ball away. Very impressive stuff from this unit. The scouting department deserve a night out at Shula’s Steakhouse for their diligence in targeting Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley Ted Karras and Ereck Flowers. These guys, along with Jesse Davis are becoming a group that you can rely on. I haven’t been able to say that in years. It feels good.
Myles Gaskin is the guy. Whether I like it or you like it, he’s the guy and that’s just way it is. He had 22 carries for 66 yards along with 5 catches for 29 yards. Breida only had 3 carries and
Zack Crockett Jordan Howard only had 3 short yardage carries one of them being his third touchdown of the year. It’s amazing that he’s been relegated to, strictly, a short yardage guy. I wonder if that was the plan all along? I can’t believe they would pay him what they are just for that.
Ryan Fitzpatrick. What else can I say about Ryan Fitzpatrick. Like the Dude, he’s the man, for his time and place. He fits rights in there. I’m going take a closer look into Fitzpatrick, but the short version is that I think he’s not far away from eclipsing Chad Pennington as the best Dolphin’s quarterback since Marino. Is that a high bar, no, but it’s something. He’s just so friggin cool it’s ridiculous.
Fitzmagic was alive and well last night to the tune of a cool 18/20 for 160 yards and two TDs through the air. Fitz also added 38 yards with his legs and added another TD. I know he has games where everything is going haywire and he’s throwing tons of interceptions. But, watching him command the pocket and knowing that he can run to pick up 10 yards is poetry in motion. He’s going so slow that the defenders don’t know what to do. They train to take down guys like Lamar Jackson. Not guys like Fitzpatrick who has them on skates. Here’s some Fitzmagic from last night.
Imagine getting your ankles taken by Ryan Fitzpatrickpic.twitter.com/6PPXyrEnJM— PFF (@PFF) September 25, 2020
And of course, because the bright lights were on and that he’s a showman, he completes a pass to himself.
Notice I didn’t include any highlights of Fitzpatrick dicing up the Jaguars with his arm. He did that as well. He was Emeril back there carving up the defense with every 10 yard throw.
One aspect of Fitzpatrick, that often gets overlooked, is that when it’s 3rd and 7, I have some confidence that he’ll make the right throw or get it with his legs. The league is full of guys that when it’s that money down, where everyone knows you have to throw, they just fold. Fitzpatrick isn’t always money on that down, but he’s better than several others out there who only rely on play-action to get completions.
I know we all want to see Tua Tagovailoa, and we will eventually, but how can you not want to see more of this. The guy is oozing with so much machismo;
Show it if ya grow it— Wes Blankenship (@Wes_nship) September 25, 2020
Ryan Fitzpatrick on the importance of owning your chest hair: pic.twitter.com/0dMdqEmoUJ
PFF's highest-graded TE Mike Gesicki finds the end zonepic.twitter.com/H870u9zzeE— PFF (@PFF) September 25, 2020
Keep feeding this guy. I know we all thought that Gesicki was going to feast on a porous Jags defense. But, they went out of their way to stop him, holding him to only that one catch for a touchdown. That attention opened up everyone else. I’m fine with that.
I think DeVante Parker is turning into a dude. One of those dudes, who’s an offensive skill player, who you can pencil in for x amount of yards each game. He only had 69(nice) yards but there’s just a different feeling about him now. If he had that kind of yardage a few seasons ago, folks would have gotten all tingly thinking that he was about to breakout. Now he does that and it just feels like the norm, or that he left a little bit out there. That’s the rational/irrational confidence he and we need to have. Then, when he strings together back to back low yardage games we can say that he’s having some off games compared to when it used to be that he was just bad. Congrats DeVante, you graduated to being a dude.
It’s week 3 and Tyler Eifert isn’t hurt yet. Amazing
Hey Jacksonville, thanks for running toss on 3rd and 5. It was a real good play that was buried for a loss resulting in 4th down. Definitely file that away as something to try and do later in the year.
It was a real missed opportunity for the Dolphins to wear their orange uniforms. They don’t have any other primetime games unless they get flexed in later in the year. It would have been nice. The white on white is wonderful, but the orange uniforms are statement jerseys.
I thought Shaq Lawson had his best game as a Dolphin. Small sample size but last night was the best he looked getting off the ball. He was close to getting to Minshew. Although, this problem needs to be fixed and it needs to happen yesterday.
Pat yourself on the back if you fired up James Robinson tonight! pic.twitter.com/1oDgwrOFNP— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) September 25, 2020
Lawson is the right defensive end of this James Robinson TD. Robinson scored going right over where Lawson began the play. Lawson doesn’t set the edge, dips inside, and Robinson bounces outside right where Lawson should be. This happened against New England over and over again. It really needs to stop.
The defensive line had a decent day. It wasn’t awesome, it wasn’t terrible. It was just a decent day. There’s much more room to improve. 10 days until Seattle, a game they need to excel. I pray they use that time wisely to clean somet hings up.
Kyle Van Noy did what Shawne Merriman wished he did. Thanks @Houtz
He also had a hat trick on one play;
Maybe Van Noy just needed to get his sea legs under him before he can get comfortable. Well, he has them and now he needs to continue the solid play.
It must be said that Matt Haack is putting together an excellent early season. This guy is money and he probably knows it. Seems like every game he’s getting at least one punt inside the 5. That bodes well for this outfit.
I pity anyone who actually will be watching the CBS pregame show on Sunday morning. You’re going to have sit through the painstaking interview with the Watt’s parents. Seriously, who the hell cares? It’s going to be so bad and lame. You just know that they’re going to ask them which son they root for and who do they root for if they play each other. My advice is to go drink in the yard or do anything else. Don’t subject yourself to this.
Though the Dolphins were the benefit of some of this, the referees were flat out bad. The referee ejecting Cam Robinson out for swatting his arms away because he wanted get up from a pile, was sad. That ref should be duct taped to a flag pole. Even Mike Pereira, who’s just the worst, called the ref an idiot.
The Dolphins defense got 4 sacks, collectively. That’s a pretty good day. The defense gave up only 74 yards on the ground. The secondary had a fine day as well. The game plan was simple; keep the receivers in front of them and let Minshew dink and dunk all day. Based off what happened last week, it was smart to play soft coverage and not let anyone behind you. They let Minshew dump it off to Robinson, Thompson and the rest of the DJ Chark-less receivers all night. They rallied to the ball and got them down. Here’s a nice stat from last night;
Noah Igbinoghene and Xavien Howard tonight:— PFF (@PFF) September 25, 2020
▪️1 First Down pic.twitter.com/wtJXZDR1sZ
Nice interception by Howard, but you can’t tell me that you didn’t gasp when you saw him grab his knee afterwards. I haven’t seen anything assuring me that he’s fine yet. I better see that today.
An area that needs to be emphasized by Flores is wrapping up. Too many missed tackles. I think I saw Eric Rowe and Jamal Perry get planted once or twice. That can’t happen.
This game was a great response after what happened last week. All the talk was about how Brian Flores’ defense was garbage. Not saying that clamping down the Jacksonville Jaguars means everything is figured out, but imagine a world where the opposite happens. That’s a bad world. They executed a game plan and surrendered only 13 points. That’s good.
The thing that the Dolphins did that I’ve been asking for them to do for years was to start fast. They scored on their first three drives and they were awesome drives. They were methodical, planned out well designed plays. Having a competent offensive line will let this happen more and more. What I loved was the balance between run and pass. Only 66 yards from Gaskin but it kept the Jags at bay. They had the lead in the second half and they put the ball in the freezer. I love that. Just impose your will and get out of there. Here’s something that’s wild that I hope continues;
They’re off for 10 days. Then they host the Seattle Seahawks. That’s a major game. Seattle isn’t Jacksonville. The potential best quarterback in the league, Russel Wilson, will have his way with Miami if they let him. If the defensive line doesn’t play disciplined, Wilson will shred them and run all over the place. Hopefully Byron Jones will be healthy to play. That be huge if he can go.
Enjoy this win, enjoy a stress-free Sunday, like I predicted, and let this be your mood for the next 10 days;
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