Another week, another boring Dolphins football game. It really takes the joy out of watching the NFL when all of the outcomes are so obvious before the teams even kick off. Just as everyone predicted, the Miami Dolphins defeated the lowly Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football 22-10.
Wait a tick. Something’s off here.
You unlock this door with the key to imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. It is a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity. You have just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.
Teams are starting to figure out the offense
26/43 (60%) 1 TD, 1 INT? 4 sacks surrendered? 11 drives in a row without points? All of this pitiful offensive output against a team that came into the game ranked in the bottom 3 of nearly all defensive categories.
I don’t care if he was MVP in 2019. That’s an unacceptable performance against a bad team, even for a running back. The Dolphins ran an amoeba defense that they hadn’t shown at all since last season, employing cover 0 and blitzing their safeties more times than humanly possible, yet neither Lamar Jackson nor the coaching staff ever adjusted to take advantage of it. Sure, their safety Jevon Holland has been playing like a possible Rookie of the Year candidate and got after Jackson all game, but how can he not find a single open receiver when there’s literally no one playing deep? They had three (3!) safeties on the field practically all the time with none of them actually playing safety. They were just screaming at Lamar like heat seeking missiles and he never avoided the pressure or made a play. There was even some long haired goofball out there flying around, helping them hold the Ravens’ rushing offense under 100 yards.
I know that Jackson is young and aspiring and still on the rise, but to come out and perform so poorly as an offense under his direction against such a pushover of a team in Primetime on a short week is embarassing. Maybe they can give Trace McSorley a shot when he’s back healthy.
Even the referees couldn’t generate enough points
The Ravens’ offensive struggles got so bad that the officials started trying to lend a helping hand. It’s true they’d been generous to Baltimore most of the game, what with letting the DBs cosplay as fur coats on Dolphins’ TE Mike Gesicki, allowing them to tackle their other TE Adam Shaheen on a possible touchdown catch, and encouraging that they drag Miami WR Preston Williams around like a sled in winter time. That’s only defensive pass interference being ignored though. No big deal. Barely even relevant. When they realized that wasn’t enough to move the needle, they threw another bone the good guys’ way in the form of an entire drive gifted to the offense so that they could score a free TD. The Ravens’ only successful touchdown drive came on the back of two roughing the passer calls and a defensive holding that occurred on the same play that multiple Dolphins’ linemen were wrapped up in a Figure Four leg lock. One of the roughing the passer calls was so bad that a poster at The Phinsider (SuperG66) even name dropped me in his complaint about it: “It might have been the most pathetic RTP call ever in NFL history... that’s how egregiously bad the call was. Even though the announcers acknowledged it, they were way too soft in their criticism of the officials.”
The refs tried their best to haul Baltimore back into the game with that drive. They and the announcers so clearly wanted Lamar Jackson to pick it up and generate a come-from-behind win so they could keep selling the story (and some more jerseys) of what an elite quarterback he is. It’s not so bad that I’m yearning for Trent Dilfer, but Joe Flacco might want to take his phone off of silent.
The defense couldn’t handle either a backup or injured opposing quarterback
Miami started the game with Jacoby Briskett, a player that I’ve figured out through my research is a man comprised of 88% smoked beef product and also one of the Dolphins’ quarterbacks. Despite skipping some passes along the ground like stones on a lake, he managed to lead the Dolphins to two field goals and a 6-3 halftime lead before suffering a knee injury. That’s double the points the Ravens offense was able to generate over the same time period, need I remind anyone. It was a little strange that Dolphins head coach Brian Flores watched him recover from the hit to his knee and saw Briskett’s thumbs up to head back in, only to then tell him to sit down so that an already injured QB could take his place. Yet, that’s what the Dolphins did, bringing in their normal starter Tua Tongues-a-viola, who had a pre-existing broken middle finger on his throwing hand. It was obvious from his first pass that his hand was really hurting him. He was lobbing some real trash balls out there. Then, despite the discomfort (which was most certainly increased when he smacked his injured hand off a defender on one of his passes), Tunkaveeola passed for 158 yds on 5 drives, leading his team to the game sealing score.
The Baltimore defense was beaten by a backup and an injured guy, both playing behind a line that, by all appearances, is manned by holograms. At least half of the time, the defense would rush and some of their linemen just wouldn’t even participate. They’d look around wildly, touching no one, allowing their QBs to be constantly under duress. Sometimes, they’d even double team pass rushers when there weren’t enough extra linemen to allow for it. I’m not sure who their offensive line coach is, but it doesn’t seem like he’s doing a very good job down there. I think the main reason the score wasn’t even worse for Baltimore was the Dolphins’ utterly ludicrous red zone playcalling. When they got inside the Baltimore 20, they’d have been smarter to just peel the ball and eat it.
The defense allowed enough success from that rumbling, bumbling, stumbling excuse of an offense to lose the game.
The defense let a giant score, even if the play was illegal
It gets worse for the defense. On one play in the 4th quarter, Tonkatruckola attempted a screen to the running back and, instead, a housing development on wheels caught it, juked a defender like 90’s Barry Sanders, and dove headlong into the end zone for the score. Fine, it was illegal touching because the lineman, Robert ‘Gimme the 6 or I’ll Do It Again, I Swear, Just Watch Me’ Hunt, wasn’t eligible, but come on guys. The man is 6’ 6” and 327 lbs. I don’t care if it’s the play of the year right now, it’s impermissible.
Sometimes it’s hard to root for this team.
The next few weeks could change a lot
The Ravens have ten days off and then face the Bears, Browns, Steelers, Browns again, and Packers. That’s a tough road which could easily contain anywhere from one to four losses for Baltimore. The Dolphins get the same ten days of rest, but they get to play the Jets, Panthers, Giants, have a Bye week, and then the Jets again. They could come out of that stretch with as many as four wins. It seems unlikely given the way each team has started, but by the end of week 15, the Ravens could be 7-7, while the Dolphins might be sitting at...7-7. I can’t even imagine a dimension like that. I am fed up with this world. I bet Dolphins fans are having a great extended break. At least someone is.
Did you make it back safely to reality? This weird actual reality where the Dolphins beat Baltimore silly for the first time in ages? Jump back into the Twilight Zone of the comments section at your own risk.