When the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings faced off this past Sunday, a lot of things went wrong for the Dolphins. We’ve already posted an article giving you things to feel good about following the Vikings game. Well, here we’re going to tell you what went wrong.
Oddly enough, they didn’t play that badly in this game. The quarterbacks (for the most part) played well, the offensive line (for the most part) wasn’t a disaster, and the defense had a good day against a dangerous group of skill players... and Kirk Cousins. The issue was that their miscues were of the critical variety. Miscues that you just can’t come back from, no matter how good you are as a team.
Greg Little had a day to forget.
Safe to assume that Greg Little never wants to see Za'Darius Smith again (Last one is against Danielle Hunter).— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) October 19, 2022
Not an easy assignment by any means, but a rough day at the office for Little. He especially had trouble with inside moves. pic.twitter.com/xvldk20gym
Lets not underplay how good of a player Za’Darius Smith is, but you just can’t get beat this quickly and this often in the NFL. He especially struggled stopping inside moves, but lost just about every way an offensive tackle can lose.
It's hard to say exactly who this one is on. Obviously this should be a fairly routine stunt pickup. In most instances, Little would be responsible for calling it out so that Eichenberg knows to come off his man and block the looping end. Either way, it's not good. pic.twitter.com/ZpneYNCy8j— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) October 18, 2022
Him and Liam Eichenberg also struggled against stunts early in the game. They were able to clean it up as the game went on, but it cost them a drive and got their QB hit. Probably just the product of two young players starting on the same side of the offensive line for the first time this season, but still a problem.
What does this mean going forward?
Well, the hope is that Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson can return to the lineup soon. No team in the NFL is four-deep at offensive tackle, but you can’t survive as an offense with this kind of a performance. His 1.5 PPF Pass Blocking Grade is the lowest I’ve ever seen for a Dolphins player. For that reason, I would have to think (or hope) Miami is going to use someone else as a swing-tackle going forward.
The Dolphins played sloppy, losing football.
Here is a cutup of the Dolphins' most game-defining miscues against the Vikings... enjoy! pic.twitter.com/Y8YebPddp0— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) October 19, 2022
I enjoyed putting this together as much as you'll enjoy watching it, but this was the difference between winning and losing against the Vikings. You can play a great game, but if you lose the turnover battle and have this many pivotal penalties you won’t win in the NFL. This is what losing football looks like.
What does this mean going forward?
Going forward, Jaylen Waddle will win many more games for the Miami Dolphins than he will lose. The penalties are something that can be cleaned up. This was the product of mental mistakes, but it was also the product of ending up on the wrong side of variance (bad luck). These are the performances where you take what lessons are there and move on.
This was a game the Miami Dolphins should have won. Breaking down the film really reinforced for me that they outplayed the Vikings in many aspects of the game. That is encouraging to see, but it really doesn’t matter going forward. There wont be an asterisk next to this loss.
When the Dolphins matchup against the Steelers this Sunday evening, they'll need to minimize these mental mistakes. The Miami Dolphins will win a bunch of games this year if they can remain moderately healthy and not beat themselves.