Hey, football... WELCOME BACK!
After a long, long wait, the Miami Dolphins returned to meaningful action on Sunday when they hosted the New England Patriots in sunny, South Florida. The Dolphins, however, were not the most gracious hosts. They forced their guests to sit in the blazing hot sun for hours on end. Miami wore white after Labor Day, forcing New England to roast in their dark colored uniforms.
Oh, and they kicked the snot out of the Patriots for 60 minutes.
Was it a flawless victory? No. But, it was a great start to the season which led to a 20-7 opening day win against a division rival and a 1-0 record right out of the gate.
With that being said, let’s dive into the good, bad and ugly of Miami’s week one victory over Bill Belichick, McCorkle Jones and the New England Patriots.
Each week this season, I will pick out one - sometimes two - things to highlight for each section of the article. Please feel free to comment additional points in the comment section at the end of the article so we can get the discussion going!
DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE
A lot of talk this offseason was focused on Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill and how Mike McDaniel would maximize his young quarterback’s talents by getting the ball to his shiny new toy. And while that happened plenty on Sunday, and the offense played fine - not great, but not terribly - it was Miami’s defense that stole the show against New England.
Start with the Xavien Howard tip, and the Jevon Holland pick on the Patriots’ first drive of the game. Prior to that, New England was moving the ball well, dinking and dunking down the field. But, McCorkle Jones made the cardinal sin of testing Howard, and he paid dearly for that mistake.
Next, the Brandon Jones sack and forced fumble that led to a Melvin Ingram recovery and subsequent touchdown. Jones timed his blitz perfectly, and caught McCorkle Jones sleeping in the backfield for the big hit. That play put Miami up 10-0 in the 2nd quarter, and the Dolphins never looked back.
Later, when the game was still close and could have gone either way, Kader Kohou made - for me - the play of the game when he forced a Patriots fumble with a solid hit on a Patriots ball carrier. The fumble was recovered by Jaelan Phillips with 4:55 left in the game, all but sealing the victory for our boys in white.
Mike Gesicki was invisible
One target. One catch. One yard.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Many wondered how tight end, Mike Gesicki, would fit in Mike McDaniel’s new offensive scheme. Could the tight end improve his blocking and be Miami’s version of George Kittle - a versatile threat?
If Sunday’s game was any indication, that answer is a resounding “NO.”
It might be time for Miami to call back those two teams who allegedly came looking to trade for Gesicki in the offseason and see if those offers still stand, because $10.9 million for someone who is on pace to have 17 yards receiving this season is a bit of an overpay, wouldn’t you agree?
Offensive line injuries
Last year, Miami’s offensive line was a disaster. This offseason, the team addressed the position group, adding Terron Armstead to play left tackle, Connor Williams to play center, and hiring quality coaches to develop young players like Austin Jackson, Liam Eichenberg and Robert Hunt. Now, all they needed to do was stay healthy.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen on Sunday.
The Dolphins lost Austin Jackson early on in the contest. They then lost his replacement, Greg Little later in the game, before losing Terron Armstead near the end. At the time of this writing, we don’t know the extent of the injuries, or if any/all will miss some time, but what we do know is that if the Dolphins are forced to play their reserves for a full game, this team, and Tua Tagovailoa could be in trouble.
Let’s get the prayer circle going now and hope for the best on the injury front so that Miami’s offense can live up to their full potential for the rest of the season.
Well, there it is. The 2022 season has begun. How do you think Miami looked overall against the Patriots? Are you encouraged with the victory or are you more worried about some of the mistakes that need to be cleaned up? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @MBrave13. Fins up!