Let me get this out of the way immediately: I’m currently fadoodling (real word) my way around the National Parks of the western United States, so I don’t have much in the way of connectivity and had to watch the game replay on a teensy, sad laptop. Hence, this will be shorter than usual with way fewer (read: 0) fun links that I desperately hope people click when I sprinkle them throughout these screeds.
Miami is 1-0 and the Patriots aren’t. What a good day to be alive.
First game jitters weren’t terrible
With a new head coach, new offensive system, and a bastion of new players, it could be forgiven if the team came out a bit wonky on opening day. Right out of the gate, there were a few missed tackles, some lax coverage, and also some overly grabby coverage on defense. Couple that with a number of busted assignments and free rushers on offense and it might appear that things were starting out less than ideal. Thankfully, those sorts of miscues proved to be the exception overall. Both sides settled in and had a solid performance, especially for a season opener against a division rival helmed by a rapidly aging ball of hate. Miami was generally penalty free (minus an almost backbreaker of a defensive holding call on Xavien Howard) and all things are tentatively pointing up for Mike McDaniel’s Miami McDolphins at this early point in the year.
The offense is trying to spread the ball around (sort of)
Future Hall of Famer Alec Ingold had carries, caught passes, and even returned a kickoff (basically by accident, to be fair). The Fins’ offense spread the ball around early and often, involving nearly every skill player whose last name doesn’t start with G. Apologies to any Gesickis or Gaskins in the readership. Tua was mostly decisive, mostly avoided pressure (which was allowed by an offensive line that cycled through three tackles in just one game), and mostly took care of the football, minus a couple of super gross panic plays late in the game. Most importantly, he’s now 4-0 against Bill ‘Just Retire Already’ Bellichick. However, the highly touted new run game failed to materialize as Miami continued its storied tradition of failing to pick up short yardage on the ground. But hey, at least Tyreek Hill is impossibly fast. I don’t love how much it felt like the ball was forced to him as the game wore on, but if it’s going to be forced to anyone, I can think of a number of worse candidates (e.g. nearly every other receiver in the league).
The defense looks strongest when it gets to be aggressive
Sacks. Interceptions. Forced fumbles. Touchdowns. These are all of the good things that happen when Miami’s defense is allowed to be aggressive. Giving up first downs on 3rd and 12. Blowing coverages. Missing tackles. Surrendering touchdowns because some Jaelan Phillips isn’t in the right place. These are all of the bad things that happen when Miami’s defense is required to be passive. Let the defense go hard in the paint. Let Melvin Ingram build on his sudden revitalization. Let Jaelan Phillips shake this ho-hum game and gain some momentum. Let Kader Kohou keep killing it. Let the Dolphins defense dominate.
In-booth commentators are same as they ever were
I feel like I end up griping about the announcers more than the average bear, but for the love of all things on this Earth, Adam Archuleta was abysmal. A few choice selections I jotted down:
- “Hill hasn’t really hurt the Patriots today.” — Adam Archuleta on Tyreek Hill, who had 8 receptions for 94 yards
- “I don’t know if I really love this decision.” — Adam Archuleta on Miami’s decision to go for it on 4th and 7, which resulted in a touchdown
- “Kyle Duggar with another textbook tackle.” — Adam Archuleta as Kyle Duggar lay injured on the field from his latest tackle
- “A lot of space down here, Greg.” — Adam Archuleta to the hardest working and most patient man in show business, Greg Gumbel, while circling an area of the field that the *Patriots proceed to run into, gaining 0 yards
- “I say it’s going to be an all-out blitz.” — Adam ‘Always Batting a Thousand’ Archuleta milliseconds before the Dolphins rush 3
I’m a realist. I’m not looking for perfection. I’m just looking for someone to get hired who doesn’t spend the whole game trying to [word choice removed by editor] the [word choice removed by editor] of each and every *Patriots player past, present, and future and, instead, watches the game and talks about it in a way that’s commensurate with reality. I know. Pigs, flight, etc.
It’s great to have football back
It’s great to hear the roar of the home crowd backing the Fins.
It’s great to see 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Jevon Holland nab an interception off of an Xavien Howard deflection as he covers former Dolphin DeVante Parker, all while McCorkle Jones whines like a classic *Patriots quarterback of yore.
It’s great to see Miami leave Week 1 with a win.
It’s great to have football back.
Even if Jevon Holland is returning punts.
What do you think about things and stuff? Put it in the comments so I can ignore you until next Sunday when I have reliable internet again!