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Five Things I Think I Think About the Miami Dolphins - Week 11

fairish (adj) - of a level of quality that meets one’s needs or standards

Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Guess what? I actually got to watch this game in Florida!

Before you get too amped on my behalf, it wasn’t at the stadium: it was in Fort Myers where I sat adjacent to a man in a Tom Brady Bucs jersey.

Don’t worry.

They’ll never find his body.

Defensive dominance bodes well

Aidan O’Connell’s quarterback rating was 56.

I know he’s a backup, but that’s probably a good indicator that the defense across from him had a decent game.

And whaddya know?

Besides keeping O’Connell’s rating down in the basement with the *Patriots, Miami’s defense held otherwise capable Josh Jacobs to 39 yards rushing and, apart from an early lapse in coverage allowing for a 46 yard TD, locked down otherwise very capable Davante Adams to the tune of 7 recs, 82 yds, and 1 TD.

Imagine if they had not given up that silly touchdown? Adams would have finished third on the team with 36 yards, leaving Jakobi Meyers on top with 49. That’d have been kewl.

On one hand, I don’t consider the Raiders to be a great team. Their only real offensive weapons are Jacobs and Adams, so the game plan doesn’t have to be the most complex out there.

On the other, every NFL team is competitive, but Vic Fangio and the Boys took care of business. Jaelan Phillips collected the team’s two sacks and nabbed his first career interception, while Jalen Ramsey pulled down two of his own, including the game clincher. It could have been even more dominant had the officials not blown dead a backwards pass that would have almost certainly been returned for a defensive touchdown. But woe is us.

The defense seems to be getting healthy, coming together as a group, and hitting its stride.

Now if only they could get the fellas on the other side to take notes.

Offensive output bodes less than well

On paper, you might be forgiven for thinking that Tua and Company had a pretty decent day at the office.

In reality, YOU WILL NEVER FIND FORGIVENESS.

Tua finished 28/39 (72%) for 325 yds, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. He also lost a fumble on a scramble. Tight end Julian Hill fumbled as well. Raheem Mostert was the bell cow back with 22 carries for 89 yards.

It was all just kind of there.

An offense that, earlier in the season, was out of this world has seemingly fallen back to earth. Or at least is on its way through the upper atmosphere, maybe.

The Raiders’ defense basically only has Maxx Crosby to account for and he still managed to record the only sack of the day. Both guard spots were manned by backups, sure, but the offense was disappointing.

Too many times the team made it into Raiders’ territory only to come away with less than a touchdown. Once Jason Sanders missed a 50 yard field goal. Another (much worse) time, they failed a 4th and 1 from the 3 yard line.

I get it. I do. In years past, this game would have slipped away. The Fins have to be able to win the ugly ones, which has historically been an issue. But at the same time, they don’t need to be ugly. If Miami doesn’t score when it should, they’re going to have a hard time beating playoff caliber teams.

The team needs to terminate

This is just the same train, different car. Beating an average team by a touchdown just doesn’t feel all that good, particularly when there were opportunities to earn a more decisive win.

The 4th and 1 from the Raiders’ 3 yard line is the big one. A wide receiver screen to Tyreek Hill, as magical as he can be, is a bad call there. Even if it had worked, I’d say the same thing.

Hand the ball off, throw a quick slant, bootleg and throw an option to the flat. Invent the Tuash Puash, I don’t care. Just don’t Adam Gase me.

Mostert can handle tough inside running here and there, though I do wonder what’s happened with Jeff Wilson. It could be purely down to Special Teams prowess (or lack thereof), but I figured on seeing him work back into the rotation and take some short yardage attempts going forward.

Maybe Chris Brooks can take that role when he’s back from IR.

Regardless of the personnel, the team needs to find a way to adopt the ‘killer instinct’ required to truly transform into a perennial winner.

Make that 50 yarder. Convert that 4th and 1. Drive for more than 12 yards on 5 plays for any of your last three full offensive possessions to close a game out.

A win is a win until it isn’t. If the Fins want to keep winning, they’re going to have to turn some nailbiters into some runaways.

Injury luck will dictate a great deal

Rookie running back De’Von Achane’s vaunted return ended with a whimper as he was only able to handle one rush for 1 yard and one reception for 4 yards before leaving the game with another knee injury.

Reports were that he could have returned to the game, so hopefully he’s back this week like nothing ever happened. But his quick exit serves as a stark reminder of the breakneck speed at which injuries can reverse the fortunes of even the most talented group.

Injuries are a part of the game, they’re unavoidable, everyone gets them, next man up, blah blah blurbedy blah. Sadly, they’re a huge part of whether or not a team has a realistic chance of going deep into the postseason. Just ask the Bengals.

Miami is currently trending in the right direction as far as injuries go. The biggest weak point at the moment is the interior offensive line with starting guards Robert Hunt and Isaiah Wynn as well as backup guard Robert Jones all missing Week 11.

If those wrecking balls can come back playing as well as when they left, the offense might be able to return to early season form.

In the meantime, Miami has to keep every finger in the building crossed that they stay healthy throughout the rest of the roster.

It’s often all down to luck with injuries, but eventually everyone’s luck has to hold. Even the Dolphins’.

Next week is the trappiest of trap games

The New York Football Jets are hosting the Fins this Thursday, which calendar scholars will note is not that far away. The Jets have already announced that they’re benching 2021 2nd overall pick (HAH) Zach Wilson for 2018 not-picked-at-all Tim Boyle. They were on the offseason Hard Knocks and Miami is being featured on the in-season Hard Knocks.

COINCIDENCE?!

Yes.

But still, this has all the makings of a pitiful, enraging, unjustified loss. Let’s count the things working against the Dolphins:

  • Short week
  • Away game
  • New QB (sometimes like a new coach, a team just rallies behind the new guy)
  • Division rival
  • Underperforming team with huge preseason hype

Those are the type of stupid little nonsense factors that lead to a stupid nonsense loss.

Miami has to come into this game looking to stomp the Jets completely and utterly.

Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.

You know.

Win.

Happy with Miami’s marginal mastery of the Raiders? Think they’ll devastate the Jets? Think they’ll all just skip the game and eat Thanksgiving together while wearing old timey shoes with those little buckles on them? Gobble in the comments below.