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Five Things I Think I Think About the Miami Dolphins - Week 12

cogent (adj) - having the power to persuade

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It’s tough to write after Thursday night games since, by the time this is published, everyone else will have likely said all there is to say. So, knowing full well that I may just be serving as an echo, let’s get to gettin’.

Tua needs to make better decisions

“Oh, here we go. Can’t we ever just be happy with a win?”

SHUDDUP!

I’m very happy with the way Miami handled the Jets this week. It had all the makings of a Dolphins disappointment, but they took them to the woodshed, for the most part.

But it’s been a loooooong time since Dolphins fans could have genuine Superbowl aspirations, so we’re taking it to the limit. And that means continually pushing to be the very best.

And that means acknowledging that Tua had some really terrible decisions this game.

For all of the amazing ability Tua possesses, he also seems to struggle when going off script. Now, I know he just fumbled on a scramble against the Raiders, but when there’s a free first down available, just go ahead and scoot on up there. See it early, decide quickly, run, and slide. No bigs.

His hesitation to take off on foot pales in severity to his hesitation on two different interceptions against the Jets. To be fair, the Jets have a great defense. That said, most defenses would come down with the picks Tua threw on Thursday.

He still finished with a respectable day statistically (21/30 [70%], 243 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs), especially when compared to how other top tier QBs fared against NYJ in NYC(ish) this season. But anyone watching saw how execrable (look it up) the mistakes were. If Miami’s going to make a deep run, that has to get cleaned up.

Speaking of bad decisions: why was Tua still in the game up 21 points with under 7 minutes to go? The way the Jets offense was humming along, Miami could have outscored them with Matt Saracen at quarterback. I’m sure Tua wants to be out there for every snap, but let’s make sure he’s there for snaps in the playoffs.

Playcalling can still be too indirect

“Now we’re gonna get on Coach McDaniel? Even after how cool he seemed on Hard Knocks?”

A little, yeah.

But not much.

My biggest continuing gripe with playcalling appeared to semi sort itself out by the second half as the run game found sustained success. Early on, coach McD stuck to his bad habit of calling anything but a straightforward run play in short yardage situations. As electric as the Fins’ playmakers can be, sometimes you just need to take the shortest path.

Thankfully, toward the end of the game, that trend reversed and both Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson found space on the ground and kept the chains moving. Mostert finished with 20 carries for 94 yards and 2 TDs while Wilson added 11 carries for 56 yards as De’Von Achane sat out.

There was a stellar drive to end the 3rd quarter that lasted 9:03 and 15 plays, resulting in a touchdown to take the lead up to 27-6. That was a thing of beauty. I’d like to see more of that.

You know what? I said not much, but here’s more. SUE ME.

When it’s 3rd and long, stop throwing wide receiver screens. It’s like hitting a volleyball with a closed fist. It might work 1/100 times, but that’s no reason to keep doing it.

AND ANOTHER THING.

Goal line fades on 4th down need to be taken behind the barn and shot.

That’s all.

McDaniel’s only in his second year and he strikes me as the type to learn and grow. So I ain’t shook.

I just really hate fade routes.

Defense is becoming dominant

“Finally, something nice. Now we can all have a lovely holiday season.” you say as you shove a sixteenth turkey leg in your gullet. I see you.

I am you.

Miami’s defense is playing like a bat out of hell. I know it was career non-starter Tim Boyle in a starting role. Sometimes teams can step up for seeminly no reason in the face of the adversity the Jets are facing.

They did not.

Miami held Boyle to 179 yards passing to go with his 4.6 QBR. They also managed to stifle Breece Hall, keeping him to 7 carries for 25 yards and definitely-not-washed Dalvin Cook to 1 carry for 2 yards. Such a shame Miami didn’t back up the Brinks truck for him.

Jevon Holland’s pick 6 ‘Hell Mary’ was stupid good. Good name, great play. Wild times.

Jalen Ramsey shut down Garrett Wilson, ignoring some garbage time work Wilson was able to put in at the end. Ramsey has been as good as advertised so far and being able to nearly erase an opponent’s number one receiving weapon is quite an advantage. Check out a book on coaching at your local library if you don’t believe me. It’s a good thing.

The obvious negative of the day defensively is the loss of Jaelan Phillips to a torn achilles.

Maybe Miami goes after Shaq Leonard. Who knows.

Regardless, I hope Phillips recovers quickly and completely. He’s ascending and deserves to keep ascending. I wish him the best.

Jets helped with their ineptitude

As well as Miami performed, the Jets seemed determined to outdo them, except completely opposite of that. As in, they did a bad job. They were bad. The Jets are bad.

Their offense was hideous. It was so bad that it made the defense bad. As stellar as the Jets defense can be, anyone’s going to have a tough time when they’re on the field for 312 plays.

Their frustrations started to boil over and they tried to take it out on Miami’s players on a few occasions. And when they did, the Dolphins players actually pushed back. For what feels like forever, the Fins have let other teams be more physical and impose their will during games and post-play. I don’t know what changed, but Thursday they didn’t back down. And that was nice to see.

Alas, the Jets’ anger didn’t earn them any more points or stop the bleeding. They did almost everything they could to push Miami along the road to victory.

The Fins won’t get too many games like that over the course of the season.

Next week should be a walkthrough

Huh. Would you look at that? There’s another game like that.

Washington is struggling. They’ve lost three in a row and just got pummeled by the Cowboys 45-10. Miami gets 9 days rest. They have no excuse to not come out and flat throttle them.

I’d like to see the offensive line operating at better than 20% starter capacity. By the end of the Jets game, Connor Williams was the only man left standing and even one of the backups had gone out too.

The line getting healthy should give Tua more time, clear better lanes for the backs, and just help solidify the offense overall.

I’d like to see Tua have a game without mistakes.

I’d like to see Mike McDaniel take the easy route.

I’d like to see you put down that turkey leg.

It’s almost Christmas.

And it’s mine.

Did you get a license to hunt turducken? Did you think it was just some gibberish John Madden made up? Did you check under your bed? Fight for your life in the comments below.