The Miami Dolphins followed a flat uninspiring victory in week one with lackluster loss in week two. If the season is a marathon, Miami came out with very little desire to lead the pack from the opening gun. Joe Philbin’s stoic unemotional style has made its mark on the organization early in the season.
The Dolphins uncharacteristically amassed 13 penalties including a personal foul by Olivier Vernon setting up Jacksonville’s game winning field goal. The Miami offense ran 7 plays in the first quarter and, with only 5 in the first quarter last week the trend of starting anemically slow continued. Ryan Tannehill and the Miami offense showed some life by tying the game on the first drive of the second half, but that was it. Tannehill was unable to move the offense when the defense finally made a stand.
The running game was held to 2.6 yards per carry with Lamar Miller averaging only 1.4. Tannehill's stats looked the part completing 30 of 44 passes for 359 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The issue has always been in the “W” column with Tannehill and in a game where one drive in the final 6 could have sealed a victory, Tannehill could not muster the troops. The loss cannot be placed on Tannehill, but in a QB league, these are the games he must lift and carry the team to join the elite players at his position.
The vaunted Miami defensive line registered zero sacks and looked ineffective in the first half. No defensive lineman registered more than one tackle over the entire game. Suh and Mitchell may not be expected to make many tackles but the DEs brought no heat and were ineffective. The defense produced zero turnovers and Blake Bortles looked calm without duress the entire game.
In the simplest terms, for the second week in a row, Miami did not look prepared to play. They were uninspired, sloppy as though they had taken Jacksonville for granted in the week leading up to the game. This same issue has led Miami to 8-8 finishes the last two seasons, losing to less talented teams because they are unemotional and unprepared.
This game is the wakeup call for the Dolphins. With Jets surprising 2-0 start, the Bills looking better and NE again dominating, Miami must not leave any winnable games on the table. Joe Philbin will no longer be coaching the Dolphins if the uninspired play continues. Tannehill must find a way to join the elite QBs and come out with an ugly win.
It’s early and the Dolphins are clearly a better team than they showed in the first two weeks. It’s time to light the fire, the defense has been sluggish and the offense has not gotten untracked in the first quarter. These are signs Miami is not presenting anything different than on film and are not executing the plays they do run. There are only 16 games and at the end of the season this game may loom large as a reason for not making the playoffs.
It is not time to panic, but playing flat and barely beating the hapless redskins, then losing to the inexperienced Jaguars is not the start Miami fans were hoping for. If this team is truly the special unit many came into the season believing, the time to step up is now.
Beat Rex Ryan and the Bills!
If the Dolphins cannot get inspired by that challenge than Joe Philbin may indeed be looking for a job...