Challenging the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium on Prime Time TV proved too large for fledgling head coach Dan Campbell and shaky Miami Dolphin quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The cards were stacked against the Dolphins; a short week, the reigning NFL champion, four time SB winning coach, the league’s best QB and a packed house all conspiring to suck the wind from Miami’s sails.
NFL schedule makers could not hope for a more predictable easy New England victory…
The league’s best team held court in its lofty aerie… Foolish minions, attempting to storm a fortress that has not seen an October loss in over ten years, conjures David versus Goliath. The Miami Dolphins got to see the-view-from-the-top firsthand and know how far they must climb to reach the pinnacle.
From the opening drive, Brady and the Patriot’s offense set the Dolphin defense on its heels. The score came far too easy and perhaps the confidence Miami brought to the game wavered early. Getting Brady off his spot proved elusive as footballs flashed across the field in rapid succession. The Dolphins knew Brady would come out slinging five yard lasers but it was his ability to always find the mismatch that stifled the Miami defense.
It is hard to reconcile Ryan Tannehill’s inconsistency week to week when watching Brady’s mastery of the position. Baffling interceptions seem to come exactly when the team is gravely in need of a champion. Great performances mean little when followed by rotten eggs billowing gaseous sulfuric stench from Foxborough all the way to Miami.
Brady commandeered the position from Drew Bledsoe and led New England to the Super Bowl in his second season. Miami fans mope through another awful QB performance wondering if Tannehill's good will ever overcome his bad…
The bad got worse when Cameron Wake sustained an Achilles tendon injury late in the third quarter and former first-round pick offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James was carted off in the first half, neither returned. The Dolphins precarious offensive line depth could not stand the test, as the Miami running game ground to a halt producing, only 15 yards in 13 carries.
It was a typical Bill Belichick game plan… The Dolphins wondered which player Billy Genius would take away when Belichick simply attacked the running game begging Tannehill to beat him. It was the formula well used at the end of last season and proved just as effective. Without a running game, Tannehill could not put the team on his back and win the football game, it’s that simple.
The sick fact is, over the past 10 seasons, the Patriots are 4-0 when at least 80 percent of their plays are passes… The rest of the NFL is 3-109 over that time! (Thanks whoever I stole that from!)
Belichick re-exposed the weakness in Miami and the old films will resurface. Shut down the run and force Tannehill to win with his arm. Dominating on the offensive front early solves the issue, but when the defense knows the strategy it’s easy to game plan and Belichick was right on it.
Our Man Campbell knows what’s in store, and hopefully will not have to work without right tackle Ja'Wuan James.
The Dolphin defense did not play as bad a game as the score would indicate. A botched snap by Mike Pouncey led to a safety and a constant Patriot field position advantage caused short fields the entire night. Miami held New England to nine points for most of the first half, but the offense offered no help. Belichick and Brady are famous for getting defensive mismatches and speeding up the game to keep defenses from adjusting.
The disappointing loss will leave a bitter taste in Man Campbell’s mouth but the long week helps Miami face two consecutive road games. How the Dolphins respond to the loss in the New England will determine their relevancy for the remainder of the season.
Going through Brady and Belichick twice each season places a severe burden on teams in the AFC East. No other division in the NFL has been dominated by a single team and that lack of domination allows different teams to rise. Miami knows climbing the mountain only leads to the impenetrable fortress on top but it cannot be the deterrent for a gradual climb.
Teams will begin shutting the run game down from the onset and the Miami Dolphin’s fate will follow Ryan Tannehill’s right arm. The fairness of that assessment is irrelevant. The cruel reality of playing in the AFC East is irrelevant. The NFL is a bottom line league and the bottom line question for Miami is, can the team can ride Ryan Tannehill when a defense takes away the run game? Unfortunately the answer has not been favorable to this point in Tannehill’s career.
If Man Campbell wishes to be a successful NFL head coach he will have to solve this problem for the sake of his own career. Campbell is the ninth Miami HC since Don Shula and each coach has lacked the one ingredient separating them from Shula and Bill Belichick, for that matter, a great quarterback.
The clock is running out on Ryan Tannehill. The next several games will define his career and unfortunately it may also determine whether Campbell is the coach in Miami next season. In the fourth season, there can no longer be a learning curve. There can no longer be a couple great games followed by an odorous rotten egg. Mediocrity is another definition for inconsistency and in the NFL, there is no middle ground.
Man Campbell and Ryan Tannehill were left wounded at the bottom of mountain…
Foolish minions, attempting to storm the fortress like David taking on Goliath. A lucky sling will not slay this giant. Consistency every game is the only match for the precision emanating from the fortress above.
Waiting for its emergence season after season is not only foolish; it’s the definition of insanity…