Where Have These Miami Dolphins Been All Year?

Miami Dolphins 2015 Season Finale; By Tony Nicoletti.

This Dolphin team is a difficult one to track. One week, they can't get out of their own way. The next week, they are playing like the dominant force we were hoping they would be all season.

In this week seventeen season finale, we seem to have witnessed a total team effort which appears to be the culmination of several recent weeks of frustration. Are we to believe that it took a couple of weeks for the team to adjust to all the minor tweaks they made after disposing of Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor? In any event, the New England Patriots were beaten handily in Miami by the Dolphins. The score? 20 to 10.

I mean, it was like a total role reversal out there. New England looked like the awkward, troubled Miami Dolphins while the Dolphins looked like the total package, New England Patriots. Miami was able to take away what New England was trying to do. A trait the Patriots and Bill Belichick are notorious for doing to others. Did Dan Campbell, an interim head coach, out-coach Bill Belicheck?

I don't know what to make of this fiasco.

Some might argue that the Patriots were not really motivated and on autopilot. (Trying to save themselves for the playoffs). Considering that they waited until their final possession to pull Brady with the game out of hand would suggests otherwise. They needed to sew up the first seed and have home field advantage so the playoffs would run through Foxborough. Don't tell me they didn't want to win. And for a change, Miami got to be the spoiler instead of the other way around.

I think they were hoping the Dolphins would buckle on defense with a constant diet of running plays, which didn't work. How else do you explain why Brady only threw the ball five times in the first half. We got to him just twice during the game. But those sacks were back to back and at a critical time. Tom Brady was picking himself up off the turf regularly, and often.

The game never really felt like it was in jeopardy. I kept expecting the Patriots to come roaring back, but it never happened. And once New England scored their tying and only touchdown of the game in the third quarter, they were shut down for their lowest offensive stats, (and score) of the season.

Brady had a meager performance. 12 of 21 for 134 yards. Ryan Tannehill, on the other hand, had a Brady-ish like performance on the afternoon. 25 of 38 for 350 yards and two TD's. (This was Ryan's sixth 300 yard game of the season). He was sacked once and picked a gorgeous time for his 19-yard run which netted a first down on third and 12. As a matter of fact, Miami converted at least 5 third downs that involved 7 or more yards. The Dolphins went 8 of 17 for a 47% on third down efficiency. New England? 4 of 14 for 28%.

Statistically, it was a beat down in most categories except the total score. It looked like New England was going to succeed with their running assault as they had 62 yards by the end of the first half. They only got 8 more yards to add to it in the second half. And when is the last time you saw a Brady led team muster only 196 yards of total offense? (70 yards rushing and 126 yards passing). Miami was swimming along with 96 yards rushing and 342 yards through the air for a total of 438 yards. Jordan Cameron TOUCHDOWN!
It's one thing to outscore a team like New England, another to completely shut down the one area that is the Patriots claim to fame. Their passing game. Tom Brady passed the ball to eight different players and not one of them had more than two receptions. Even the great Tight End Rob Gronkowski only pulled in two passes for 18 yards. Not a bad afternoon for a suspect secondary. Brent Grimes

Click to see blown up Devante Parker TOUCHDOWN, and other photo's!

This is the third year in a row that Miami has hosted and beaten the Patriots though I have to admit, this was the year I thought all our AFC East opponents were going to sweep us. I was pleasantly surprised.

On the year, Ryan Tannehill wound up with over 4,000 yards passing again. (4,208 yards in total). He completed 61.9 % of his passes and finished with an 88.7 passer rating, 24 touch downs and 12 Interceptions. He had half as many interceptions as touch downs. It was a slight step back in touchdowns and ratings. In total passing yardage, he is number nine of the top ten passers. (All of which also threw for more than 4,000 yards).

Sorry if it sounds like I'm making a big deal out of one lousy game but this win came from out of nowhere. Yeah, they may have cost themselves 3 or 4 spots in the draft order positioning but you have to admit, seeing this kind of dominant performance is refreshing. Even more so against the best team in the AFC, a divisional rival and reigning Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

It is encouraging, but I don't think it will be enough to keep Dan Campbell at the helm. We have some first and second-year players that contributed greatly during these last few games. Get ready for a wild ride during Miami's off-season. Should be interesting to see if this team really gets blown up or if we actually have enough of a nucleus to build on. It will make a big difference in determining how many more years we will be sitting at home during the playoffs. But these are all subjects for another post.

Thanks for being patient with me while I rant and rave.