After last second, one score losses, as 9 to 10 point underdogs at the NFL premiere teams of Seattle and New England on weeks one and two. The Miami Dolphins as 9 - 10 point home favorites squeezed out an overtime 30 - 24 Victory versus the Cleveland Browns for 2016's first WIN.
Cleveland lost their starting quarterbacks in each of the previous two weeks. At Miami they started their rookie third stringer (Cody Kessler) with a productive though unorthodox game plan while it was their athletically superior and versatile fourth stringer (Terrell Pryor) that presented challenges to Miami.
Pryor (approaching halftime) led the Browns in passing, rushing, and receiving yards while the one time Ohio State superstar and present Brown almost beat the Dolphins defense single handed. He was throwing, he was running, he was catching all over each and every defensive player that Miami fielded. Pryor is a very fast, very big 6 - 4, 223 college quarterback turned NFL receiver, turned (Wild-Cat/Wild Card) mismatch against Miami while tabulating 144 receiving yards with a rushing touchdown.
Third string rookie starter Cody Kessler with the aid of Pryor's excellence went 21 of 33 for 244 with no touchdowns or interceptions. The Browns ran for 169 on 32 attempts while their kicker was wide left on a first, third, and a regulation fourth quarter game winner as time ran out upon his third miss of six field goal attempts.
Miami got lucky with the game winning Cleveland field goal miss that led to an overtime Victory. While with the (2nd & 3rd string Patriot quarterbacks beating the Dolphins last week), the 3rd and 4th string Brown quarterbacks also played well against Miami's defense, but in the end didn't get the win.
And hey, remember it's a "next man up league". Though there seems to be a double standard when explained via Dolphin fans. Why is it? When it's Miami's next man up. Miami fans expect/demand/with no excuses that the replacement play equal to if not beyond the capabilities of he that's being replaced.
Meanwhile. When the opposition's "next man up" is put into play. It's expected/demanded/with no excuses for the Miami Dolphins to have an easy time dominating said players.
Seems as though some change the rules of the "next man up" debate in accordance to what best fits their attempts to belittle the Dolphins. Dolphin backups and/or "next men up" are expected to dominate while the oppositions backups/next men up are expected to be dominated? Seems like a double standard, and the angle should be approached one way or the other, not in whatever view works most advantageously to insult the Miami Dolphins.
Dolphin starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill of four plus years via four different offensive schemes didn't fare as well (on the surface) as Cleveland's emergency quarterbacks did. The Browns defensive alignments had him often questioning his blocking assignment calls, and rightfully so as he was pressured, hit, and slammed to the ground throughout the day, though he was sacked just once.
Miami rushed for 115 on 25 attempts, and for a third consecutive game lost the time of possession battle by 8 plus minutes. Tannehill (for histories sake) whether you care or not, whether it matters or not, went 25 of 39 for 319 yards, with two interceptions, a strip fumble, and three touchdown passes.
He threw an interception on Miami's first pass play of the day, then a 26 yard touchdown to DeVante Parker on the next series for the Dolphins first lead of the season. After an early second quarter Cleveland field goal, Tannehill threw a pick-six midway through the second quarter for a 10 - 7 Browns lead. Each team followed with a field goal and went to the tunnel with the home team favored Dolphins trailing 13 - 10.
Cleveland opened the third with their second missed field goal of the day, and Miami took the lead on their ensuing possession with a Tannehill touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry that covered 42 yards for a 13 - 17 Dolphin lead. Miami and Tannehill with a ten yard touchdown pass to running back Damian Williams seemed to be rolling upon what was a 14th unanswered point, and an eleven point (13 - 24) lead less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
But then suddenly, for whatever reason, the Dolphins offensive wheels fell off! From play calling strategy to quarterback play and/or player execution, all of a sudden a blue haze of brain farting gases stunk the place up, and Miami didn't score another point in regulation!
Meanwhile. Cleveland suddenly couldn't do anything wrong and tied it at 24 with just 42 seconds remaining for the Dolphins offense. Guess what happened, who'd a thunk it? Three plays and 20 seconds later, Tannehill while waiting too damn long to throw the ball (especially on such an occasion), gets stripped of the ball and the Browns recover at Miami's 27 yard line/field goal range. And again; Miami got lucky from the special teams front as Cleveland missed 3 field goals including the game winner as the regulation clock expired.
The home teams Jay Ajayi scored the game winning touchdown (24 - 30) with an eleven yard run on The Miami Dolphins second possession of overtime, and put one in the win column! It was an uglier performance toward victory than were their losses, but a W is a W !!
They have four days to pull an extremely agitated Adam Gase' boot out of their asses, and figure out how to win again, (preferably more proficiently) at Cincinnati on Thursday Night Football.