Adversity Cannot Stop the Miami Dolphins

After a torturous 2017, the Miami Dolphins opened 2018 winning in the longest game in NFL history. Lightning scared off the officials, but it was not enough scare off the Dolphins.

Adam Gase released what many thought his most talented players because his team folded under pressure in 2017. He was determined, it would not happen again. A stickler for details, Gase may have researched a little history surrounding this storied franchise.

The opening game in 2017 wasn't the first time a hurricane forced the Dolphins to lose their bye week. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew forced the rescheduling of Miami's September 6 opening game against New England to October 18, when both teams originally had a bye week.

It does not stop there for the NFL's most weathered team. On October 25, 2003 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to fight a massive fire ignited two days earlier. The NFL moved the Miami's October 27 Monday Night game against San Diego to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Forcing the teams to travel early and disrupt their usual practice routine.

In 2004, the Tennessee Titans at the Miami Dolphins opening-day game, scheduled for Sunday, September 12, was rescheduled to Saturday, September 11 due to Hurricane Ivan. That same year, the Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami game scheduled for Sunday, September 26, at 1 PM was moved to 8:30 PM due to Hurricane Jeanne.

In 2005, the NFL moved up the Kansas City Chiefs at Miami game from Sunday, October 23 to Friday, October 21 due to Hurricane Wilma. Gase figured out quickly, if he was going to be successful in Miami, his team needed to be prepared for Mother Nature.

By allowing the stars to shine elsewhere, Gase built a roster better suited to handle the elements. In actuality, the 2018 opening game could not have been better scripted for Adam Gase and his Miami Dolphins. He preached mental toughness and continually warned his team to be ready for circumstances beyond their control.

When Lightning forced the teams into the locker room for nearly 4 hours, Gase's preaching became reality. Nothing could reinforce his persistence better than defeating the very obstacles he anticipated. His team met the elements head-on and came out victorious. A locker room built for adversity, grew closer with every bolt of lightning.

The game was not a thing of beauty, it didn't need to be, all the Dolphins needed to take from this game was a victory. Each time the Miami offense began to get untracked, the officials jumped in and stopped play, sending the teams to the locker room. Tennessee faced the same disruptions, but was unprepared. Vrabel admitted, he had never seen anything like it in his storied NFL career.

Welcome to Miami Mike...

There was plenty of good and enough ugly to go around.

Tannehill threw two beauties for TDs and a couple clunkers for INTs. His 89.9 passer rating was not Aaron Rodgers, but it was good enough for the 13th best of the week. No other QB had to deal with Tannehill's distractions and Marcus Mariota's game ended with a hit from defensive lineman William Hayes early in the third quarter. Tannehill was good enough to win.

Kenyan Drake averaged only 3.4 yards on his 14 carries, gaining 48 yards, but the stat does not account for his clock killing runs, into an eight-man front, to seal the game. Ageless Frank Gore rushed 9 times 61 yards, a nifty 6.8 yards per-carry. The Dolphin running game looked impressive in spite of the conditions and disruptions.

The Miami receiving corps was perhaps the most impressive offensive unit on the field Sunday. Gone was Jarvis Landry as a permanent fixture in the slot. Gone was DeVante Parker camped on one side or the other. Instead, Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant ran a dizzying stream of formations and alignments! Miami hadn't seen this since the Mark's brothers.

Looking forward, rookie Mike Gesicki has not touched the impact he will have on the Miami Dolphin offense as he learns the NFL. Miami is not forced to rush DeVante Parker back and his job and playing time will be on the line when he returns. It will bring out the best in Parker or he will follow Jarvis Landry out the door.

On defense, the Miami secondary was as good as advertised, every player made defining plays. Free to roam, Reshad Jones sniffed out two interceptions. Bobby McCain had zero passes completed against him. Minkah Fitzpatrick stuffed a 4th and goal prior to a 98 yard Miami touchdown drive. The Titans avoided Xavien Howard and TJ McDonald led the defense with 8 tackles.

By the season's end, the Miami defensive backfield could be special...

The defensive line did not show the exceptional pass rush fans were lured into during the pre-season. Tennessee was without its first team tackles and the Dolphins did not register a sack. The Titans rushed for 116 yards at 4 yards per carry, which is not terrible, but isn't very good. The line needs to have more impact on the game if the Miami defense ever hopes to be elite.

The linebackers were completely nondescript. Kiko Alonso pulled in an interception for the group's only highlight, but there were also no glaring mistakes from the two first-year players. The signs are indicating the unit is destined to get better as the season moves on.

Aside from giving up a kick return touchdown, the special teams played an exceptional game. Jakeem Grant's 102 yard return was the second longest in Miami history. Rookie kicker Jason Sanders was perfect, including 3 field goals and Matt Haack averaged 53.8 yards per punt.

It's a single game against a team that lost its QB, but the victory was against more than the opponent. Adam Gase built the Miami Dolphins to overcome adversity, and on the first, very long day of the season.

His TEAM responded...

Fins Up!