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Week 7: Dolphins at Jaguars
What a weird game. We win by two touchdowns, but there isn't really much "good" to say.
Pick Sixes - Nice to see the Dolphins defense score touchdowns. The interceptions returned for touchdowns by Louis Delmas and Brent Grimes decided the game. It is rare to see the Dolphins get a pick 6 in a game. Against the Jaguars, they got two.
Running Game - the Dolphins gained 148 yards on 24 carries (6.2 ypc). It might have helped early on to use the running game more. The Dolphins kept passing in the first half and most of those passes were of the 5 or 7 step drop variety. Not a good idea against a that is 3rd in sacks. Lamar Miller and Ryan Tannehill both had 30 yard runs.
Deep Ball - Tannehill finally hit Wallace deep on a perfectly thrown 50 yard bomb. Wallace was well covered on the play but becauuse Tannehill placed the ball where only Wallace could make a play, Wallace made the play, getting his knee down. After that, the Jacksonville defense softened up.
Brian Hartline - the disappearing act continues for Hartline, who only had 1 catch on 4 targets and he dropped two of those.
Run Defense - the defense let Denard Robinson gain 108 yards on 18 carries and the Jaguars had 178 yards on the ground.
Pass Protection - Tannehill was sacked 3 times, and those were not coverage sacks as the pressure was coming before he was getting to the top of his drops. The offensive line has given up 7 sacks the past two games.
Offense - the offense had a rough day, from poor pass protection to dropped passes and missed throws. There is enough blame to go around on this one. The defense scored more points than the offense.
Trap Game - no matter how much this was talked about as a trap game, the Dolphins still fell into the trap.
The Dolphins are now over .500 and have won two in a row. And yet this win leaves more questions than answers. Questions about the coaching staff, Tannehill and the offense and how this team is going to do in the next couple of games, when the level of competition increases significantly.
Hopefully this was just the quintessential trap game and the Dolphins will be better prepared for San Diego.
The 3-3 Miami Dolphins, coming off a big 27-14 win on the road in Chicago travel to Jacksonville to take on the 1-6 Jaguars, coming off of their first win of the season at home against Cleveland 24-6 in a 1:00 kickoff.
Some may ask why I decided to go with this header for my blog? I was very concerned about this team coming off the heart breaking loss to the Green Bay Packers the week before in the last seconds of the game. Going on the road against the Bears after a tough loss, I did not know if this team could put that loss behind them and be prepared to play. The Dolphins answered that question, and should have won by more than what they did as the defense dominated and the offense moved the ball and QB Ryan Tannehill was very sharp. The next step in the maturity of this team is to win a game on the road against a 1-6 team in Jacksonville, a team the Dolphins SHOULD handle. Will they? We will find out.
Let's take a look at the 2 teams and how they matchup.
Miami comes into the game averaging 359.8 yards in total offense, generating 223.5 yards per game in the pass game and 136.3 yards in the rush game, which ranks 4th in the NFL. The Dolphins are scoring 24.5 points per game, which along with total offense ranks 11th in the NFL. They face a Jacksonville defense that is allowing 390.4 yards per game. They are allowing 280.1 yards per game passing, 110.3 yards per game rushing and are giving up 27.3 points per game, which ranks 27th in the NFL.
QB Ryan Tannehill is coming off perhaps his best game of the season against the Bears and is completing 63.3% of his passes for 1,423 yards, 10 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. Ryan has a talented group of skill people to work with and WR Mike Wallace leads a trio of wide receivers with 20 catches or more, with Wallace leading the group with 30 catches for 359 yards and 5 touchdowns. Rookie Jarvis Landry is 2nd on the team in catches with 22 catches followed by Charles Clay with 21 catches. Brian Hartline has 19 catches and RB Lamar Miller has 17 catches. Miller leads the Dolphins in rushing with 81 carries for 391 yards and 4 touchdowns. One element that I like that Bill Lazor has added is using Tannehill's legs in the run game, and Ryan has responded with 22 carries for 150 yards and a 6.8 yards per attempt. The Dolphins have done a very good job recently and now have 170 attempts in the run game, 138 attempts in the passing game. This is the receipe for the Dolphins to win. They face a Jacksonville defense with some nice pieces, but they lost a HUGE piece of that defense when LB Paul Posluszny was lost for the year with a torn pectorial muscle. Miami should have success moving the ball today.
Defensivley, Miami comes into the game giving up 313.7 yards per game, 213.3 of that passing and 100.0 yards per game rushing. The Dolphins are giving up 23.0 points a game, which ranks 15th in the NFL, and in total defense, the Dolphins rank 4th. They face a Jacksonville offense generating 296.6 yards per game, 210.6 yards in the passing game and only 86.0 yards of rushing offense. The Jaguars are only scoring 15.0 points per game, which ranks last in the NFL.
The Dolphins have gotten better defensively and are on the verge of becoming perhaps an elite unit. They still give up drives at key points of games when stops are needed to much, but overall, this unit is turning into a very good unit. They add another potential weapon in OLB/DE Dion Jordan, coming off suspension. He will be bought back into the fold slowly, but he gives the Dolphins another pass rusher with the versatility to drop in pass coverage due to his athletic ability. 2nd year LB Jelani Jenkins lead the team in tackles with 47, while DE Cameron Wake now leads the team in sacks with 4.5. Miami has 17 sacks as a team. Miami has 4 players with 1 interceptions, Reshad Jones, Walt Aikens, Brent Grimes and Jimmy Wilson. They face a rookie QB in Blake Bortles, a young player that has a lot of promise, nice size and mobility, but still a 1st year QB on a struggling Jaguar offense. This is a game the Dolphins defense SHOULD dominate.
That said, this goes back to the maturity question I posed earlier. A playoff bound, mature team goes into Jacksonville today and takes care of business with a solid win. The Dolphins took a step in the right direction last week with the win in Chicago. Can they take the next step? We will find out.
Let's GO Miami.