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 Miami on 3rd down against New England 
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Post Miami on 3rd down against New England
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The Miami Dolphins offense has been bad lately and the main reason has been Miami's struggles on third down.

It has been hold your nose bad lately with a few exceptions.

Over the past two months the Dolphins have become an embarrassment on the game's most critical down, converting just 35.3 percent. Only eight teams in the NFL worse this season.

Here is an examination of every third down play Miami had in Sunday's 23-16, and a thorough analysis of why the play broke down or succeeded, and the end result.

3-4-MIA 22: Tannehill's first third down throw was a poorly thrown pass to Rishard Matthews on his left. Jake Long got beaten badly by Patriots outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich, who stabbed at his forearm. Pressure possibly contributed to the bad throw. Miami punts.

3-4-MIAMI 26: Second third down attempt was a bad read. Davone Bess got jammed off his route at the line of scrimmage by Alfonzo Dennard and Bess went inside when Tannehill's pass went outside. Even if caught the throw wouldn't have produced the 4-yards needed for a first down. Miami punts.

3-6-NE 45: Third third down was a poorly thrown sideline pass to Bess that was assisted by pressure. Tannehill got hit on the throw by Vince Wilfork, who might have forced him to rush the throw and hit his arm. Wilfork beat Richie Incognito to make the impact play. Coincidentally, that was the play Long suffered his season ending injury trying to block Ninkovich.

3-19-NE 32: On third and 19 courtesy of a John Jerry holding call and a Daniel Thomas fumble, Tannehill scrambles for six yards, setting up a 44-yard Dan Carpenter field goal. Nobody was open down field and he made the best of a bad situation.

Second quarter

3-4-MIA 26: Tannehill's fifth third down was his worst. He needed four yards for the first down but Nate Garner got beat by Trevor Scott, who went wide on the new Dolphins new first-team right tackle. Scott's sack forced Tannehill to fumble and Wilfork recovered the ball on Miami's 25-yard line. That's the second impact play for Wilfork. The defense would hold New England to a 43-yard field goal.

3-3-NE 30: Tannehill's best third down play was provided by a slant Brian Hartline beat Aqib Talib on. It was a perfectly timed throw Hartline bobbled before bringing in for a 17-yard catch that got Miami into the red zone. The Dolphins would score its only touchdown four plays later on Tannehill's 2-yard scramble.

Third quarter

3-9-MIA 24: The first third down play of the third quarter featured an empty backfield set and Reggie Bush lined up to the left as a receiver. Bush runs a slant and Tannehill throws the football behind him. Clearly they don't have chemistry. If the ball had been placed better Bush would have converted the 9-yards needed for the first down because the middle of the field was open and the linebacker was trailing. Miami punts.

3-8-MIA 22: Out of the shotgun formation Tannehill pinpoints a pass to H-back Charles Clay, putting it on the perfect shoulder for a 20-yard catch to keep Miami's second drive of the second-half alive.

3-14-MIA 38: It is third-and-14 after Wilfork collapses the pocket and allowed Jerod Mayo to tackle Thomas for a 4-yard loss. Tannehill has adequate time in the pocket but throws a 13-yard pass to Bess. Pass was thrown one yard short. Miami punts at midfield.

3-13-MIA 48: The Dolphins get stuffed for a 3-yards loss on second down when Bush is forced to carry the ball despite New England putting eight-men in the box. Tannehill throws deep to Hartline down the right sideline but the bad ball floats out of bounds. Bad throw considering Hartline had Talib trailing a bit. An accurate pass would have at least produced pass interference knowing Hartline. Miami punts.

Fourth quarter

3-11-MIA 33: In one of his best throws of the game Tannehill rifles a bullet to Hartline on a deep slant (note to Omar: it is called a post...) that gains 22-yards. The catch keeps a scoring drive alive.

3-5-NE 26: Trailing by 10 points the Patriots collapse the pocket with five rushers, flushing Tannehill out. He scrambles for 4-yards and sets up a fourth-and-1 the Dolphins convert with a 9-yard run from Thomas.

3-4-NE 7: Three plays later Thomas doesn't pick up Mayo, who is blitzing between Incognito and Jonathan Martin and Tannehill gets sacked in the red zone. Miami has to kick a 33-yard field goal instead of putting a touchdown up. The play was perfectly timed by Mayo and Tannehill didn't have any receivers open because the play took too long to get open in man-to-man coverage.

That is the full story of Miami's 3-for-13 performance on third down, which contributes to Ryan Tannehill's status as the NFL's worst quarterback on third down.

So, who is to blame? By my count there's plenty of protection issues, a couple of big completions to Hartline and a few bad throws.

The more important question is....how does this problem get fixed?


http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miam ... 6510.story

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Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:39 pm
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Post Re: Miami on 3rd down against New England
It looks like poor pass protection significantly attributed to the Dolphins lack of success on 3rd downs.

This offensive line full of high draft picks clearly needs another overhaul, especially at the guard positions.

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Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:45 pm
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Post Re: Miami on 3rd down against New England
Definitely Rich. Let's hope the Dolphin scouts and Ireland are getting the pick of the litter come April as well as through free agency. Upgrade and over haul is absolutely necessary on a few line spots.


Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:06 pm
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Post Re: Miami on 3rd down against New England
Rich wrote:
It looks like poor pass protection significantly attributed to the Dolphins lack of success on 3rd downs.

This offensive line full of high draft picks clearly needs another overhaul, especially at the guard positions.


Ya, they definitely need new young talent .... but honestly I'm never holding out for the day that unit will be among the league's best. Seems like such an undertaking after what we've watched over the years.

Just surprised they're not taking more advantage of Ryan's athleticism to combat the rush. I'm clueless as to why they don't.

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Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:27 pm
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Post Re: Miami on 3rd down against New England
Both Jerry and Incognito just don't fit Miami's blocking scheme. That's been painfully obvious all season. They'll probably be replaced for next season.

But if this team spends another high pick on an offensive lineman....I'm going to lose it.

I'm a firm believer than line play is about acquiring talent that fits your system, and then developing that talent. Not about investing highly in each position, and then piecing it together like they've tried to do.

Look at the Patriots O-line from Sunday. They did an incredible job on that final drive, and despite Miami getting 4 sacks, I thought they held up Brady pretty well outside their RT....and that unit is the definition of a makeshift line. Solder is a 1st round pick at LT, but outside him they are full of mid and late round picks.

To me though, the best protection can sometimes be outside. If you can spread the field with a variety of weapons that open up a defense, it doesn't allow them to get after you as much defensively. And when they do, as a QB you now have security blankets that you can go to quickly.

I say go ahead and shore up the line in Free Agency...but their top assets should be invested on getting playmakers outside.


Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:34 pm
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Post Re: Miami on 3rd down against New England
One thing that might help is to be more productive on 1st and 2nd downs. 7 out of the 13 3rd downs mentioned were longer than 3rd and 5. Having more manageable 3rd down opportunities would increase their success rate. Negative running plays, sacks, fumbles and penalties have helped create this problem.

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Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:49 pm
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Post Re: Miami on 3rd down against New England
We are never going to get an all probowl line, RB, and WR for the QB. We need a probowl QB and hopefully RT is that guy. Look around the league guys, the Packers OL is worse than ours and they making another run, it's all about QB play...look around the league.


Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:52 pm
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