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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Ryan Tannehill had his cleanest game of the season thus far. When the running game couldn't get it going, the Dolphins turned to Tannehill for some timely downfield passes to get the offense going. Yes, two of the touchdown "passes" were forward tosses that make his numbers look real pretty, but Tannehill was still accurate downfield as well, hitting Kenny Stills for a gorgeous 34 yard TD, hitting Devante Parker for another 36 yarder downfield and getting the tight ends involved a little bit as well. He also chipped in with some timely runs to keep drives alive. While there is still room to take more steps towards franchise QB from game manager QB, Tannehill definitely helped the Dolphins offense turn it around today when the defense was so hot and cold.
Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant, the Dolphins lilliputian receivers, certainly showed today that speed does kill. Early in the season, these two have been valuable players to the Dolphins. Today, they were game changers.
Xavien Howard is making leaps and bounds from developing player to shut down corner. Last week, he had a game changing interception against the Jets. This week, he had a game changing interception against the Raiders. Howard is beginning to become a guy that shuts down his half of the field and when teams do test him, he often makes them pay.
When your quarterback leads your team in rushing yards, you know your running game probably had a bad day. Today, the Dolphins gained 15 yards on 11 carries on running plays where the running back touched the ball. Part of it was the Raiders selling out against the run. Part of it was poor run blocking. When teams are crashing against the run, the Dolphins need to be a little more aggressive attacking then down field. Early on, the Dolphins ran their usual assortment of WR screens and dump off passes. As they became more aggressive in the passing game, the offense became more effective and as they opened up the playbook the offense became explosive.
The run defense throughout the game and the pass defense early on were atrocious. It seems as if the Dolphins were not prepared for the Raiders offense, especially Jordy Nelson. Thankfully, some adjustments were made and the defense was able to make just enough plays to prevent the Raiders from lighting up the scoreboard. But this effort will guarantee a loss next week against New England.
I always hesitate to go after the officials but the officials made some ridiculous offensive pass interference calls on plays where the receiver was actually the one being mugged by the defenders. Even the announcers were wondering what the heck these officials were seeing.
The Dolphins showed significant resilience in coming back and winning this game. A defense that lost or was missing some key players earlier in the game was able to overcome a ton of adversity and create timely turnovers and stops. An offense that struggled for a good part of the day was able to create some explosive plays that ultimately sealed the win. Could it be that the "locker room chemistry" aspect, having the "right personalities" in the locker room really do make a difference?
It's definitely a nice start to the season, but it's about to get real when the Dolphins visit the Patriots next week.