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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Jay Ajayi found holes and broke tackles on his way to 122 yards on the ground against a defense that had not allowed a 100 yard rusher in 17 straight games.
Jay Cutler made it work, playing a fairly clean game in his Dolphins debut. He had 230 yards and 1 TD pass with a QB rating of 101.8.
Devante Parker and Jarvis Landry made the Dolphins passing game go. Parker had a couple of big grabs, showing his catch radius. One of these should have been an interception by Casey Harward, but Parker simply snatched it out of his hands for a 31 yard catch. Landry continued his volume catching play, with 13 catches for 78 yards.
The Dolphins main weakness last season, stopping the run, seems to have been addressed. The Chargers only gained 44 yards on the ground, with Melvin Gordon only getting 13 yards on 9 carries. The main contributors to this stout run defense were Ndamukong Suh, with two tackles for loss, William Hayes with 1.5 tackles for loss, and Mike Hull and Kiko Alonso with 1 tackle for a loss each. Hull in particular had 10 total tackles, 7 solo. With Lawrence Timmons going AWOL, it was good to see Hull step up. William Hayes, brought in for his run stopping prowess, also contributed the only Dolphins sack of the day.
Cody Parkey was 4 of 4 on field goals, including the 54 yard game winner.
Where was the pass coverage and pass rush? When you stop the run so effectively, you're putting the other team in unfavorable pass situations and yet we could not capitlize. Philip Rivers complated 31 of 39 passes for 331 yards. The Dolphins pass coverage seemed helpless in stopping Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, Melvin Gordon and Tyrell Williams. I know it's hard to find fault with a defense that goes on the road and gives up 17 points, but the pass defense seemed inept.
The playcalling in the 1st half and towards the end of the game was puzzling. It seemed as if Adam Gase was trying to protect Cutler in the 1st half by having him throw a bunch of passes that only traveled 5 yards or less in the air. Perhaps there was fear of rust or lack of chemistry with all his new teammates. Thankfully, it appears the Dolphins did give us a glimpse of what this offense can look like when they opened it up a bit in the second half. Cutler started hitting more passes downfield. But there were still some head scratching playcalls. Cutler running a read option on one play. The last three offensive plays of the game looked like "give up" football. And calling a timeout with 10 seconds left when the Chargers were out of timeouts and appeared confused about how to manage the clock to kick a field goal was the ultimate head scratcher. Maybe Gase felt the tone of the game dictated a conservative approach and we did win in the end, but I hope we clean up these gaffes.
Look, the Dolphins won. They won after not playing competitive football for three weeks. They won despite being displaced by Hurricane Irma. They won despite their starting QB being out for the year and having to replace him with a guy that was retired. They won despite Lawrence Timmons going AWOL. The bottom line is that they won and continued to display the toughness that led them to so many close wins last year. It is something to build upon and hopefully we see the offense and defense continue to improve as the season goes on. The schedule will start to get pretty tough later in the season, so hopefully the trajectory on the quality of play and coaching is up.
Next up, a team that is shamelessly playing for the 1st pick in the draft. Let's help them get there!
Let's face it, this team has had nothing but bad luck since The Don was forced into retirement, and the Don's nemesis, Jimmy "pork faced Satan" Johnson, sat at his desk with the chair still warm.
Last year the Dolphins won games with last second heroics. This year we lost our QB but Jay Cutler was available, and we start the season with another heroic (Cody Parkey's career long 54 yard FG) and the Chargers kicker missing a mid 40 yarder for the win.
The Don has passed on the torch to Coach Gase.
The curse is broken.