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Week 6: Dolphins at da Bears
Normally week three isn't a big game, but this week three against the Kansas City Chiefs is a big game for the Miami Dolphins. The reasons are pretty clear to everyone who watched the Dolphins last week in Buffalo, that was an ugly game, poor play from the QB, dropped passes by receivers, special teams disaster and some coaching issues, like not trying to score before halftime.
The defense played fairly well most of the game, there were some slip ups, like the CJ Spiller run and Rookie Sammy Watkins being open pretty much all game. They were on the feild quite a bit, but did play fairly well, if the offense hadn't left so many plays on the field they played well enough to win, forcing the Bills to kick field goal after field goal. After a brutal first half, where we saw Knoshon Moreno dislocate his elbow, a tenacious Bills defensive front, a blocked punt and the Dolphins failing to cross the 50 yard line, the Dolphins were only down by 9 points, thanks to the defense.
This week, at home, the Dolphins need to have a big effort, particularly on offense, they need to come out strong, finsh strong, and be strong in the middle, they need a big time effort. QB Ryan Tannehill needs to come out shut the critics up with a strong performance, I'm among those critics, his accuracy issues are becoming a big press topic, not just in Miami, he admits it, the coaches have also admitted it, it's time for Tannehil to have a statement game and become the leader of the team. He needs to have his receivers also step up and stop dropping passes, the Dolphins are one of the league leaders in drops, that has to change.
If the Offense can Right the Ship, the defense will do their job, they are home, they should be raring to go after last week, and they need to come out of the gate fired up!
@ Gametime 1pm EST
Last week I gave the edge to the Bills on ST's but didn't think it would be enough for the Bills to win the game. I was right and wrong all in the same sentence. Two pivotal plays, a blocked punt and a kickoff return for a TD changed the outcome of the game. It just shows you that football is a team sport. Miami had just pulled to within 1 score when Spiller took the kickof and ran it back. It was more than enough to bury the Dolphins who were struggling on offense.
This week, the Chiefs look better on paper than the Bills. If Miami's defense had trouble stopping EJ Manuel and their small ball offense, then KC's offense will give the defense fits. The reason is simple: KC has perfected small ball. Alex Smith can run, just like EJ. He is accurate underneath, just like EJ. He throws to backs, TEs and lots of short patterns...just like Buffalo. Contrary to the popular belief, the Miami Defense played okay against the Bills. They essentially gave up 1 TD...which was questionable as it appeared the WR lost control before breaking the plane of the goal line. They held Buffalo to a series of FGs that kept Miami in the game until the 4th quarter. Buffalo neutralized the pass rush by running a lot of short quick patterns. Miami's soft zone defense accommodated that well. I think the Dolphins were so afraid of EJ running the ball that they stayed in the zone defenses. As much as I hate to see it, I think I will this weekend...again. Simply due to the fact that Smith can run, and will run, when given the opportunity and man defense invites the QB to run the ball. Defenders have their backs to the line of scrimmage and not focused on the QB. Miami's defense held the Buffalo running game in check until the 4th quarter when they allowed a 50yd run by Spiller. So I expect KC won't be running a lot on Miami. They've been given a blueprint on how to beat Miami by the Bills. Whether KC has the personnel, is a another story. They certainly have a solid running game, not as good as Buffalos but close. Their passing game is slightly better. So don't expect a sack fest this weekend. KC will be working on getting the ball out quick with the occasional play deep that will call for max protection on the OL. It is frustratingly simple, but effective at neutralizing Miami's pass rush.
On Defense, KC may not have the horses. While their secondary is good, they just don't have the same DL Buffalo has to generate the kind of pass rush the Bills did. We have to hope that with more time to throw, RT will make better decisions with the ball. KC has trouble stopping the run on defense so if Lazor pulls out last weeks 70-30 pass to run game plan, he might wind up with the same bad results. Miami needs to use Williams more in the running game. Miller had his opportunities last week. One one play off tackle, he had a clear lane to the outside with no defender within 5 yards...he didn't see it... instead he turned it inside into the pile and gained 3 yds. It was just another in the long line of big plays left on the field last week. Moreno's only carry went for 9 yards last week. Shelley Smith struggles in pass protection but seems very capable in the run block department. Miami needs to play to that stength.
Both teams are again close on paper. Again this means ST's and turnovers will play a large role in determining who wins. Miami has to quit leaving so many opportunities on the field. It seemed like last week if it was RT missing the guy completely, it was the WR or RB dropping the ball or missing the hole. They have to play with some attitude and swagger. They've been missing that this year except when Moreno lit a fire in week one. In any case, I expect this to be another nail biter.