You know what’s worse than watching the Dolphins lose, watching them lose a second time. As painful as it was, I did find some good things, lots of bad things and some things to look for this week.
Things I Liked:
· Lamar Miller was looking good early.
· Ryan Tannehill’s 26-yard keeper.
· Paul Soliai manhandling his blocker. Soliai has proven far more valuable to the Dolphins then Randy Starks this season.
· Mike Pouncey pulling and leading the run.
· Brandon Gibson picking up 28 yards on 3rd down. His transition to the slot has paid dividends for the Fins.
· Nice catch Charles Clay, getting both feet in, TD. Charles Clay is becoming the player Dolphins Brass envisioned.
· Jared Odrick’s best game I can remember. Not only did he help shut down the Saints running game and pick up a sack, but his hustle late in the 4th quarter when the game was out of reach impressed me.
Things I Didn’t Like:
· Reshad Jone’s play. He got beat on the second play of the game by Darren Spoles. Drew Brees looked him off down the middle on another TD toss. The Saints definitely picked up something on tape with Jones.
· Third and inches and you give it to Daniel Thomas? Miller had runs of 4 yards, 20 yards, 8 yards and 1-¾ yards on that drive. Bad play call Mike Sherman. Did not help that John Jerry whiffed on his block.
· Mike Wallace you need to catch the ball. First part of “big plays” is getting you the ball, second is you catching it when it hits your hands. Though it did look like he needed to slow down for that deep ball from Tannehill. Their timing seemed off all night. Still too many drops.
· Miami’s 3rd down defense. Atrocious.
· Nolan Carroll going after the ball and missing. A tackle would have held the Saints to a field goal try.
· Jonathan Martin’s “LOOK OUT!” block. What’s a “LOOK OUT!” block? That’s when you get beat so bad you turn around and scream “LOOK OUT!” because your QB is about to get killed.
· Miami’s red zone defense. Atrocious.
· Jamar Taylor’s first NFL game – not good.
· Costly turnover’s all night. Tannehill’s fumble killed a drive at midfield. The pick before half changed the game completely. The Dolphins were driving, the score was 10-14 and there was 1:34 left on the clock before half. Tannehill stares down Brian Hartline, gets picked, momentum swings, and the Fins collapse. By the 8-minute mark in the 3rd quarter, it’s 35-10.
Trust me, the list of things I did not like could go on and on, but we need to put it behinds us. And so does Miami. This game against the defending Super Bowl champs may be the most important game of the year. There is a big difference between being 4-1 and 3-2 at the bye, plus holding a tiebreaker with the Ravens and being undefeated in the AFC. The Ravens may look very different from their Super Bowl team, but they still have plenty of weapons and lots too look out for.
Things To Look For Against the Ravens:
· Ray Rice had to be giddy watching the Fins film against Darren Sproles last week. Miami will need to fix that or Rice will have a big day.
· Luckily, the Ravens tight end is probably the weakest Miami has faced all season. Hopefully, the Miami D will prevent him from looking like an All Pro.
· The Ravens defense is giving up over 100 yards a game, I think Lamar Miller goes over the century mark for the first time this season.
· Baltimore QB Joe Flacco threw 5 picks last week, Tannehill turned it over 4 times. It could be decided by which QB makes the fewest mistakes.
· The game will come down to the trenches. The more dominant defensive line will win this game.
This is going to be a dogfight Baltimore has an experienced QB and he is surrounded by a lot of talent. They are very well coached. They know how to bounce back after a tough loss. How the Fins play will say a lot about this team and how far they have come. It will also give us a good measuring stick on the coaching staff. The Dolphins are undefeated wearing white, and I say they keep it that way!
Prediction: Miami 27 Baltimore 21. Everyone have a great weekend and enjoy the game!!
Carl C. Crowley