Things I Liked, Things I Didn't, Things To Look For Against The Chargers

I can't remember a time when a Dolphins win was treated so much like a loss - and that's a good thing! Good teams find ways to win games even when they are outplayed, bad teams find excuses on why they lose. I told you last week that the Jaguars game was the typical game the Dolphins lose - but they found a way to win. That's an important step for this team.
Things I Liked:
  • Michael Thomas continues to flash when you watch games. Heads up return on the blocked field goal.
  • The team may have come out flat (again), but Olivier Vernon certainly did not. Blocked field goal, dragging down ball carriers in the backfield and applying pressure to the QB all day. ( A downfield penalty negated his sack.) 
  • I told you last week in "Things To Look For" that the Fins would get 2 picks, but not 2 pick's for TD's. Congrats to Louis Delmas and Brent Grimes!  
  • Chris McCain's tipping a pass and then turning around and tackling the ball carrier for a loss was a thing of beauty. When he plays, you see glimpses of things he can do and it's exciting. 
Not a lot to like about last week's game, and all on the defensive side of the ball. Plenty not to like.
Things I Didn't Like:
  • Coming out flat again.
  • Misdirection plays burned the Fins defense badly. Jelani Jenkins got faked out horribly on the  first fake double reverse.  Jason Trusnik was chasing air on some plays. 
  • Daryn Colledge looked like a swinging gate out there.
  • You can't come back from a 6 game suspension and jump off sides on kick block team, nullifying a missed field goal. Doesn't help your reputation as a bust Dion Jordan.
  • Jamar Taylor is a huge disappointment. Opposing quarterbacks are feasting on him. 
  • Questionable play call on Ryan Tannehill interception. It was a good defensive play to tip the ball, but why call a pass there or audible out of it when you see the defense.
  • Tannehill missed a wide open Charles Clay in the endzone, had to settle for a field goal.
This is a huge game for the Dolphins. Beating the Chargers will put the rest of the NFL on notice that they are for real and a playoff contender. Further, a victory today would make Joe Philbin's Head coaching record  20-20. Why is that important? Coaches with .500+ coaching records usually keep their jobs in the NFL.
Things To Look For Against The Chargers:
  •  TE Dion Sims has already been ruled out. This will have a huge effect on the game. He is the Fins best blocking tight end and has been playing well this season. It will give Gator Hoskins a bigger role, but the biggest beneficiaries might be  Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson. Look for Miami to go more 3 and 4 wide receiver sets without Sims. 
  • Antonio Gates, Antonio Gates, Antonio Gates. Stopping him or at least keeping him in check will go a long way to a Fins victory. It will be interesting to see if Dion Jordan covers him like he did Rob Gronkowski last year.
  • The Chargers are coming off a Thursday Night loss giving them a little extra rest.
  • Philip Rivers is having an MVP like season and usually plays better when blitzed, the Fins need to get pressure with their front 4 if they want to win.
  • Lamar Miller and Ryan Tannehill should have success running the football today.
  • The team whose quarterback plays better and commits fewer mistakes wins this game.
This game is so tough to call. These teams are evenly matched. The Chargers were the "hot" NFL team just a few weeks ago, but they have lost 2 straight and squeaked by the Raiders before that. Rivers is having a great season, but he has 4 picks in his last 4 games, reverting back a little more to the Rivers we know and love. The majority of the 'experts" are picking the Chargers, and I want to as well, but I think this game defines whether or not the Fins are a pretender or a contender. I think the trip across country is too much for the Chargers, even with the extra rest. Prediction: Dolphins 31 Chargers 27. Enjoy the game!