Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

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Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:08 pm

Better late than never....



The story of this game can be summed up with two plays play that happened early in the first quarter.  On the opening drive of the game, the Raiders faced a 3rd and 9.  Derek Carr completed a 35 yard pass to TE Jared Cook, with Kiko Alonso in coverage.  On the same drive, they faced another 3rd and 9 – and Carr completed a 14 yard pass to Cook, again with Kiko Alonso in coverage.  That happened again and again and again, with Cook finishing the night with 8 catches for 126 yards – with Alonso in coverage almost every time.  Carr finished with 300 yards and a 70% completion percentage, while the Raiders converted over 50% of their third down opportunities.

On a night when the offense again came out flat (with zero points in the first quarter – again) and struggled to score points all game, the defense played their worst game of the season.  Almost no pass rush, horrific LB play, awful coverage in the back-end of the secondary, and inconsistent run defense.  The Raiders had their way with the Miami D, completing passes at will – especially over the middle of the field.  It was almost comical watching Alonso attempt to cover Cook – it was a total mismatch, and the Dolphins coaching staff did nothing to stop it.  

The run D was strong for most of the night, but there were too many times where Marshawn Lynch hit the ‘beast mode’ button and ran through the line like a hot knife through butter.  There was one memorable play where the Raiders’ RG and RT moved forward as though they were going to block Suh, and then they pulled the ol’ okey-doke and moved to the side – leaving Suh to block air and fall on his face as Lynch ran passed him.  That was brilliant coaching by the Raiders’ staff.

Suh actually played a good game, and forced a Carr fumble in the 3rd quarter (that led to a Miami punt).  Cam Wake and first-round Invisible Man Charles Harris were both non-factors, as the Phins failed to generate any pass rush.

Reshad Jones was beat deep for a 44 yard TD by the one and only Johnny Holton.  Jones appeared to be playing the role of center-fielder quite a bit last night, a role he is just not suited for.  And he got no help whatsoever from new starting safety Michael Thomas, who is just plain useless in the secondary – displaying no coverage skills and looking lost against the run.

Lawrence Timmons and Rey Maualuga played well at times, but both were exploited several times in the passing game and by Lynch in the run game.  As already noted, Alonso was an absolute disaster in coverage.  He blitzed on two consecutive plays at one point, and as expected made no impact either time.  When teams target him, he’s a clear liability.

The defense simply could not stop the Raiders when it counted – and that included a drive late in the first half where the Phins let the Raiders get into FG range with barely any time on the clock with a series of over-the-middle completions and brilliant clock management.  Raiders’ kicker Tavecchio then nailed a 53-yarder to give the Raiders a 4 point lead – which turned out to be huge.

On to the offense – where a glance at the stats show Jay Cutler with an amazing  121.3 QBR, 300 yards passing and a completion percentage of over 80%.  He even completed 16 consecutive passes to start the game.  That’s all well and good, and I’m sure Adam Gase is patting himself on the back.  BUT – the reality is that the offense scored just 16 points when the game mattered, and the majority of passes (at least until late in the game) were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.  The plan was to have Cutler throw quick, safe, high-percentage passes to the RBs, and it worked like a charm.  Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to points.   Cutler didn’t attempt a deep pass until there were 9 minutes left in the game, and of course it was incomplete.

Withjout Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins RBs struggled to run the ball.  Damien Williams averaged less than 1 yard a carry, and Kenyan Drake – despite a very impressive 42-yard scamper – didn’t do much better overall.  Once again, the OL simply did not create any space for the backs.  The RB duo had much greater success in the passing game, combining for 11 catches and 123 yards, with Williams scoring on a brilliant tackle-breaking dive.  

One of the key plays of the game occurred about 5 minutes into the 2nd quarter.  After the Phins scored a TD (and missed the XP), Parkey executed an excellent onside kick that he recovered himself, setting up shop for the Phins at about mid-field.  The Phins drove into the red zone – and Drake promptly fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Oakland and led to the aforementioned 44 yard TD to Johnny Holton.  

TE Julius Thomas FINALLY had a great game, converting some key third downs and finally scoring his first TD of the season.

The WRs were fairly quiet, though Landry did score a TD and Parker made some nice catches – including a one-handed sideline circus-catch on the final Miami drive.

The OL was much better overall in pass pro, though they were aided by the quick, short passing game.  They were again awful in run blocking.  The Dolphins had several nice runs called back on holding calls committed by the OL.  Laremy Tunsil was destroyed by Khalil Mack on a 4th and 19 late in the game that led to a Cutler incompletion.  On the previous play, a hold on Bushrod nullified what would have been a first down on a pass to Thomas.  And on the play prior to that, Pouncey had a bad snap that led to a loss of 4 yards.  Just a total comedy of errors on a late drive that the Phins badly needed.  Overall, it was another bad night for the OL.

Speaking of penalties, the two teams combined for 21 penalties for over 200 yards.  Most looked like fair calls to me, though there was a ridiculous personal foul on a Raider lineman and an awful, completely phantom personal foul against Jones on a Raider TD drive late in the game.

Special teams were a total non-factor, with Jakeem Grant once again doing nothing on returns.  I have no idea why he continues to return kicks from deep in the endzone when he never gets beyond the 20.  That type of lost yardage adds up over the course of the game.  The coverage teams were decent.

I thought Adam Gase and his staff were thoroughly outcoached.  Gase called a dink and dunk offense that completely ignored the fact that the already-terrible Raiders’ secondary was missing three key DBs.  He didn’t even attempt to challenge the Raiders’ patchwork secondary – just inexcusable.  And on defense, Burke had no idea how to generate a pass rush and no idea how to stop passes thrown in the middle of the field.  Terrible.

On the subject of things that are terrible, the field at Hard Rock Stadium was once again atrocious.  With all the money they put into this stadium, you’d think someone could come up with turf that doesn’t fall apart on contact.  It’s an embarrassment, especially when it’s on national TV.  Ja’Wuan James suffered an ankle injury in the second half that was directly a result of the garbage turf.  Something needs to be done before a major injury occurs on this field.

Overall, it was another stinker by the Phins on national TV.  The final score of 27-24 was in no way indicative of how the game looked…the Raiders had their way with the Phins and beat them handily, despite the final score.  The Phins now look to pick up the pieces and find some answers as they head toward a third consecutive nationally televised game, this time against the suddenly-hot Panthers in Carolina.

Hero of the Game – I’m giving a game ball to Julius Thomas.  I’ve killed him all season, but he finally stepped up and played a great game.

Goat of the Game – Kiko Alonso, for getting absolutely abused in the passing game.


Last edited by JMP on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by scotgif on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:06 am

Great write up JMP. How about the two third and long draw plays gase called? Now, I know converting on 3rd and 12 or 3rd and 22 is extremely difficult and improbable, but calling a draw play makes it a zero per cent chance.

My issue with that is that every drive, every play counts for this team. We can not afford to just give up a drive because it is 3rd and 22.

No, these two plays did not lose the game for us, but it is just the mindset that we are not really competing with a sense of urgency.
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Re: Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by mercury22nathan on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:10 am

JMP wrote:Gase called a dink and dunk offense that completely ignore the fact that the already-terrible Raiders’ secondary was missing three key DBs.  He didn’t even attempt to challenge the Raiders’ patchwork secondary – just inexcusable.

hi JMP, i'm a long time listener, first time caller. thanks for having me on the show. this is what Adam Gase had to say.

On the lack of successful deep passes - Miami’s longest play from a receiver this season is 36 yards - Gase suggested nothing can be done about that because if teams are “playing two man, you are not going to get those throws. We are calling it and we’re doing what we’re supposed to do with the ball with the coverages we’re getting”

He said there have been some deep balls called that never materialized because Cutler smartly didn’t throw into coverage.

“It’s all about timing and protection as far as what you’re calling and what they’re playing on the back end,” he said. “Sometimes they call the right stuff and it’s a chess match. There are times I’m calling shots and nobody knows I’m calling shots. When you’ve got three guys on two, and you’ve got a linebacker on Drake or Damien, you could force it in there [to a receiver], but I don’t think we’ll like the result.”

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/barry-jackson/article183031246.html

nothing can be done about that?!?! i'd be curious to know what you think. i'll hang up and listen.

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Re: Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:24 am

scotgif wrote:Great write up JMP. How about the two third and long draw plays gase called? Now, I know converting on 3rd and 12 or 3rd and 22 is extremely difficult and improbable, but calling a draw play makes it a zero per cent chance.

My issue with that is that every drive, every play counts for this team. We can not afford to just give up a drive because it is 3rd and 22.

No, these two plays did not lose the game for us, but it is just the mindset that we are not really competing with a sense of urgency.

I had those plays in my notes, but forgot to add them...definitely frustrating and I'd rather see a punt on 3rd and long than a play designed to gain 2-3 yards. Terrible playcalling.

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Re: Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:33 am

mercury22nathan wrote:
JMP wrote:Gase called a dink and dunk offense that completely ignore the fact that the already-terrible Raiders’ secondary was missing three key DBs.  He didn’t even attempt to challenge the Raiders’ patchwork secondary – just inexcusable.

hi JMP, i'm a long time listener, first time caller.  thanks for having me on the show.  this is what Adam Gase had to say.

On the lack of successful deep passes - Miami’s longest play from a receiver this season is 36 yards - Gase suggested nothing can be done about that because if teams are “playing two man, you are not going to get those throws. We are calling it and we’re doing what we’re supposed to do with the ball with the coverages we’re getting”

He said there have been some deep balls called that never materialized because Cutler smartly didn’t throw into coverage.

“It’s all about timing and protection as far as what you’re calling and what they’re playing on the back end,” he said. “Sometimes they call the right stuff and it’s a chess match. There are times I’m calling shots and nobody knows I’m calling shots. When you’ve got three guys on two, and you’ve got a linebacker on Drake or Damien, you could force it in there [to a receiver], but I don’t think we’ll like the result.”

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/barry-jackson/article183031246.html

nothing can be done about that?!?!  i'd be curious to know what you think.  i'll hang up and listen.

Thanks for the call, merc.

My take: if you play scared, you're playing to lose. For a team with no running game and no big plays, it's asinine to NOT throw deep. Maybe you get a big play, maybe you draw a penalty (as Jakeem did the one time we used him on a deep pass), maybe it's an INT. But I do know this - if you never try, you always fail.

Seems to me that Gase doesn't trust his WRs to make plays downfield, and doesn't trust his QB to get the ball there. Which is odd, considering he went out of his way to coax Cutler out of retirement (to the tune of $10 million) and banged the table to re-sign Stills (who, by the way, is a great deep threat) at $8 million a year.

What I see is a playcaller that doesn't gameplan specifically for the opponent, and who doesn't know how to exploit the skills of his players.

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Re: Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by scotgif on Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:41 am

Speaking of Grant and his lack of use. The Immortal Johnny Horton, is that the dude that beat Jones on the bomb? Well, the announcers said that he is a deep threat and is primarily used on deep route because of his speed. 

HMM?? What about Jakheim Grant? Speed guy. Deep threat? Why do we not use him that way? What about Hill in KC? Speed guy. I know Grant is not still on the team due to his return skills/decision making. Just frustrating when we do not use guys skill set.
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Re: Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:45 am

scotgif wrote:Speaking of Grant and his lack of use. The Immortal Johnny Horton, is that the dude that beat Jones on the bomb? Well, the announcers said that he is a deep threat and is primarily used on deep route because of his speed. 

HMM?? What about Jakheim Grant? Speed guy. Deep threat? Why do we not use him that way? What about Hill in KC? Speed guy. I know Grant is not still on the team due to his return skills/decision making. Just frustrating when we do not use guys skill set.

Johnny Holton. He has two catches this year - and oddly enough, I've seen both. The first was a 64-yard TD against the Broncos, and the second was the 44-yard TD against the Phins. On both plays, he just ran straight ahead at full speed - nothing fancy, just pure speed. He's much bigger than Grant, but I see no reason why the Phins can't do that with Grant every now and then. Hell, we tried it once and Grant drew a 40-yard (or something like that) pass interference penalty. I think Grant sucks and I wouldn't trust him to catch the ball, but because he's small and fast, defenders will try to grab him to slow him down - and if that leads to a penalty, it's as good as a catch. Why not at least try it???

But - no need to bring Tyreek Hill into the discussion. He's a football player, and he's dynamic and versatile and has great hands and understands coverages. Grant is simply not in his league, at all. But I definitely think Grant can do what Holton did...run a simple fly pattern at top speed - that's easy.


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Re: Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by finskev on Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:37 pm

I think Cutler threw all these short passes because of his ribs and didn’t want to take that many shots and he didn’t get much at all. If we get 14 points or more against Carolina I would be shocked.

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Re: Game 8 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by Degarmo on Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:00 pm

finskev wrote:I think Cutler threw all these short passes because of his ribs and didn’t want to take that many shots and he didn’t get much at all. If we get 14 points or more against Carolina I would be shocked.

DING DING DING we have a winner!

Never forget or underestimate the amount of IDGAF in Cutler. He's not a winner, at all, never was, never will be. He's doing a friend a favor that he regrets right now. The best thing he's been doing is keeping a straight face and keeping his true feelings buried publicly.
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