Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

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Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:23 pm

In today’s NFL, big offensive plays win games. That statement was never more true for the Dolphins than yesterday. In a 28-20 victory over the hapless Raiders, the Dolphins got convincingly outplayed for three quarters, before coming to life with a couple of huge plays from their speedy receivers in the 4th quarter.

This game was very reminiscent of the 2016 Dolphins, as they were essentially in sleepwalk mode till the 4th quarter when the alarm went off and they realized that it was time to play football. Prior to the game, much was made about the Raiders having to travel cross-country to play in the sweltering Miami heat, and how that was a huge advantage for the Dolphins. In reality, for most of the day the Dolphins looked like the team that was experiencing jet lag and heat exhaustion. It really was typical of the types of games we’ve seen since Adam Gase took over, with the entire team looking out of sorts and unprepared from the start.

A huge part of the Dolphins’ poor effort is due in large part to Gase’s ultra-conservative playcalling. Throughout the first half, Gase continued to call short plays that went nowhere and accomplished nothing. The first quarter was particularly bad, with the offense running just 13 plays for 28 yards – including 2 three-and-out series. When Gase finally let Ryan Tannehill throw the ball, he responded with a gorgeous 34-yard strike to Stills for a TD early in the second quarter – and then promptly went back to hibernation mode for the rest of the first half and into the third quarter.

And then, late in the third quarter, Gase finally opened up the offense. On their second TD drive, Tannehill completed passes of 15 yards to Danny Amendola and 36 yards to DeVante Parker, and then Jakeem Grant took a jet sweep toss for an 18-yard TD to get the Phins within 3 points of the Raiders.

Early in the 4th quarter, with the Dolphins still trailing, they resorted to a trick play that worked perfectly, giving them their first lead of the day and securing the victory. Frank Gore took a handoff from Tannehill, flipped the ball to Albert Wilson on an end-around, and Wilson then threw a pass to a wide-open Grant – who scored easily for a 52-yard TD. It was a very well-designed play that caught the Raiders sleeping. The Phins would add another TD later on another jet sweep toss that Wilson took 74 yards to the house, thanks in large part to a key block by Gore. It was an exciting finish to an otherwise awful game by the Phins, but it was interesting that the Dolphins couldn’t beat the Raiders by going toe to toe and needed gimmicky trick plays (two WR sweeps and a WR pass) to score. While that makes for thrilling viewing, it doesn’t bode well for the Dolphins when they face top defenses…you can’t expect to live off trick plays.

The OL was once again brutal, opening no holes at all for the run game and allowing way too much pressure on the QB. Dolphin running backs Gore and Kenyan Drake totaled 11 carries for 15 yards, an absolutely pathetic display. Tannehill led the Phins in rushing with just 26 yards. Keep in mind that the Raiders have no pass rush, and one of the worst run defenses in football…but they absolutely dominated the Phins for most of the game.

Other notes on the passing game…
--Tannehill’s numbers were through-the roof good, finishing with 3 TDs and an unreal near-perfect passer rating of over 155. Despite the numbers, I still can’t stand the way this offense is run. Way too many plays that have no chance of doing anything.
--Wilson and Grant combined caught just 4 passes…but those passes totaled 144 yards. Of course, 2 of the 4 passes were literally one-inch tosses. This begs the question: why are these two not involved more in the passing game? If they are such weapons, why are we keeping them under wraps till late in the game, and why are we only using them on dink and dunk and trick plays?
--It was great to see Gesicki finally involved in the passing game, but the first pass to him was a stupid 2-yard pass that was basically a wasted down.
--Parker had just two catches, one for only 4 yards. We’ll need him to be more involved moving forward.
--Gase’s playcalling remains maddening. It is pretty obvious by now that when Tannehill throws intermediate and deep passes, good things happen. So why do we continue to throw these garbage 2-yard passes over and over? It makes no sense at all, and it is a big reason for the continued slow starts and multiple three and outs.

The defense, for their part, was also manhandled and embarrassed for much of the game. With Reshad Jones out, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Bobby McCain moved back to their natural positions – FS for Fitzpatrick and slot corner for McCain, with Torry McTyre playing boundary corner. That trio of DBs was absolutely awful, getting abused throughout the day by Raiders’ WR Jordy Nelson – who caught 6 passes for 173 yards. Fortunately, Xavien Howard was once again lights out, and had two INTs on poorly-thrown passes from Carr. Carr did manage to rack up 345 yards, which is absolutely unacceptable. The LBs continue to be liabilities in the passing game, but yesterday they were strong against the run. Kiki Alonso, in particular, had a great day against the run with 15 tackles, and I thought Raekwon McMillan had his best day as a pro. The run defense was good for the most part, but there were still too many missed tackles. The pass rush was inconsistent – looking great at times and on-existent at others. Still, the Phins did record three sacks and Vince Taylor was once again a beast in the middle. Unfortunately, William Hayes was lost for season the season with a torn ACL, and Andre Branch was also injured. Charles Harris will need to pick up the slack, but was a non-entity again yesterday.

The Phins now sit at 3-0, all alone atop the AFC East – with the other three East teams at 1-2. An unbelievably huge game awaits the Phins next week – at New England. Although in my honest opinion the Phins have played pretty poorly overall thus far, against weak competition, they have found ways to win and are now in position to control the division if they win next week. Beating the Patriots would legitimize the Dolphins and make them early contenders – a far cry from the bottom-dwelling team that most “experts” predicted. This still looks like a mediocre team to me. But again, like in 2016 if we can continue to get late-game heroics we have a chance to make some noise – and in today’s watered-down NFL, “mediocre” could be just good enough to go far. Next week will tell us a lot, but for now 3-0 is a great place to be – regardless of who we played or how we won.


Beer of the Day: Hofbrau Original

Hero of the Day: I'll give the award this week to both Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant - two smurf receivers who came up huge with limited opportunities.

Goat of the Day: Once again, Adam Gase gets the nod for awful playcalling. I can't understand why he continues to play 'small ball', despite the fact that Tannehill looks really good when he's allowed to throw beyond 10 yards. And, despite the win, the offense had to rely on trick plays to defeat a total garbage Oakland defense - that's poor gameplanning IMO.

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:26 pm

Apologies for the negativity. I should be much happier at 3-0, but it's hard to feel good about a win when you spend three quarters cursing the coaching staff and watching your team get outplayed by a weaker opponent. I guess I have to get used to it, because most wins in the Gase era have been like this, and there's a very fine line between wins and losses with this team.

On the plus side, the Patriots look like week-old dog crap, and the division is there for the taking. The question is...will we step up and take it, or will we fall back to Earth?

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by DolFan 316 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:44 pm

JMP wrote:Apologies for the negativity.  I should be much happier at 3-0, but it's hard to feel good about a win when you spend three quarters cursing the coaching staff and watching your team get outplayed by a weaker opponent.  I guess I have to get used to it, because most wins in the Gase era have been like this, and there's a very fine line between wins and losses with this team.

On the plus side, the Patriots look like week-old dog crap, and the division is there for the taking.  The question is...will we step up and take it, or will we fall back to Earth?

You've got to consider the circumstances. This literally might have been the craziest Sunday in NFL history in terms of underdogs winning. For the Fins to come out on top under those circumstances (and remember, an 8-point win is a blowout by Gase standards) should be considered nothing short of exemplary. Think of it this way, we could be Pats or Vikings fans right now.

Also, WTF took you so long?!?! I was getting seriously worried that something bad happened to you. Don't ever take this long to post game thoughts again Mad

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:47 pm

DolFan 316 wrote:WTF took you so long?!?! I was getting seriously worried that something bad happened to you. Don't ever take this long to post game thoughts again Mad

My brother and friend were over for the games yesterday, and a lot of German beer was consumed. That's my excuse. pirat

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by DolFan 316 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:48 pm

Okay I'll let it pass. THIS time.

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:53 pm

BTW, someone needs to send Jon Gruden some damn sunscreen. That dude's neck looked like raw meat before they even got to halftime! What the hell!

I think the heat made Gruden stop giving the ball to Marshawn...glad he did, because that dude was running through Miami defenders like they were standing still. He made Minkah look foolish a couple of times. (Note to Minkah: you don't shoulder-tackle a running back called "Beast Mode".)

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by DolFan 316 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:56 pm

JMP wrote:BTW, someone needs to send Jon Gruden some damn sunscreen.  That dude's neck looked like raw meat before they even got to halftime!  What the hell!

Yet more proof that SoFla weather is more hardcore than any other place in America, and that west coast desert heat is for wusses Twisted Evil

Hell, I only lived there for a few months in '97 and even I knew to put on sunscreen if I was going to be outside more than 10 minutes.

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by white1 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:00 pm

Totally understand JMP.

I think you hit the nail on the head with your follow on post. I'm sure the Vikings would KILL for an "ugly win" right now, sitting at 1-2 and getting trounced by the 0-2 Bills and a rookie QB, at home nonetheless.

Really, it serves them right. Why do you jettison the QBs that brought you to the playoffs, only to break open the bank vault for Kirk Cousins? He's a fraud IMO. Wins a handful of games, all the while pointing to his stats while failing to make any post-season noise. Not the guy you want...

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by mercury22nathan on Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:14 pm

JMP wrote:Apologies for the negativity.  I should be much happier at 3-0, but it's hard to feel good about a win when you spend three quarters cursing the coaching staff and watching your team get outplayed by a weaker opponent.  I guess I have to get used to it, because most wins in the Gase era have been like this, and there's a very fine line between wins and losses with this team.

agreed. i'm happy about 3-0, but i just can't buy into to this team yet because of how they are winning ugly. i keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Phins 3rd down efficiency was still crap. 2 of 8.

trick plays are nice and they worked perfectly...this time, but...

“It was just straight thievery,” Gase said of how he acquired the plays. “I mean we stole it. It’s an old Martz play. It’s just nobody watches his old stuff. They might now.

“We’ve got all kinds of stuff of his and we kind of talked about some stuff when he was [visiting the Dolphins during training camp]”

https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article218887275.html

did he really need to say that? don't you just know that Belichek just pulled out all his old Rams' tapes.

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by DolFan 316 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:14 pm

white1 wrote:Totally understand JMP.

I think you hit the nail on the head with your follow on post.  I'm sure the Vikings would KILL for an "ugly win" right now, sitting at 1-2 and getting trounced by the 0-2 Bills and a rookie QB, at home nonetheless.

Really, it serves them right.  Why do you jettison the QBs that brought you to the playoffs, only to break open the bank vault for Kirk Cousins? He's a fraud IMO.  Wins a handful of games, all the while pointing to his stats while failing to make any post-season noise.  Not the guy you want...

I know a couple of Viking fans online, and we get along pretty well. Which is why I never had the heart to tell them I hated everything about their offseason.

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by DolFan 316 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:15 pm

mercury22nathan wrote:did he really need to say that?  don't you just know that Belichek just pulled out all his old Rams' tapes.

Or just dig up his tapes of the Rams' practices from the Super Bowl week. (Rim shot.)

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by white1 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:16 pm

I see what you did there DF

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:17 pm

Oops...negelected to mention the awesome goal-line stand in the first quarter to avoid a 14-0 hole. Poor playcalling by Oakland, but the Phins delivered.

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by DolFan 316 on Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:19 pm

I love it when several of us are here and posting at the same time Very Happy cheers

Nice to see that White1 *can* post after 9 AM after all Razz

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:25 pm

mercury22nathan wrote:

“It was just straight thievery,” Gase said of how he acquired the plays. “I mean we stole it. It’s an old Martz play. It’s just nobody watches his old stuff. They might now.

“We’ve got all kinds of stuff of his and we kind of talked about some stuff when he was [visiting the Dolphins during training camp]”

https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article218887275.html

did he really need to say that?  don't you just know that Belichek just pulled out all his old Rams' tapes.

Not sure it would count as "thievery". if Gase talked about those trick plays with Martz, doesn't that imply that he borrowed them??? geek

Seriously, I'm OK with running trick plays a couple of times a year, but if we're going to need to use trick plays in order to score that's a problem. I don't understand why Gase can't just take the handcuffs off Tannehill and let him throw legit passes all game. Get rid of all the 2-yard passes, limit the trick plays, and let your QB throw the damn ball. The way Tannehill was throwing the ball yesterday, it's absurd that we needed jet sweeps and a WR pass to win the game.

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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by JMP on Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:39 pm

Some crazy stats from the game that show just how poorly the Phins played offensively:

The Phins ran just 39 plays. The Raiders ran 74.

The Phins only had 13 first downs.

The Raiders gained 61 more total yards than the Phins. The Raiders outgained the Phins on the ground by more than 2:1 (109 - 41).

The Raiders held the ball 17 minutes longer than the Phins.

The difference in the game: the Phins forced two turnovers and made more big plays on offense. But again - you have to wonder how a performance like this will play out vs. better teams. Fortunately, the NFL is so weak now that we don't even play many good teams..at least not for awhile.

Strangest stat of all: Grant was in on just 9 snaps, and Wilson had just 10. Shocked Seems to me that these guys should be on the field more than that, especially if we're sticking with the 2-yard pass offense.





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Re: Game 3 thoughts: Raiders at Dolphins

Post by Degarmo on Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:24 pm

I don't see you as being negative at all JMP. They've won three games against poor teams and their weaknesses are glaring. This week against the Pats could be a huge loss, a real back-to-earth moment that could easily define the team if they don't have the mental fortitude to get past the ass whipping that NE is going to put on them.

I feel like the Pats are going to take out a lot of frustration on the Phins.

Hopefully, the fall of the Pats is a real thing, and not just a slow start that turns into a 14-game winning streak.

I'm not confident in this team moving forward specifically due to depth and play calling. Against a team that is not terrible, a 10-point lead could spell the end. They can't start slow against the Patriots. Brady's going to be mad, and they'll be up for this game. I see them getting shredded, unless Brady is, in fact, done (fingers crossed).
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