Monday, December 01, 2014

'Fins/Jets: The Good, Bad & Ugly

The Ugly:

The Dolphins gave up 277 yards rushing. They gave up 131 in the first quarter alone which is the most given up by any defense in the last 3 years. 

The Miami offense looked very lackluster and that might even be a compliment. There was of course the lack of the deep ball but the one thing that sticks out to me the most is the sure TD drop by Mike Wallace. It was a very good thrown ball by Tannehill in my opinion.

Special teams played pretty bad as well. Sturgis had a missed FG and a kickoff out of bounds. The lone bright spot on special teams was Dion Jordan's blocked punt.

The Bad:

Did I mention that we gave up 277 yards rushing to a team that sucks at passing making them 1 dimensional!!?

Our red zone efficiency which looked a lot better recently, seemed to have taken a step back. We should have scored a lot more TDs in this one. 

This was a very ugly game in all three phases of the game for the Phins BUT speaking of ugly games...

The Good:

One thing this team has not been able to do is win the "ugly games" and they accomplished that tonight because this game was U-G-L-Y. That is one thing I believe has to be done in order to separate good teams from bad teams and good teams from great teams. Is Miami a "great" team right now? I do not think so because a great team would have beat the crap out of the Jets and it wouldn't have been close BUT I do think Miami is at the higher end of the good team category. 

They also accomplished another thing that has evaded them this season, they won a close one! Granted it was the Jets but it still qualifies as a "close" game!

I see this as a disappointing performance but it provided Miami with a taste on how it is to close a game in the 4th quarter. I believe that the way this game unfolded will be more valuable down the line than rather if they would have won by double digits. 

My Thoughts On The Rest Of The Season:

The game against Baltimore is a must win. We cannot afford to lose that game, it severely lowers our chances of making the playoffs if we do not win that game.

As a previous commenter pointed out, Miami is still in play to win the division. In my opinion, this can happen only if Miami wins out. Impossible? No, but very unlikely. 

Just for information's sake, in case you missed it, ESPN showed a percentage table on how likely it is that a team will make the playoffs this year, here is what the top 3 teams looked like:

Ravens-%39, might have been 36, but it definitely was not in the 40's

Biggest game of the year this coming Sunday for Miami and the biggest game in Tannehill's career so far. This is his chance to show he deserves a contract extension from Miami and also to show the world that he should be in the conversation as one of the up and coming stars of the NFL. 

Phins Up!!!

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Finally winning a close game in the 4th quarter. Yea, it was against the worst team in the NFL, but it was also the Jets, a team where "the better team" means nothing when Miami plays them.

Now it is time for this team to step it up against real competition. If the Dolphins win the next two weeks, then it has a serious chance to be a contender in the post season.

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I am ecstatic!

I live in Jersey and my phone would've been ringing off the hook had we lost.

But we are clearly in the hunt so we have another 5 days to enjoy this ugly but deserved win against a heated rival who is rarely easy to beat.


#6 seed! I'll take the win, but I'd really rather not be stressed out and on the edge of my seat for a an entire game against the JETS......the Jets.

But then I took a step back and looked at some things more closely:

1. As always, the Jets gave us a close game. They are about the same team as last year, just with less wins. They always play us hard. The outcome is what I should have expected. Scoring 36 on Denver made me think we should crush the Jets, but the Broncos don't know us like the Jets do.

2. The Jets REALLY know us. They did exactly what a team with a good defense and no passing game needs to do against us. They cut us off in the passing game. There is no QB that could have thrown a deep ball to a Miami receiver last night. They were under our routes ALL NIGHT. This forced our offense to play at the same pace as theirs. That's why it was so close. Denver was not able to keeps our WRs in check, and that's why it was a close, high scoring game. The Jets did keep the WRs in check, and so it was a close, LOW scoring game.

3. The Jets ran every type of run imaginable. I haven't seen anything like that since the 2008 Dolphins used the wildcat on the Pats for the first time. They ran options, they ran reverses to multiple WRs, they ran two RB sets, they threw screens (essentially a run). The Jets threw absolutely everything they had at us. I don't think I've seen the Jets fight so hard all year, not even in the 2 wins they have. They came out and punched us right in the mouth all night.

So, this game was very much like the Denver game, just opposite. Denver was a close shoot-out. The Jets were a slow, defensive, smash-mouth game. The difference, as Lawrence stated, is that this time we closed the game out in the 4th quarter, and we needed to know what that felt like. I think doing it against a division rival, even the Jets, was bigger for us than doing it against the Packers would have been. We did it on the road, which is even harder, against a rival, which is always hard.

Ray Lewis said something last night in the post-game show that made a lot of sense. He said that last week, Miami played great for three quarters, then crappy in the 4th, and this week, they did the opposite. Crappy for 3, good for the 4th. And guess which game we won? He said that the first 3 quarters are nothing more than a build up to the 4th. That is one smart murderer right there.

I would love for us to play great for 4 quarters, and we should, but if I have to pick, I'll take playing their best football in the 4th quarter every time.

Oh, and where did all those Dolphins fans come from?! Are there more of them in NJ than FL???