Monday, November 21, 2016

Maybe the Most Important Win Yet

Yesterday was not pretty. 54 minutes of uselessness before the Dolphins finally woke up, but it was exactly what they needed when they needed it most, and it came from Ryan Tannehill! I have always been a supporter of his, but the Cinci game was when I really started to wonder if he'd ever get it together and started thinking about who we might be able to replace him with next year.

Well... yesterday he did something that I did not think he'd ever be able to do. At the end of the game, with Albert and Pouncey ("Ow muh hip!") hurt for the eight-millionth time and Tunsil out for the rest of the game, and with a patch-work O-line, he picked the team up on his shoulders and charged down the field against one of the best defenses in the league....and he did it TWICE.

Not to take away from the defense; they kept the team in the game. Just like Tannehill, the defense didn't do anything spectacular, but did exactly what they needed when they needed it most.

The Rams' front seven were nasty all day. Maybe the win would've been prettier if the O-line had all it's starters, but with all those backups in, Tannehill rarely had time to do anything and Ajayi was getting bottled up behind the line more often than I've seen since he became the starter.

We all know what the outcome was so I won't recap anymore, but I wanted to share some things I noticed that were easy to miss if you were too busy staring at the floor and shaking your head.

1. We can survive without Albert. Tunsil is already very good at LT. I only saw one instance where he blocked right to double-team a DT that really didn't need to be double-teamed and the DE went right around his left side and got to the QB, and that could've just been the design of the play. Other than that, he was great up until the injury. We have an all-star LT for years to come. I think we can cut Albert lose unless he's willing to take backup money. The guy is always.... AAAAALLLLLLWAAAAYYYYYSS hurt anyway and I'm tired of it.

2. Tannehill made a bad throw to the end zone that was picked off. I was first. Then I watched the play again... and then watched it again... and I noticed something wrong. He had no out on the play, meaning, he had no "security blanket" or "escape hatch," if you will. It was a three WR set, with all three going deep and everyone else staying back blocking. So, when the Rams were STILL able to get to Tannehill, he had nobody to dump it off to and really nowhere to run. He could take the sack, throw it away (which may have resulted in a flag for grounding), or throw deep to the MOST open receiver. He chose option 3, and honestly, if he had thrown it a little better it would have looked like pure genius. I'm actually going to let that throw slide, because the point of the play call was to go for the jugular immediately after the Rams turned the ball over, which I LOVE. That's what Tannehill tried to do and it just happened to not work out. I put this more on the coach who called the play for not giving Tannehill an out on the play.

3. The defense is MUCH better at tackling and they handle the fatigue of ugly games like this very well. I believe they have the ability to keep us in the game against any team in the league.

This wasn't like the game against the Browns. This was a struggle against a team who's actually pretty good (at least defensively) and the Dolphins, and more particularly, Ryan Tannehill, were clutch... about as clutch as any of us have seen for years. This win was more than a win, it was a message that the Dolphins are not a fluke. They can fly all the way out to the West coast and beat two teams on the road back-to-back. They can play ugly against a tough defense and pull it together at the very end to turn what USED TO BE a sure defeat into an exciting victory.

I know a lot of you are thinking about how we could still win the division championship. I have to say curb your enthusiasm. I'm honestly still not sold that we'll make the playoffs at all this year. We still have some tough games to play and I still say 8-8 or anything better is a HUGE improvement as long as the Dolphins stay competitive in every game.

I do worry about the status of the O-line. Aaron Rodgers is showing us that the elite QBs of the league in fact DO NOT always "find ways to overcome and win even with a banged up line." No support, no playoffs. Period. I don't care who you have at QB.

But we should all be proud of this team and of Adam Gase. Win, lose, or draw, this has turned into a good season and Miami is officially a GOOD FOOTBALL TEAM.
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Oh and one more thing to add: This win showed us that we officially have TWO clutch WRs now. Even though I have Landry on my fantasy team AND I'm losing this week, I'm still glad it was Parker, and NOT Landry, who caught that final TD pass. It shows that teams can no longer just gang up on Landry to stop our passing game.


Both defenses shut down the running game. I thought Tannehill was gonna get killed behind the sub O line. Impressive throws and catches at the end. Was channel-surfing near the end because it looked like it was over for the Dolphins.


Couple of thoughts:

On Tannehill interception...with his body facing forward at his leap, it looked like Parker may have missed read Tannehill's throw and jumped to soon instead of striding a bit more before his leap.

We are still missing some big tackles. We should have sacked Geoff out of FG range just prior to them kicking it. But we are MUCH better.

I thought the officiating was killing us with the Maxwell PI call for one. But then they takedown on 15 for nipping Landry as he was still stepping out of bounds. After the replay, I thought they could've passed on that flag.


Haha Landry earned that flag after that horrible PI call. I was about to destroy the universe after that BS call, I was so angry. My wife had to yell at me to calm down.


Haters have to eat some salty crow today. RT won the game and that is that. Clutch 4th quarter and efficient. Awesome throw at the end. Rams have a good defense, the rain and the OL's aches and pains, he, RT, came through like the clutch QB's of this league do. Maybe he will take that extra step now. Funny, each year there is criticism, then he finds a way to improve. Long ball, efficiency, clutchness, he is stepping into his own finally. Gase on the Case maybe the difference. I see a 10 win team and playoffs or not (AFC West is stacked) that is an awesome improvement. Give props when they are due.Ahem,they are due.


@Carl Leone
I saw that same thing on the play. Parker turned all the way around way too early and broke off his route.

The other thing I noticed was late in the 4th, with the Dolphins trailing 10-7, Jay Ajayi ripped off a first down run. The TV announcer said something about how since the Dolphins were now in field goal range they wound be running down the clock to ensure over time. I know in the past (Joe Philbin... *cough* *cough*) we would have done just that. I almost feel like that train of thought would be offensive to Adam Gase.

Just watching that last drive sold me on this dude as a coach. Because every coach in the league worth their salt know you have to say you believe in your QB. But time and again his coach did not SHOW that belief. Yesterday, Gase did not run the clock, he kept calling his QB's number. That is the kind of culture we have not had in the Dolphins coaching staff for a long while.



I agree, except look at Kansas City's remaining schedule. It's a tough one and includes 4 division games. The West is going to eat each other and I honestly could see the Chiefs ending up 9-7 after an ugly loss at home against the Bucs. They have had issues that are finally starting to bite them. I think 10-6 will get Miami in.


The DPI was rediculous so the late hit on Landry was probably a make up call


Yes RT deserves a lot of credit as the OL finally blocked well. RT had plenty of room to step up on that last drive.

He is on a good streak right now. He did a great job on those last 2 drives.

I still think Gase should've rolled him out more.


Agree completely!!


Yes the West does have to play each other. As far as 10-6, getting in would depend on who also is 10-6 and if we had the tie breakers.



I personally don't see ANY other team having a chance to be 10-6. The only teams hunting for a wildcard who have less than 5 losses are the Dolphins, Chiefs, and Broncos. The Colts, Bills, Steelers, and Ravens will have to win 4 of the 5 final games and the Titans and Chargers would have to win out. I don't see any of that happening if you look at their schedules. Honestly, the team with the best schedule to do that is the Bills, and I just don't see it happening. They play the Raiders on the road, the Steelers, the Jets on the road, and the Dolphins. I doubt they'll win more than two of those games.

The Chiefs are 7-3 and still play the Broncos twice, Falcons on the road, Raiders, and the Chargers on the road. Honestly, I could see them losing 4 of those games. Hell they COULD even lose to the Titans. If the Bucs can beat the Chiefs in KC, anyone can.

The Dolphins worst enemy right now is more likely themselves than any other team. The path to the playoffs is right in front of them. They just have to take it.


Our OL is going to determine our path. We were lucky the Rams started a rookie QB.

Not so sure we could hold Flacco and Brady to 10 points, We are going to have to score more than 14 points the rest of the way.