Dolphins defense bends AND breaks versus Colts in 23-20 loss

The Miami Dolphins entered Sunday’s game with a chance to move into a first place tie in the AFC East.  The Dolphins did a good job in the first half, their offense was moving the ball and scoring points.  The Dolphins defense was allowing rookie Andrew Luck to move the ball, but limited the Colts to just 13 points (thanks in part to 2 missed Adam Viniteri field goals).  However, in the second half, the Dolphins offense faded and managed to score just 3 points, while the defense allowed the Colts to put up 10 points en route to their 23-20 victory.

Quite honestly, the Dolphins did not deserve to win this game. Their defense played very poorly and their offensive line was harassed by Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney all day long.  The Dolphins did not turn the football over, but they did not have the balanced  offensive attack that had helped them win 3 straight games.  The Dolphins threw the ball 40 times and ran the ball just 18.  That is not the type of offensive balance you need when  you have a rookie quarterback, especially one that is injured.

What I liked

Ryan Tannehill – Tannehill’s performance will go mostly unnoticed because the Dolphins lost and Andrew Luck had the highest rookie passing yardage total every (433 yards).  All Tannehill did was complete 22 of 38 passes for 290 yards, 1 TD for a 90.9 QB Rating.  That’s not bad for a rookie quarterback who was running for his life most of the day a week after hyperextending his knee and having his thigh bruised.  At one point in the 4th quarter, as the defense continued to give up yards like they were Halloween Candy, I said that Tannehill would have to put this game on his back if the Dolphins were to win.  Unfortunately, the late drive in the 4th quarter came up short.

Overall, you have to like the toughness Tannehill showed as he continued to get up after taking some vicious shots from the Colts defenders.  The kid is tough.  This season, as much as we want to see the Dolphins make the playoffs, is about Tannehill continuing to improve.  He’s doing just that.  We’re all mad that the Dolphins aren’t 5-3, but remember that this is about building around a franchise QB that is only going to get better with experience.

Reggie Bush’s TD Run – Reggie Bush’s 18 yard touchdown run brought back memories of Barry Sanders in his prime.  Initially, the play looked like a short gainer, but as Bush headed to the left, so did 3 Colts defenders…..Bush cut on a dime with a jump stop to the right and left the Colts defenders in his dust.  On his way to the end zone he juked another Colts defender before walking in standing up.  Great run by Reggie, we need to see more of that!

Olivier Vernon, Special Team’s Ace – I’m calling out Vernon on special teams here because the guy is a beat on the field goal/punt block units.  He blocked another field goal yesterday, jumping over the center and deflecting Adam Viniteri’s second field goal attempt.  I can’t just say that I like Vernon overall because he was invisible when rushing the passer yesterday.  If he wants to be a full time player in the NFL, he needs to work on his pass rushing.

Brian Hartline – Hartline caught 8 balls for 107 yards in a losing effort.  It was nice to see Hartline get back into the gameplan for the Dolphins.  He needs to continue to be the security blanket for Ryan Tannehill.  Hartline made a great move and catch on the 35 yard hookup from Tannehill, early in the game.   (cont’d on page 2, click below)

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