The Miami Dolphins held 7 point leads in the 4th quarter of their last two games and ultimately ended up losing in overtime. The Dolphins again held a 7 point lead again on Sunday in the 4th quarter. However, this time, Dolphins were finally able to close out a game against an opponent. The Dolphins fell behind the Bengals early on Sunday, but were able to make big stops after costly turnovers. Combine that with the fact that Ryan Tannehill did not turn the ball over and you have happy Dolphins fans everywhere this morning. Here’s a look inside the Dolphins locker room after the game.
What I liked
- Dolphins Defense - The Dolphins were without Richard Marshall for Sundays game and Nolan Carroll missed a good portion of the 2nd/3rd quarters because of an injury. This left Sean Smith, the Dolphins starting safeties, and young, inexperienced cornerbacks to take on AJ Green and the talented Bengals receivers. The Dolphins defense really impressed me early in the game when they limited the Bengals to just 6 points off of 2 turnovers. 6-0 is a lot more reasonable than 14-0 and the defense should be commended for limiting the damage.
The Dolphins defense also did a great job on AJ Green, limiting him to 9 catches for only 65 yards and 1 TD. Once Green caught the ball, the Dolphins tackled him. Twice, they forced Green to fumble the football, although he recovered the ball himself each time. Sean Smith did a good job on Larry Fitzgerald last week and did a good job this week on Green. Randy Starks came up with a pretty awesome interception and was a force on the defensive line. Rashad Jones had a really good game and sealed the win with his interception of Andy Daulton with 1:22 left in the 4th quarter. Finally, this defense put it’s foot on an opponents throat and finished a game the right way.
- Cameron Wake - This guy is a beast, an absolute beast. He gets held on nearly every single passing play, yet he’s only drawn a flag once this season. Wake picked up another sack, giving him 5.5 on this season through 5 games. Even when he doesn’t get to the quarterback, he’s drawing double teams or collapsing the pocket for one of his teammates to get a hit on the QB.
- Ryan Tannehill – The kid is growing before our very eyes. He did a good job of protecting the football on Sunday, which allowed the Dolphins to win this game. He didn’t need a miraculous 4th quarter drive to win the game, because he played so well early on. He finished the day completing 17 of 26 passes for 233 yards. He completed 65% of his passes and finished with a QB rating of 93. Good stuff. He also spread the ball around, completing passes to 7 different players.
The thing that impresses me most about Tannehill is his ability to make room in the pocket when there’s trouble lurking. He’s blitzed often, but does a good job of adjusting the protection at the line of scrimmage. Further, if he has pressure in his face, he keeps his eyes downfield and delivers an accurate pass. If he needs to escape the pocket, he can because of his athleticism. And when this guy throws on the run, it’s scary how accurate he is.
- Coaching - This may be a curious choice, but the fact that the Dolphins lost back to back heartbreakers cannot be overstated. Joe Philbin did a good job of getting this team ready for a 3-1 opponent, on the road. The Dolphins didn’t quit on their coaches and played a pretty solid game for the 4th week in a row. The Dolphins also had a number of questionable calls go against them, but stuck with the plan and got the job done. Kevin Coyle, the Dolphins defense coordinator and former Bengals DB coach, should also be praised. His inside information on the Bengals surely helped the Dolphins’ preparations for this game. (cont’d on page 2, click below for what I didn’t like)