Dolphins show they aren’t ready for prime time with 19-14 loss to Bills

Two weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins were 4-3 and fans were talking about the possibility of the playoffs….Two weeks ago, the Dolphins players looked like they were buying into Joe Philbin’s system and philosophies….Two weeks ago, Ryan Tannehill was proving doubters wrong, posting 85+ QB ratings week after week…..Two weeks ago, the Dolphins were headed to Indianapolis to take on the Colts and the winner would improve to 5-3…..Two weeks ago, the Dolphins had hope.

What a difference two weeks makes, huh?  The Dolphins that have showed up the last 3 games have looked nothing like the team that went on a 3 game winning streak.  The Dolphins are turning the ball over on offense, not creating turnovers on defense, not stopping the run, not blocking anyone, and their rookie quarterback has looked like a rookie quarterback.

Last night, the Dolphins offense through the first 3 and a half quarters made the NY Jets offense look like the Greatest Show on Turf, Rams team.  The Dolphins offense was so bad that they failed to convert a 3rd down through the air or on the ground until the 4th quarter.  For 3 quarters, their longest drive lasted all of 5 plays. The defense, to their credit, shut the Bills out in the second half.  The Dolphins had 2 chances with the ball late, but both drives ended with Ryan Tannehill interceptions.  The Dolphins fell too far behind and their comeback effort was too little, too late.  The Bills held on for a 19-14 win and moved into a tie with the Dolphins for second place in the AFC East at 4-6.

What I liked

Marcus Thigpen – Thigpen broke a 96 yard kick return for a touchdown in the first quarter. At the time, I had hoped that this would wake up the sluggish Dolphins team that fell behind 10-0 early.  Thigpen has now returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown this season and is really one of the only players on the Dolphins playing well right now.

Rashad Jones – Jones led the Dolphins with 14 tackles last night. His play this season has been much improved from the last few years. He needs to create more turnovers in the passing game, but he has been solid against the run.  However, it speaks volumes when your leading tackler on defense is the furthest guy from the ball when it’s snapped.  Jones made a ton of tackles, but I’d rather see Burnett or Dansby leading the team.

Situational Defense – The Dolphins defense that hasn’t been able to get off the field on 3rd downs, turned things around last night.  They held the Bills to just 2 conversions on twelve 3rd down opportunities.  That’s a stark improvement from recent weeks.  The Dolphins red zone defense also did a great job, keeping the Bills offense out of the end zone the entire game.  The Bills were 0-4 in the red zone and had to settle for field goals each time.

Brandon Fields – You know we’re stretching for positives when Brandon Fields is on the list.  Fields did a good job last night, averaging just under 50 yards per punt, with 2 of his 6 punts downed inside of the Bills’ 20 yard line.

Davone Bess’ TD Grab – Davone Bess caught the Dolphins only offensive touchdown of the game by doing a great job of keeping 2 feet in bounds, while falling.  The play was initially ruled incomplete, but the Dolphins challenged and it was overturned.  Great play by Bess.  (cont’d on page 2, click below)

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