What I liked (cont’d)
Anthony Fasano - Fasano hasn’t had a great year, but he’s quietly been playing better recently, as the team is getting him more involved in the offense…especially around the goal line. Fasano caught 6 balls for 56 yards an 1 TD. He’s a free agent after this season and isn’t a speedy weapon, but it’s clear that he and Tannehill are learning how to work together. Might make the Dolphins think long and hard about whether or not to resign him.
Dolphins Play-Calling - We’ve criticized the Dolphins playcalling in recent weeks, but on Sunday they did a great job. I loved seeing some of the new wrinkles on the offense. Tannehill running a little bit of spread option was cool. On Jorvorskie Lane’s touchdown the Dolphins showed motion from Reggie Bush across the formation, which took the linebacker and allows Lane to leak out into the flat for a wide open touchdown. On Fasano’s TD, he was wide open because he sold the running play and leaked out to the side that Tannehill was bootlegging to. Good to see some innovation on the part of Coach Sherman. Please, keep it up!
What I didn’t like
Dolphins Wide Recievers TD Draught - First, let me say that Brian Hartline had a good game, catching 5 balls for 77 yards. Rishard Matthews and Marlon Moore did an admirable, if not spectacular job filling in for Davone Bess. However, the Dolphins have a grand total of 3 touchdown catches by their wide receivers this season. That is an absolutely ridiculous statistic through 14 games. Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, and Marlon Moore each have 1 TD catch. That’s it folks! This is why there are big red flashing lights on the Dolphins need at WR this offseason.
Yes, Brian Hartline just went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season. BUT, where are the touchdowns. Where are the big catches in the red zone when the team needs them most? The Dolphins desperately need to address the wide receiver position this offseason and must decide if they want to resign Hartline. Big decisions need to be made and for the Dolphins sake I hope they are the right ones.
Fake Field Goal - Please Joe Philbin, please don’t let Brandon Fields throw another pass…ever. The guy is the best punter in the AFC, let him stick to doing that and holding kicks for Dan Carpenter.
Run Defense - I hate putting this in here, but the Dolphins did allow the Jags 4th string running back to grind out 4.3 yards per carry. The Jaguars managed to rush for 86 yards, which isn’t great, but I expected the Dolphins defense to suffocate them even more. I’ll admit this is knit-picking, but I thought the Dolphins rush defense would’ve held the Jags to under 60 yards considering how decimated they are at the running back position.
Overall, this was a great win for the Dolphins, who needed to show their fans at home that they could win a game. They are mathematically alive for a playoff spot at this point, but it is the very slimmest of chances. The Dolphins would need to win out (beating the Bills and Patriots), hope for the Steelers to beat the Bengals this weekend and then have both of them lose in week 17. The Dolphins would also need the Jets to lose 2 of their last 3 games. So if you are still holding out hope, root like crazy for the Titans tonight.
It just goes to show you how important each and every week is in the NFL. If the Dolphins pull off a win (or 2) against the Rams and the Jets earlier this season, we could actually be talking seriously about the playoffs. But they didn’t, so we can’t. Before the season, many analysts had the Dolphins winning 3, 4 or 5 games. They’re currently 6-8, so they performed better than some analysts thought. For me, the most important thing about this 2012 team is to see the continued maturation and improvement of Ryan Tannehill. I think we’re beginning to see that.
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