Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Day After: Buffalo

For just a moment there, somewhere around the mid to late 1st quarter of yesterday's meeting between the Dolphins and the Bills, I honestly thought to myself, "I think my 24-0 prediction is going to be right on the money".  Shortly after, the Bills kicked a field goal to deflate any hopes of a shutout.  Still, the Dolphins came about as close to shutting out a team as anyone did yesterday, and they did it with fewer big name players on defense than the average NFL team. Sure, we got Dansby....anyone else your buddies in Oakland or Phoenix could name?  Hell, even I, a proprietor of a Miami Dolphins blog who talks about these players constantly, spent the entire game referring to #55 as 'Rookie'.  

Truth is, we don't have any real star defenders outside of Dansby, players who get voted to the Pro-Bowl based on their name-recognition.  Yet,  our Defense looked as good as any in the league yesterday (save for the one drive where Buffalo suddenly seemed to be faster and stronger than us) and the defensive scheme in the first half was like a symphony orchestra showing off it's musical chops.

Unfortunately, my dream of 24-0 was not entirely up to Mike Nolan's creativity or the solid play of Chris Clemons shutting down the middle of the field.  The better the defense, the more reps for the offense, and once again the Dolphins showed that no matter how many weapons they have on the field, they don't know how to use them.  Still, after 3 years, they just don't get it.  They don't get that Ronnie Brown if given the chance will run over Buffalo for 120+ yards and that Ricky can be used in the I-formation to just pound the rock over and over and over again and they don't get that this tactic leads to big 50+ yard runs eventually if you just don't give up on it.

But this coaching staff seems to have some kind of issue actually planning out a full 4 quarters of football.  They almost always seem to reach a point where they are 'satisfied' with the running game, and then abandon it altogether until it's time to run out the clock.  They don't seem to get that they don't ever need to check down the ball ever again if they are not going to throw deep at least 5 times a game.  Not stretching the field means the guys underneath will never have space to run after the catch.  Sure they tried it a couple of times, but not nearly enough.

I know it sounds like I want them to force the issue, but that's not it - I understand that adjustments have to be made during the course of a game because of what the other team is doing.  I just choose to believe that taking the first initiative and stamping your seal on the game from the get-go will force the defense to adjust first.  If you have a proper game plan, you will know the adjustment is coming, and work against it.  Football really is like Chess, and the Dolphins offense at times seems more like a backgammon board.  Lots of pieces and possibilities, but no attention to details and no forethought.

Now, despite my editorial above, and the Dolphins inability to put up an impressive score yesterday, the Dolphins did actually come close to blowing out the Bills.  Chad Henne was criticized throughout the game by the announcers but Ronnie Brown dropped a pass, Ricky Williams dropped a pass, Brian Hartline dropped two passes, Brandon Marshall dropped two passes, even Lousaka Polite dropped a pass.  Davone Bess had a drop where he only half-heartedly jumped 3 inches off the ground for a ball that was 5 inches high.  If you add these up, Henne's stats would have been spectacular and the Dolphins would've had several more points.  Benny Sapp dropped a pick six as did Jason Allen.  That was an easy 14 points thrown away. Dan Carpenter missed a field goal. The Dolphins could've easily put up 30 more points in this game had they been able to execute.

But they weren't, and since they didn't have the gameplan to account for these mishaps, they fell behind.

Next week's opponent are the week 1 shockingly bad Minnesota Vikings.  I expect them to be shockingly good in week 2.  I think the Dolphins can beat them.  If they come prepared.

1 comment:

  1. Miami Dolphins for the win!! :D Cant wait to see another exciting game 

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