MIAMI - The Dolphins lost their 4th straight game on Sunday, and in the process, they're starting to lose a fan base that was so excited after a 3-0 start.
Even worse, Miami had 1st place New England down 17-3 at halftime and still found a way to blow it. The officiating was very questionable throughout the game, but I won't make these grades about that. Let's leave it to the Dolphins and their 27-17 loss to the Patriots.
Let's start with the positive. The running game was excellent against a banged up Patriots front. The 1-2 punch of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas got it done on the ground, and Thomas even chipped in with a receiving touchdown. The passing attack was solid in the 1st half, and Ryan Tannehill looked in rhythm with two touchdown passes. But, then the 2nd half happened.
If the 1st half was an A for the offense, the 2nd half was an absolute F. Miami failed to score a single point, and even worse, Tannehill threw two interceptions and gift wrapped New England a touchdown with a fumble deep in his own territory. Of course, that wasn't totally his fault. Newcomer Bryant McKinnie was badly beaten on the play that allowed the QB to get sacked. And oh yeah, speaking of sacks, the offensive line allowed six more of Tannehill. That's 32 sacks and counting of the young QB this season.
The defense held New England to just three points in the 1st half and Tom Brady to 25 yards passing. The 2nd half the Patriots exploded for 24 points, but it wasn't all the defenses fault. The turnovers on offense put the defense in some bad spots. You knew Brady would eventually get his, but it's much harder to stop him and the Pats offense when you give them a short field.
I thought Miami's D did enough to keep Miami in the game, including pressure Brady. Yes, the bottom line is New England scored 27 points, but this defense wasn't that bad.
Special Teams- D
Oh Boy. This was bad. Rookie Caleb Sturgis missed one field goal off the goal post and then had another one blocked. The first missed kick was a huge swing in the game. Within minutes the Patriots scored and were within one score of Miami. Getting blocked with a chance to make it a one score game was also bad. It was just a day to forget for the rookie kicker and Miami's special teams.
It's really hard to knock the coaching for this game. Yes, Miami was awful in the 2nd half, but this team came out looking aggressive in the 1st half. Philbin seemed to have them ready and Mike Sherman was calling a good game.
The 2nd half was a perfect storm of awfulness for the Dolphins. What fault did the coaching staff really have for that? It's really hard to say because they weren't the ones throwing interceptions and giving up more sacks. It's easy to say the coaching is awful after a game like this, but at some point, the players deserve the blame too. The staff will continue to be questioned, and it is fair though. Someone has to answer how a team can start the season 3-0 and then lose four games in a row like this.
Philbin and his staff really have their work cut out for them with the Bengals coming to town on a short week on Halloween night.
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