Professor Will's report card
Will Manso breaks down Dolphins-Patriots
MIAMI – How's that for a season opener? The Miami Dolphins dominated the second half in rolling over their division rivals 33-20. And while they've had success against New England at home over the years, it's the way they did it that was really impressive. The much maligned offensive line gave Ryan Tannehill time, and newcomer Knowshon Moreno gave the Dolphins a much needed boost on the ground. Overall, it was a total team effort and great way to start the season.
If not for Tannehill still missing some open receivers and three turnovers, this grade would be an A. Yet, Dol-Fans must be happy with what they saw. Moreno simply carried them in the second half. He ran hard and more importantly ran well when Miami needed him most. As for Tannehill, the QB still has accuracy issues that need to be corrected. Too many times he overthrew receivers or threw to the wrong shoulder on passes. He came on strong as the game wore on and redeemed himself on some throws in the fourth quarter. He's a work in progress, but if he gets time like he got on Sunday, he should improve. And kudos to the new-look offensive line; they gave him time and kept him upright most of the game.
Again, this would be an A if not for some bad plays in the first half. One drive in particular the defense looked overmatched by Tom Brady. But then boom, Cam Wake was unleashed. The Phins star on defense just took the game over by disrupting Brady in the second half. Amazingly, the Dolphins played the second half with three back-up's at linebacker, and yet they shut on the Patriots in those final 30 minutes. Credit must go to Wake and that d-line; they had Brady flustered -- that's something you don't see often.
Special Teams- A
Brandon Fields didn't have to do a thing, but an early blocked punt on New England set the tone for the game. It led to a Miami touchdown to get the scoring started. Kudos to rookie Chris McCain for getting that block. Despite being hampered by an injury in the preseason, Caleb Sturgis made all four of his field goals.
Joe Philbin stuck to his guns after a slow first half and let Bill Lazor call his game the way he wanted to. Lazor adjusted to use Moreno more often in the second half and it paid off. So much was made of the new-look Dolphins offense, and after an inconsistent first 30 minutes, you had to like what you saw in that second half. Philbin made some questionable decisions on a couple of penalties, but overall, the Phins coaching staff had this team ready and made the proper adjustments.
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