Professor Will's report card
MIAMI – That one really stings. In one of the more deflating Dolphins losses in recent memory, the Packers scored with less than five seconds left to beat Miami 27-24. The loss sends the Fins to 2-3 on the season, but more importantly takes away a win the Dolphins had right in their hands against a quality opponent.
This is a direct split of first half and second half. The Dolphins offense was an absolute F in the first 30 minutes of action. They couldn't move the ball, sustain drives or finish the one chance they had to finish a drive. It was that bad.
But, in the second half, Tannehill and the offense came alive. The QB made up for earlier mistakes by throwing strikes all over the field. He led three touchdown drives. Also, give credit to Lamar Miller. He provided some tough running and helped Miami move the time of possession closer in their favor.
About the only mistake the offense made in the second half was not finishing the game with a clock-killing drive. But that wasn't entirely their fault. I'll have more on that in the coaching section.
I know the defense allowed that final touchdown drive and Aaron Rodgers certainly had his moments, but when push came to shove, this defense held its own against one of the best offenses in the NFL.
The defense kept Miami in the game until halftime while the offense was seriously struggling. For the most part, this defense flustered the Green Bay offense. It doesn't help that they were on the field for almost 22 minutes in the first half.
Kevin Coyle dialed up some good blitzes and packages throughout the game. Unfortunately, the D couldn't make the key stop and allowed the Packers to score late and get the win.
Special Teams- B+
Jarvis Landry continues to show some explosiveness in the kick return game, and the Fins were able to block a punt that set Miami's offense up in great field position.
Where do I begin? Joe Philbin made a good decision to go for a touchdown in the first half when his offense was struggling and down near the goal-line. The play call wasn't ideal, but I liked his courage to understand that field goals were likely not going to beat the Packers.
But the final three minutes of the game were a clinic on how NOT to coach. Or better yet, a clinic on how to lose a game you have won.
The Packers had no timeouts remaining with around three minutes left. The Dolphins decided to call a pass play. An incomplete pass set up a third down and long and essentially gave the Packers another time out. Following a third down run for no yards, the Packers got the ball back with more than two minutes left and in good field position.
This was a classic case of a coach not making up his mind in a big situation. Are you trying to win the game by being aggressive or are you trying to play it safe? Playing it in the middle is rarely a good choice.
Yet, it's the final Packers possession where things really got strange. The Dolphins pressured Rodgers and had Green Bay at fourth and 10. Not moving the ball and clearly at a disadvantage with a strong Miami pass rush, the Dolphins called a time out. Philbin said afterwards he wanted to make sure his players knew where they had to be and ready for the play. Well, wouldn't that be something you work on in practice? Or, how about letting them do what they had been doing for the last few plays?
After Rodgers was able to get a first down, the Dolphins called another timeout with six seconds left. That allowed Rodgers a chance to call two plays and also regroup. Rodgers needed only one play -- it was the game winning touchdown.
To say that Philbin lost the game is an exaggeration, but to say that he helped Green Bay stay alive would not be false.
This one will sting for a while, and if the Dolphins don't rebound and make a playoff push, it could be the first nail in the coffin of Philbin's Dolphins career.
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