- Fins keep season alive Cam Wake's sack/safety in OT preserves the Fins victory and season
- Fins lose control in 2nd half Dolphins lose a 14 point lead and the game to the Patriots
- Fins trade for OT McKinnie Miami sends a late round conditional pick for OT Bryant McKinnie
- Fins let one get away Caleb Sturgis last second FG goes just left and the Fins lose 26-23
What a game! My heart was pounding that entire last drive by the Colts and it was wonderful to see the defense step up at the right time. It’s amazing how this game went, because aside from the W in the standings, it wasn’t very similar to last week.
Unlike last week, the Dolphins actually had some semblance of a running game. And yet, Mike Wallace was a huge factor in the passing game, too. The Dolphins’ pass rush was, aside from the very end, a huge nonfactor for most of the game after a big performance against Cleveland.
And that’s what’s impressive—the Dolphins won in very different (and arguably more impressive) fashion than they did in Week 1, and I come out of this game with fewer concerns than I had last Monday. Below are my detailed observations from Miami’s Week 2 win over the Colts…
- For the second week in a row, Ryan Tannehill has really impressed me. He wasn’t perfect today, with a few fumbles and an off-target throw here and there, but his command of the offense is stellar and he’s really making some nice passes. He had a throw to Clay early in the game that was an incredible threading of the needle. Overall, he found open guys and didn’t force anything or commit any turnovers as a passer. Can’t ask for much more and I can’t wait to see his improvement week to week.
- Lamar Miller finally got some help from the boys up front and it paid off, giving the Dolphins the balanced attack they lacked in their win over the Browns in Week 1. Miller was spelled a bit too much for Daniel Thomas, who had a few nice runs but still continues to make some curious decisions with his directional rushing and also missed a block that got Tannehill blown up. Miller should get the ball more and Thomas less moving forward. Side note: let’s give third-round disappointment Michael Egnew for a nice block sealing the edge on Miller’s touchdown. At least he’s contributing somehow.
- I don’t think anyone doubted Mike Wallace would be more involved in the passing game today after week’s one-catch performance in Cleveland (and his subsequent media moaning), and everyone involved executed better than they did in the opener. Mike Sherman largely diversified Wallace’s routes against the Colts, allowing him to get the ball into his hands more like on the screen that went for a touchdown. (Hmmm, where have I heard that before?)
- He’ll never be an elite tight end in the NFL, but I love having Charles Clay on the team. On a day when he set a career high in receiving yards and rushed for his first touchdown (on his first NFL carry), Clay showed exactly how much of a threat he can be in the seam and really showcased his versatility. On the other hand, I thought it was curious how Brandon Gibson was absent from the passing game after seven catches from the slot in Week 1. If anyone is going to suffer from Wallace’s heightened involvement, it might be Gibson. But to borrow from Seinfeld, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
- It couldn’t get much worse in terms of run blocking, but I give the Dolphins’ offensive line credit for opening some holes against an admittedly worse defensive front seven than they saw in Cleveland. Mike Pouncey’s ability to get out in space and make blocks well downfield makes him one of the game’s elite centers, and John Jerry noticeably stepped his game up as well. The biggest complaint on the offensive line continues to be the pass protection of right tackle Tyson Clabo, who continues to do his best Marc Colombo impression. I don’t imagine a change will happen with little experience on the bench and the Dolphins winning games, but I can’t see Nate Garner, Will Yeatman, or even Jerry (with someone like Garner or Danny Watkins at right guard) being much worse.
- Unlike the Cleveland game, the Dolphins’ pass rush was actually one of the biggest problems against the Colts. Miami managed just one sack in the first half (by Derrick Shelby, no less) with Cameron Wake essentially erased as a factor all game. I have to give Andrew Luck credit, though, for his incredible pocket presence and his unbelievable ability to evade pressure and wiggle out of the grasp. Fortunately, the defense stepped up when it mattered most with two sacks on the Colts’ final drive, including one on an awesome blitz by Philip Wheeler on 4th down to seal the win.
- While Wheeler had a strong game against the team that drafted him, I can’t say the same for Dannell Ellerbe’s performance. I felt Ellerbe’s only positive in Week 1 wash is coverage, but I can’t even say that about this performance. He’s serviceable but unspectacular, continuing to cause me to worry that his tenure in Miami will end up just like the guy he replaced.
- With Dimitri Patterson dinged up (he dressed by I don’t believe he played) and our two rookie corners still out, the Dolphins’ pass defense predictably struggled against Luck. T.Y. Hilton had a career-high 124 yards in the first half, working primarily against Jimmy Wilson but even besting Brent Grimes at one point. Still, I give credit to the Dolphins for erasing Hilton in the 2nd half with such a thin secondary and I’m absolutely loving Grimes’ play overall. He’s showing no ill effects from last season’s torn Achilles and looks like like the elite corner he was in Atlanta. Forget Wheeler or Ellerbe—Grimes was the best defensive addition Jeff Ireland made this offseason.
- Surprisingly, Reshad Jones has been one of the most inconsistent parts of the Dolphins’ defense after essentially being the MVP runner-up behind Wake last year. He had his moments today, but struggled in coverage for the second straight week and really got owned by Coby Fleener at times. One hopes his recent payday doesn’t negatively affect his effort, but I suspect he’ll be fine.
- Kicker Caleb Sturgis is now 4-for-4 on field goal attempts this season with another successful conversion in Week 2. After hitting a 54-yarder only to be iced with a Colts’ timeout just before halftime, Sturgis kept his composure and drilled it over again. That’s what you want to see from the rookie.
Most of us level-headed Dolphins fans came into the season viewing the Browns’ game as a win and a very tough four-game schedule to follow. It still is—beating Luck was no easy feat and the Falcons, Saints and Ravens will all be tremendously difficult matchups—but it’s fantastic to be heading into that three-game stretch with a perfect record. 2-3 was (and still is) a possibility after five games, so to be one “upset” away from being above .500 after the Ravens game is great.
There are people I want to see play better—including but not limited to Tyson Clabo, Dion Jordan, Dannell Ellerbe and Reshad Jones. But I love the way this offense is looking overall and when you consider how much talent there is among those defensive “struggles” there doesn’t appear much reason for concern. “Fireland” apparently has the Dolphins headed in the right direction and it’s going to be fun seeing them make a chase for a wide-open AFC playoff spot.
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