Tha Sports Junkies 101

Dolphins Look Lost In Week 12 Blowout Loss To Patriots

Dolphins look lost Jennifer Jurcynski via Flickr


Dolphins Look Lost Against Patriots

Long ago, in a league far, far away, this Miami Dolphins team was once 4-2. After a 17-35 loss to the New England Patriots, Miami sits at 4-7. Regrettably, the playoffs are pretty much inconceivable because Miami could very well lose out the rest of the season and finish 4-12. The Fins must still face-off against Buffalo twice, Denver, Kansas City, and the Patriots again to finish off the regular season. I wrote a couple of weeks back that Miami was searching for answers on all fronts. Those questions are still unanswered. Winning in Foxborough is undoubtedly tough. On the other hand, Miami is one fumble away from losing 45-10 — or worse — in any case. The Dolphins look lost, and it seems we found the ceiling of the 2017 season.

Tom Brady Happens Again

A few teams have found success on defense against Brady. The formula is simple. Get pressure, try to stop the run, and push his receivers at the line of scrimmage. However, Miami’s defense is not good at any of those things. All day long, receivers have 5 yards of cushion. No challenging receivers at the line, although it probably didn’t matter anyway. Tom Brady only passed for 227 yards, not because of Miami’s defense, but because the offense was so explosive, all the completions were big plays. The middle of the field was wide open for his picking all day long. It seems every big play came against the linebackers or safeties (surprise, surprise). The Miami Dolphins look lost, but Tom Brady made them look blind on defense at times.

Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. However, Miami was so concerned with him throwing the ball that they forgot running backs play football. Dion Lewis rushed for 115 yards and 7.4 yards-per-carry. Rex Burkhead slashed the defense more than once. Not many teams win football games giving up 200 rushing yards. A lot of that has to do with Miami’s defense being on their heels all game long. You cannot stack the box against Tom Brady. When his rushing game gets going, he is almost impossible to beat.

Defense Did What They Could

This Dolphins defense is not a particularly young one. There are a handful of players over 30, and even the youngest players were considerably banged up coming into Week 12. Miami was scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their season opener. However, Hurricane Irma struck Florida. As a result, both teams had their bye week moved to Week 1. Consequently, the effect it has had on the team is showing on the field. The Dolphins have now played 11 straight games with no breaks, which is hard on any team. NFL defenses take more hits and poundings than any other unit — especially the front seven. It is easy to point out who is gassed this far into the season, and the older guys are unfortunately guilty.

The leaders of Miami’s defense — Suh, Wake, and Timmons — are all over 30. Players need rest, and the Dolphins are getting the sour end of the deal. While the NFL really had no other choice, this causes injuries and ugly play. Rushing lanes open up, pass rush becomes non-existent, and the middle of the defense crumbles. Gronk consistently beat Kiko and other linebackers in coverage, as did Brandin Cooks. New England took advantage of an already suspect linebacker corps and ran all over a gassed defense. When a running back touches the ball, the Dolphins look lost. It gets worse for Miami. The Bills, Chiefs, and Broncos are all run-first teams and plan to copy exactly what the Patriots did this week.

Blow It Up

Adam Gase keeps saying that all the issues Miami has are fixable. Everything is fixable, and guys need to buy in and do their jobs. If everyone does their job, we will win football games, right?

Well, that seems as though it is the furthest thing from the truth. These problems are not fixable, and anyone who thinks so is delusional. At every level, the Dolphins look lost. The offensive line is flat-out bad, as a result of offseason neglect. That’s on the front office. Jay Cutler is a failed project and is a definite downgrade from Ryan Tannehill. Jay Ajayi’s play on the field is not the reason he got traded to Philly. The offensive line coach is caught on tape snorting cocaine before a team meeting. Division in the locker room grows with each loss. The defense is so inconsistent that it is hard to tell whether it’s the players or the scheme.

Blow it up. Strap in for a rebuild. Ryan Tannehill comes back, and next year will be hope for the best kind of season. Miami is not bad enough to hope for a solid top 5 draft choice, so tanking is out of the question. The Dolphins need more talent on defense and a hell of a lot more on offense, minus the wide receivers. In past years, it has always been that Miami is just one piece away, one unit away from being really good. However, this team is very far away from being good. They are bad and need to think about 2018.