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Dolphins Offensive Line Folds Again In Loss To Raiders

Dolphins offensive line folds JC Ruiz via Flickr


Dolphins Offensive Line Folds Again

The Miami Dolphins seem always to find a way to win football games. Since Week 4 of the NFL season, the Dolphins have won 12 straight one-score football games. Until Sunday night when Derek Carr and company came to town. Once again, the Dolphins offensive line folds in the most critical of moments. Down 20-16 in the fourth quarter, Miami’s offense got the ball near midfield but managed back to back three-and-outs, and zero points. Jay Cutler had little to no time to let routes develop. Same team, same problems.

Seven holding calls, six of which belong to the offensive line. Multiple quarterback pressures and few rushing lanes to run through. That is 60 yards the Dolphins line took away from the game.

Right tackle Ja’Wuan James left the game early in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. The following play, his backup Sam Young gave up a sack, thwarting the drive and forcing a punt. After factoring in sacks, the Dolphins rushed for 86 yards, 42 of which came on one play. Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams did their jobs minus one costly fumble. This unit is just flat-out bad. All of Jay Cutler’s big plays came on relatively quick passes or when he was forced to throw because of pressure and got lucky on a few passes.

Dolphins Late Game Luck Runs Out

For some reason, the Miami Dolphins offense runs much smoother when the team is playing from behind. More tempo, better play calling, and a sense of urgency. Miami has trailed at halftime seven out of eight games this season. Three blowout losses, and three improbable comebacks. Eventually, the luck runs out just like it did on Sunday night. Miami got the ball on the 45-yard line two drives in a row and went flat, with back to back three and outs.

Late in the fourth quarter, Jay Cutler got to slinging and completed a ridiculous 26-yard pass to DeVante Parker and followed it up with a 15-yard touchdown to Julius Thomas. However, it was with 1:30 left in the game and was too little too late. Cody Parkey botched the onside kick attempt, and that was all she wrote.

This game marks the first one-score game Miami has lost since 2016. As mentioned earlier, the Drake fumble was that lucky play Miami was on the wrong side of. Add 11 penalties to a bad defensive performance, and this offense just had too much to overcome.

Defense Gets Torched On Third Down

Without a doubt, the defense had one of their less desirable performances Sunday night. The Raiders put up 27 points and shredded the Miami defense. This defense shows flashes of greatness but needs more big plays to change games.

The linebackers were picked apart in the passing game while tight end Jared Cook reeled in 8 receptions for 126 yards. Oakland converted 8/14 on third downs, and Amari Cooper routinely got behind the Miami defense. While Carr opened up the passing game, Marshawn Lynch did his thing as well. Beast Mode converted a huge 3rd and 2 for a touchdown.

Miami just can’t get off the field and allow countless big plays on third-down. Three separate third-downs giving 15-yard pass plays just won’t win you the game. An interesting double fumble fell in Miami’s favor, but the offense got nothing out of it. If the Dolphins offensive line folds, the defense is affected by field position, which happened throughout Sunday night. A late Reshad Jones interception put Miami in position to score their final touchdown, and attempt an onside kick. The Raiders have talented receivers and a good quarterback, so the defense did not completely fail.

Jay Cutler Is Definitely Healthy

For the first time this season, Jay Cutler took over the game like a true seasoned veteran. The offense racked up 395 yards and moved the ball well all game. However, a key fumble by Kenyan Drake changed the course of this game. After Miami scored their first touchdown, Cutler marched Miami near the red zone with all the momentum. Kenyan Drake fumbles and the Raiders drive 81 yards down the field for a touchdown. A possible 13-3 lead change turns into a 10-6 deficit.

Jay Cutler moved the ball vertically, with 11 completions of 10 or more yards and a few more big plays wiped by penalties. Obviously, those penalties and lack of a rush game killed the Dolphins early in drives. Passing plays had little time to develop, as the Dolphins offensive line folds before receivers can get open. With multiple broken ribs, the veteran finished 34-42, 311 yards passing, and three touchdowns. Everyone got to see what the Dolphins offense can do when Jay Cutler is on his game. Throwing 42 passes is not ideal, and it is hard to win if you do not establish the run. Cutler earns an A for his performance and needs to ride this momentum into next week.