Good, Bad, & Ugly: 2016 – Week 6 – Miami Dolphins
Well Nation – that did not go as planned.
Yes, I know, that’s the understatement of the year.
Here are some tidbits of what transpired yesterday in Miami:
- We lost 30-15
- We completely lost the ability to stop the run (allowing 222 yards)
- We lost Ben (at least temporarily)
- At various times during the game the following players were out:
Vince was replaced by Tyler Matakevitch for part of the third and I believe all of the fourth quarter. Mitchell left with a knee, but came back. Tuitt went out, but came back. Ben, as we all know at this point, left in the 2nd quarter, and played the second half.
After the game, and after an MRI, we learned that he has a meniscus issue, and may be out for anywhere from 2 – 4 weeks, depending on who you listen to.
All in all, it couldn’t have gone much worse.
There were points in that game where I wondered if we would have enough bodies to even field a team. At one point, when Tuitt went out, I thought we might even see Alejandro Villanueva in on the D-line. It never quite got that bad, but it was pretty brutal.
Let’s break this thing down a bit, and look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from yesterday (and mostly it’s bad and ugly).
You have to look pretty deep and hard to find anything good about yesterday’s game. It’s really not even a “glass half full” scenario – it’s more like a “let’s pretend that drop of water in the bottom of the glass is really a full glass of water” scenario.
Big Dan blocks a field goal
Big Dan got more game time yesterday, I think, than he had gotten all year.
He made a couple of plays, but none was as big as blocking a field goal attempt by the Dolphins, after they took the second half opening kickoff and drove it down the field.
I thought for sure that was going to be the spark that finally got us clicking, but just didn’t realize how badly Ben had been hurt, and that it would impact him so much when he got back.
Regardless, it was a nice play by Big Dan, and one of the few highlights of yesterday’s game.
Darrius Heyward-Bey is a fast, fast, man
DHB took an end-around, and 60 yards later we were up 6-3 (and 8-3 after the two-point conversion).
That was what we expected the whole game to look like, and it definitely whetted the Nation’s appetite. Little did we know that was basically the whole meal, instead of just the appetizer.
It was a good start, and a great play by DHB, and if nothing else, it gives people something else to think about as the season progresses.
Man is that guy fast.
The Rest of the AFC North took the week off too
The truth is, the very best thing about yesterday is that the Ravens, Bengals and Browns all lost.
It was almost like the AFC North was frozen in an ugly time warp, and the standings remained exactly the same as they were prior to the sun rising on Sunday morning, with each time just having an additional tick in the loss column.
I mean, if we had to lose, it’s best to not lose ground in the division, and the fact we didn’t is the real silver lining. Well, maybe it’s a pewter lining, or copper, or something less than silver.
Still it’s what I could come up with.
The Turnover Battle
We came into this game without an interception by a member of our secondary, and we leave the same way. So far this season we have 3 interceptions, all by linebackers (Jarvis Jones, James Harrison and Ryan Shazier).
Will Gay, who usually is dependable in these situations, dropped an easy one.
The Dolphins on the other hand made one easy pick and one spectacular one. We lost the turnover battle, and we all know when you lose the turnover battle, even against a bad team, you normally don’t win that game.
We lost both the game and that battle.
The Run Defense
I’m not positive we even had a run defense yesterday. We were dominated at the line.
Losing Cam Heyward is part of the reason, but so is the heat and humidity.
The Dolphins made a strategic, and smart decision to put us in our black uniforms rather than letting us wear white. We had guys getting cramps left and right.
Lawrence Timmons spectacularly lost his lunch, and I’d bet it had more to do with the heat than it did with what he ate.
All of this left our already depleted defensive line in bad shape, and it showed.
Here is where I wonder about Pro Football Focus and how they grade.
Alejandro Villanueva had a grade of 75.2 (tops among the offense) and Marukice Pouncey had a grade of 73.7, third on the offense.
But the line, in my opinion, was bad.
Jesse James did not block well.
I don’t’ believe Chris Hubbard played well.
The Dolphins were able to pressure Ben at will, and in the second half, while dealing with his knee injury, he did not handle the pressure the way we are used to seeing.
The Dolphins only managed 2 sacks, but there never was a point in the game where it felt like Ben had time to really survey the field. It was not a good effort.
Ben got hurt. That’s ugly enough.
Should he have played the second half of that game?
I don’t know.
Do I think he gave us the best chance to win?
Unfortunately, it appears to have been worse than it looked, as Ben has some kind of meniscus injury (either a tear, or something that requires some form of surgery). I’ve read estimates that he may only miss the Patriots game, and others that say he’ll be out a month. We won’t know until we know is the truth of the matter.
Until then, it’s Landry Jones time.
Look, you all know I’m not a Landry Jones hater. You also know I’m not a Landry Jones lover either. Landry is what he is, and what he is, well to be blunt, is a backup who knows the system. There aren’t any better options out there, and I hear you all screaming for Mettenberger, but remember that our boy Zach is 0-10 in his professional career.
Any way you slice it, losing Ben is an ugly proposition, but Landry has at least won games, while Mettenberger has not. So be careful what you wish for Nation.
Nation, I think it’s important to deal with some salient facts. I know facts are not fashionable in this day and age, and people would much rather just draw conclusions based on… based on… well I guess just based on the air, because sometimes I don’t know what they think they are basing things on.
I, on the other hand, think facts are pertinent. Here are some facts that won’t take the sting out of yesterdays game, but at least will provide some additional information:
- The Dolphins O-Line is a good line when they have all their starters. Yesterday was the first time they had all their starters playing together this year (although it’s possible it might be just since the first week). There is a reason they were a bad rushing team prior to yesterday, and it’s not just that we didn’t offer much resistance, it’s that they didn’t have all their weapons.
- “Next Man Up” has its limitations. Look, Chris Hubbard played a great game against the Jets. Not so much yesterday, but the truth is that nobody on the O-line played that great (as mentioned above). Cam Heyward is not easily replaced, and that was evident yesterday. The Dolphins simple out played our defensive front, and we couldn’t find a way to consistently handle them.
- Ed Hochuli is an ass. He should be banned from officiating. The inconsistent way that the game was officiated was evident to anyone who watched. The Dolphins were allowed to hold as much as they wanted to. On the other hand, if a Steeler laid two fingers on a Dolphin defender, the flag flew. I’m not saying that the holding calls against us were bad calls, they weren’t. I’m just saying that there were equally egregious calls that were not made against the Dolphins. And I won’t even start on how they missed what was a clear horse-collar tackle on Le’veon Bell, or that ridiculous decision to kick over after the Dolphins tried that on-side kick. This officiating crew stinks.
- Injuries are eventually going to catch up to you. There is a reason the saying “Any Given Sunday” exists. It’s because the truth is any team can beat any other team on any given Sunday, especially if one team is badly hampered by injury, and makes a lot of mistakes. We had both.
Regardless, let’s shake off the bad game, and move forward. The Evil Empire is up next, and right now it’ looks pretty grim for the Alliance!
Let’s see what able bodies we have by the end of the week, and then we can figure out what this upcoming week holds. Until next time Nation!