There were plenty of plays that stood out Sunday, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few that really changed the flow of the game.
Although it seemed quiet, this was the biggest play of the game:
Second quarter, Dolphins only leading 10-3.
We had first and goal at about the Titans’ 10-yard line. J’wuan James commits a questionable holding penalty, and suddenly we have 1st and goal from the TWENTY yard line. The penalty seemed like a huge setback.
But on the very next play, Ryan Tannehill hit Dion Sims with a short dump pass. Rishard Matthews throws a nice block downfield, and suddenly Sims scampers for 15 yards. A HUGE play that got us right near the goal line again. Next play, Miller runs it in.
Under Philbin, that first-and-goal from the 20 play would have been an inside handoff to Miller, followed by a sack or two on second and third downs. But Lazor’s play call of a Tight End screen was excellent, and the execution was even better. It got the Dolphins out of “possible field goal” mentality and straight into touchdown mentality.
The fact that Sims’ run and catch took place immediately after the penalty was important too. We didn’t get a 15-yard gain on third down. We go it on first, with 3 more chances to get the touchdown. It was the perfect way to punch back after that penalty.
Another important play:
Reshad Jones’ touchdown.
This one made the highlight reels all night and definitely was not under the radar. But it was huge because it gave the defense a lift and pretty much showed Marcus Mariota that he was going to lose this game. In our chatroom, we were discussing that we didn’t want our D to stay on the field too long. But after a pick-6, those guys on D were dying to kick off and get back on the field and punish Mariota some more. Give Lou Anarumo some credit for having the guys ready.
The formations were so much better and varied.
After weeks and weeks of the same exact formation on every down, the Dolphins did something that was apparently prohibited under Joe Philbin: variety.
It was a thing of beauty to see the pro set, with two WRs and 2 RBs and a TE. Just wonderful to behold. I almost felt sorry for the Titans. The Bills and Jets and Jags only had to prepare for one formation that we’d run at them all day long. But then the poor Titans expect the same thing, and ooops, sorry. We crossed them up. Imagine that!
The offensive line played admirably, and there were times, when xtra TEs and RBs stayed in to block. You saw the results. Tannehill had more time, and it showed.
It wasn’t just Campbell’s inspiration and mentality that helped the team. It was his decisions.
Dan Campbell was not afraid to mix it up. Billy Turner wasn’t learning much on the bench. He wasn’t getting better. So Campbell thrust him into a starting role to see how the kid would do, and he rewarded his coach.
He changed formations and he benched ineffective players. We scored 38 points with no help from Greg Jennings and Davante Parker. When guys don’t help, they need to sit. Joe Philbin never understood that. Campbell does.
To his credit, Greg Jennings is a team player. Three different times I saw him on the sideline, into the game and excitedly congratulating a teammate who did well. I liked seeing that.