With about 10 minutes left to play in the second quarter, the Dolphins offense scored a touchdown. It would be their last offensive touchdown of the day.
Adam Gase had just watched Jay Ajayi shake off a rough start against a formidable Jets run defense and score on a gorgeous 20-yard touchdown run on our first drive. Gase then watched Ajayi and Damien Williams rush down the field again. He watched Ryan Tannehill hit Williams on a nice, floating fade pass. He watched Tannehill execute a quick dropback and then immediately fire it to Dominique Jones for our second touchdown. When was the last time Miami scored two touchdowns on its first two drives?
Apparently, Gase didn’t like all the success, because he immediately changed things and never went back.
After Jones’ touchdown, Gase started call plays like it was September again.
Tannehill was dropping back 7 full steps again. He stayed right in the middle of the pocket. Gase stopped calling rollouts. He stopped calling quick passes. He stopped calling options of any kind. He benched Ajayi at the end of the first half. Instead, he decided to repeatedly call deep-dropback passes, and the offense didn’t score again. And he went back to the steady over-use of 5-wide formations.
Again, because rushing the ball and rollouts and Jay Ajayi and bootlegs were all so unsuccessful for us the last two weeks.
As I always say, this is not rocket science. If a play works, stick with it. If a play gets us in trouble, then avoid it. Gase finally used this common sense approach the last two weeks, and he saw the dividends, as we got two wins.
So it’s baffling and frustrating to suffer through a game where he abandoned that philosophy 5 minutes into the second quarter.
Why did he bench Ajayi right before halftime when we had the ball around midfield? Why did Gase thumb his nose at successful logic and start calling plays that doom us to failure?
And make NO MISTAKE: the Dolphins’ offense failed today.
If not for 2 horrendous interceptions thrown by Ryan Fitzpatrick (Thanks, Ry!) and a wonderful kickoff return for a touchdown, then Gase’s stubborn mistakes would have cost us the game. Jordan Phillips of all people comes up with a pick, and we start a drive deep in Jets’ land. 3 and out. Not just a 3-and out, but a miracle that the Jets didn’t score on the Pick-6 that Tannehill tossed right to a Jets DB. We should have lost this game, and are extremely lucky to come out with a win. The offense didn’t play well enough to win, and that falls on Gase’s play calling.
It didn’t take long to see the old Ryan Tannehill again. Yes, he is moving around in the pocket better, but he shouldn’t be in the pocket to begin with.
On this play I’m talking about that shoulda been the pick-6, it called for Tannehill to drop back seven strides, stay in the middle of the pocket, spin around, and quickly throw a one-yard screen pass. Because Jay Ajayi had been such an immense failure the past two weeks, Gase decided to call this play. Because Tannehill sitting in the pocket always works out so great for us, Gase decided to call just that. It’s dizzying trying to figure out why Gase doesn’t use the effective plays instead of the garbage he called after the second quarter.
A little later in the game we faced a 3rd and one with a chance to ice the game. Thinking that Jay Ajayi isn’t good enough apparently, Gase called a straight 7-yard dropback pass. Tannehill threw a pass to Jones that was either going to be incomplete, or else caught and then Jones tackled immediately without getting the first down. Horrible execution of an even worse play call. Miraculously, the Jets linebacker Julian Stanford tackled him before the ball was there, and Gase was bailed out again.
One of our field goals was forced because on third and short, Gase called a 5-wide alignment and then tried a short pass…again after making Tannehill drop back 10 yards.
As we discussed in our chat room, a QB needs to be effective from inside the pocket after a normal dropback. But not every play. And not when sooooo many other plays are yielding such incredible results. Can’t figure out why Gase is too stupid to go back to the effective stuff.
The Dolphins have certainly lost their share of games they shoulda won, but this is definitely a game we won that we shoulda lost. Adam Gase reverting back to the predictable garbage plays that got us into a 1-4 hole is a very scary concept. I’m sure most Dolfans are happy with the result, but I’m furious at how we got there.
Except for a few more stupid penalties, our defense manned up today and was able to overcome all of Adam Gase’s incorrect decisions. Congrats to Bobby McCain and Phillips for each’s first career interceptions.
By the way, It’s time to bring in a few punters for tryouts. Matt Darr has been costing us field positions battles all year. Something’s wrong with his concentration or something else is up this year. I can’t remember a guy fumbling twice on the same play, but Darr now has that dubious distinction.
And yet somehow, despite that disastrous play and despite Gase calling awful plays, the Dolphins persevered.