Dolphins Fall to a crap Cellar-Dweller Team

This one hurts.

All week long, I warned against a let down, and boy did it come!  A 3-6 team with a bust at QB (who’s playing with sore ribs and a shaky knee).  They’re missing their one and only decent defensive player in Von Miller.  They’re on a terrible skid and playing with zero confidence, having lost recently to the lowly Falcons, among other teams.  Did I mention how bad Drew Lock is?

Despite all that…

The Dolphins offense started off slowly and never recovered.  Tua’s first two passes were overthrown when he had Jakeem Grant wide open down the left sideline…twice.

The O line was nonexistent today.  Six sacks is unacceptable.  No running lanes to speak of as well.   A few nice plays sprinkled in there, but nothing was enough.

Tua played horribly, and his incorrect decision-making really hurt the Dolphins.  There were at least a dozen plays where he could have tucked the ball away and sprinted ahead for a first down.   Instead, he tried spinning away, and just bumped into more and more Broncos.

When he was able to rarely escape, he jogged right or left…still looking for receivers.  buying time with his arm cocked to throw it.  On occasion, he found someone for a short gain.  But usually he was just flushed out wide and threw incompletions.   This will be corrected with experience.   But when the running lane is there, you have to take it.  Josh Allen does it.  Certainly Russell Wilson, DeShaun Watson, and Lemar Jackson do it.

Don’t try to buy time and settle for two-yard dumps to Malcom Perry.  Instead, burst past the defense and slide for a first down.

Hell, even Fitzpatrick did it.    Fitz rushed for a first down on one play and on another, he got hit for a penalty.   He was barely in the game, and he got two first downs, simply because he tucked the ball away and ran.   He didn’t try to perform miracles.  He barely played a quarter, but his play was more meaningful than anything Tua did all day unfortunately.

On a day when Brian Flores was outcoached and outclassed, the only smart decision he made was to bench Tua.   We needed a spark.  It’s not permanent, and you go right back to Tua next week.  But mid-game, Flores made the right call.   I wish he did it earlier myself, and in our live gameday chat, I was calling for it. It’s a spark for the team, not a punishment for Tua.

As bad as the defense was, they only gave up 20 points.  Xavien’s deep interception gave us 7 points, which means the offense only got 6 points on their own.  A disgusting showing.  Tua stunk up the joint, and Chan Gailey’s blocking schemes contributed.  During the week, I wrote several times about how Gailey was excelling at pass protection, running many many plays with extra blockers.  Today, there was none of that.  5-wideout sets all day long.  That left only 5 blockers in, and Denver had a field day.  Gailey tampered with success and it cost us badly.

Tua’s inexperience was mostly to blame though.   Denver ran the same defense when Fitz came in, but Fitz escaped the rush every single time.   That comes with experience, and I can’t emphasize that enough.   Tua MUST comprehend that, and soon.  He needs to STEP UP (like Fitz excels at) instead of spinning right and left.  Forward, son, forward.

Now for the defense…

Our running D has been bad all year, but today seemed like the worst.  We couldn’t stop the most basic plays that Denver ran, and yet they only gave up 20 points.   The team remains mum on Christian Wilkins, but it’s becoming evident that he is sorely missed.  The Chargers ran easily against us last week too.

On the game’s first series, we ran our confusing cover-zero D.  Denver missed their first 6 passes.   Then–for some odd reason–we switched to a base defense, and the Broncos destroyed us.  Again, we tampered with what was working perfectly, and you saw the results.

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14 Comments

  1. Don’t know if I agree. They run their a better offense with Fitz. This gets guys open downfield and this is our strength. It’s obvious they can’t run this with Tua. Tua was a one read QB out of college and that’s what it looked like today. He has yet to put up even 1 game that Herbert does weekly. I hope I am wrong but Herbert looks like a future league leader, Tua looks like a 5 year project that ends in a Mediocrity at best.

  2. Author

    You have a fair point about the one read, and that is what killed him Sunday. He wanted the prime receiver to be open, and kept waiting and buying time. He did not simply look elsewhere, nor did he try to run for yardage. Saying the NFL is easy will never come from his mouth again. Hope it’s behind him now.
    You’re also spot-in about Herbert. It’s a fact; he’s putting up 300-400 yard games each week. I’m still pleased with 3-1 Tua for now though

  3. Author

    Also, the Patriots’ utter choke yesterday cost us dearly in the 2021 draft. Houston could have been 2-8 and set up for the #3 overall pick. But because New England played like a bunch of children, Houston moved to 3-7 and now sits 9th in the draft. That is 6 big steps, plus Houston has some easy opponents upcoming.

  4. ADMIN, this is Phil.. hope you’re doing fine. I agree with everything you said. However, even though Tua (most of the time) looked lost, the blocking also was just atrocious. Now, with all that said, the Dolphins still had a chance to win the game. All Fitz had to do was get a first down when he got the Dolphins inside the Broncos 35.. he had time. For the life of me I don’t understand why Fitz tried to fit a pass into the end zone to Parker when he was tightly covered by two defenders. I’ve seen some teams who appear to be powerhouses (like the Steelers for instance) play the whole game shoddy and they somehow get themselves together and overcome their mistakes in last two minutes to get the win.

    I hope Flores over go film of the game against the Broncos over an over and over because giving away a winnable game like that shouldn’t be tolerated again.

    1. Author

      Phil, welcome back!
      You read my mind about Fitz hurrying too much, and I was going to write that today. We had over a minute left and two timeouts. We should have been in that mode to use up clock so that after we score, we don’t leave Denver any time. However, Fitz was operating too fast. We were down 7 and in mid Denver territory. A first down was all we needed. Moving the chains, in that scenario, was the right move. Not a long endzone pass. Fitz was hurrying as if we were down 24 points!
      You’re right about the garbage line play, but my point is that the Broncos rushed Fitz the same way they rushed Tua. Fitz did not get sacked once. He knows how to step UP into a pocket, instead of side-to-side. If your line is playing poorly, an experienced QB can adjust like Fitz, but Tua still needs time to learn that. It comes with experience and development. He’ll get there.

      1. I understand Fitz got experience, but that end zone inception he threw was just deflating, and a pass that a quarterback with his experience should not have attempted. With a snafu like that, we all saw why Fitz will and never has been the QB that’ll take a team to the promised land.

  5. Author

    Lots and Lots of incorrect blaming today.
    The first scapegoat has been Chan Gailey. As much as I disliked his hiring, he has settled in and produced an efficient offense. I’m not going to judge him by one loss yesterday. Plus, I cannot think of a single play call that was upsetting….other than too many 5-WR sets.
    The second fallacy is that Tua was responsible for his own sacks because he held onto the ball too long. This is only partially true. He got sacked because he tried escaping by running left and right. He should have simply ran forward for first downs. In short, he was trying too hard.

  6. Here’s a good article the receivers were also to blame here:

    https://dolphinswire.usatoday.com/2020/11/23/one-stat-reveals-root-of-week-11-troubles-for-dolphins-tua-tagovailoa/

    Speaking of trying too hard would we rather do to Tua what cinci did to Burrow? Both of these guys are gamers and will hold on too long if put in that position. Its in their nature. They dropped Burrow back to pass almost every down and now he’s gone for the year. Remember gase with Tanny same thing? After seeing Tua sacked 6 times I think Flo smartly said enough. He will see video and hopefully learn. He’s still gun shy doesn’t want to throw a pick and is eating the ball. When the Fins are ahead and playing good D we don’t want him tossing it up for grabs like Fitz but when losing you have no choice but to try. Fitz due to this is a pretty good change of pace although he fell short this week.

    1. I agree with Admin about the benching. Needed the spark, worked well for a few minutes, and now back to normal (Tua is the starter).
      There were many many games where Tannehill struggled, and I would scream for Matt Moore to come in. Not permanently, but just to light a fire under the team. Gase and Philbin never did it. Like a starting pitcher getting shelled, sometimes you need to relieve someone. Flores saw that and made the tough call.

  7. This was first game for Tua where Offensive line could not hold three or four rushers. Not many rookie QB’s do well in that scenario.
    Maybe Tue is height challenged
    How tall is Tua, really? he is listed at 6′ but he looks shorter than that

  8. Author

    By the way, this is a moot point, and I doubt the refs would be brave enough to make the correct call, but here is how the final interception unfolded.
    The Bronco stepped in front of Parker and intercepted the ball in the end zone. He was not touched after the catch was complete. He stood up and walked out of the endzone in jubilation. At this point, he was not down ! He then was mobbed by his teammates, and they went behind the endzone to do their celebration. That is a safety. He caught the ball, left the endzone, and then ran back in and behind the endzone.
    Also, a Dolphin could have stripped the ball from him and it would be our ball again.
    I’m curious how the refs would have viewed this, but he clearly got up after making the interception, and it was a live ball.

    1. They probably assumed that he gave himself up and a whistle blew otherwise you would be correct.

  9. Matthew Stafford is a garbage player. He single handed just hurt our draft choice in 2021

    1. Lions look like they want to blow the game but in reality they are trying to win. They are just that bad. Glad we have Flo over the rocket scientist Patricia. I’d like to stick his pencil where the sun doesn’t shine.. .

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