Dolphins Hang Tough But Lose on A few Bad Plays: How did this happen?

This was a game that seemed close for a while, then seemed like a Seattle blowout, then felt close again, then a blowout.   Back and forth.  For the most part, the Dolphins hung tough and played well, but the game was ultimately decided but a few key factors:

  • Early on, Brian Flores did not challenge a legal pass by Ryan Fitzpatrick that the refs said was illegal.  Flores might be a good defensive instructor, but he is the HEAD COACH now and must govern ALL aspects of the game.  He needs to become a smarter leader, not just a guy who “the players want to play for.”  His incorrect management there cost us a drive while we were moving the ball.   He cannot simply manage the defense while Bill Belichick makes the other decisions.   That was in New England.  That ended last year, but Flores is still making mistakes.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick was off all game.  Poor throws behind his men all day long.  Even when he completed passes, he was taking huge risks and throwing into tiny holes.  He was lucky.
  • Chan Gailey called a horrid game.  We faced third-and-three or third-and-2 numerous times during the game, and almost every time, Gailey went with deep routes and gave Fitzpatrick no check down.   When we ran short slants, they worked.  So why on earth would Gailey stop calling those?   No disrespect to Isaiah Ford, but down the stretch, we needed to target Gesicki.  Instead, Gailey kept calling plays designed for Ford.  It didn’t work.  We did Seattle a favor by ignoring Gesicki.  I have no idea what Gailey was thinking.  We ran a cool play with Lynn Bowden in wildcat, and he got 5 easy yards.   Gailey failed to go back to it.   Reverses or pitches to Jakeem Grant?  Zero.
  • Noah Igbinoghene continues to give up huge plays.  Blowing a coverage with ten seconds left in the first half was a back breaker.  But besides that, we’re seeing his speed is not as good as people thought. He doesn’t close on the ball on slant patterns.  There is still plenty of time, and he’s brand new.  But so far, the fundamentals are not aligning with the hype.

So…some better leadership from Flores, smarter calls from Gailey, and better reliability from Igbinoghene will really help.

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  1. The team seems to be gelling quicker this season for sure. O line is protecting for the most part, defense is playing better. Gotta give props to former diva Devante Parker! He is playing with tenacity, catching everything thrown his way, and playing through minor injuries that would have sidelined him for weeks! I’m glad we resigned him! And how about having a reliable kicker now! Saunders hasn’t missed yet!

    1. Author

      Yes, very impressed with Parker playing hurt, and also his tenacity in general. Fighting for balls, out-jumping defenders, and actually squeezing passes into his arms…all of which he didn’t do his first few years. 23 points is more than double what we put up in week 1, so the offense is doing well in a rebuilding year.

  2. Author

    Armando at the Herald lambasted Flores kicking a FG when we were down 17-12 with 8 minutes left facing 4th and 5 in the red zone. Armando is wrong. Flores was right. The FG made it 17-15, and our D was playing well. Flores asked his D to make one more stop, and then we get the ball back and go kick another FG to win the game. It was reasonable.
    Armando wanted us to go for the TD and maybe go up 19-17. Possibly. Then you STILL need your D to stop Seattle. Either way–a sure FG or an iffy try for a TD–our D needed one more stand, and they couldn’t do it. No shame in losing to Wilson, and our D tried to keep us in it.
    Flores made horrible decisions during the game, but drawing your team to within 2 points with eight minutes left was a smart move.

  3. I agree with the decision to kick that last field goal. Although the defense did give up some big plays (ahem Noah Igbinoghene), the D also made some big stops, including that sack of Wilson on their 4th down attempt in Dolphin territory. So it was not wishful thinking to expect dolphins to make another big stop.

    1. Author

      Yep. A couple of bad decisions earlier, plus Chan Gailey being lost, hurt more than anything.

  4. All in all, I can’t feel TOO bad about this game. Seattle is unquestionably a better team with the early favorite for the MVP at QB and we hung on there and probably could have won with the difference really being just a handful of plays.

    The Flores call (or lack of it) was close enough that he probably should have challenged…. but it was also close enough I can understand why he chose not to…. I think he’ll get better at that kind of game management.

    I have no idea why we’re not utilizing Gesicki more, he is a matchup nightmare for most teams and we are just not targeting him nearly enough. That is VERY frustrating…. especially when our receivers not named Parker are just garbage. That might seem harsh but I think this game illustrated it very well. Seattle’s defense is horrible against the pass, had secondary guys injured…. and we still looked very pedestrian forcing Fitzpatrick to force throws he really shouldn’t have.

    I hated the Noah pick when it was made… not because I have anything against the guy but when you’re paying Byron and X what we are paying them we didn’t need to “reach” on another CB. That being said I really hope this trial by fire helps him to prove me wrong over time.

    Bottom line we know we’re not ready to be an elite team so when we play elite teams it’s not a shock that we are losing but I like that we are fighting and keeping it close and showing signs that things are moving in the right direction overall.

  5. I’m not going to dump on Iggy if Jones wasn’t out he wouldn’t be on the top receivers. He would be eased into the equation. Also with Jones out it sure makes more sense that they took a CB. You really can’t have enough of them!

    I see Taco cut by two teams with no pass rush and somehow he’s causing forced fumbles for the super bowl champs now….how does that happen?

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