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.