The turning point of this game came very early, and no one mentioned it after it happened. After the Dolphins’ first three and out, we punted, and the Patriots muffed it. Two Dolphins were nearby, and their effort to grab the ball was nonchalant. Meanwhile, the Pat who muffed the punt and the other guy who got pushed into him, both went all out to recover the ball. The team that tried harder–indeed the team that wanted it more–got the ball. You can’t teach that kind of effort and awareness…or can you?
There were other turning points too, but that one stuck out. Imagine the Dolphins getting all that momentum if they would have recovered the muff and had first and goal early on? Imagine the doubt (rather than confidence) that would have messed with Cam Newton if he took over down 7-0.
But alas, we didn’t recover that ball, nor did we recover any confidence.
Ryan Fitzpatrick really shocked me with a horrible game. He was off target all day long. He floated passes when he needed to drill them, and he tried to squeeze passes into nonexistent openings. His sideline routes were high all day long. His interceptions (albeit with help from the refs), were momentum-crushing disasters. He hurried all his passes, even when no one was near him. He often threw those 3-yard crossing routes when we needed 4. Nothing worked. If ever the team needed a spark and wanted to give the backup QB a chance, it was today. I don’t care if it’s Tua or Rosen or Cleo Lemon…Fitzpatrick didn’t have it today, and Flores needed to both recognize that and act on it. He did neither. Be strong enough to bench an ineffective player and give someone else a chance. Fitz showed nothing.
You know who else didn’t have it?…ALL our new guys. ALL the high-priced free agents and ALL the vaunted rookies. NO ONE stepped up. Newbies Flowers and Jones had costly penalties. No one else did anything special. That was very disappointing. A very vanilla defense couldn’t stop NE. The Pats fumbled in the end zone and missed a field goal, or else the score woulda been much much worse.
I liked the O-linemen’s pass blocking. They gave Fitz time for the most part, even though Fitz hurried every pass anyway, even when no one was nearby.
All in all, nothing looked real promising, but I’m going to hold onto Tony Romo’s thoughts about how they are still learning and will get better.
What do you think? Comment below.