Boy, it’s been a long time since I was able to write about a Dolphin playoff game. And although the Dolphins have little chance of winning 4 games in a row against elite opponents, it certainly can be done.
I see the Dolphins’ path to playoff success as pretty simple actually. The main thing is for the offense to show up and play consistently. The playmakers are there. They are healthy. The offensive side of the ball was not decimated by injury like the defense was. Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, Jay Ajayi and others have all contributed from key positions, to the point where defenses cannot key on any one man.
The main thing to overcome and to avoid is Adam Gase’s crappy play-calling. You guys know my opinion about this, and it has not changed. Gase gives up on the run far too early. He has zero trickery or mis-direction in the playbook. He benches Ajayi on every single third down, no matter how short or long. He doesn’t use his tight ends enough. He designs plays that gain 4 yards when we need 5, or that gain 5 yards when we need six. I can remember ZERO quarterback sneaks this entire year. He runs the same bubble screen to Landry several times per game, and several times per game he fails.
And then, to make matters worse, after calling crappy play after crappy play, he blames the execution of the players. Yes, of course the players blow assignments. Of course bad things happen. Of course it’s Damien Williams’ fault that Damien Williams fumbled the last game away. But it’s Adam Gase’s fault for having Damien Williams on the field. It’s Adam Gase’s fault for benching Jay Ajayi at the most crucial point of the year. It’s Adam Gase’s fault for calling that screen pass to Williams when there were three defenders ready to stop him short. You get the point.
The offense doesn’t need to play better. They’re already capable of putting up 30+ per game. They just need to do it consistently.
The defense, on the other hand, needs to play better. The Dolphins did virtually nothing to disrupt Tom Brady, and we all saw the result. We saw Brady take his time and throw passes, and we saw Brady take his time and actually rush the ball himself. He’s among the worst runners ever, and he zig-zagged through our defense for an important first down as if we had no defense at all. That has to stop. We can’t stop an offense every single down, every single series. But we have to show some kind of resolve. Going back to the Bills game, our defense did not force a punt for 14 straight series (except for the one Bills punt in overtime). THAT is a brutal statistic.
And how about a turnover please? How about seeing more of Mike Hull? Anything is better than what we’ve gotten the past few weeks.
So if the defense steps it up a bit and holds Pittsburgh to a respectable score of like 24-or-under, then we’ll have a chance. I’d like the offense to just forget about the Patriots game and start anew, with their goal being the 30+ points there were scoring in other December games. Then we have a chance.