Positive and Negatives of the Dolphins Win vs. the San Francisco 49ers

Well, the good thing is that we won.  Six games in a row is quite a feat, and somehow the Dolphins are in the playoff hunt again.   Our offense scored its most points of the year, and the defense had a couple of nice turnovers.   But, man!   That’s about all the positives I can point out at this point, and that makes it scary.

First of all, as I pointed out all week, the 49ers are among the worst teams in NFL history.  There’s not a single player on either side of the ball who you want on your fantasy team, and certainly not a single player who will be anywhere near the Pro Bowl this year.   They truly are that bad.  And yet, they took us to the brink of defeat.  For several unforgivable reasons (see below), we could not put this ragtag j.v. team away.

For the third straight week, the Dolphins fell behind early.  We opened with Gase’s typical pass-run-pass-punt opening, like he tries every week as if it’s a Russian chess match and we have to calculate the same opening every single game.  Three and out to start the game.   Zero enthusiasm.  Zero umph.  Zero passion.  Three and out.   Next came another shitty punt by Matt Darr (it is seriously time to bring in someone to push this guy or better yet, take his job.  He averaged just over 40 yards per punt again today).  Colin Kaepernick took the field, and the Dolphin fans showed far more hatred of Colin than the Dolphin defenders did.   Miami couldn’t and didn’t stop him once.  I’ll give him credit for running gorgeous read-option keepers that fooled me and the cameramen all day long.  The Dolphins had no answers as Kaeprnick ran at will for over 100 yards.

A quarterback.  Rushing the ball.  100+ yards.  Disgusting.  But that’s what happens when an intelligent playcaller like Chip Kelly calls rushing plays for his quarterback. (hint hint, Mr., Gase).

We finally got it going when Gase decided to mix up his playcalling.   He kept the 49ers off balance and the offense played well.  But the defense was never confident, all day long.  San Fran drove back down and was poised to tie the score again, but the tight end fumbled, and we got the ball back.   The Niners made a huge mistake at the perfect time that we needed it.

By the 4th quarter, we were up 17 points, and this game had the feel of a laugher.   But Adam Gase wanted to keep it close apparently.  Instead of pounding the ball down their throats to run down the clock on our 3 separate 4th-quarter possessions, Gase kept calling medium-range pass plays.   Each one failed.  And each one stopped the clock.  I don’t mind a conservative pass to ice the game, but at least roll out Tannehill and try that flat route to Dominique Gray.  It was working all day long, but Gase abandoned it.

Instead, he called looping fade routes that we’re not good at.  They were terrible calls.   Fox Sports sent their D-team to cover the game, and even those bottom-of-the-barrel misfits were saying that Gase was making poor play calls in the fourth quarter.

These same no-names were smart enough to point out that you do NOT ask Cameron Wake to drop back into coverage as a cornerback when it’s 4th and 11 with the game on the line.   It was among the worst defensive play calls we’ve seen all year.

Good thing the refs did NOT see Suh's blatant facemasking on the final play.
Good thing the refs did NOT see Suh’s blatant facemasking on the final play.

On the final play of the game, Suh dragged down Kaepernick by his facemask, and by some miracle, none of the refs saw it.   If they did call it, we probably lose the game in overtime.  Or if Celek didn’t fumble the ball, we would have lost in regulation.  It was that close.   That close, against an awful team.

Onto DeVante Parker, who has the worst fundamentals and technique of any WR I’ve studied in years.  He is a liability, and this was made evident when he was injured:  his replacement came in and immediately caught a touchdown pass.   Last week in the Ram game, Parker caused Tannehill’s interception by jumping for a ball 3 yards too soon instead of running under it.   Today, he did the same thing at least twice that I saw, maybe more.

Then there were his two “catches” that were easily overturned.  In BOTH cases, he went up and grabbed the ball…but that’s only half the battle.  BOTH times, as he was falling, he allowed his hand to hit out of bounds before this feet/knee/butt came down.   All he had to do was raise his hand, and he makes both catches.   He was too worried about landing too hard and trying to brace himself with his hand.  Give up your damn body, man!  Land on your feet or drag a knee.  Don’t worry about softening the blow with your precious little hand.

On the third-to-last play of the game, the 49er receiver showed Parker how it was done, originally called out of bounds, it was reversed to become a clean catch, which was the right call.   The sad part is that Byron Maxwell was all over that WR and gave him a friendly tap, THINKING that he was gonna land out of bounds.   Maxwell should have shoved him out while he was in mid air.   It really was an atrocious play by Maxwell on a day when he otherwise played good ball.

Right before Kenny Stills caught his 43-yard TD pass, he was signalling to Tannehill to throw it to him.   Here is the play in question:

Check out Stills on the bottom of the screen.
Check out Stills on the bottom of the screen.

I don’t remember seeing such great QB-WR communication since the Marino days.   I loved it.

Congrats to Leonte Caroo for his first-ever reception and touchdown.  It was great to watch.   I called it as soon as he entered the game for Parker.  He was about to show Parker how it’s done, and he did!

Also congrats to our three substitute offensive linemen.  They did great under pressure, and it certainly wasn’t their fault that the 49ers creeped back into the game (ahem, Mr. Gase).

Kiko Alonso should be in the Pro Bowl mix.   He’s playing so damn well.   At the same time, unfortunately, Jelani Jenkins can’t do anything right.  His coverage is slow and his run support is weak.   He is constantly out of place or missing tackles.   Can we please start to initiate Mike Hull and Zach Vigil into the rotation?   Can they be any worse than Jenkins?

Darren Rizzi’s troops continue to scare the hell out of us.  When we knew an onside kick was coming, we were entirely unprepared.  Kenyan Drake muffed the ball that was right in his hands.   Luckily, Damien Williams (who is no genius himself when it comes to kick returns) had to dive on the ball.   A disaster was averted, but boy!   The Niners came close.   Then there was the time that Walt Aiken and Bobby McCain decided to crash into each other and not down a punt inside the 5 yard line.   Doesn’t Rizzi practice with these guys?

So we beat 6 teams in a row, and that is great news.   The bad part is that all 6 are mediocre at best, and some are borderline awful.   We got no help at all when the Jets (who led New England virtually all game long) decided to choke in the last 2 minutes.    Next up is first-place Baltimore, and they are a lot better team than San Fran and the Rams combined.   It’s a winnable game, for sure, but it won’t be easy.  Then again, no Dolphin win ever is.

 

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28 Comments

  1. Bottom line is that they won the game. Give kap some credit he played well looked like the old kap that helped take them to a bowl. I like being objective but you have to look at the positive plays too. Parker stretched out to make a few nice catches he’s still figuring it out but he’s improving. Tanny played pretty good considering his oline was injured and they couldn’t run. The good news is that they didn’t play great but still won the game. The niners will win some games this year playing like this they hung with the pats last week too. Good teams find a way to win why bitch?

  2. Even I wouldn’t punt from the other team’s 35 yard line.

  3. At least they got the win. Way to close though wouldn’t it be nice to just blow a team out once in awhile? But in no way is chip Kelly better at play calling than Adam gase. Dude destroyed a decent Eagles team and is now 1-10 with the 49ers, prolly my least favorite coach in the NFL

    1. Yea somehow Chip Kelly is a better play caller who destroyed the eagles and will probably lose his job this year too. But Adam Gase has a winning record with a team that no one thought would win more than 5 games but he’s a bad decision maker and play caller. He might not win like we want but I’d rather play bad and win then play well and lose.

      1. Author

        Well, my point about Chip Kelly is that he knows what works and sticks with it. We couldn’t stop Kaepernick all day long, so did Kelly start calling complicated plays? No! He called the same read option repeatedly, and it worked repeatedly. It’s truly that simple. Gase doesn’t quite have that down yet. We had three chances to put the game away in the 4th quarter, and three times Gase failed. Ajayi’s runs up the middle simply were not working, and Gase called it anyway. The flat passes to Marquis Gray WERE working, and Gase never called it in the 4th Q. On Ajayi’s touchdown run, they ran a pitch-left and it worked beautifully. Ajayi is at his best when he’s outside of the tackle box, and that pitch play was wonderful. It was so wonderful that Gase never called it again. Why not!? Why keep running up the middle for no gain when the other running plays were successful?

        1. Sorry but I think that well was dry by the 4th qtr. The pitch left and naked rollout combo got us a lot of mileage but you could see on that the 49ers were sniffing it out by the end of the game.

          I do agree though about going with what is working. Tannehill was tossing nice passes all day. If anything Gase let the 49ers get back in this by calling the game not to lose for a whole quarter. We see this all the time in football. It worked in our favor last week against the Rams and this week it almost worked against us.
          Hopefully Gase learned something. Up 17 with a full quarter to play and lackluster defense…….keep trying to score!

  4. We would have killed them if we could run the ball. Would have won by at least 14 points. We need our umbrella back. Made the 9ers shitty banged up 2nd team run D look like GODS. THill had to run out of pocket with our max protection and got killed on roll outs. Miami is a totally different team without starting OL

    1. Well when you are missing 60% of your OLine you expect things to be a little messy, especially when it’s your best 3 out of the 5 starters.

      I would still take it over being 80% healthy and having Dallas Thomas or Billy Turner as your other starter. Those guys were awful to the point that I think they may have been taking Vegas action.

  5. Does DeVante Parkers talent outweigh his penchant for injury? This kid is always hurt. This time his back “locked up.” I’m sure players go on the field each Sunday with an injury of some kind, but, I’m beginning to think he’s a pansy.

    1. Author

      I think DeVante Parker sees guys like Mike Pouncey and Branden Albert play through the pain, and so he plays through the pain as well. Oh, wait a minute….

    2. He is a p***y as Trump would say! Drafted far too high and has paid nearly ZERO dividends. Time to man up and actually earn your paychecks.

      1. Hold on guys. I agree some of the ctiticisms are valid. But did you already forget how he did against the Rams? Hes still developing.

        1. Author

          I remember three plays against the Rams. One was when he mistimed his leap and caused the interception. Second was toward the end when he caught a ball in stride and then couldn’t shake the last remaining defender or break a tackle. A nice long reception, but I wanted more! Third was his nice touchdown catch on a ball that wasn’t thrown perfectly, so I’ll give him credit there.

          1. He is way to injury prone but the talent is there. I’d give him another 2 years to figure it out if not then just don’t re sign him

            1. If i recall he also made some critical 3rd down catches to keep the game winning drive alive. Hes coming along i have faith in him.

  6. Rest of the schedule is tough, Ravens, bills and pats are all games Miami could easily lose. Gonna need the oline to be at full strength for these games

    1. Honestly we will probably beat the pats but then lose to the jets cause that’s what Dolphins do

      1. Doubtful we’ll beat the Pats again after the loss last season cost them home field advantage throughout the playoffs and eventually the SB. Many say they will rest some starters but if the home field advantage is still on the line in game 16, I doubt it. (But I hope so).

    2. Author

      Agreed. A few weeks ago, all the articles were stating what an easy schedule we have and how only N.E. had a winning record. Now suddenly Baltimore is winning and is in first place. The Bills also have a winning record and are breathing down our necks. The Cardinals are still formidable, although no one knows what happened to them this year. And of course the Jets are the Jets and always seem to play us tough, especially up in Jersey.

      1. Yea if Miami wants to make the playoffs there gonna have to beat other teams that are within 1 game of them. For some reason so many teams this year are right around 7-4 and 6-5 it’s prolly gonna take 4-1 in the last 5 games to make it.

      2. BTW,tickets are dirt-cheap for that game in the Meadowlands. Tons available.

  7. I thinks this week was a little of an anomaly in that Kap brings a style that is hard to prepare for. It forced our strength on defense to abandon what they do best and that is push the pocket backward and disrupt the QB’s timing. Kap has no timing and only either looks for quick slants of runs. The good news is that none of our remaining opponents have this type of QB (maybe Buffalo).

    1. Author

      Good points. Next up is Joe Flacco, who looks fast and shifty, but he tends to sit in the pocket do or die. You’re right, and we defend better about that type of guy. Sunday’s game is the biggest Dolphins games in years. It will tell us a lot about our team.

  8. So we’ll probably be missing a lot of our O line. and the Ravens have te best Run defense in the league right now and the 6th best pass defense.

  9. Author

    True. But the good thing is that the Bills and the Jets and the Rams and the Steelers all had Top-5 defenses too that were supposed to destroy us, and each time we found a way. Hopefully we’ll get at least Tunsil back. I don’t know why Albert can’t play with a cast on his wrist. He said that he can’t grip anything…but that is a GOOD thing for an O-lineman so he can’t hold anyone.

    1. Hopefully Albert will get his ass out there having him and Tunsil would be huge for the run game. Parker as well although I like Carroo.

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