There isn’t much good to discuss here today as I sat down to torture myself by re-watching the game for my analysis. Atlanta has Matty Ice, and the Dolphins have Icy Matt, because Matt Moore played like he had icy hands, legs, and brains.
However, I will say that the one area where we outplayed the Steelers was on special teams. We kept pinning them back inside their own 10 or 15-yardline consistently. We pulled off a fake punt for the first time since I can remember. Kenyan Drake had some outstanding returns.
The brightest spot of the day belonged to Andrew Franks. After I chastised him a lot this season, he stepped up his game, He hit a HUGE game winner against the Cardinals at the end of regulation. That was his first-ever game-deciding kick, and he nailed it. Then he hit a ginormous 55-yarder in frigid Buffalo to tie the game, and another to win it that same game. Yesterday, in the swirling cold winds of that hole of a city they call Pittsburgh, he hit a 47-yarder. All clutch. The guy turned to money in December, and this is something to look forward to.
As much as I give Damien Williams credit for a nice touchdown reception, and as much praise as he seems to get, I can see this being his last game as a Dolphin. His fumble against the Patriots last week wasn’t as damaging as the three Icy Matt giveaways, but they hurt. Damien is a throwback to the 1990s when teams used a designated third-down back, but such a role isn’t needed on a team when you already have exciting backs like Kenyan Drake and Jay Ajayi.
On one of our many many 3rd-and-4’s yesterday, I noticed that Adam Gase FINALLY left Ajayi in the game. He even called for a handoff to Ajayi. It did not work, but I commend the effort for once. If Gase keeps using Ajayi on third down, we’ll pick up a lot more conversions.
On the play where Icy Matt got his head taken off by a high, illegal, late hit, something that was lost was that the pass hit Jarvis Landry in the numbers, and Jarvis blew it. Also lost was the huge mistake by Ajayi to commit a push that resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike call, setting up a first-and-25 from the Steeler 30, instead of first-and-10 from the 15. THAT was a huge penalty that sort of slipped by the announcers. It seems that very week, some Dolphin commits a douchebag unsportsmanlike penalty, and Gase cannot get this cleaned up. He must. No late hits. No ghetto dancing. No throwing your equipment.
Speaking of the announcers, the game ran approximately 3 hours long. Simms and Nance talked about yesterday’s game for about 10 minutes, and they talked about our previous Week 6 Steeler-Dolphin game for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Seriously, did you guys know that we played the Steelers earlier in the year and that the Steelers had some injuries at the time? I couldn’t tell, because the announcers hardly ever mentioned it. Uhhh, yeah, right.
The Dolphins lost by 18, and yet their score was closer than either NFC score, where the point differentials were 20 and 25. If only the seedings were skewed just a little more, we could have gotten easy wins vs. either Oakland or Houston. Just the luck of the draw that we got stuck in Pittsburgh. In 1972, the Dolphinsn were undefeated, but he had to travel to Pittsburgh to play the AFC Championship there. In 2017, we won the head-to-head matchup with Pittsburgh, but had to travel to Pittsburgh as well.