The Miami Dolphins are once again the mediocre soul-swallowing suck monster we've come to know them as thanks to a 41-13 shellacking at the hands of division rival New England Patriots.
Ryan Tanehill was inconsistent (SHOCKING!), the offensive line terrible (NOOO), the defense abysmal (WHAAAT) and Joe Philbin clueless (YOU DON'T SAY).
And the end result is the Dolphins yet again missing the playoffs and yet again finishing a season being nothing more than a mediocre football team that can sometimes pull off a nice win, as long as the team they beat sucks more than they do.
Yet you really didn't have to watch the whole game to figure that out. In fact, you could have just ignored the entire regular season and still know just how mediocre this team is by simply watching the very first drive by the Dolphins offense.
Here's the 2014 Dolphins in a nutshell (or, the five plays of the first drive)
1.) 1st and 10: The Unbearable Lightness of Ryan Tannehill and His Deep-Balls
From the 20 yard line, the first play of the game called for Ryan Tannehill to hit Mike Wallace with a deep strike. It was a ballsy call, but one that would have punched the Patriots flush in the proverbial face and gotten the game off to an explosive start for Miami, had it accomplished what was intended. Wallace is not the greatest wide receiver, but he's got track star speed. And, if Tannehill had hit him in stride, Wallace would have taken it to the house for a quick-strike touchdown.
Instead, Tannehill continued to show is lack of consistency and accuracy with the deep pass. He under threw Wallace, who had to slow down and come back for the pass to make the catch. It was still a big gain that got the ball into New England territory. But, an NFL quarterback is supposed to make that pass play work to do what it was designed to do. It's not an easy play, by any stretch. But Tannehill has proven time and again that his deep passes look like ziplock bags filled with piss rather than a tight spiraling football.
The Dolphins would go on to call deep passes another eight times, as if to prove to Dolphins fans that they truly can't. "You see? This is why we don't do it! SATISFIED NOW??" Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor probably said.
After exploding on the Patriots vaunted secondary, the Dolphins decided to keep the petal down and attacked New England's defense in the air. Just kidding. They kept it conservative and ran the ball. Tannehill handed the ball to Lamar Miller who ran it up towards the right guard for a whopping one yard gain before getting stuffed.
So how do the Dolphins decide to keep attacking a defense that's been surprised and is on its heels? They decide to run it towards the right side of the offensive line where the worst of them, Dallas Thomas, is an alleged blocker.
And yet, this is not the worst play Bill Lazor calls on this drive. Oh no. The worst is yet to come.
Still, at the very least, the Dolphins continued a weird penchant for calling a specific play at the wrong time. That isn't to say they definitely should've thrown it here (though, how ballsy would it have been to keep attacking? The season is on the line. Time to try everything). But to call a running play towards the weakest part of an already crap offensive line was not the smartest plan.
3.) 2nd and 9: When Something Doesn't Work, Try It Again Because Why Not
So Lamar Miller, the team's starting running back can only get a yard on a pitch back play. What do you do? WHY, THE SAME EXACT PLAY! Ah but this time, you do it going the other way. Oh but that's not all! Where you used a running back running right, this time we'll use a wide receiver... wait for it.... running left. THEY'LL NEVER SEE IT COMING!
So that's what the Dolphins do. They run the ball. Again. With a receiver. Tannehill pitches the ball to Rishard Matthews, who runs left for a putrid 3 yard gain. He did get two more yards than Miller so, technically, the result was better.
But now the Dolphins, who have thrown one long pass and then decided to run it not once for minimal gain but, twice, for minimal gain, find themselves in a third down situation.
And what do they do?.....
.... THEY RUN THE FUCKING BALL AGAIN.
This time, Tannehill hands the ball off to Miller who runs it left and gains only three yards when he needed six.
And there you have it. Bill Lazor, a man lauded for his offensive innovation, who supposedly learned from Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, looks to fool the Patriots by running the ball a third time when the play clearly called for a pass. A real offensive wizard, this guy.
Of course, we've seen this movie before. Lazor has had his moments, but his play-calling has been erratic in every way. Not just the actual Xs and Os but the moments he's decided to do them. A run on 3rd and 6 when your team is clearly not running the ball well is exactly what Bill Belichick wouldn't expect! THEY'LL BE COMPLETELY OUTFOXED AND MYSTIFIED FROM OUR COMPLEX MAZE OF REVERSE THINKING!
Lazer wrecks his own team's chance at scoring an opening touchdown, and head coach Joe Philbin enables it.
So the Dolphins settle for a 41-yard field goal.5.) 4th and 3: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here
The Patriots proceed to block Caleb Sturgis' kick, which is then recovered by New England's Kyle Arrington, who scoops it up and sprints the other way for a 62-yard touchdown.
Game over after the first two and a half minutes of the game.
Sure, the Dolphins would go on to score a whopping 13 points for the game, but it's tough to win when you score 13 points and the other team scores 41. Some would say it's impossible, even.
And so there you have it. Everything that's wrong with the Dolphins in one single drive.
-A terrible long-pass from Tannehill that an NFL starting QB should be able to otherwise turn into a touchdown, followed by abysmal offensive line play, and atrocious play-calling and coaching, ending with a special teams fail with the Patriots blowing up our collective assholes.
The score was only 7-0 after two minutes, but the route was already on.
And the Dolphins, as has been the case for two decades now, are on their way to not making the playoffs and being a middling mediocre team.
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