Miami Dolphins: Five Things We Learned From Their Beatdown Over the Patriots
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
They did it. They actually friggin' did it!
The Miami Dolphins managed to overcome their own Dolphiningness and decimated the New England Patriots 33-20 to start the 2014 season with a bang.
Miami wrecked the haters in the face and took names as they sacked Tom Brady, forced turnovers, and -- WAIT FOR IT -- scored more touchdowns than field goals!
It was a glorious way to kick things off.
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Here's what we learned from the Dolphins' denting serious ass on Sunday:
After they opened things up with a blocked punt and touchdown, not much else went right for the Dolphins in the first half. Miami turned the ball over twice and couldn't get their rhythm offensively.
Ryan Tannehill was throwing footballs like they were live grenades with only seconds left before exploding, and his receivers were treating the football like it was a sponge dipped in horse piss.
Meanwhile, the Patriots came into the game 16-1 going into the second half with a 10-or-more points lead.
AND YET, the Dolphins still managed to fight through their mistakes by making halftime adjustments and not doing that thing where they play like refried ass.
After totally Dolphining the first half, Miami came out and mashed Patriot skull in the second half, scoring 23 unanswered points and turning Brady into a bag of mulch.
Jeff Ireland spent countless draft picks and millions of dollars on the Dolphins' offensive line and managed to come away with almost murdering his franchise quarterback and unleashing the biggest locker-room scandal in NFL history in the process.
And then along comes Dennis Hickey, newly minted GM, and he goes ahead and also spends picks and money on the O-line and yet manages to actually fix it!
Ryan Tannehill was sacked roughly 8,983 times last season and managed to survive without having shat out his spleen after taking so many hits. Yet on Sunday, against a pretty good Patriots pass rush, he was sacked just once. The pass protection held and gave Tannehill so much time to throw, there were times where he looked like he literally didn't know what to do with himself.
The offensive line also managed to open gaping holes for Miami's running backs, with Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller running for a combined 191 yards.
OK, so, it's just the first game. And yes, it was a win. And yes, Tannehill managed to put up 178 yards and throw for two TDs. But allow us to dip our balls in the soft-serve machine for a minute to point out some glaring issues with our young QB. He's in his third season -- the apparent make-or-break season -- and Tannehill has yet to show us anything more than than He's Kinda OK.
Part of it might be, as we mentioned, that Tannehill is shellshocked from taking a beating last year. On Sunday, he actually had time to throw the football. But in that time, he threw some stinkers.
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There was the one pass to Mike Wallace that should have been a touchdown but was instead underthrown and intercepted. Then there was the other deep throw to Wallace that was chucked out of bounds. Tannehill often either underthrew his receivers or beamed the ball at them. Never any nuance and very little accuracy. If he had a guy open in the endzone, he'd throw it ten feet over their head. If he had a guy running in stride, he'd throw it low.
The passes Tannehill failed to connect on are throws an NFL quarterback should make. Instead, he's throwing everything the way he does in those Broward Health commercials.
With Tannehill's up-and-down play and the receivers either dropping passes, running bad routes, or generally shitting themselves on the field, the one consistency all day was Knowshon Moreno. He ran hard, he ran with purpose, and he seemed to look for Patriots to knock over just because it was fun.
Moreno carried the ball 24 times for 134 yards and a touchdown. And his play seemed to infect the entire offense. When he wasn't plowing through New England defenders, it was Lamar Miller using his speed to slice through for big yards. Moreno's monster performance opened things up for the rest of the offense. He's not always going to have big games like this, but the Dolphins at least now need to be taken seriously by defenses. Now if only Mike Wallace can stop playing grabass with himself and fight for a ball or two when he's downfield.
Yes, this was an amazing win. Yes, it's been a while since we've felt this way about the Dolphins. Yes, beating the Patriots is always awesome. Yes, 1-0 is fun. Yes, winning is better than losing. Yes, it was an impressive victory.
But everyone needs to calm their tits!
Listen to this:
The Miami Herald's Greg Cote:
This is the most talented team Miami's had in three years under head coach Joe Philbin. But the Dolphins must stay healthy and continue to play to their potential. [...] These Dolphins have a chance to be very good. Repeat that. Savor it.
It was one game, and this team still has plenty of concerns. The linebacking corps is still a giant lump of what the shit?, Miami's receivers are not game-breakers, and as mentioned above, the quarterback situation is still a giant mystery with a sense that we're finding out who Jack the Ripper really was before figuring out if Tannehill is going to be any good.
Still, Cote is right about at least one thing. The win is to be savored. Because, in case you haven't noticed, those haven't come around often.
So... sorry for being wet blankets about it.
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
Let's get out there and enjoy Victory Monday!
THE MIAMI DOLPHINS ARE 1-0 AND BEAT THE HATED PATRIOTS!
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