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      by Published on 12-24-2013 12:00 PM     Number of Views: 3355 

      Positives

      * The punt coverage units were excellent today. Starting with Brandon Fields the punt team handled the tough weather and kept the Bills pinned back deep.
      * Nolan Carroll's INT
      * Nolan Carroll's CB Blitz for a sack of QB Thad Lewis
      * Red Zone defense. The Bills were 1-4. At the end of the day, the defense did only give up one TD.
      * 3rd down defense. The defense held the Bills to 7 of 19.
      * The staff subbing Nate Garner for Sam Brenner. Brenner was getting manhandled. The change needed to happen.
      * Charles Clay's effort on an attempted catch (overruled on review) was good to see. He did not give up and played hard to the bitter end.
      * Joe Philbin had good clock management at the end of the half. He used his timeouts and the defense forced RB C.J. Spiller out of bounds killing the clock. It forced a punt another offensive try.

      Negatives

      * The team was flat. No emotion. Poor body language all game.
      * The Dolphins were shutout.
      * Minus 1 Turnover Differential
      * Total yards: 109 for Miami and 390 for the Buffalo
      * TOP: Miami's 23:29 to 36:21 for Buffalo
      * No big plays. The Fins need to get explosive plays some place and none of that happened today.
      * 3rd down offense: 2-14
      * Ryan Tannehill struggled. 10-27, 0 TD's and 0 Int
      * 7 Sacks given up. The line was at fault. The RB's blitz pickups were terrible. Daniel Thomas was indecisive along with typically ineffective. The line was abused throughout the game.
      * Brian Hartline dropped three passes.
      * The run game was ineffective. At the same time, against a bad run defense, they attempted only 12 runs (for 14 yards). This game was still close going well into the 4th quarter. The Fins had some negative runs, but at the same time the coaching staff never gave the run game a chance on day it was needed.
      * Lamar Miller was buried on the depth chart. Not sure why. The answer will be his pass pro skills, but DT was lousy in that role today. Miller has had success versus the Bills in his first two years of his young career.
      * RT has to keep the ball on the read option. There were plays to be made. Instead of tucking the ball and handed it off for little to no gain too many times.
      * Matt Moore had two bad picks. One was well behind the receiver after he connected deep to Hartline. The other he emerged from a scrum and heaved it deep to nobody.
      * No points off of the Carroll interception.
      * Penalties: 6 penalties for 37 yards.
      * Rush defense. They gave up 203 yards on 51 carries.
      * The defense had terrible understanding what the Bills wanted to do on offense. They were going run the ball or toss it deep on early downs. If they were off schedule, they would run a screen or draw.
      * Phillip Wheeler's hands to the face penalty was a killer. The defense had a stop deep in the Bills' territory and looked like they were going to force a punt. However, Wheeler's undisciplined penalty kept a drive alive for the Bills.
      * Nolan Carroll beaten by Robert Woods for 50 plus yards.
      * The defense got torched by Buffalo's TE's.
      * Philip Wheeler was a liability in coverage.
      * Missed opportunities for turnovers. Leodis McKelvin put the ball on the carpet off of a punt, but the Bills recovered. C.J. Spiller fumbled in the 4th, but two Bills jumped on the ball before any Dolphin made a bid on the ball.
      * The Dolphins were out-coached in all phases. They had no adjustments to the Bills' blitzing schemes. They had no change of pace ideas to make the Bills blitz looks slow down. Defensively, they needed to own the LOS and force Thad Lewis in known passing situations...it did not happen.
      * Joe Philbin had a bad challenge on a sideline play, that at best, would have been worth 15 yards. The replay was not conclusive.
      * While the Dolphins had too many undisciplined moments, the officiating was bad today. Gilmore should have been flagged for flinging Hartline to the ground after an incompletion. A flag was thrown, but the ref that tossed the flag was talked out of it. Mario Williams was holding Bryant McKinnie yet McKinnie made a bid for the outside blitzer. McKinnie ended up getting the flag for trying to protect his QB. Terrible miss by the refs. Charles Clay caught that ball and it did not hit the ground. There was certainly not any obvious evidence that it did hit the ground. It never should have been overturned. Cam Wake was held on a run in the 4th to set up a Bills clinching FG. The Dolphins did nothing to help themselves in this game and did not lose because of the refs, but they were not aided by them either.

      Overall Assessment

      * The weather did play a role in hurting the Dolphins today. It was an issue debated all week and those that were concerned with the task of going to Buffalo in December were vindicated.
      * Another place of concern was the amount of emotion and energy used in the win versus New England. The Dolphins had no life today and were able to continue the success from previous weeks.
      * Bills DC Mike Pettine owned Joe Philbin, Mike Sherman and Ryan Tannehill twice this year.
      * How does a 5-9 team without its starting QB, best WR, its second best WR ejected and its starting SS out, beat you 19-0? The answer is the Bills wanted it more. The Bills were also coached better and they had match ups to exploit versus the Dolphins. The Dolphins had no answers how to use their own strengths against the opponent and no ideas to circumvent the strengths of the Bills.
      * Specifically, in terms of the pass rush of Buffalo, where were the screens? Where was the maximum protections and shots deep? Where was the quick hot reads in the vacancy of the blitzing slot CB? Where was the bootleg to move the pocket? The coaching staff had no in game answer to something their team was deficient in. Very concerning.
      * Why run the read option if the QB never runs the ball? He had chances to make yards today, but RT never kept the ball.
      * It was concerning that the Dolphins defense seemed not to know the Bills offensive tendencies.
      * What a terrible broadcast. Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein and the F crew had an awful day. They got names wrong. The camera crew had the facial shots going of players and coaches while measurements were happening or players were injured. Beuerlein inexplicably said the Fins should allow the Bills to score a TD midway through the 4th to "keep it a two score game" (the TD would have made it 17 to 0). He somehow thought Woods should not have been ejected after throwing a close line punch to Reshad Jones. Dedes said the Bills had a great fan base yet were one of two teams with a blackout this year. Just simply a terrible broadcast.
      * The Buffalo Bills got their typical December win in bad weather in which their fans can be happy. Yet they are under .500 again for yet another year.
      * Four new offensive linemen are needed next year. Mike Pouncey should stay. However, both tackles should not be re-signed. The team should move on from John Jerry. Sam Brenner can be developed, but he could help best by being a depth player. Nate Garner can again be a "super sub". Two free agent linemen must be added along with two draft picks from May's draft.
      * The team most become more physical. In order to win in Buffalo, New York and New England in December, the Dolphins have to be the more physical team up front. They need to "punch the opponent in the mouth". Since Joe Philbin has taken over the run defense has not been as good, falling from the top of the league to the bottom ten. The offensive line has become more "finesse" as well. The "blue collar" approach like that of Seattle, San Francisco and Baltimore should be used as the template of future Dolphins teams.
      * Phillip Wheeler is a major liability that needs to be replaced next season. He has not been an upgrade over Kevin Burnett. Jelani Jenkins could be his replacement. It is a matter of when.
      * While not popular, going 9-7 this year is progress. I thought the team was a 9-7 or 10-6 team this year. I wanted progress not playoffs necessarily. A win next week is obviously important to the playoff aspirations of the team, but it is also vital to the progress of the team going into next year. Demand progress for this team. Next week will tell us a lot about this team in many ways.
      * With all this being said, the Miami Dolphins are still in this. With a Chargers win and Patriots win, EVERYTHING is still in front of the Dolphins. The Chiefs have little to play for next week, helping San Diego. The Ravens will have to play well to beat the Bengals. I do not see Marvin Lewis pulling back as his team needs to play well going into the tournament after getting bounced in the first round the past few years. That leads us to Miami. They have a home game with a rival. They have a bad taste in their mouths from a putrid performance from today. Miami can very well make the playoffs after all is said and done.
      by Published on 12-16-2013 01:24 AM     Number of Views: 3961 



      Positives


      * I have to start with the coaching staff. I have hammered this staff lately, starting with the head coach. Joe Philbin helped lead his team to a victory over the New England Patriots. Philbin kept steady after an uneven start to the game. His clock management at the end of the 1st half was masterful. With the offense being shutout, he effectively used timeouts to give some time to his offense to put up a score. The offense responded with a great 2 minute drive and a TD. Philbin also deserves credit for how the team looked coming out of half time. The team's play was a bugaboo in the last game versus the Patriots. This time, the Fins were more competitive and outlasted the Patriots. Finally, the 4th and 5 call was awesome. He could not give the ball back to Tom Brady to ice the game, especially with the condition of his CB's. Philbin rolled the dice and came up huge. Credit to Joe Philbin.
      * Mike Sherman had his best game of the season. He had a good mix of run and pass. He consistently found the match up in the passing game to exploit. What was best about Sherman t was his play calling in the Red Zone. The misdirection looks on the TD pass to Daniel Thomas was outstanding. Finally, the design on the game winning TD was tremendous. He was able to get Marcus Thigpen matched on Donte' Hightower, who traditionally struggles in coverage.
      * Kevin Coyle. His group bent and bent, but never broke. The Patriots had two, 15 play drives that netted six points. He was aggressive all the way through in the game. He was able to manufacture a defense without his top corners. At end of the game, I was frustrated with the timeout calls on final Patriots drive for I thought it allowed the Patriots to organize themselves. However, the more I thought about it, with so many new faces in the secondary, it was a very wise move by Philbin and Coyle. The stoppages allowed everyone to get on the same page.
      * Even turnover differential.
      * Ryan Tannehill was on fire today. He led his team. He was 25-37, 3 TD's and no interceptions. His QB rating was 120.6. I love the fact that he was off a bit early, but settled in. He was in command of the 2 minute drill at the end of the half. His connection with Mike Wallace for a TD was huge in terms of momentum. On the game winning drive, he made some great throws and got his team to pay dirt.
      * Mike Wallace had 105 yards on 6 receptions and a TD. He was available for his QB and made some tough catches. His catch and run at the end of the half was big obviously in terms of the scoreboard, but also for momentum.
      * Brian Hartline went for a 70 yards and caught 5 balls. He was available for RT at some important spots throughout the game.
      * Some of the biggest, most difficult catches were made by Rishard Matthews. Matthews great catch down the sideline on the offense's final drive of the game was awesome. He caught the ball at its highest point and got his feet in bounds.
      * I thought it was impressive how the Fins killed the Patriots with throws between the numbers.
      * While he was not heard from much, Charles Clay individual effort on the 4th and 5 call on the last drive was simply incredible. The play look dead, yet Clay would not be denied. He picked up the five yards and the drive continued.
      * Quietly, Lamar Miller had a nice day. He had 61 yards for a 4.1 per carry. He had a lot of success getting outside on the Patriots defense.
      * Marcus Thigpen and Daniel Thomas proved to be adept receivers on their respective TD's. Miami showed some versatility with their offensive package by utilizing their RB's.
      * Mike Pouncey was the leader of this line. He got the line into the correct protections and helped the running game all day. Very smart football player.
      * The Dolphins 2 Minute/No huddle offense was great today. At the end of the half and the game winning drive, Miami was in its element without a huddle, moving at a fast pace.
      * The Red Zone defense by Kevin Coyle's charges might be the story of the game. They kept the Pats to 1-4 in the red area. As stated above, they bent and bent, but never broke.
      * Run defense. They gave up less than 100 yards (96) after the Pats steamrolled them up in Foxboro.
      * Cam Wake put constant pressure on Tom Brady. Wake had a sack and hit Brady on numerous occasions as well.
      * Derrick Shelby in the 4th quarter got pressure and forced Brady into an incompletion on a 3rd and 2.
      * Brandon Fields punt that landed inside the 2.
      * While the pass rush was spotty through three quarters, it picked up late in the 4th.
      * Gutsy effort by the DB's. With Dimitri Patterson IR'ed, Brent Grimes cramping and Nolan Carroll leaving the game, it was all hands on deck. While it was not pretty, they found a way.
      * Props to Michael Thomas. Brand new to the team, Thomas had a big PD in the end zone as the Patriots tried to score the game winner. Thomas came down with the game winning interception to clinch the win.
      * The Dolphins finished halves today. It is something that they were good at in September during their winning streak. They were outstanding at finishing halves today...a total of two TD's and repelling Tom Brady from the end zone.
      * Props to the crowd. Great noise late. It was awesome to hear the noise and see the fans having fun.

      Negatives

      * 3rd down offense. The O was only 4-11 on the money down.
      * The RB's struggled in the first half with blitz pick ups. They missed assignments and other times got rocked back into Tannehill's lap.
      * RT under threw Wallace in the 4th quarter. Wallace got separation, but again, RT could not lead him enough.
      * Overall, the offense yielded four sacks. While the pass pro came through when it mattered, some of the sacks got the offense off of schedule.
      * 3rd down defense. The D yielded 9 for 17. The reason that some of these 3rd downs were converted were because of the lack of success by the defense on first down. Too many 3rd and 5 or less.
      * Will Davis is trying, but he is simply not ready to compete. He was easily picked on by Brady. Davis was over his head.
      * On the Pats go ahead TD in the 4th, Jimmy Wilson made no attempt to tackle the receiver. He appeared to poke at the ball and ran right by him. Terrible effort.
      * After the botched field goal and sudden change, the defense was unable to stop the Pats from storming down the field and scoring a TD.
      * Whether it was a botched fake field goal attempt or simply poor snap and hold execution, the John Denney snap that hit Fields when he was not looking was ugly. It took points off of the board and is simply a play that cannot happen at this point in the year....especially, from two quality veterans.
      * Jason Trunsnik's penalty that killed a solid return by Thigpen and stunted a drive.
      * In large part, through solid Patriot execution, the Fins lost the field position battle in the first half.

      Overall Assessment

      * This was Joe Philbin's best win of his career. He was a factor in the team winning throughout the game. Excellent job. He made some gutsy calls. Overall, he and his staff matched the best coach in the NFL and got a win.
      * Joe going for it on 4th and 5 was the equivalent of him faking the punt versus the St. Louis Rams late in the game last year. Both were gutsy calls that aided in his team winning.
      * Miami beat a good team today. The Patriots have the best QB in the league. They have the best HC in the league. The players are well coached. Finally, they know how to make money plays. Miami stepped up and beat a very good team. It is something to proud of.
      * I was not surprised that the Dolphins 3rd receiver had success. In the first game with the Pats, Brandon Gibson used up their defense until getting hurt in the 1st half. I wonder how the first game would have been different if Gibson did not get hurt. With that said, Matthews picked up where Gibson left off by making money catches.
      * It was awesome to see the emotion of Thomas after getting the interception. One can only think of the hard work the kid has put in. Also, he made a decision to leave the 49ers and try his lot with a new team. He moves across the country and starts anew. To come into the game when he did and make the winning plays down the stretch (against none other than Tom Brady) is simply incredible. I feel great for the kid.
      * I do not remember a game in which CB's started dropping like happened to the Fins today. Losing their top two CB's is bad enough and couple that against Brady...wow. It was uneasy to say the least. Just a crazy situation.
      * Tom Brady is a great QB. I cannot stand his team, but I respect him. I do love beating his team whenever that can happen.
      * Tom Brady should show more respect after a loss in his presser. Give some credit to the opponent and save the "S" bomb for private.
      * Steven Gostkowski hurt his team. He missed a field goal left and his kickoff went out of bounds after the Pats went ahead in the 4th. He has had a great year, but today he hurt his team.
      * The crowd was awesome. South Florida knows their football...they just need to go to the games. With that said, the fans will show when the team wins. The fans will be loud when the team gives them something to cheer about. It is a two way street. The noise from the home fans was tremendous.
      * I do not think it was a coincidence that Mike Pouncey had to testify in front of a grand jury this week. No, it is not that the prosector was attempting to help the Patriots. This week was used, however, to get more press on the Aaron Hernandez case. So much for secret testimony. From serving Pouncey at Gillette Stadium in October to using this week for him to testify, the prosecutor has been using garbage tactics in this case. He is desperate and I question if he will get his murder conviction.
      * Let's go Steelers and Lions. I think Baltimore beats the Pats next week btw. Brutal spot for the Pats.
      * As this was Philbin's best win as a coach, he has a monumental task this week. After an emotional, huge win, the team goes to Buffalo. The weather will be bad and the Bills are a good team regardless of the record. They have some match ups that they can have success with against Miami. Doug Marrone is serious about setting a tone for next year. His team will play loose and with energy. Miami cannot afford a let down and need to play a good game to win this game. It is on Joe Philbin to put a successful plan together and have his team emotionally ready against the Bills.
      by Published on 12-15-2013 05:12 PM
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      DOLPHINS KNOCK OFF PATRIOTS TO IMPROVE TO 8-6



      The losing streak to New England is over. A three game winning streak and a chance at the postseason. A statement win in a division that has been dominated by New England for the past decade. All true story lines after the Miami Dolphins defeated the Patriots 24-20 on a hot Sunday in December.

      Playing perhaps the franchise's biggest game since the 2008 season, the Dolphins showed the Patriots and the entire NFL that they are real and a threat to be taken serious. With today's win the team improved to 8-6 and currently hold a half game lead for the final wildcard over the Baltimore Ravens (Baltimore plays the Detroit Lions tomorrow night on Monday Night Football).

      The Dolphins erased a 10-0 deficit the Patriots built in the first half and outscored New England 24-10 the rest of the way. Ryan Tannehill continues to grow and show that he is a legitimate franchise quarterback as he completed 25 of 37 passes for 312 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Tannehill's 39 yard strike to Mike Wallace in the final minute of the first half was the momentum changer the Dolphins needed for the rest of the game. Tannehill in the fourth quarter connected on a two yard touchdown pass to Daniel Thomas and a 14 yard touchdown to Marcus Thigpen. The pass to Thigpen proved to be the game winning score.

      The Dolphins defense bended in the final minute of the game as Tom Brady led the Patriots 66 yards to the Dolphins 14. However, newly acquired cornerback Michael Thomas made the play of the game picking off Brady in the endzone to seal the victory.

      The 8-6 Dolphins will surely be watching the Ravens big game tomorrow night against the Lions as they continue to make a bid for the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Dolphins travel to Buffalo next week to take on the Bills and will wrap up regular season play the following week at home against the New York Jets.

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