1-0 baby! The Dolphins started the season at home against the Titans, in one of the most bizarre and easily the most lengthy football games in the history of the sport. 7 hours, and 10 minutes. Wow! Lightning strikes in the vicinity of Hard Rock caused a couple of weather delays which put the total game time from start to finish at 7:10, which is the longest game in NFL history.
The good thing is that the Dolphins team remained focused on the task at hand, winning the game, and I would give some credit to Head Coach Adam Gase for keeping his team prepared, and to GM Chris Grier and VP Mike Tannenbaum for shedding the roster of the “ME” players and building a team of players who share a common goal, helping each other make the Dolphins a winning team.
The Dolphins had a nice balance on offense, Kenyan Drake getting the most touches as expected, and it was especially nice to see Frank Gore come in and spark the offense. He looks fresh, especially for a veteran RB with 13 NFL seasons under his belt, and over 3200 carries. I think it’s a great tandem, they complement each other very well. The O-line did their job well, and both backs were able to move the ball.
Ryan Tannehill looked very good in the game, but a couple of poor throws somewhat derailed his fine effort. I really thought the throw in the end zone to Gesicki, whether Mike slipped or not, was too flat, not enough arc, and also just thrown too close to the defender. Make that throw more towards the sideline, and deeper towards the back of the endzone with more arc, and there’s very little chance if any that it gets picked off. The other was either an overthrow or a miscommunication with Jakeem Grant, and without certainty as to which, I can’t blame Tannehill on that one. The play-action TD pass to Kenny Stills was a beauty, great protection, and a very accurate strike for the TD. Take away the end zone miscue to Gesicki or the other INT intended for Grant, and Tannehill has done exactly what I would hope he could do.
The Titans after the injury to starting QB Marcus Mariota were not the same team, but the injuries to starting OT’s Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin, LT and RT respectively is really what killed the Titans. Those 2 are aggressive, mean and nasty run blockers, and the Dolphins limited the run game, especially when big back Derrick Henry was in, to 26 yards on 10 carries. Dion Lewis, who is quicker and shiftier had more success, rushing for 75 yards on 16 carries.
On defense, the first thing I noticed right away, was Minkah Fitzpatrick. He didn’t do one spectacular thing on Sunday, but damn if he wasn’t always around the ball. You just can’t teach what he has, that desire to digest football knowledge, study film to learn players and teams tendencies, and the desire to work in the weight room to become the best player he can be. Minkah had that before he got here, but he’s ours man, and I’m thrilled we have him. He was in on 6 tackles, but despite that, he just seemed to be so involved in the game, and he was out there a lot. If anyone has snap counts, I’d love to know how many, as well as for the D-line. The frequent rotation worked as well as I could have hoped, and the youngins Godchaux and Taylor look like all the world to have been brilliant draft picks. You just don’t expect a 5th and 6th RD defensive tackle to give you what Godchaux and Taylor are giving us. Think of how absurd it is to pay a player over $20M to do what these guys are giving us! Talk about value, it’s insane! The LB’s weren’t asked to do everything, as we saw 3 safeties out there often enough. Kiko led the team with 6 solo tackles, and both Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker had 3 solos and 3 assists. Very possible this type of thing plays out the entire season.
The Jets come off a very successful road win against the Detroit Lions. They banged up QB Matthew Stafford pretty good, and the battered QB threw 1 TD and 4 INT’s. While Matthew Stafford hurt his team, the Jets rookie QB did the opposite. Sam Darnold played a very solid game, despite throwing an INT on his very first pass attempt. The rookie bounced back well however, and helped lead his team to an impressive 48-17 drubbing of the Lions. He had a nice balanced rushing attack with Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell with a 1-1A type approach. Crowell finished with 102 yards on 10 carries and 2 TD’s and Powell had 12 carries for 60 yards. Quincy Enunwa has resumed his spot as the go-to-guy of the offense, after being out with an injury last year. Robbie Anderson remains the big play danger, he’s like our version of Kenny Stills, except of course Anderson threatens police officers with vulgar things he will do to their wives, but on the gridiron, they are similar threats.
Dolphins vs Jets are always crazy games, as last year’s Fest game was evidence of such. The Dolphins pulled out a last minute victory when Bobby McCain intercepted Josh McCown with 47 seconds remaining in the game, allowing Cody Parkey to kick the game winning 39 yard F to win it 31-28. What a FEST-ivious win! There will not be a MetLife Takeover Fest this time, but hopefully the NYC Dolfans contingency will be sufficient to help our boys complete another successful takeover that ends with a Dolphins victory.
If the Dolphins can continue their success rushing the football with Drake and Gore, and keep the pocket clean for Tannehill, we should be able to score against the Jets. Devante Parker should be back, but I just can’t count on him to be a big role player, so I won’t. We have enough weapons with Stills, Amendola, Wilson and the 2 backs, and anything we can get from Gesicki and Parker is just gravy. On defense, just limit Bilal Powell. Crowell doesn’t scare me, but Powell just rips off those big plays, so we need to keep him in check. Darnold probably won’t be shaken, we should treat him like any QB, not expose ourselves with a ton of blitzes. I think if we do that, he might make us pay, so just stay disciplined, keep using the 3 safeties often, and I think we can beat them. Don’t let Anderson get behind the secondary.
MIA 28 – NYJ 27