No pictures necessary. I couldn’t find half our defense on Sunday. It was the first game after a very limited preseason with no games and not nearly enough practice time. I need to temper my disappointment. Once again, the team that so many have written off after the numerous COVID-19 opt outs and the defections from the team in free agency, it all comes down to the Patriots can win with Belichick and just about anybody. I didn’t fear Cam Newton the QB, I feared Cam Newton the RB. Andy Dalton scares me more passing the football than Cam Newton, but Cam didn’t beat us passing, the run pass option beat us. Time of possession: Patriots 35 minutes – Dolphins 25 minutes. That partly explains the low offensive output although the officials near the end of the game made sure it stayed that way by not calling either defensive holding or what I thought was defensive pass interference in the end zone against TE Mike Gesicki by Patriots DB Joejuan Williams with 1:35 left. We probably weren’t going to win the game but you hate to have a turnover and lose possession on a play that was clearly a defensive foul. Anyway, the fact is we got beat. We got handled by a simple game plan that we had no answer for. We knew they were doing it, and we couldn’t stop it. All the defensive players we brought in may as well have been still playing for NE (Van Noy, Roberts), CLE (Ogbah), BUF (Lawson), PHI (Grugier-Hill) because they were invisible on Sunday. We need more from these guys.
Again, the good news is it’s only one game and we face a relatively similar threat this week in the Bills with Josh Allen. Allen has shredded us in the past running all over us so we do face a familiar issue, knowing what they can do and then stopping it. This offseason, Buffalo picked up WR Stefon Diggs and paired him with speedy former Ravens WR John Brown. Devin Singletary is OK, not a guy that really scares you and Zack Moss will be their goal line threat. Allen running scares me more than either Bills RB. If it seems like I’m ignoring our offensive ineptitude, I’m going to get to that. While our O-line starting 5 looked pretty good and played 100% of the offensive snaps, all 62, which is impressive. Jordan Howard played a very minor role and it was Myles Gaskin who ended up leading the Dolphins in rushing with 40 yards on 9 carries. Matt Breida was next with 22 years on 5 carries and Jordan Howard managed only 7 yards on 8 carries. Fitzpatrick was not great either, but why Preston Williams kept slipping on the artificial turf is confounding. It’s not like he needed to change to longer spikes, and the field was dry. Once again, the nagging injury bug has bitten WR Devante Parker. It is so frustrating because we all hoped he’d follow last season with an equal or likely better one, but if this hamstring hampers him, don’t count on it.
I’m not saying Tua has to play soon, but if the Dolphins offense doesn’t start putting points on the board, it’s inevitable that Tua, as long as he’s healthy should play. He’s the superstar in the making, and no reason to protect him for no reason. The O-line looks competent, so therefore if Fitz and the Dolphins offense don’t start showing some life, the Tua chapter of Dolphins football must begin. I’d like to consider game 1 as our first action since we had no preseason. A pass for a shoddy performance, but 1 game is all they get. If we open up at home getting run over by Josh Allen and the Bills it’s not going to look good for our season.
Christian Wilkins, last year’s 1st RD pick made his presence felt. We need 4-5 more guys on defense to do that each week. We need guys on offense to step up. Not sure if Parker is going to play or not and even if he does start, how long will he play and can he even be effective. I’d like to see Jordan Howard running hard. I’d like to see Breida catch a few balls out of the backfield and get upfield. I want to see Mike Gesicki continue his growth from last season and be like a George Kittle, Travis Kelce type of player. The O-line looks ready for prime time but the Bills may be a tougher challenge than the Patriots. We need to dominate the LOS and get some push for our backs and hopefully a successful run game will open up the passing game. I expect a conservative game plan, we don’t want to keep turning the ball over. If we win this game, I’m expecting a low scoring game, maybe a 17-16 game or 20-16. I’ll take either one!