Good win last week against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers in prime time SNF. Certainly not a perfect win, but after 3 consecutive losses without QB Tua Tagovailoa, I’ll take it! The offense came out hot and looked (and were) unstoppable on that first drive. Tua was throwing accurate passes to Hill, Waddle, Mostert and even Gesicki, culminating with the 8 yard TD pass to RB Raheem Mostert. Reminiscent of Dolphins in the past, the scripted drve worked really well, but after that, there was a noticeable dropoff in efficiency and success. The Dolphins took a commanding 13 point lead in the firstquarter and it seemed as if this game was going to be a laugher, but the Steelers defense made adjustments that the Dolphins offense couldn’t solve. The quick hitters that were getting chunks of yardage were taken away, and the Dolphins couldn’t find another way to move the ball consistently. The good thing was the defense was up to the task in Prime Time.
The Dolphins starting CB duo was X and Noah Igbinoghene. Iggy showed some promise the previous week against Minnesota and the positive play continued against the Steelers. Igbinoghene’s INT at the end of the game sealed the win for the Dolphins as the Steelers drove to the Miami 25 yard line and then Pickett threw his last pass of the evening, which was intercepted in the endzone, and nice job by Iggy to get both feet down in bounds, despite the immediate protestations of the SNF announcing crew. The worst part of the SNF game was S Brandon Jones tore his ACL and is out for the season. It’s a damn good thing we have former starting S Eric Rowe to step in. While he’s not as dynamic a player, and certainly not capable of being a blitzing nightmare that Jones was, he’s a solid vet player who knows what he’s doing out there.
The Lions have been a high scoring offense this year, except for the last 2 weeks, getting shut out by the patriots 2 weeks and scoring only 6 last week against the Cowboys. The Lions miss the 1-2 punch of RB D’Andre Smith and Jamaal Williams, Swift has been out the last 3 weeks. However, it looks like Swift will be playing Sunday after 3 days of full participation in practice. We’re all familiar with Swift’s talent, most of us wanted to draft him. The Lions scored 35, 36 and 24 points with Swift and then managed 45 against the Seahawks without Swift, but the offense has had the wheels come off the last 2 games. The Lions have an excellent offensive line, they can really run block. Swift was averaging an absurd 8.6 YPC, and Jamaal Williams a respectable 4.6 YPC. Both running backs are good receivers and are used often.WR Amon Ra St. Brown is QUESTIONABLE dealing with a concussion. St. Brown is the most heavily targeted receiver for the Lions, but they also use their TE T.J. Hockenson and WR Josh Reynolds.
The Lions defense has been allowing the league worst 32.3 PPG, so our offense should be able to put points on the board. My hope is this offense that has lit up the scoreboard in games 1 through 4 doesn’t regain that rhythm against our compromised defense. It’s possible we get Kohou and Crossen back, but DE Emmanuel Ogbah is still QUESTIONABLE with a back ailment. TE Durham Smythe is also QUESTIONABLE as is S/ST ace Clayton Fejedelem and CB Xavien Howard, though McDaniel did say he doesn’t expect anyone to be doubtful to miss the game, so we’ll wait and see on that. Our offense has been better with Tua with the exception of last week, but I’d expect Tua to be better this week after getting that game under his belt, it was an emotional return from injury, and I think he feels better after taking some hits and remaining in one piece w/o his brain being addled. The first 3 games with Tua we were averaging 27.6 PPG on offense, so I’d like to see us get back to that. Without Tua we were averaging only 16.6 PPG, a stark difference, although not unexpected with our starting QB getting hurt in 2 of the 3 games.
Mostert has absolutely become the go to back, but behind him, RB Chase Edmonds has been disappointing. Perhaps either Myles Gaskin or Salvon Ahmed get some more chances, but likely only one of them would be active, unless they choose to sit Edmonds. Edmonds is averaging only 2.6 YPC so it’s hard to imagine we make a change there. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle just need to contine to harass defenses getting open and getting chunks of yardage. I like that Mostert has been hitting holes and also getting some chunk yardage. RT Brandon Shell has been solid in place of starter Austin Jackson, who is still not ready to play. He may find it hard to see the field if Shell continues his strong play. Terron Armstead will likely play the entire season with this toe injury, so Greg Little will probably get a decent amount of snaps at LT. Hill gets a huge amount of targets every game, and why wouldn’t he, he’s been awesome, finding open spots and just blowing by defenders to get open. He’s been without question worth everything we gave up to get him. No one in this offense makes the impact he does. Waddle on the other hand also benefits from having Hill because he’s not seeing doeble coverage which is why Waddle is averaging 18.3 YPR to Hill’s 13.6. Waddle has 3 TD’s, Hill has 2, and TE Mike Gesicki also has 3 TD’s. Let’s hope Tua and the rest of the team can stay healthy, and get back to near the top in this AFC playoff race. Right now we’re 6th, I want to move up each week and get back to where we were. Easier said then done!