This Saturday night will be the third leg of a difficult 3 game road trip for our Miami Dolphins. We’re all acutely aware of how the first 2 legs went, and those 2 losses have significantly changed our fortune and chances of a playoff berth. If the West Coast trip was a challenge, the difficulty of the challenge goes way up now, because the Bills are clearly the more complete team, playing at home, and as of now, the forecast is 3″- 7″ of snow and temperatures around 20 degrees. I don’t know what the gameplan was to this point, but if it didn’t include a whole lot of running, it will likely need to be revised.
OK, let’s get to the straight talk. I’m a huge fan and supporter of our QB Tua Tagovailoa. He has gone through some difficult times here as a Miami Dolphin. Having a HC that clearly didn’t support him, pulled him out of games when he was struggling, and a front office that seemed to be looking in any and every direction to find a different QB to bring here to Miami, from the courting of Deshaun Watson, to even bringing in Tom Brady. It’s hard to maintain confidence when the team, and organization isn’t behind you, and even if he said he didn’t pay attention to, or worry about such things, we know it’s impossible for him not to know these things, and in turn, to feel somewhat inadequate.
Two big games on a West Coast trip, back to back against the surging NFC West San Francisco 49ers, and then to the LA Chargers, who have been up and down all season. Our 8-4 Dolphins arrived in California sporting one of the top offense in the league, mostly due to the prolific passing game of QB Tua Tagovailoa, and his speedy WR tandem, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, along with a sprinkling of Trent Sherfield, TE Mike Gesicki and to a very small part, the run game with RB Raheem Mostert and the newly added former SF 49er RB Jeff Wilson Jr. Well, you saw what happened, in 2 straight games, our high flying offense was shut down, completely ineffective and unable to function. Both defenses studied Tua Tagovailoa and our offense and came away with the same conclusion, Tua likes throwing the ball to the middle of the field with a myriad of crossing routes that usually find either Hill, Waddle or Sherfield open in the 10-20 yard area downfield from the line of scrimmage. Kyle Shanahan chose to clog the middle with his athletic linebackers, Dre Greenlaw, Fred Warner and Aziz Al-Shaair. With the passing lanes that Tua and HC Mike McDaniel loves shut down, in turn, our offense was shut down.
The second leg of the West Coast trip had us playing, and the team decided to stay in LA for our matchup against the Chargers. The team appeared loose and ready to get back in the win column. Things were stacked in our favor, DE Joey Bosa was OUT, All Pro safety Derwin James was also OUT, as well as CB Bryce Callahan, all boons for our offense. With the Chargers without their best pass rusher and with 2 new faces, rookies in the secondary, the Chargers executed much of the same gameplan, disrupt the passing lanes over the middle in the 10-20 yard territory where Tua has made his living, putting up record breaking numbers, not just thriving. The Chargers employed thee new young CB’s and safeties and yet they actually did an even better job against our offense than the 49ers. Our offense, now in the second game in a row was not only held to less than 20 points but once again, in a very disturbing trend, having the ball on offense for a measly 1/3 of the game, about 20 minutes of the 60.
This takes us to the “now” of the situation. The blueprint on how to stop our offense as it was is out there and as we’ve witnessed, it doesn’t take the top personnel to employ it well. Besides that fact, the weather on Saturday night expected to be wet, with the forecast showing 3-7 inches of snow possible, and temps hovering at or below 20 degrees, we’re going to have to do something to counter this new blueprint. Being in the AFC East, we’ve witnessed Bill Belichick teams that can morph from from a heavy passing team to a grind it out run heavy scheme, and have success doing either when the opponent dictates one or the other. So far this season, we’ve been only one dimensional, we’re the high flying San Diego Chargers with Dan Fouts at the helm of the Air Coryell offense. We’ll sprinkle in a rush here and there, but the opposing defenses are only worried about #10 and #17. Stopping #23 RB Jeff Wilson Jr. and #31 RB Raheem Mostert is not a part of the gameplan, because they haven’t been a part of our gameplan. We have about 1000 yards rushing so far this season, split among Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Chase Edmonds and Myles Gaskin. Now I don’t think of the Bills a rushing team either, but they have close to 1700 yards from their run game, but that includes Josh Allen, who is so dangerous as a rusher, but it doesn’t matter, it’s a mentality, a physicality, that we’re going to move the football on you and you have to try and stop it. Not all Allen’s yardage is on scrambles, it’s mostly from designed run plays.
Back to the “now”. If you read this blog, you know where my thinking is at. I’m very concerned about our starting QB. The story of him doubting himself and even questioning himself with “Do I suck?” during and after last season is out there. Then comes in the great savior HC Mike McDaniel and he is 100% behind his new QB, and then the Dolphins front office got to work for real and acquired one of, if not the most dynamic wide receivers in the NFL, Tyreek Hill. They also brought in some familiar faces to new HC MM, WR’s Trent Sherfield and River Cracraft. Our offense has been the best Miami Dolphins in decades, scoring 29.2 points per game with Tua Tagovailoa as the QB in games where he started and finished. 270 pass attempts, 190 completions, 2454 yards, 70.3 completion %, 22 TD’s, 4 INT’s. Efficient, explosive, prolific, choose the adjective, and a 119.5 passer rating, far beyond any of us Dolphins could have hoped for. The last 2 games, however are just downright ugly. 61 pass attempts, 28 completions, 440 yards, 45 completion %, and a 73.12 passer rating. I’m truly worried that these 2 games have thrown a veil of doubt over our young QB. The fact that he struggled even more against the Chargers makes me feel like his confidence is waning, or perhaps even quite shot. I don’t expect this game to offer any help, unless we have an entirely different gameplan for the Bills. I believe the weather will dictate that we do.
Just another commentary on our team. Our identity is that we are a passing team, and if you have to classify our defense, we’re below average. We don’t do any one thing particularly well. I think we have talent on our defense, Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, Xavien Howard, Jerome Baker. We’ve seen that CB Xavien Howard is not and hasn’t been right since suffering with groin injuries early in the season. UDFA rookie Kader Kohou has been a pleasant surprise but is still a downgrade from Byron Jones from a year ago. We lost CB Nik Needham early this season, and even more damaging, Safety Brandon Jones. Our ST’s coverage has been abysmal. Just about the worst I’ve seen in recent memory, we can’t cover a kickoff or a punt return without allowing the returner a bounty of yardage. Our placekicker Jason Sanders is having a poor year as well, making only 81% of his FG attempts while missing 3 extra points. If our offense fails, the team fails, it’s as simple as that. No matter what any of us want to think about our defense, it NEVER CARRIES THE DAY. NEVER! Yes, plus points for allowing only 23 points to the Chargers while being on the field 2/3 of the game. So we gambled big on Bradley Chubb this season, traded away draft capital (2023 1st RD pick, 2024 4th RD pick and RB Chase Edmonds) in exchange for Bradley Chubb and a 2025 5th RD pick. At the moment, the trade is looking like sour lemons, but maybe next year, potentially with a different scheme and DC, Chubb will thrive. In general, this defense has been underwhelming, and if the offense doesn’t do the heavy lifting, don’t expect the defense to do it either.
So, can our QB, and HC Mike McDaniel concoct a plan to defeat the AFC East leading, AFC #1 seed Buffalo Bills in their house under optimal conditions (cold and wet) for the home team? We’ll have to wait and see on that. I’m hearing lots of murmuring now about how Mike McDaniel is a young coach and yada yada yada. He didn’t have any problems the first 12 weeks of the season! He has to adjust now, I’m sure he’s capable. We’ve seen other young coaches burst on to the season and bust up the NFL purdy good. Rams HC Sean McVay did it. They don’t necessarily have to hit a wall and combust into flames. Mike McDaniel is a smart man, and hopefully he can figure out how to get us back on track. That will in my humble opinion, include a nice sit down with his young QB to try and right his psyche and get his confidence back. Nothing can do that more than to come up with a gameplan that will help Tua Tagovailoa topple the 1st place Bills in their house. Nothing! I’m looking forward to watching that happen on Saturday night, in the company of quite a few Jets fans. Please Mike McDaniel, make it happen!
🐬 @ 🐃
🇬🇧 31 – 13 🐃
🐷 28 – 20 🐬
✋️ 20-6 🐃
🦏 23-20 🐬
🦍 21-20 🐬
🦬 24-23 🐬
On this day in 1949 ?
Not sure about 1949, but in 1973, OJ Simpson rushed for over 2000 yards in an NFL season, the first to do so.
Billy Gibbons was born 🎸
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top born?
Ton Sijbrands, Dutch world checkers champion, born in Amsterdam
Ah fuck, I thought it was the 15th.
Don Johnson, American actor born in Flatt Creek, Missouri
Ah fuck, I thought it was the 15th.
Sidney Olcott, Canadian film director (Ben Hur), dies at 76
Traitsjo Kostov, Bulgarian communist vice-premier, executed by the state at 52
Great write Mike, I’m right with you.
Thanks Mike – What do you think about my assessment of Tua?
Miguel de la E,
Great write! I’m 99.9% with ya but for Tua’s alleged fragile self-confidence. IMO, he now knows he’s capable of being an MVP candidate. Methinks he’ll be able to shake off the last two games with relative ease, compared to how he’s been treated and reacted in ’20 and ’21.
I agree with everything else ya wrote, bud. Still wish we had a ‘power-RB’ in the mold of a Rashaad Penny or a Carlos Hyde for the conditions of tomorrow night’s game. As ya wisely stated, we play in the AFC East. That means playing in these conditions late in the season, whether (weather!) it be in Buffalo, East Rutherford, or ‘Bahston’… all of which are open fields.
If there was only one piece of advice I could give Coach McDaniel, it would be the above paragraph… and I’d remind him that his mentor Kyle Shanahan once employed a very successful Carlos Hyde.
Again, great write, man!
Thanks M! Appreciate it
Something I learned today that I had no idea about previously…
Xavien Howard and my guy William Jackson III (WJ3) were teammates and starting CBs at Wheatley High School.
I’d love to drive a certain DeLorean and go back in time to witness that, as your resident DB enthusiast! BALL HAWKS!!! 😀
15 Current NFL Players You Didn’t Know Were High School Teammates
Several current Dolphins players are mentioned here…
Nice Mike E. and once again I agree with you.
I do think Tua’s pysche has been compromised, but I do have a clue what happened to him. It’s been night and day and it’s not even close.
And to your other point, MM has got to know this about the NFL. You will never survive as a one trick pony. You have to have more than one piece of bread and a pat of butter. You need a loaf and a pound, at least.
And, THANK YOU.
…do NOT have clue….
Mike, I agree with your assessment of Tua. Though, I fault MM more as he didn’t adjust in the SF game and only slightly adjusted in second half of Chargers game on the play calling.
Tua can throw outside. He’s done it. I want to see more spreading of the ball like we did early in the season. More passing the RB’s. Trying to get 15-20 yard plays down field all the time won’t work. I don’t think it would for any team. Need more ball control.
I don’t think it’s in his head as much as he is just trying to make a play. Still doesn’t explain being WAY OFF in the SF game.
I am still trying to figure if it is something physical. He has been bent and hit all kinds of ways this season.
BBL, gotta go pick up my new phone at the office.
I’d like to note that the revelation of Tua thinking “Do I suck?” was in reference to LAST SEASON and on the heels of his MAJOR successes this year… and prior to the last two games.
Some in the media are trying to spin it as though Tua made that statement after the last two games.
What we have here today in Tua is a totally different man with a totally different psyche under Coach McDaniel. For instance: Tua NOW KNOWS that he’s the potential to be an NFL MVP candidate (and it’s not too late for him to win it this year!). This is 100% different than the psyche he had the last two seasons under Brian Flores, right?
I’m just sayin’… !!!
* Some in the media are trying to spin it (“Do I suck”?) as though Tua made that statement after and in reference to the last two games.
I agree. I think it shows his mental toughness. He overcame an openly hostile coach
Thank you, Hulkster!
The Rev Billy Gibbons was born. 🎸🎼👍
I heard on the radio this morning that it was his birthday today, they didn’t say or at least I didn’t hear his age. If anyone else but you asked that I wouldn’t have put it together. 🎸💥👍
And, to be clear, just because you fuck up or a have a fucked up moment, doesn’t mean you can’t right the ship and get focused again. I am with Mike E. on this. I think Tua is an excellent QB and the sky is the limit for him. At the same time, he needs maturity, growth, and experience, i.e. lol, like we all do.
Both can be true at the same time….believe it or not….lol.
Nice write Mike.
I’m pretty concerned about this year now. It’ll be very tough for us to win this weekend which means we probably have to win the last 3 games to get in. Go Phins!
We slide all the way to the off-season now.
We have to be able to run the ball better. MM will figure it out.
Not fn spam!!!!
New Dolphins theme song
M – I know that he said that last year, I said so in the article. I mean he had every reason to doubt himself in my opinion, his HC didn’t believe in him, yanked him out of games he struggled, offered no help and never backed him, and then he had to hear the rumors or truths about us courting Watson and then Brady, it’s all so embarrassing about our organization. The thing is though, sometimes those doubts resurface when things go south and adversity smacks you in the mouth. You have to have the intestinal fortitude to get up off the turf and come back strong. My hope is he does that this week, although the conditions will be a biatch for him to accomplish that.
Mike, that was quite the write and I appreciate it. But it was mostly reiterating what we’ve all discussed after the last 2 losses. For me it was two tough road losses and Tua was off but it was just two games. This game in Buffalo is obviously a huge game and the weather is supposed to be brutal so who knows how this one is going to go. Whatever it takes to win is all I want. Fins Up!!!
I know it is not good for us but I love snow games
Me too Ken!
I do as well. Some teams have advantages in cold weather because they’re used to it, but I’m not sure any team has an advantage in snow. They slip and slide just like everyone else.
WRs have an advantage over DBs because the WR knows where he is going to make his cut while the DB has to react. However the QB still has to throw the ball
Also tends to slow down a pass rush
Agreed. That’s what I mean. They all have to play in the same stuff. If the weather is going to be as nasty as predicted both teams are probably going to keep it on the ground most of the time.
Thanks Tim – I still think it’s more than just the 2 losses, unless we come out and beat Buffalo tomorrow night.
What do you mean more than just the 2 losses? We had won 5 in a row up to that point.
I mean the way we lost. Tua playing poorly in both games and the defense on the field for 2/3 of both games. Also, both teams used the same strategy to shut down our offense and we had no answer. That concerns me, I think it should concern you too. It’s a little like the Ravens defense against Chad Pennington, which we also had no answer for
But that is all about the last two games. I agree it sucked and Tua has to rebound. But we also only ran the ball to our backs 24 times the last two games – 8 vs. SF and 16 vs. LAC. MM has to find a way to be more balanced. We were in both of these games in the 4th quarter and those were still the rushing totals. That concerns me more than Tua.
I agree with you, Mike E. I agree with you, TK. LOL.
What TK doesn’t seem to understand about what I’m saying is EVERYONE NEEDS TO PLAY BETTER, NOT JUST TUA….lol. I will try this one more time…wtf.
MM needs to adjust. Better play calls, run the fucking ball, scheme it the fuck up with everything TK said about the O.
The D has Mike E. stated in the article is not reliable….make it fucking reliable, and TKs suggestions are spot on.
Players need to play better on D, lol, and make a fucking stop or better yet steal the ball. Wilkins is killing it. Everyone else, show me.
STs? Can you please show up for one fucking game….let this be your first….lol.
Not one time this season, have we played a game with all units on point….these are historical facts….lol.
Great song and album.
Christian Wilkins will take this game by the balls just like in September 🤌
Krishna, I understand the everyone has to play better point. That’s a given. Most of the season we’ve won because of the passing game. We’ve had like two good rushing performances and the rest were meh or non existent. The defense has been up and down all season and the STs have been subpar with the exception of a blocked punt.
It’s likely that we cannot rely on the passing game in Buffalo with the expected weather. That’s why I’ve been harping on why we need to win in different ways than we have been.
Wilkins has been awesome. But Phillips has been very good too, including the blocked punt which was by him. He is creating havoc at times and forcing bad plays even if it’s not on the stat sheet. Chubb has flashed a few times but this game is where he needs to step up and earn that contract. We need him to play his best game as a Dolphin.
Say it however you want to say it so you can disagree….lmao
I know, it’s a given, then fucking do it…lmao
Somehow you feel like you are offering nuance…lmfao
Krishna, I have no idea why you keep going here. It’s not about you but the game ahead of us. It’s not a normal game in the 20’s with 3-7 inches of snow and 30-40 mph winds expected. We’re playing at night and the snow is expected to start well before game time.
I’m looking forward to it because snow games can be wild. I also know this game looks bad for us but the excitement is the hope that our team meets the challenge, until they don’t. LOL
Lol….going where about me? Wow. Sorry, You can’t or don’t understand. You are right and I am not after agreeing with you. That’s fucked…lol. Glad we cleared that up!
Maybe you are special…lol…when you say it, it’s special. When I say it, you are lost.
Tim – I guess you’re not seeing what I’m saying. We are what we are. We’re not an amorphous team, we’re a passing team, and we need Tua to play at a high level in order to win. That’s how this team was built. We’re not built to be a slug it out offense, grind it out on the ground, especially if Jeff Wilson can’t go and that’s looking likely. There are other things we can do I suppose, but we haven’t seen it yet, and I’m not sure we can execute something else in the poor weather against a very good defense. Is it possible? Sure, but likely? No
I agree with you. I just posted the exact same thing. I’m not a fan of one-dimensional teams and we lived through that in the Marino years for the most part. I’ve been disappointed in the defense even though our secondary took some big losses. Our STs have been bad to okay, not special.
This Bills game is the first game all year we’re I’m concerned going in. It’s not good timing and the weather likely takes away our strength. Unless somehow we execute a shorter passing game with YAC and our speed beats them. But please run the fucking ball!!! LOL
I’d love to run, but Mostert isn’t running anyone over, he’s a get to the outside and scoot guy, and neither is Gaskin or Ahmed. If Wilson is healthy, he could help us upset the Bills, but I’m not sure if he’s going to play.
In these conditions speed might better than power. Everyone is slipping and sliding. It’s a huge game and these kinds of conditions have always been a part of football. We should just enjoy the moment. We’ll have plenty of time to be bummed out if it doesn’t go well.
TK…thinking the same thing…if receivers don’t get knocked off the ball, I’m trying to figure out how DBs will stay with them….
Please disagree TK, as I’m sure you will never acknowledge someone other than you thinking it….lmao
…in slippery conditions, of course, just to be clear for some…lol
Yep! Some people are dense, and that’s what it takes…lol.
This is so cool.
One more for any bass fishermen out there.
Oh well. I’m going to link to Son’s Floyd tune from the same album.
Aught to be a wonderful game
Hoping for the sweep with a win tonight in Buffalo. Put Christian Wilkins in at fullback, get Durham Smythe in there blocking, bring in one more OL, maybe Greg Little or even Eric Fisher and just run the fucking ball down their throats! Keep Josh Allen and the Bills offense off the field for 40 minutes. Whaddaya think?
Follow the blue print the New York Jets created when they won. They ran directly at the Buffalo Bills Nickelback and crushed it.
Sounds like a plan
MikeE I’m about halfway through the second book of the firemane series and I can see why you said that you didn’t like the second book as much as the first book. No spoilers because Phelan just started reading, but he really does put a fucking to everyone in the second book huh?
When there’s a dusting of snow they spent the whole week moving the stej and bills to Detroit but we have to go play in this. How the hell can they even get people into that stadium tonight. Whatever 🖕Buffalo
Wyoming, thanks for the pic. That’s just wonderful. OMG
Tried finding some live webcams but this is all I could come up with.
Actually, the first webcam is downtown and the second one north. The stadium is south of buffalo and the snow belt has moved to the north of the city. It’s not showing any precipitation over the stadium now.
If the wind direction changes as the day goes on, it could get ugly again.
Are all the games on the NFL Network today?
Looks like it
Is it too much to ask for these teams to win this weekend?
Going into this weekend, there is not one AFC team who has clinched a playoff berth. No spots have been officially claimed yet, including division leaders.
Right now, looks to be Cincy or Ravens will be #1 wildcard. That leaves Dolphins battling with Patriots, Chargers and Jets for the last 2 wildcard spots. Chargers and Jets we have lost to and hold the head to head over us.
We know who we have left.
Chargers don’t have a very difficult road with games left vs Titans tomorrow, Colts, Rams and Broncos.
Patriots may have the toughest road with games left at Raiders tomorrow then home vs Bengals and Dolphins then finish up at the Bills.
Jets may not have a difficult schedule with games left at home vs Lions tomorrow, at home vs Jaguars, then on the road against Seahawks and finish up at The Dolphins.
I can see Chargers winning out or going 3-1. I can see the Pats going 2-2 or 1-3. I can see the Jets going 3-1 or 2-2.
Where you you see us?
I think 2-2, both home games. If we could pull off 3-1 we are in.
All this with thinking tonight does not go very well.
I hope this is the Colts team that shows up vs Chargers next week.
Snow belt has shifted back south. Right now, barely clipping Highmark Stadium with light snow.
Heavier snow is north of stadium over downtown Buffalo.
I foresee a future in meteorology for you
Vikings sucking ass at home today
Starting to heat up .. may be too late , but getting me lots of garbage Fantasy Points 🤷♂️😊
Using iPad so my original account seems to work.
I lost Jonathan Taylor in the playoffs. Ugh!
What happened to him ? I was snow blowing the driveway and came in and heard he was out
Speaking of Fantasy :
FMU Playoff update
Regular season winner Herd Is trying to end MY Season
2nd place Mike E is facing Hulk
Piggy is facing Twice
Piggy is facing Twice
Stanger is in a dogfight with my Son Alex
Phelonius and My Wife face off in Week 17 for the chance to NOT FINISH LAST
Man, these refs in the Colts/Vikings game are flag happy as hell.
How the F did this turn into a football game. LOL
Wow that should be another Vikings TD
Some bad officiating right there
Wow, these refs should be embarrassed.
They should punt now
Horrible calls in this game.
Don’t agree with going for it there they way their D has been stopping Ryan , and with 3 time outs
I can’t believe the refs screwed the Vikings out of TWO fumble recovery TDs today. I would be seriously pissed if I was a Vikings fan.
Yep totally BS
TIE GAME. Wow
Let me change what I said earlier.
I hope this is NOT the Colts team that shows up vs the Chargers next week.
That’s all you have to do is make Matt Ryan scared.
I had to start Ryan in one Fantasy league today , good news is I also Cut Sanders and grabbed Colts kicker.. Ryan has 13 pts, Colts kicker 20 .. I’m okay with that
Two other leagues I have Cousins playing , one is over Tua..
Actually other 4 leagues I have Cousins in .. 3 over Tua
I hate the direction the game of football is going if that is roughing the passer. Just like the penalty on Phillips.
It’s fucking football.
I can accept that one as there was helmet to helmet contact but yeah the pussification of the game has gone too far
Phillips was a total BS a all , and not just cause ima a homer
Bad ass typing, but ya get the gist
What an ugly game!
Got to hand it to the Vikings fans for not leaving at halftime.
Matt Ryan just gave up the largest comeback in NFL History , to go with his largest comeback in SuperBowl history😊
MR. GREG JOSEPH is a graduate of THEE Florida Atlantic University!!
The Dolphins must NOT let another FAU alum, Bills running back Devon Singletary, run wild tonight in snowy Buffalo.
I don’t care where they came from, stop them.
I’m more worried about Josh running
AMEN TO THAT, TIM!!
BUT, some day, I’d like to see a local player who went to FAU in the starting lineup for our Dolphins!!
I’m tired of seeing players like the ’49ers Aziz Al-Shaiar (starting Linebacker), Singletary, and other ex-FAU players come back to south Florida and beat my favorite NFL team.
To the best of my knowledge, NO ALUM of either FAU or FIU has ever played for the Dolphins. The FO continues to overlook these two schools.
At least we didn’t draft Bortles.😉
At halftime they showed Buffalo stadium … field is clear .. stands are FULL of snow .. not sure how/if they will get it all out …was kinda hoping for a snow clogged field …
I thought the seats were covered with a white tarp.
Brownies moving again
Looks like Watson is starting to shake off the rust. He looked pretty good on that drive
GAMENIGHT BLOG UP!!!
Tua sucks ass
That is all.
Change Is required.
Avatar change coming.
We need to lose out the rest of the games for better draft position because we’re fucked for three years I said here.