In my journey to cover this team on a weekly basis as one of those big-time journalists you always hear about, I thought the best way to review a Dolphin’s game was to present you with “musings” of the last two games. In doing I so, I realized that when I would look back on what Miami did that I was in a state of very deep state   reflection. Thus, why I had to change my approach from simple musings to deep reflections. I feel it’s what’s best for me, for Dolphins Talk and ultimately you. 

1. Ryan Tannehill looks like he knows what he’s doing out there. Not sure if throwing Ballage out of the huddle and then going back for seconds is what transformed him into the guy that the team rallies behind, but he looks like he has full command of the offense. The other players on offense certainly seem like they are following his lead. For the past 3 weeks, when plays needed to be made he made them either through the air or on the ground. Here’s a group of plays I found that Ryan made that have me feeling things…

There was also a throw to Stills that set up a score that was about a 20 yard comeback that was very impressive.

Tannehill gets verbally assaulted on the regular, but the way he’s been playing this year even the harshest critics have to see that Ryan is probably playing the best ball of his career. His accuracy has been top notch. Here’s some numbers for all you analytic types

Are they numbers that jump out at you and have you putting a pillow on your lap? Hopefully not. Compared to the ridiculous numbers that Mahomes and others are putting up they just seem like nice numbers. But how he’s playing is something else. Just look at the TD to Stills. He got hit hard and hit sort of low and Tannehill just stood in there and took it all while throwing one of the prettiest balls of his career.  Gase is playing to Ryan’s strengths and that’s quick decision making and accuracy. Like I’ve said in previous blogs, Miami’s passing game won’t often yield many chunk plays, but they will methodically devour a defense and take up clock. Also, not turning the ball over has been a great way to play. At least one pass to Still down the sideline could have been picked but other than that, Ryan is being very smart with the ball. Need to keep that up and need to continue to play with this kind of confidence.

2. Notice I didn’t show the “TD passes” to Grant and Wilson when talking about how Tannehill has been throwing the ball so well. Those plays went for a combined 92 yards for 2 TDs but the total amount of distance that Tannehill “tossed” the ball forward was about 13 inches. I’m not knocking it and I’m all for them being counted as passes because it helps Tannehill’s stats thus helps me when I have to defend him to friends but let’s be real about them. They aren’t football throws in a reality that makes sense but fortunately the NFL is an entity that rarely makes sense so we’re good.

3. Why didn’t a Miami player jump on the ball after that 1st quarter punt that might have hit the foot of a Raider player’s foot? I mean, it was kind of close and when they showed the replay, only once surprisingly, it appeared like it might have hit his foot ever so slightly and no one fell on it. During a game, you’ll see a pass get batted down at the line clear as day and you’ll have about 2-3 guys trying to pick it up and run it back for a score. When that happens, I say out loud to myself “in what world did you think that might have been a fumble?” This was actually possible of being a fumble and nothing happened. Weird.

4. Jon Gruden must have wanted Marshawn Lynch to relive his experience from super bowl 49 so he decided to run FB Keith Smith on 4th and 1 instead of handing the ball off to Lynch who was rolling the Dolphin’s defense. Only explanation there is for handing the ball off on a FB dive. Just more expert coaching from the leader of Gruden’s grinders. Thanks Chuck and good look getting of the snide and getting your first win this decade.

5. Marshawn Lynch is a beast man who I’m still not sure was ever brought to the ground on Sunday. It was like in Rocky 2 when Duke tried explaining to Apollo that Balboa was all wrong for them. He saw Creed hit Rocky over and over in their first fight and the man kept coming. I saw Miami defender after defender after defender try and wrap up on Lynch sometimes 2 or more at a time and he just wasn’t going to let it happen. Thankfully, Gruden went away from Lynch enough because I think he could abuse Miami more. And yes, I know his stats weren’t that stellar.

6. Gase picked the perfect spots to open up the playbook. We’ve seen these plays dozens of times, but they will not get old so here they’re again…

We knew eventually we were going to see Albert Wilson get moved around and put in position to do some unconventional things. It was just a matter of time. On Sunday, Gase said now is the time to unleash Wilson and unleash him he did. All I could hear in my head was Chris Berman saying “oh those tricky Dolphins” before he takes some dur durs. It also helps that you have one of the fastest guys in the league in Jakeem Grant to run some of these gadget plays with. Can you imagine being that Raider corner and what probably felt like an ocean’s worth of space between you and Jakeem Grant and you have to somehow stop him. Simply terrifying.

I wonder if this is going to turn into the Wildcat from 2008 where every week there was a new wrinkle added to it? I doubt it, but either way, coach Sparano has to be looking down and enjoying what he’s seeing.

7. Was Wilson high fiving Grant at the 10-yard line before he iced the game for Miami the most disrespectful thing you’ve ever seen?

I need more of this. I need this to happen every week. You just simply shouldn’t be this fast where you can celebrate before plays are over. Here at Dolphins Talk we should be putting this image over shirts and make money over fist because that’s exactly what would happen.

8. Ryan Tannehill being your leading rusher is not a good thing. Ryan had 26 yards while Drake had 5 carries and Gore had 6. I really don’t know what that even is. I realize Miami didn’t have much in terms of time of possession and that they simply weren’t running it well, but when I said I wanted Miami to figure out an identity, this was not what I was hoping would happen. Is the loss of Sitton really that much of an issue or is it that Miami is a finesse running game where Drake needs to create plays out of nothing like he did last year to have some kind of a running game? I’m starting to get a smell about Kenyan Drake and it smells like Lamar Miller. A guy everyone thinks is good but gets shelved in Miami for seemingly no reason. Hope I’m dead wrong, but it’s what’s starting to get mixed up in the air.

9. Nice to see DeVante Parker back in the mix. Hopefully he can build of his solid season debut.

10. Mike Gesicki made a nice catch and run, and it looks like he’s going to have to do that and a lot more

11. I’m not sure who is to blame for Jordy Nelson’s domination of the Dolphin’s secondary in the first half but it has to be cleaned up not tomorrow, not after breakfast, now!!


Did all this happen because Reshad Jones was a late scratch and rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick had to start at safety and wasn’t ready for it? Was it because Bobby McCain blew some assignments? I don’t know. I do know that this has to be blown assignments and not that the Raiders knew exactly where they could get Jordy Nelson wide open with no one within 15 yards of him upon catching the ball. That I do know and knowing that leads me to believe that this is something that could be fixed and fixed it needs to be.

12. The defensive line is the backbone of this team. They got 3 sacks and allowed 111 yards on the ground. They’re playing with a physicality that is overwhelming opponents. The fast offense, Tannehill playing with poise, the cool trick plays even the lock down secondary are all awesome. But, the defensive line playing like guys who have something to prove is what will allow all the other facets in the game to be able to play the way they want to play.

13. Roger Goodell and the NFL brain trust, which is to say they are the NFL’s stupid morons that could screw up a 1 car funeral, cost us William Hayes this year.

Goodell is a scumbag. Always has been. From how he screwed up all the domestic abuse situations and just about every other polarizing issue that has to do with the NFL, Roger has been there to mess it up. Now we have William Hayes who makes a great play getting to Carr and because of a crazy, not possible rule where defenders have to do a chemistry experiment mid-play to figure out a way to distribute their body weight to a magic number that’s not too much on the QB, Hayes compensated for that lunacy and in turn tore his ACL in the process all so Roger could tell NFL owners that he’s protecting their highest investments. Who cares that everyone with a brain hates what’s going on in the league. Who cares that every analyst and even ex-referees think it’s gone too far. It doesn’t matter. Roger and the rest of the NFL goons don’t care how stupid they look. It’s never mattered how stupid and tone deaf they’ve looked, and it never will because me and 99% of the people are going to keep watching.

As for Miami, they lose Hayes and also DT Akeem Spence who was injured. Time for former first round pick Charles Harris to step up and earn his keep.

14. The star of the defense right now and for the foreseeable future is Xavien Howard. On Sunday, Howard put on a a display that alerted the league that the next young stud CB is he. Howard blanketed Amari Cooper to the toll of only 1 catch for 8 yards, which really hurt my fantasy team but it worked out for Miami, but I’m done with him. But, it was his 2 INTs especially the probable game ending pick in the endzone where he emasculated Raider Nation where he told the league just who the hell he is.

Howard came out and abused the Patriots last year on national TV and folks got a whiff of what he’s about. Now he’s on a path of wrecking the NFL on a weekly basis. You’ll start to see more articles and pieces done on him this year. What gets me queasy is very soon Howard is going to be looking to get paid and rightfully so. Is Miami going to once again let one of their home-grown players walk because they don’t want to pay them? They better not.

15. Matt Haack is still performing his job at a high level. He’s flipping the field all the time. This team needs him to keep doing that. I need him to keep doing that.

Self-Actualization- This week was a little bit different than the previous two weeks. This week Miami was trailing for most of the game. Not until the 4th quarter did Miami take the lead. It got pretty hairy there, but Miami delved into the playbook, found some gems and then played a bend don’t break defensive approach and then slammed the door on the Raiders. This team is playing with an attitude, confidence and swagger that I haven’t seen in years. Every time they score, they’re looking to take pictures and have a grand old time. Football purists and people that love 90s Big Ten football probably are against the way Miami is carrying themselves, but it’s working for them. Maybe that’s their identity. To beat you using pure speed on offense and an upfront physicality backed up by a suffocating secondary. Miami is a flashy place so maybe trying to things in a flashy manner might be what this team needs to do.

We all know who Miami plays next week and you damn well know that they will be ready. Yeah New England looks to be out of sorts and have lost 2 straight. But, the Patriots haven’t lost 3 in a row in 16 years. They figure things out. So, Miami needs to put their best effort forward and do what this team is designed to do and that’s run them out of the building and get pressure on Brady. Do that, and 4-0 can be a reality.

Finally, there’s this…

Is it early in the season, sure? Is it still lovely to look at, absolutely? If the playoffs started today, Miami would be the overall #1 seed. And like I’ve been saying, Mercury, Kiick, Csonka, Griese, Morrall, Del Gaizo, Anderson, Yepremian, Warfield, Kuechenberg, Fernandez and Buonticonti better start warming up to the idea that they will be sharing all that champagne because the 2018 Dolphins are coming for you.

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