Week 1 for the Dolphins is finally in the books. What started as a 1 pm game ended somewhere around 7:30pm Sunday night making it the longest game ever played in the NFL by more than two hours. More on this in a bit. The most important thing besides the NFL being back and how awesome that is, is that the Dolphins of Miami came out and won a home game against a team that was in the divisional playoffs last year. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have Miami winning this game. Fortunately, what I thought would happen didn’t come to pass and Miami enters week 2 with no blemishes. Watch out Mercury, Bob, Larry and the rest of the 1972 Dolphins team, the 2018 Dolphins are only 18 games away from knocking you off that being the only undefeated team in NFL history perch you’ve been strutting on for 46 years. Many things went down yesterday during the marathon game that was the Titans visiting the Dolphins and after a day of deep reflecting, I’m ready to share my thoughts and musings with the masses.
1. If I’ve said it once I’ve said about 25 times in my life that I wish the Dolphins wouldn’t play any home games in the first few weeks of the season. Usually, that’s reserved for those pesky hurricanes that magically form around this time of year in the Atlantic like it’s the season for them or something. So, playing away from Hard Rock Stadium in the beginning part of year seems like a reasonable thing to do. Like in baseball when it’s freezing out and the north east teams have to try and swing a bat without shattering their hands in low 40s temps. This time Mother nature had a different weapon to use to disrupt another Dolphins Titans home opener and that was summoning the powers of Raiden and sending this innocent contest into the longest NFL game ever played by 2 hours. The anxiety I felt scrolling through Twitter every two minutes only to see that the game was getting set back another half hour was nearly to much to bare. Then the game comes back, and they surprisingly did the smart thing and skipped halftime and then the game was delayed for lightning again. I don’t think I’m out of line to say that Mother Nature might have got dumped on Saturday night by Father Time and was taking it out on South Florida. I didn’t hear of anyone getting smitted by any bolts so that’s a positive thing, but how about no more opening weekend games in south Florida especially against the Titans?
2. Tannehill is going to Tannehill amiright? Ryan returned after missing the last year and a half of competitive play and showed everyone why everyone is torn on whether Ryan Tannehill is worth having as your starting QB. He did some good things while also making back breaking/bone headed throws. Story of his career. Ryan finished with a 20-28 for 2 TDs and 2 INTs, right in the meat of the curve. In the first half, he was sharp, with not as many risks taken. In the second half, the play calling was a bit looser which allowed Ryan to the ball in lower percentage situations. One of those situations was this
.@RyanTannehill with the dime to @KStills for the TOUCHDOWN!#FinsUp pic.twitter.com/egQ1IcoSGD
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 10, 2018
Just an absolute dynamite throw especially after Stills dropped a ball that hit him right the hands the play before. It was nice to see Ryan go right back to him. Also, it was nice to see Stills make this catch and score over Malcolm Butler. Just an added bonus. But, the good Lord givith and he also taketh away. Though the INT happened before the score, the biblical line still applies.
It's like Malcolm Butler enjoys endzone interceptions or something ? pic.twitter.com/3DWZ0pRL4e
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) September 9, 2018
Everyone in the universe knew that ball was getting thrown to Gesicki and Ryan gift wrapped a ball right to Butler for one the easiest picks of his career. When this happened, all I could say is of course Ryan threw a disgusting pass in the end zone. Of course, that had to happen. Some folks thought Gesicki, my boy, could have done something to tip the ball away, but the pas was so under thrown that all his momentum was moving forward. I know this won’t be the last time that Gesicki will get a jump ball thrown his way in the end zone. Hopefully he gets a chance to get his hands near the ball. At least an explanation has been given on why Ryan decided to throw a pass that looked like it was thrown by my 8-year-old nephew. Case closed I guess
Dolphins coach Adam Gase confirmed that the ball slipped out of Ryan Tannehill's hands, which explains the poor placement that led to Malcolm Butler's interception. The mystery is over.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) September 10, 2018
The other INT, Ryan and Grant didn’t seem like they were on the same page and a deep ball was easily picked off. Figure out what everyone is doing, and you’ll have a better time.
3. The usage of Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore with Ballage getting 0 touches is exactly what I thought would happen. Drake had 14 carries for only 48 yards with 3 catches for 18 while Gore had a solid 9 carries for 61 yards. Drake was pretty much held at bay and didn’t have any spinaroonie type runs to drop my jaw, but Gore looked good and he looked like he somehow has a bit more tread on the tires
Frank Gore isn’t old. He’s vintage. Expect plenty more of this in 2018 because Gore’s still got it. pic.twitter.com/nHgxtoNeSp
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) September 10, 2018
Drake will be fine, and he will have some epic moments this year, but Gore will have people shaking their heads by his consistent play. Oh, and by the way, Gore has the opportunity to become the 4th all-time leading rusher next week by passing some guy named Martin. He’s only 15 yards away so if you want an early week hot take about the game next week here’s one: Frank Gore will be the 4th all-time leading rusher in NFL history. Book it
4. This kid who ran onto the field during the lightning delay has some decent moves, but he needs to dedicate himself to the offseason workout program because he was gassed after only about 40 seconds. Honestly, because this was a kid and not a half-naked/naked drunk dude, I bet this kid gets to meet the team and gets tickets to an upcoming game. I wonder if security gets a hollering at because they left an elementary student run amuck on the field. Someone has to get canned for this right? One thing he did prove was that those tarp-like coverings on the sidelines are death traps and it’s crazy that the NFL has teams use them.
Rain delay here in #TENvsMIA. Meanwhile… Mini-Tannehill is on the loose @MiamiDolphins @NFL @BleacherReport @houseofhighligh pic.twitter.com/Nbsr2o5pnE
— Alex Forjan (@alley_way_) September 9, 2018
5. The WRs did a nice job. Stills caught 2 TDs and had 106 on 4 catches and Amendola, Wilson and Grant did their part. This offense is never going to put up numbers like you saw in the Bucs Saints game. Get that thought of your head that Miami won’t just start going deep down field on the regular. Miami’s offense is all about quick hitters and timing stacked on to timing. They’re more about 10 play drives then 1 play drives, though they had a 75-yard score. As long as the WRs keep the drops low, they’ll be fine. I also enjoyed how they used Albert Wilson in the backfield. He’ll have a few plays this year where he takes a hand off for real good yardage. They even ran the option with Wilson. You can do a lot with a player who’s comfortable with that. Actually, I’d love if Miami strictly ran the option. It is a real nice tribute to Tony Sparano.
6. Miami and Tennessee might of ran 1 RPO but to Cris Carter they ran about 2,000 RPOs. This term needs to be made into a curse word so that people can add it to their swear jars because announcers can’t stop saying that every play is an RPO. The worst part is most of the time it’s a team running a read option, which was the cool kid phrase from 2012 that gets mistaken as a true RPO. Also, Cris Carter, take a lap.
7. The defensive line played good not great. They shut down Derrick Henry, although thanks to a gift call on a holding he had a 60-yard TD wiped away. Dion Lewis did some damage but nothing but nothing too bad. They didn’t get home at all but had pressure on Mariota throughout his time he was there. They even did what you’re coached to do and blew up the QB on one of those R̶P̶O̶s̶ read options and hit him when he acted like a runner. Amazingly, some really smart people thought the hit was dirty that knocked Mariota out, but it was as clean as clean gets.
8. Lewis and Walker didn’t rip Miami apart like I thought they would. Lewis had 35 yards receiving and Walker had 52 before he got hurt. Kiko, Baker and McMillan covered well and held their own in the run game. Early on, the Titans were stretching Miami’s defense wide, which benefits them due to speed and lack of size. I thought that was a weird way to run the ball against Miami, but I’ll take it. Kiko made a nice INT after the first weather delay. I’m not saying that I want a lightning delay to occur every game because it means Kiko would get an INT, but if that’s what it takes, then offer Storm a field pass.
9. Delanie Walker, a guy I had pegged as a guy who was going to decimate Miami’s LB core went down with a gruesome ankle injury that you just knew was bad from the start. You always know something is bad when players from both teams get up and immediately start calling for anyone to come over and put someone’s leg back together. Though his ankle was turned into linguine, you never would have guessed that was a part of Delanie’s life.
Has anyone ever been more at ease about getting their ankle broken than Delanie Walker? pic.twitter.com/KRNIlpKz0q
— Surnn (@2ndSatSports) September 11, 2018
This is legit scary. Delanie’s season is over and he’s all like “hey guys, after this let’s go out and get some dinner. You guys in?”
10. Minkah Fitzpatrick is going to be a special player. The guy was all over the field and just looked like his anticipation was on a different level. He’s a football player who should be a major part of this team for next 5+ years.
11. The secondary overall, did a really nice job of not letting any kind of rhythm to occur with the Titans passing game. Sure, 4 hours’ worth of lightning delays is a nice home field advantage but Howard, Fitzpatrick, McDonald, and McCain made life tough for Mariota and Gabbert. But, Reshad Jones was the star of the bunch. 2 INTs will do that.
For those who aren’t aware, Dolphins safety Reshad Jones is called “G5” by his teammates and friends, which should explains the flying motion he did after both interceptions on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/w9OsozFNPS
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) September 10, 2018
Oh, and that play where Jones spine bustered Dion Lewis behind the line is always cool to see.
12. Going back to that Lord giveth and the Lord giveth away reference, I possibly should have saved it for Miami’s special teams. Grant showed once again that he’s super-fast. Can’t imagine being that fast. My whole life be different I hope. I don’t think he’s done this year with the returns. I’m giving him 3 total returns this year. Nice if he went over that.
Here’s Jakeem Grant’s 101-yard kickoff return for a TD. This game started over six hours ago… pic.twitter.com/61NhXqP24y
— DraftKings (@DraftKings) September 9, 2018
While I praised the “Dreaded Trio” for their blocking on Jakeem Grant’s kickoff returned for a touchdown, I also need to point out they are responsible getting walled off, allowing the Titans KOR for a touchdown. Newcomers on the unit, so Darren Rizzi gets a pass. But tighten up. pic.twitter.com/jSiqJusDgZ
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) September 10, 2018
Kick returns are always awesome to see especially when it’s your team that runs it back. However, I don’t like it when teams runs kicks back against the Dolphins. It makes me feel bad and I just don’t care for it.
I’ll go with Omar here that there are new guys on the nut-squad. Let’s just go ahead and not let any more kick returns this year. Deal? Good.
13. 1-5 for in the RedZone is simply not going to get it done. Gase and company talked all off season about how they had to be efficient in the RedZone just liked they talked about not committing pre-snap penalties and they still went out and made them. This is more important than penalties. Against the Titans, you can get away with that. Against, teams that can score at will, you can’t kick field goals or worse, turn the ball over. It just can’t happen. I hope Gase starts to unveil his really neat J̶a̶r̶v̶i̶s̶ ̶L̶a̶n̶d̶r̶y̶ Danny Amendola inside the 10 TD plays to reverse what happened on Sunday.
14. Miami won. After all the mistakes and lightning, the Dolphins won their first game. All W’s look the same and I don’t care how it looked. Sure, we can knit pick everything to death, and that’s good for fun sports talk, but after all that, Miami is 1-0 and go on the road to play the Jets. As of right now, the Jets, who seemed like weak team, are completely obliterating the Lion on the road. Has me all kinds of worried at the moment. Hopefully Gase and the boys have something good in-store for Sam Darnold and Firemen Ed, who apparently is back with the team. So, enjoy the week, stay dry and we’re off to New York.
Follow me @2ndSatSports