I’m sorry to report that I was unable to share my deep reflections from last week. No, nothing cool happened in my life, quite the opposite actually. I had to miss the game due to being at an engagement party. Not sure if this is solely a northeast PA phenomena, but basically, I had to go to a dinning hall to celebrate a couple’s decision to get married. I know, it makes no damn sense. What makes it make even less sense is that they had it on a Sunday at 1pm. A more ridiculous set of circumstances, I cannot recall.

Miami lost, it sucked and had to get ready quickly for the Texans. If the Lions game was an appetizer, than the Texans was the main course of this gross meal that is the Miami Dolphins defense. Miami currently rests at 4-4 and the team is on the verge of another classic Dolphins implosion. Gase is evaluating everything and you just know he has his hand firmly on the lever on one of those trap floors where the floor just gives out and the person falls through it. Miami is playing some classic Miami football where they just look like an NFL Europe team instead of a collection of real professional players. Happens a few times every year and it sucks because we Miami fans look at other teams in the league and see just about everyone else have their peaks and valleys. We see everyone else suck, but then after a while look really good and have a 2-3 year window where they’re a contender. Not here in Miami we only have valleys and once and a while, one ledge above that valley. No peaks, no real highs, nothing that looks like a contending window. But, it’s important for not just y’all but myself to understand what we’re dealing with here and that Miami is still 4-4 with winnable games coming up. Crazier things have happened at the end of seasons. The Bills made the playoffs last year so that should give everyone at least some hope that backdooring into the playoffs only to get slaughtered is a possibly. Hope is a dangerous thing, but maybe the best of things. Lets just all take a deep breath and reflect.

1. Decent opening drive by Miami. The running game is working and you managed to get a 4th and 1 in Texans territory. What do ya do? Do you A. QB sneak it with your 6’7 QB B. Hand it off to Frank Gore running behind O’Leary C. Hand it off to Drake off tackle or even a pitch D. None of the above. Like I tell students, always take the answer that has the words the above in it. Miami aren’t any students I’ve taught, but they sure are dumb like many of them. Of course Miami in a big spot early in the game, a spot where they can put pressure on Houston, keep the ball and get points on their opening drive something they haven’t done in 17 drives chose to not run the ball when they were having success. Nope, they chose to go the stealthier route of a bootleg with an immobile QB that got sniffed out early. Why oh why don’t you just run it there? Even if you get stuffed running the ball, at least people can’t say “well, at least they didn’t pass the ball.” Now, you miss the 4th down but you also look very stupid for passing it. Why make life harder on yourself? You’re going to be reading about more amazingly dumbfounding play calling choices in this piece, unfortunately.

2. Gore and Drake actually ran the ball well. 24 carries between them for 111 yards. Not the most gaudy stat line but, if the game didn’t get so away from them in the second half, there would have been more yards. The 0-line was consistently opening up holes for them. There wasn’t any big chunk running plays, just some old school 4,5 and 6 yard runs that if you’re winning, is exactly what you want to do. But, Miami was only winning for about 13 seconds so it didn’t have the desired effect. Gore looks fantastic out there making shifty cuts between the tackles and Drake is close to breaking 4 yard runs into 70 yards runs. This is the formula Miami will continue to use. I won’t be surprised if Drake gets featured a bit more as the year goes just because he is very fresh.

In his last 37 carries, Drake has 233 yards, which is 6.3YPC and two TDs including this

It’s easy to say that Drake needs more touches, but when you’re consistently down around double digit points often, there’s no room for hand offs. But man, he looks fast.

3. The refs open the game with not knowing that the ball had to be kicked off again after a penalty. Then they miss perhaps the most obvious tripping call in the history of tripping calls. Mike Pereira didn’t know what to say, as he usually doesn’t, besides that he didn’t understand how it wasn’t called.

4. Lack of WR depth means Jakeem Grant is off kick-off returning duties. That’s sadly a big part of Miami’s offense. Not having him out there hurts. It hurts a lot.

5. Gase and seemingly every Dolphins coach of the last 20 years have this infatuation of running play action when me, the other team and everyone else in the universe knows they aren’t going to run it. There was a drive in the second quarter where it was a 3rd down and around 4. It was a good drive, but no way in hell Miami would run it twice in a row and they go play action, fools no one and in comes the punting team. I wish I could make money predicting when Miami is going to run play action because I’d be a trillionaire. It’s so obvious. Teams in the NFL simply don’t run the ball a few plays in a row. So, when you run it for 5 yards, especially Miami, I’m always thinking pass is coming next. Sure enough, it’s a pass. I suppose nothing is wrong with that, but when you stink at passing, turning your back to the defense isn’t the best choice.

6. JJ Watt is really good. He made James look like a scrub out there to the point where on Drake’s TD run James set up like he was pass blocking to fool them. It worked. Keep doing it. Miami may of stumbled on the future of blocking.

7. Lamar Miller looked like the player I didn’t want Miami to give up on 4 years ago. A revenge game of sorts for Miller and he completely pwned Miami’s defense over and over again almost effortlessly. Of course he had his best game in years against the Dolphins. Miami has a track record of having guys have their best games against them. Terrell Pryor last year, Kerryon Johnson, Sony Michel, Deshaun Watson and I know I’m missing others. Miami is the ultimate slump buster.

8. Only Miami can run a 3rd and 2 pass play, catch the ball and be short of the first down. I swear I don’t see other teams do that.

Speaking of which, the #FreeGesicki movement didn’t look splendid out there. Mike did his best Danny Amendola impersonations over and over again

Easy to say that this isn’t the BIG 10 anymore, but this isn’t the BIG 10 anymore. Still, Miami must have major trust issues with Gesicki as a pass catcher. There’s no attempt to adhere to his skill set. Way to go Gase. Way to take a guy and make him into a broken down Julius Thomas.

9. Danny Amendola- Oh, you think you know how to catch a pass and get absolutely obliterated? Hold all my beers

10. Dodged a bullet on this one

Honestly, I didn’t have this going in our favor. I thought he was hit, arm came forward sure, but the ball slipped out of his grasp constituting a fumble. What a feeling it was to have a call like this go our way. It felt nice and I liked it.

11. Still only 14-10 at the half. Miami was still very much in this.

12. Then the second half started and yep. In a matter of only a few plays, the Texans went down the field on Miami as if they weren’t even there and this guy has his best night of career. Of course Miami allows that to happen.

A major 4th down conversion for Houston. It’s tough because Miami initially stops what they primarily wanted to do. But, when you have no pass rush at all against a guy the caliber of Watson, this is what happens.

13. Lets talk about the pass rush. For years, Miami has had an adequate pass rush. Personally, I’ve always thought their pass rush was a bit over blown because they would go games without recording a sack and then get like 5 in one game making it look like they were consistent. But they never were. Now, it’s official. They have no pass rush. Wake is finished. At least he’s finished here. If they could trade him at the deadline to a contender, that would be nice for him. He deserves to play on a winner for at least a short while. The acquisition of Quinn, one that had people feeling all tingly in the preseason when he was making plays has yielded next to nothing so far. It felt like Watson had a 100 years to sit back an throw. Even when they did get close to him, Miami couldn’t bring him down. So disheartening to watch knowing there was nothing they could do to stop him. Miami would score, get back in the game, feel good about the idea of getting a stop and getting the ball back only to have Houston score in 4 plays or less like they could flip the switch to kill mode whenever they wanted. It was like when Chicago came out in the second half and decided enough was enough, lets just score whenever feel like.

14. Lets talk about the run defense. Or, lets show you the run defense.

The thing that’s most troubling is that it doesn’t appear the front 7 are getting any better in this department. Last week against the Lions, the Patriots game and other spots, it just seems that the d-tackles and linebackers are consistently out of position. The d-tackles are getting reached and giving their chest making themselves easily push aroundable and the smaller linebackers that Miami has can’t get off any blocks. They don’t help themselves by being out of position more often than not. The Texans and Lions don’t have thumping running games and they made them out to be the 90s Cowboys. Lack of depth and injuries certainly is a reason why this is happening but discipline is the #1 culprit. Worst part about this is, you know Suh is laughing his face off about this. He called it and myself and others thought he was dead wrong the first 3 weeks into the season. Guess he was way right.

15. Remember we thought Miami’s secondary was a strength of this team? That was fun right?

I don’t know what to say. Matt Burke has lost control here. You simply can’t have this many break downs. Can’t have it. Why are receivers, one of them who is one of the best in the league, running with no one within 15 yards in any direction of him? All Houston had to do was line up a receiver on one side of the field and have them run to the other side of the field and that makes them wide open. Did Houston invent the deep crossing pattern? Simply baffling. Simply Miami. Miami goes down and scores only for Houston to say “wanna score? Lets score because we can whenever we feel like it.” McCain, Fitzpatrick, Jones, McDonald, where are you?

Howard did a fine job on Hopkins, though Hopkins did score on that slant at the goal line. Oh and this play happened.

Probably the best non-catch of all time.

16. Is the solution to the defense to #FireMattBurke? Seems like they should get rid of him but does it actually help them? I don’t know. I think Miami is just sort of fake all over the place. Yeah they can make Carr, Darnold, Mariotta, Gabbert look bad but give them any kind of next level QB and they get taken to school. Sure, some of that is the d-line not doing a thing out there, but some of it is simply not being some combination of instinctual, talented enough to hang with with 2018 offenses. But yeah, Burke should be axed because there’s now way he’s here next year and how much worse can it get.

Looks like a guy who’s on the ropes

16. This was so Miami…

Rodgers, Brady, even Dalton when they get a free play pushes the ball down field. Osweiler stays on brand. infuriating but hilarious at the same time.

17. Here’s an accurate stat: Deshuan Watson had 0 balls where he had to throw it away. Osweiler had 54 where he had to throw it away. Look into that any way you’d like.

18. Brock finished with 21/37 for 241 yards and an INT. Not having Wilson hurt. You lose a lot of big plays there and it seems that Miami’s offense is predicated on the big play. They aren’t a long drive offense capping it off with a TD team. They simply can’t sustain consistency long enough. Osweiler is limited, but he’s performing admirably in my opinion. To me, he’s playing around the level of Tannehill. He’s less mobile, less accurate but the production is about the same. He’ll start all the way up to the bye and then we’ll see what Gase wants to do. The season might be off the rails completely by then. Big, long impacting decisions coming up.

19. Speaking of decisions, why did Gase elect to go for the FG down 35-20 with 11.26 left in the 4th? What’s the difference of being down 15 02 12? Again, why look dumb if you don’t have too? You go for it and you miss, no one questions it. You make the FG and you’re in the same exact spot, still needing two scores. Is Gase out coaching himself, seems like it. But remember, he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Cool

20. DeVante Parker looked pretty healthy out there.

6 catches for 134 yards is what Parker can do if he’s featured and when coaches make a point to get him the ball. Yeah, he’s seemingly made of glass, has issues with Gase and this was only one game, but the talent is there. Kinda makes Gase look weird that he didn’t play him against the Lions. But I can’t stress enough, Gase doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He’s to cool for that.

Good for Parker. We’ll see where this gets him. Does he get traded because his stock couldn’t be any better? Or, does he stay here because of lack of depth? I’d guess that he stays. If Miami is going to dream about staying “in the hunt” they need his skills. They don’t throw to the TEs for whatever reason and Amendola, Grant and Stills when he gets back won’t be able to do it alone.

21. Hungry for low hanging fruit? Of course you are. Should Amendola be the starting QB. Seriously, should he be?

22. Hey, at least Jason Sanders looks like a keeper. 3 FGs will do that. It’s nice, for the moment, not to have to worry about a shaky kicker.

Self-Actualization- Sorry for all the Texans highlights. They’re needed to paint the picture of who this team is at the moment. I don’t think Miami is underachieving, I just think that injuries and bad in-game decisions are costing this team on a weekly basis. This team can’t really overcome adversity to often. Also, the Texans are good. They have a very good QB who is starting to understand the game. When you have that everything, every part of the game for all positions seems easier. A good QB, who is smart can hide a ton of imperfections. Must be nice. I’ve never really experienced that. It’s been near 20 years since Marino’s last few years. So, I’m not sure what a calm, confident team looks like. The way Houston never for a moment felt even remotely threatened by Miami is a feeling I’ve never felt. Must be so nice to have a team that knows that any time they can turn it on. My whole life, if Miami was going to have to do good, they were going to have surprise and shock people. They never are looked at like any kind of hammer who can go out there and take care of business like they’re supposed to because they’re are so rarely thought of as the better team. Miami is 4-4 and there’s a lot of football to be played. They have 8 days until they play again and things might look a bit different in terms of personnel. They play the Jets at home. It’s a winnable game. Will they win it, I don’t know. I do know they won’t be expected to take care of business. Maybe in a few years on that.

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