Although the Dolphins didn’t come away with the win on Saturday, they did put on a show against a very strong and thus-far unbeaten Raiders team.

It’s a result that won’t move Miami up the NFL team rankings, but there are a lot of positives to get from the game.

Tua’s Absence

It’s clear that Tua’s absence was felt this week, and it’s even clearer that the Dolphins will continue to struggle for as long as he’s out of the team.

Jacoby Brissett was great in the fourth quarter, completing a 13-play touchdown drive that took the Dolphins over 82 yards and finished with a 2-point conversation, but he didn’t really factor before that. He failed to record 100 passing yards until the final quarter and while there were some promising moments from the offensive line, Brissett’s inactivity was a problem.

The offense definitely deserves credit for the fourth quarter, but if they had played to the same level for the other 45 minutes, it could have been an easy W.

After all, we’re talking about an offensive line that made a 4th and 20 in OT. If all the action you saw from that game came from the fourth quarter and onward, you could be forgiven for thinking that Brissett was on route to usurp Tua!

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Poor Decision Making

Brissett and the offense can’t take all of the blame. The defense was just as problematic and there were some shocking calls.

At 14-0 during the first quarter, the Dolphins were camped on their own 1-yard line on a 1st and 10. It’s by no means an easy position, but the fact they chose to throw the ball behind the line of scrimmage is mind-boggling.

The game was incredibly close at that time, and the resulting safety made a massive difference, swinging momentum firmly in favor of the Raiders.

The safety ended the quarter and led to a second-quarter that the Raiders won by 10, taking the score to 14-12. The Dolphins didn’t actually score again until the fourth quarter, finally turning on the style after being quiet, disappointing, and error-prone for half the game.

It’s speculation, but without that safety, this would have probably been a win for the Dolphins and a much more comfortable afternoon for Brissett and Co.

Hope for the Future

If the Dolphins can make better calls and play with that 4Q ferocity from the first whistle to the last, they will have a very good season. Even without Tua, there is enough there to be hopeful.

Next week, the Dolphins go to the 0-3 Colts in what should be a very close game. The oddsmakers are struggling to split them on the Moneyline and it will be another huge test for Brissett and his offensive line. You’d think that they could come away with the victory, but there are so many fine margins here that it’s hard to know for sure.

Will Brissett stay active throughout the game? Will those calls be smarter? Only time will tell.