MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Despite spending tens of millions of dollars in guaranteed money, the Miami Dolphins looked very much like last year’s 7-9 squad in the first preseason game of the season, a 24-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
“I thought we’d play better,” a clearly disappointed coach Joe Philbin said.
But, it was only the Hall of Fame game and for most players, it’s played with about the same intensity as the annual NFL Pro Bowl. Miami played without parts of its starting defensive line and was missing wide receivers Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace.
The problems started early for the Dolphins when on the team’s first offensive play from scrimmage, running back Lamar Miller couldn’t get the ball from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Cowboys jumped on the football.
It was a microcosm for the problems the Dolphins had on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense. The overriding takeaway from the game was the Fins weren’t quite ready for primetime in the season opener.
Miami bet the farm on second-year player Jonathan Martin being able to hold down the left tackle position after the team let Jake Long leave in free agency. Martin has struggled at times in practice and struggled again with Dallas’ rush during his time in the game.
Martin did help break open some holes for running back Lamar Miller, but even he would say he needed to improve his play against the Cowboys’ backups. But Martin’s struggles weren’t as bad as rookie left tackle Dallas Thomas who looked completely lost at times.
The worst play for Thomas was when he completely whiffed on a Dallas lineman, giving the lineman an open shot on Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore.
The Dolphins interior offensive line looked good pulling out in front of Miller with guard Richie Incognito and center Mike Pouncey plowing a path for Miller to run through on two runs of more than 10 yards.
Defensively, the Dolphins were hit with two pass interference penalties, including one costly one in the end zone in the first half. The Cowboys would go on to cash the turnover in with a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead against the Fins.
Looking at the numbers, Miami had three fumbles, one of which was lost, and an interception while Dallas had just one fumble in the game which the Cowboys recovered.
Unfortunately for Fins fans, and Miami’s coaching staff, the team has to almost go back to square one after two weeks focusing on turnovers, because it didn’t work.
Miami will be on the road again this week with a very quick turnaround. The Fins will be just up I-95 in Jacksonville for a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are completely rebuilding the team and Miami should be able to move past them without much trouble.