By Abraham Gutierrez
Not to be denied in his return from a long layoff, Tony Romo led the Dallas Cowboys into a sold-out Sun Life Stadium and handed the Miami Dolphins a devastating 24-14 loss. The double-digit defeat drops the Fins to 4-6 on the season and puts a huge damper on their playoff hopes as they now occupy the cellar spots in the AFC East.
It was an afternoon to forget for Miami, particularly on the offensive side of the football. Going up against a rather average defense, the Dolphins could not capitalize despite winning the turnover battle 2-1. As a team, they registered a dismal nine first downs, 210 total yards of offense, 21 minutes and 10 seconds in time of possession, and went a whopping 1-for-10 in third down situations.
The running game was once again an issue, with Miami only rushing the football on 14 occasions for an anemic 70 yards. Starting running back Lamar Miller led the way with a team-high 44 yards on 7 rushes, followed by quarterback Ryan Tannehill who pitched in 13 yards on three carries.
Speaking of Tannehill, the Texas A&M product connected on 54 percent of his passes, going 13-for-24 for 188 yards, two touchdowns and a costly pick-six. The Dolphins’ top receivers were Jarvis Landry (4 catches, 66 yards), Kenny Stills (2 catches, 52 yards, TD) and tight end Jordan Cameron (2 catches, 21 yards, TD).
On the opposite side of the football, Miami was just as bad, if not worse. They gave up 22 first downs, 386 yards of total offense, lost the time of possession battle (38:50) and allowed the Cowboys to convert on 7-of-14 third downs. Through the air, Dallas registered 220 passing yards as Romo was still shaking off the rust by throwing two picks.
However, the difference maker in this game was without question Darren McFadden, even though Romo connected on 18-for-28 for 2 TD and 2 INT for a quarterback rating of 83.5. Despite being a little dinged up, the former Raider rushed for 129 yards on 29 carries.
“We’ve got to stop the run,” said defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh after the game. “We didn’t do a good enough job in that area. That’s pretty much as simple as it gets.”
Whenever an NFL team beats itself, the blame has to be placed on the head coach. In Miami’s case, this team shot itself in the foot time and time again, killing drives and not being able to put enough points on the board. As a unit, the Fins had nine penalties for a loss of 74 yards and failed to capitalize off Romo’s two picks.
Miami’s latest loss really hurts Campbell’s chances of dropping the “interim” word and become the official Dolphins head coach. After the game, Tannehill spoke to reporters regarding this very same topic.
“I want to keep Dan around,” said the second-year signal-caller. “He does a great job. He’s exciting. Everyone in our locker room believes in him. But as players we’ve got to go out and do a better job.”
Next week, Miami travels to East Rutherford, New Jersey for their second and final clash with the New York Jets.
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.