By Abraham Gutierrez
Behind a stellar performance by Chiefs signal-caller, Alex Smith, Kansas City stunned the Miami Dolphins at home, 34-15, earning a subpar letter grade for the second consecutive week. The offensive line’s inability to protect Ryan Tannehill, combined with the defense’s struggles against the rush and on third down proved to be too much to overcome.
In the end, Miami had 18 first downs compared to Kansas City’s 22, tallied 332 yards to the visitor’s 342, and were severely outplayed in the time-of-possession battle, 33:42 to 26:18. Third-down efficiency was also a key statistic, and one in which the Dolphins converted at an anemic 4-for-15 effort, while the Chiefs kept the chains moving to the tune of 8-for-15.
Despite not having first-string running back Knowshon Moreno, Miami’s rushing attack was the highlight for the offensive unit. With the team’s leading rusher on the shelf with an elbow injury, Lamar Miller did a great job of doing his best Moreno impersonation versus a tough Kansas City defense.
In his absence, the former Cane made the most of his opportunities, rushing for 108 yards on 15 carries for an average of 7.2 yards per touch. Recently signed, Daniel Thomas also pitched in with 15 yards on two carries, while wide receiver Mike Wallace also got in the action with 12 yards in his only rush of the contest.
After as scoreless first quarter, Miami’s defense couldn’t keep the Chiefs off the scoreboard, and it proved to be costly. The visitors scored 14 points in the second quarter, seven in the third, and 13 in the final stanza, ultimately putting the game out of reach.
Not only did the Fins “D” surrender 174 rushing yards to a Chiefs squad that didn’t have either one of its starting running backs available, but Alex Smith was also lights out. The former Niners’ signal-caller completed 19-of-25 pass attempt for 186 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, which translates into an eye-popping quarterback rating of 136.0.
In Jamaal Charles’ absence, third-stringer, Knile Davis answered the bell, rushing for a game-high 132 yards on 32 carries and a score. Former Texas A&M standout, Cyrus Gray also contributed with 18 yards on 4 rushes and a score for Andy Reid’s bunch.
In the National Football League, for better or worse, the quarterback is usually the one to blame when things don’t go according to plan. In the case of Tannehill, while everyone is very quick to crucify him after every Miami loss, one will give him the benefit of the doubt, because the offensive line has played so poorly.
Having said that, there are things that he and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor can improve on in order to get the passing game in a better position considering the Fins’ ongoing O-line woes (i.e. plug in more plays in which Tannehill is rolled out of the pocket, and the occasional throw-away in order to avoid being sacked).
Special Teams: B
Unlike in last week’s loss to the Bills, special teams didn’t play much of a factor in the outcome of Sunday’s game. Miami kicker Caleb Sturgis converted on two of his three attempts, including a booming 51-yarder that split the uprights. Dolphins Pro Bowl punter, Brandon Fields took care of the rest, punting it away 7 times during the game for an average of 46.7 yards per kick, while placing 3 inside the Chiefs’ 20-yard line.
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Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .