By Abraham Gutierrez
Despite going into enemy territory and putting forth a valiant effort, the Miami Dolphins’ three-game win streak is over, as the Fins fell victims to the (7-2) Detroit Lions by a final score of 20-16.
Coming into Week 10 of the 2014 season ranked first and third defensively, the Lions and Dolphins certainly did not disappoint. However in the end, Detroit’s top-ranked defense combined with Matthew Stafford’s late-game heroics were enough to hand Miami a heartbreaking defeat.
Statistically, the Lions dominated the Dolphins in seemingly every facet of the game, neutralizing the running game on defense and dominating things through the air offensively. The felines recorded 19 first downs compared to the Fins’ 17, had 351 yards of total offense versus 228 and controlled time of possession to the tune of 31:34 to 28:26.
Detroit also won the always-crucial turnover battle 1-2, as Miami fumbled the ball three times during the game, and both teams were even with one interception apiece.
Miami Dolphins Offense: C+
As stated above, Miami’s running game was non-effective against the stingiest defensive unit in the National Football League. The Dolphins’ running back trio of Damien Williams, Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller combined for an anemic 59 yards on 16 carries, did not score and fumbled the football on one occasion.
Rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry led the way with 53 yards on seven receptions, followed by veteran Mike Wallace (5 catches, 51 yards, touchdown) and tight end Charles Clay (7 receptions, 45 yards) helps round out the top three receivers on the day.
Miami Dolphins Quarterback: B-
While it was clear from the start that quarterback Ryan Tannehill did not have his “A” game today, his toughness and resiliency versus the Lions’ bruising pass rush is something that cannot be overlooked.
Much like a quality MLB starting pitcher, Tannehill was able to keep his team in the game, despite not having his best stuff out there, which is also a characteristic some of the great signal-callers in the league possess.
The former Texas A&M standout finished the game by completing 71 percent of his pass attempts (27-for-38) for 207 yards, a touchdown and an interception for a quarterback rating of 81.8.
Miami Dolphins Defense: B+
In a game that was dubbed as a battle of two of the best defenses in the league, the Lions vs. Dolphins lived up to the hype. Resembling a heavyweight fight more than a football game, these defenses exchanged power blows seemingly on every possession, with neither one backed down.
Miami and Detroit finished tied with three sacks apiece, as well as knotted up with one interception each on the game. The gameball has to go to cornerback Brent Grimes, who had the unenviable task of guarding Lions superstar wideout, Calvin Johnson.
Giving up at least seven inches in height, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Week picked up his level of play after allowing Megatron to burn him on a spectacular 49-yard touchdown grab.
With a stoic effort, Grimes limited Johnson to 7-for-14 on the game, in the process recording one of the best one-handed picks of the 2014 NFL season. Other defenders that stood out in Miami’s showdown with Detroit include: Cameron Wake (2 tackles, 2.0 sacks), Jelani Jenkins (7 tackles, 1.0 sacks), Louis Delmas (6 tackles), Koa Misi (4 tackles) and Jamar Taylor (4 tackles) just to name a few.
Miami Dolphins Special Teams: A
In what ended up being one of the biggest plays of the game, the Fins’ special teams snatched momentum during a crucial time. With the Lions looking to extend their lead, Miami’s Earl Mitchell blocked a field goal attempt by Matt Prater, which was returned 58 yards by Deion Jordan all the way down to the Lions’ 4-yard line. Thus, the Dolphins would go on to score what would be their last touchdown of the game.
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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. .