By Abraham Gutierrez
Another game in the books, another disappointing finish for the (5-10) Miami Dolphins, this time against a (7-8) Indianapolis Colts team who had their third string quarterback running the offense. Nevertheless, the Colts aren’t nearly as responsible for beating Miami as much as the Fins simply beat themselves.
Even though the game was anything but clean, truth is that the Dolphins shot themselves too many times in the foot to come away victorious. Miami committed 9 penalties for 50 yards; however, the timing of this team’s mishaps is what truly did this ballclub in.
“[Penalties] crept up again and they cost us in critical times,” said a spent Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell in his post-game presser. “At the end of the day when you loose, they’re all frustrating. At the end of the day you just want to give yourself a chance to win the game, and we did that, and we didn’t make it happen.”
Offensively, this was another nightmarish showing for the Dolphins offense, and as one has stated in the past, it would appear as though the offensive line is allowing opposing defenses to reach the quarterback with ease. This couldn’t have been more obvious than in Miami’s final offensive play of the game.
With a chance to escape with an improbable win in the final seconds of regulation, everyone in the offensive line – other than the center – froze when the ball was snapped, enabling the Colts defenders to waltz into the backfield, sack Ryan Tannehill and end the Dolphins drive.
“We had it on a double cadence and we had a cadence issue. Not the way you want to finish a game, we had a good opportunity there, good play call, but it didn’t work out for us,” explained the second-year man out of Texas A&M. “We’d just give them a card cadence, trying to get them either to jump, see what they are in, and then make adjustments and go from there.”
Tannehill finished the game completing 68 percent of his passes, going 26-for-38 for 329 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception for a quarterback rating of 84.2. As a team, Miami tallied 22 first downs and 361 yards of total offense, 82 coming on the ground and 279 through the air.
With no Andrew Luck under center, Fins fans felt good about their chances against second-string quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. However, when the well-traveled Boston College product went down due to injury, everyone at Sun Life Stadium thought this was Miami’s game to win.
Nevertheless, the Dolphins defense did nothing of the opportunity, allowing third-string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to come in and have an impact on the outcome of the game. When it was all said and done, Miami allowed 20 first downs, 268 yards of offense (100 rushing yards, 68 passing yards), and 6-for-12 on third down opportunities.
Special Teams: A
Miami’s special teams unit certainly did its part this afternoon, doing all the little things that enabled this team to be in a position to win it in the final stanza. Kicker Andrew Franks was perfect on the afternoon, going 2-for-2 on field goal attempts, including a long of 33 yards. Meanwhile, punter Matt Darr averaged 52 yards per kick, punting it three times, including a long of 59 yards and one boot that landed inside the Colts 20-yard line.
When a team lacks discipline and commits penalties in crucial situations, it always reflects negatively on the head coach and his staff. As unfair as it may seem, Dan Campbell will once again be the scapegoat of this organization, as his offensive coordinator, Zac Taylor, and his defense coordinator, Lou Anarumoboth, failed him in a game that not only did they have to win, but should have won given the circumstances.
“I still think that when you get where we’re at, I think we have enough talent, I think that we’re making too many mistakes, I think that’s what it is,” Campbell added, who did a solid job in his decision making, opting to kick field goals in key fourth-down situations, regardless of the crowd’s reaction. “We’re finding ways to lose, we are not finding ways to win.”
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.