MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins played their tune-up preseason game on Saturday against Baltimore and it brought both positive and negative vibes.
The Dolphins starters held their own on both sides of the ball, but once the second half rolled around it was all Baltimore.
Miami carried a 10-3 lead into the halftime break, which was a good sign for the first and second teamers that played during the first two quarters.
After the break Baltimore steamrolled the Dolphins, outscoring Miami 24-0 during the second half and coming away with the 27-10 victory.
The majority of Miami’s first team offense played the entire first half.
While not particularly exciting, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was efficient for the Dolphins when on the field.
Following a couple of uninspiring drives, Tannehill led an 8-play, 75-yard march down the field that culminated with a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola.
The veteran wideout made a nice cutback after catching the ball inside the 15-yard line, walking in for the first score of the day and the first touchdown for Miami’s starting offense.
“It was good to finally get the ball in the end zone,” Tannehill said. “We got off to a slow start, obviously not the way we want to start the game; but we hung in there. The guys stayed into it and we felt the next drive was going to be the one. We finally got it going in the second quarter. Danny [Amendola] did a great job of making the guy miss and getting the ball in the end zone.”
Tannehill finished his evening completing 11-of-16 passes for 115 yards and the score, and Miami went into halftime holding a 10-3 advantage.
Tannehill’s passer rating was a very solid 110.2.
As for the Dolphins starting defense, they bent but didn’t break against Ravens reserve quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Griffin led Baltimore into scoring range three times, but the Ravens only produced a single Justin Tucker field goal.
The usually automatic Tucker saw his first attempt go wide-left, and the next one was blocked by defensive tackle Vincent Taylor.
A big bright spot from the Dolphins defense was first round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick.
He started the game as Miami’s free safety and make the most of his opportunity with the first teamers.
The rookie was all over the field, often putting himself in prime position to make a play.
“That’s why we drafted him when we drafted him,” said Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. “He’s a good player. He’s one of those guys that just seems to be around the ball and he’s a good guy to have, whether it be inside or the back middle, the down safety, it doesn’t matter. He’s going to find a way to get to the ball and he knows what to do.”
Make no mistake, expectations are rising for Fitzpatrick as the regular season draws closer. It would be surprising if he doesn’t play a major role on Miami’s defense this year.
- Two of Miami’s starting defensive lineman came up with sacks. Jordan Phillips and Robert Quinn both took down Griffin during the opening half. Quinn now has three sacks during the preseason.
- Unfortunately for Miami, neither of the quarterbacks battling for the backup job did very well on Saturday. David Fales completed 5-of-10 passes for 63 yards and an interception while Brock Osweiler hit 5-of-7 for 23 yards and a pick of his own. Osweiler was also sacked three times. “I think there’s room for improvement for sure but it’s hard to put it all on them when you get the ball and you’re not expecting it or we’re not blocking the guys,” Gase said of Fales and Osweiler. “That’s why it’s hard to evaluate quarterbacks sometimes in preseason games and you have to use all your practice time and what you know about guys’ history, and that’s what makes it tough to evaluate them sometimes.”
- Miami’s run defense continues to be an area of concern. Baltimore ran for 223 yards on 42 carries, a 5.3 yards per run average. That’s a step down from the 5.1 yards per carry Miami was surrendering coming into this game, which was already second-worst in the league.
- Jerome Baker and Chase Allen are battling for a starting linebacker spot and both played well, though Allen got a few more snaps with the starters than Baker.
- The battle to be the Dolphins kicker this season continues to be a close one. Jason Sanders, who Miami selected in the seventh round of this year’s draft, made a 33-yard field goal and hit an extra point. Greg Joseph, undrafted out of Florida Atlantic University, did not attempt a placekick.
- Wide receiver and kick returner Jakeem Grant was knocked out of the game during the first half with a concussion.
- Kiko Alonso, T.J. McDonald and Jordan Lucas all tied for the team lead in tackles with 7 apiece, and all three came away with a tackle for loss.