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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – Coming off of a thrilling overtime victory last weekend, the Miami Dolphins had an opportunity to take a big step forward this week against the Detroit Lions.
Instead, the Dolphins stumbled their way to another frustrating loss.
The Lions offense seemed unstoppable, scoring on seven of their first eight drives. Their ninth and final drive ended in victory formation.
That, my friends, is a dominant afternoon.
Detroit (3-3) racked up 457 yards of total offense despite possessing the ball only nine times and took down the host Dolphins 32-21 at Hard Rock Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins offense picked up just 322 yards, also on nine possessions, as the defense just couldn’t get off the field.
“Basically they could do whatever they wanted on that side of the ball,” said Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. “It’s just kind of unusual for our guys. Usually when we have a drive like that, we respond the rest of the game and find a way to get off the field and kind of stop those type of drives.”
Where the Lions capitalized on almost every one of their opportunities, Miami struggled to get the offense in gear during the first half.
Another slow start, a recurring theme in Miami this season, dug a hole that Gase couldn’t get his team out of.
The Dolphins (4-3) ran just 13 plays on their first three drives before finally putting points on the board midway through the second quarter.
“We let a couple of drives get away from us,” Gase said of the offense. “Ended up in third-and-long a couple of times that really put us in a bad position.”
Ultimately, it was too little too late as every time the offense brought the deficit to within one score, Detroit went right back down the field and made it a two-possession game again.
RUN DEFENSE OPTIONAL
The Lions entered Sunday’s game ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 97.2 yards per game on the ground.
That didn’t stop Detroit from absolutely gashing the Dolphins defense all day, racking up 248 rushing yards on 35 carries, an average of 7.1 yards per run.
It’s something that nobody expected and after the game, an explanation was hard to come by.
“There’s no way you could have told me that would be something that would happen today,” said defensive end Cameron Wake. “I’m pretty sure, I don’t know the stats either, but that hasn’t been something we’ve encountered in the past season and maybe if you probably look back to last season before you find something like that or numbers like that.”
Rookie Kerryon Johnson carried most of the load, picking up 158 yards on 19 attempts. He cracked the 100-yard mark after just four carries.
While Miami didn’t win on Sunday, backup quarterback Brock Osweilier continued to play well in the absence of starter Ryan Tannehill.
The Sheriff of Brockingham completed 22-of-31 passes for 239 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions.
That’s good for a passer rating of 114.9.
“I’d say my chemistry is growing,” Osweiler said. “Getting the game last week with [the starters], getting a week of practice and then getting today; but as far as my overall comfort in the offense, I was extremely comfortable last week and I was comfortable this week.”
While his game was extremely efficient, Brock Lobster wasn’t about to point any fingers after the loss.
The defense was clearly the team’s downfall on Sunday but Osweiler kept the focus off of the struggling unit.
“We didn’t do enough to win the game as an offensive unit,” he said. “It’s our job to score more points than the other team and we didn’t do that today, so we need to be better.”
A Brock Of Seagulls is expected to be under center for at least one more game as Tannehill works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Several key Dolphins players suffered injuries on Sunday.
Albert Wilson was ruled out after injuring his leg during the first half, and then fellow receiver Kenny Stills came out of the game twice, once with what appeared to be a shoulder injury and then later with a leg problem.
Guard Ted Larsen came out of the game during the second half due to what appeared to be a concussion evaluation but returned before it was over.
Tight end Mike Gesicki also was removed from the game for an apparent concussion possibility and missed most of the second half.
Rookie linebacker Jerome Baker suffered a bruised knee and came out of the game as well, but said afterwards that he was ok.
Miami won’t have much time to dwell on this one as they travel to Houston for a matchup with the Texans on Thursday Night Football.
The biggest question now will be how healthy the Dolphins will be when they take the field again in four days.
“We’ll find out what’s going on with injuries [and] see who’s available,” Gase said. “We’ll figure something out. It’s going to be a short week but at the same time, we’ll have enough guys to be ready to go.”
After starting the season 0-3, Houston has won four straight games following Sunday’s win over Jacksonville.