This week's ProFootballFocus.com study of the Miami Dolphins film following the loss to Denver will leave you with questions.
Why didn't defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle blitz more?
Why Daniel Thomas in the red zone?
Is there a competition at left guard?
Why did Peyton Manning seemingly do something dumb and go after Brent Grimes after Lowell Rose came into the game?
And, of course, will Ryan Tannehill ever complete a deep ball to Mike Wallace?
Left tackle Ja’Wuan James did well against DeMarcus Ware and company on his side (0 pressures) on his 22 snaps, while Jason Fox predictably struggled some on his 40 snaps, allowing one hit and one hurry.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor continues to mix up snaps with his WRs: Mike Wallace got 47, Jarvis Landry got 45, Brian Hartline got 43, Brandon Gibson got 35, and Rishard Matthews got 20. Interestingly, Gibson has been seeing more snaps lately than he was in early October. That speaks to his continual improvement from knee surgery a year ago and refusal to give up on himself and go into a practice funk.
Running back Lamar Miller handled 40 out of 62 snaps despite a knee and shoulder injury, but was curiously taken out in the red zone in favor of Daniel Thomas. The Dolphins are looking for a bigger, stronger back in the red zone to avoid negative runs.
LaMichael James saw his first action as a Dolphin. Thomas got 15 snaps, James got four snaps, Damien Williams got 3.
Shelley Smith and Daryn Colledge would rotate every two series or so, with Colledge finishing with a few more snaps, 35-27. It will be interesting to see if this was a function of easing Colledge back in after he missed three games or if Smith has earned sharing the position while Colledge has been out. It could be both reasons, actually.
Still no deep ball for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but the intermediate game was on point. He was 7-for-8 for 109 yards and a TD when throwing between 10-19 yards.
Jarvis Landry caught five of his seven passes against Chris Harris, but his touchdowns came in coverage against Bradley Roby and Rahim Moore.
Tannehill did look to attack SS T.J. Ward in coverage, targeting him a team high eight times. Four of those targets went to Dion Sims.
Still have the All-22 checks to be made, but the Dolphins missed 14 tackles as a team versus the Broncos.
Miami’s normally dominant front four was rendered useless by Peyton and the running game. they registered just the one sack, hit, and pressure.
Lowell Rose came on for the injured Jamar Taylor, playing 14 snaps, but then Walt Aikens, who has been working mostly at safety in practice, relieved Rose for the final 9 defensive snaps.
When the Dolphins went to a zone, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas ate the Dolphins alive on crossers. Jelani Jenkins allowed 6-for-6 targets to be completed to the top two Denver WRs for 84 yards.
Against Dolphins DBs not named Brent Grimes, Peyton was 26-of-30 for 250 yards and four four TDs. Grimes was targeted five times, allowing two grabs for 7 yards.
The Dolphins did limit the big plays in the air against the Broncos. Manning Peyton was just 1-of-6 on throws of 20+ yards. Manning missed Sanders open deep for a touchdown against Grimes twice in the final quarter but overthrew both passes. The Dolphins had rolled coverage to the other side of the field so even though the Denver quarterback did not appear to be picking on newly installed Lowell Rose, an obvious weak link, he was in fact throwing to the right receiver locked in man coverage. The lone strike to Sanders that did go for a catch was a poorly thrown ball.
Maybe the Dolphins should’ve blitzed more. On eight blitzes during passing downs, Manning was 3-of-7 for 13 yards, which did include a TD but also the team's lone sack -- that in the red zone.
The Broncos really aimed to get the running game going. They used a sixth offensive lineman 18 times, and blocking TE Virgil Green saw 56 snaps, while Jacob Tamme played 23 snaps. The Dolphins got bullied. They had no answer and, troubling, worse as the game wore on.
The Broncos were most effective running on the edges with the extra lineman; on six C.J. Anderson runs behind left or right end, he had 63 yards; Juwan Thompson’s 21-yard run also came behind right end.