« Special teams negatively affecting chance to win | Main | Karlos Dansby disagrees with Philbin and Coyle »

A couple of things went right against New England

I admit it. Sometimes after a loss it's hard for me to focus on what went right. I'm a results oriented person. The NFL is a results oriented league. If the Miami Dolphins lose, I want to know why and I want to expose those reasons.

But sometimes guys play well even in a loss.

So allow me a couple of moments to pick out a guy on offense and a guy on defense to write about here because both played well against the Patriots.

Defensively, Reshad Jones was outstanding.

He had the interception and the return for a touchdown that was nullified by a penalty. He also had 10 tackles, including a sack, had a quarterback hurry, and a pass defensed. And it was not necessarily a surprise.

Jones has been coming on strong for a few weeks now. Sunday marked the second time in three games he's had double-figure tackles. The guy is playing well and is fast emerging as a fine safety.

"I think I’ve mentioned this throughout the season, I’m seeing a young player that’s becoming one of the better players at his position in the league right now," defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. "I think he is making plays in the pass game. The interception he made was exceptional. The run back was terrific. He had the sack. He had, I think, 10 or 11 tackles in the game, but he’s consistently starting to put one game after another together and he’s got a very high ceiling.

"I think he’s going to be a very, very good player for us."

Yeah, Jones was solid when Tony Sparano put him in the starting lineup last year. He's maturing. And Sunday was part of that process, perhaps the best part so far.

I also want to highlight the game Brian Hartline had.

To look  at his statistics, Hartline was merely good. He had five catches for 84 yards (16.8 yard per catch average). But if you watched the game you understand Hartline was the best receiver on the field for either team.

He was open by five yards on a deep shot down the middle of the field in the first half. The pass did not connect because quarterback Ryan Tannehill overthrew the pass.

He was open, again by a couple of yards, on another deep pass in the second half. Hartline read the defense and turned what was supposed to be a hook route into a deep attempt to blow the top off the defense.

And the play was there. But the pass from Tannehill was underthrown this time and so, again, no completion.

One thing I know: The Dolphins had better be wary of the New England Patriots trying to poach Hartline in free agency. I know it is a possibility because I know Bill Belichick likes Hartline and, more importantly, respects Hartline.

Perhaps that's the reason the Patriots put their best cover corner, Aqib Talib, on Hartline the entire game. And throughout the game, Hartline was open anyway. I expect that will get Belichick's attention. That's right, the same guy that had his sights on Wes Welker might be going back to the well in the offseason if Miami isn't careful.

Anyway, Hartline's statistics don't suggest it. But he also had a very good day against New England.

Comments