The good folks at ProFootballFocus.com delivered their weekly film review of Sunday's game and I am adding my weekly analysis and insight to that review.
Get it ...
Left tackle Bryant McKinnie played well in his Dolphins debut, posting a +2.0 grade and +1.4 pass blocking grade. He gave up two hits and a sack but neither came against Chandler Jones.
Salguero: The Dolphins helped McKinnie -- a lot. Left guard Richie Incognito helped McKinnie with double-team pass blocking approximately 75 percent of the time. The sack I saw McKinnie give up came on a blitz when he failed to recognize the free blitzer.
Right tackle Jonathan Martin had a dreadful time switching over to right tackle, giving up 3 hurries, 2 hits, and a sack for a -2.5 cumulative grade.
Salguero: Once again, the sack I saw Martin give up came when he failed to recognize a blitzer and basically let him have a free run at quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
As you know, the Dolphins allowed six sacks against New England. All of them came in the second half when Bill Belichick adjusted and had his defense blitz on practically every passing down. The Patriots are not normally a blitz-intense team. But the adjustment was excellent.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins did not adjust to New England's adjustment. Indeed, while most professional teams typically correct errors between series, the Dolphins seemed to make the same error against the New England blitz on multiple occasions.
“Well, what happened was that when we motioned across the formation, it really was on a couple third down situations and we’re not a big motion team as you know, well we motioned across on third down and we needed to just re-id some things and we didn’t," offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said. " I’ll take responsibility for that, it really shouldn’t have been a problem. It was a problem, all we had to do was re-id it. They got us twice on two third down calls, which they hadn’t really been a big pressure package in the third and short situations but they were particularly in that second half."
WR Rishard Matthews played 37 snaps after Brandon Gibson went down with his knee injury, but most came in the second half when the game was tied or the Dolphins were losing. Matthews saw 5 of his 6 targets against Logan Ryan in the slot, catching 3 of them.
TE Dion Sims (29 snaps) and Michael Egnew (20 snaps) picked up extra workload as well in Gibson’s absence. 15 of Sims’ snaps and 10 of Egnew’s came in run blocking.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill did not connect on a single deep ball of 20-plus yards. He was 0 for 5.
Salguero: I watched the game again Monday evening. And three consecutive series in the second half spoke volumes to me about the difference in QB play between Tannehill and Tom Brady. You'll recall in the second half the Patriots came after Tannehill. Well on a third-and-2 situation from the New England 19, the Patriots had a free rusher come at Tannehill and the Miami QB failed to account for that blitzer by getting rid of the football. He took a 9-yard sack and instead of a 37-yard field goal to make the score 20-3, Caleb Sturgis thus had to attempt a 46-yard field goal. The rookie kicker missed the kick. The Patriots got the football and drove to the Miami 14 where on second-and-six the Dolphins blitzed Brady. And Phillip Wheeler got an unblocked run at the QB, except that as he was hit, Brady released a pass to Aaron Dobson who beat Nolan Carroll for a TD. The Dolphins got the ball back and once again, they went after Tannehill. And once again an unblocked blitzer came at Tannehill, who fumbled at his own 13 yard line when he was hit. The Patriots converted the turnover into a TD three plays later.
The point is, the Dolphins QB took a key sack and coughed up the football when the Patriots ran unblocked blitzers at him. The New England QB threw a TD pass on the play the Dolphins had an unblocked blitzer practically knock him into next week. It's not necessarily Tannehill's fault that he fumbled. But he must get rid of the football in the red zone. And it would be preferable if he got rid of it and completed a pass.
When running around the end, both left and right, Lamar Miller had six carries for 63 yards. On his 12 other carries, he had 29 yards.
Salguero: Here's a shocker ... The Dolphins fast running back is better running outside. Hmmm, maybe the Dolphins should call more outside runs for him.
Of the six times Brian Hartline was targeted, Alfonzo Dennard was in coverage for five of them. He shadowed him all over the field.
WR Mike Wallace saw targets against six different players, but caught passes on just two of them.
DE Cameron Wake played 34 of 68 snaps which was only a modest increase in workload from the 22 snaps he had last week against Buffalo.
CB Dmitri Patterson handled 62 of 68 snaps, signaling a full return to the lineup.
DE Dion Jordan played 18 snaps, getting full series in addition to his nickel role. He was in on 10 running plays, rushed the passer seven times and was in coverage once. The one coverage snaps had Jordan running stride for stride with New England tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Salguero: Jordan is crazy athletic. He makes impact plays when he gets opportunities. The excuse about him not being able to set the edge on run plays no longer applies as he played more run plays than pass plays Sunday. So why is he getting only 18 total snaps with only seven pass-rush opportunities? Why? Makes no earthly sense to me.
Nolan Carroll is apparently being phased out as Patterson is healthy again. Carroll played only eight snaps on Sunday and in that time he gave up a double-move TD to Aaron Dobson.
Salguero: You'll remember at the beginning of the season, Carroll was the nickel corner. He'd enter the game on passing downs and take the outside receiver while Patterson would take the slot. Well, the groin injury to Patterson made Carroll a starter. But with Patterson back it not only seems as if Carroll has lost his starting role, but also the nickel cornerback role because Jimmy Wilson is filling that and did so on Sunday.
Salguero: The Dolphins had a field goal blocked by the Patriots. It was the first field goal the Pats have blocked since 2010 when they blocked another Miami FG attempt. The reason the attempt was blocked is that right tackle Nate Garner was basically run over by two players, including Chandler Jones, who blocked the kick.