It was a memorable home opener in Miami as the Dolphins proved all the doubters wrong in front of 54,245 fans at Sun Life Stadium.
While all the talk before the game surrounded rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Reggie Bush stole the show and picked up his first two touchdowns of the season. Bush's incredible performance ultimately turned a 3 point halftime deficit into a 35-13 rout of the Oakland Raiders. Bush wrapped up an impressive afternoon with 172 rushing yards on 26 carriers including touchdowns from 23 and 65 yards out along with 25 recieving yards on 3 receptions. Rookie Lamar Miller added his first NFL touchdown on a 15 yard run. As the Dolphins running game thrived so did the team's run defense, limiting the Raiders to 23 yards on the ground and no touchdowns.
Making his first start at home as a member of the Aqua and Orange, Ryan Tannehill completed 18 of 30 passes for an even 200 yards with one passing touchdown and a rushing score on the first drive of the game. Perhaps Tannehill's most impressive stat was his 0 interceptions compared to 3 from a week ago. All the discussion focusing on the tipped passes in the loss to the Texans was put to rest today as the issue no longer seems to be a concern considering that only one of his throws were batted at the line of scrimmage. Tannehill's athleticsm was also on display throughout the course of the game, using his speed to make plays as opposed to waiting for the play to develop. The improvements in Tannehill's game resulted in a 50 point increase to his QB rating from last week's loss as he finished with a solid 91.0.
Shockingly enough, the play of the Dolphins wide recievers was a decisive factor in their win over Oakland. Tannehill has developed much needed chemistry with one of his targets in the form of Brian Hartline. Hartline's performance was arguably the best of his career thus far and solidified his spot as the Dolphins top reciever with 9 catches for 111 yards. Davone Bess' 3 receptions for 43 yards proved crucial in keeping game-changing drives alive.
Once Tannehill threw his first career touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano, the comparisons to the legendary Dan Marino began to stir. Coincidentally, Dan Marino's first career passing score was also to a tight end, Joe Rose. Both Fasano and Rose wore No.80.
Miami's most important stat is certainly their red zone efficiency. It was a refreshing change to see the Dolphins find the endzone five times while not having to settle for the usual field goal. Miami's ability to find the zone killed any chance for the Raiders to mount a comeback.
With 2 games played in the 2012 campaign, the Dolphins sit at .500 for the first time in over a year and are tied at a record of 1-1 with the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and potentially the New York Jets.
On the day both Ryan Tannehill and head coach Joe Philbin earned their first NFL victories, their is a unique sense of confidence in Miami. The win has instilled much needed belief into the fan base as well as the players and coaching staff.
Owner Stephen Ross said on the Dolphins win: "First of many. I think we're really on to something." We can only hope that his words prove to be true this season and that the team continues to fire on all cylinders in next week's divisonal game against the Jets.
Enjoy the win Dolfans, Phins Up!
Leading up to this weeks game, my colleagues have talked matchups in this weeks game Dolphins versus and Raiders.
Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to hear from one of the bloggers that covers the Raiders for Bleacher Report and Raidersblog. His name is Chris Hansen and has been blogging about the Raiders for many years.
Chris was kind enough to share with us his opinions of the team that he enjoys and covers, so I asked him the following questions:
I found all of his answers quite revealing about both the Dolphins and the Raiders from positions, Tannehill's progress, and the head coaching battle on Sunday.
1.) What is the greatest strength position-wise of the Raiders? Is it the defensive line, corners or is it the quarterback or running back?
I think as a unit, the defensive line is a strength of the Raiders. Unfortunately the Raiders don't have much of a speed rush coming from the defensive end position. Darren McFadden is extremely dynamic and is probably the greatest asset the Raiders have on offense or defense. McFadden just changes the game in so many ways and he does everything well from running, to catching passes to blocking.
Carson Palmer isn't elite, but he's a good quarterback. He's certainly not as bad as some in the media have made him out to be. When Palmer is avoiding mistakes, he's surprisingly effective. Unfortunately making mistakes is something he has done a lot of over his career.
2.) What kind of an edge do the Raiders have at Wide Receiver versus the Dolphins corners? Does Carson Palmer have an awesome day due to the Vontae Davis not being there?
The Raiders certainly have some advantage if Denarius Moore is playing at 100 percent, but Oakland's passing game is more effective when the running game is effective. Palmer should have a good day against the Dolphins, but more because McFadden will be grinding out tough yardage and the Raiders will be able to set up the passing game from that.
McFadden is a weapon in the passing game and so is fullback Marcel Reece and combined they could really do some damage against the Miami. I expect McFadden to get more carries than he did on Monday night and Reece to be more involved in the passing game.
3.) Based on the Raiders history, which we know has not shown a great track record of drafting 1st round quarterbacks: What advice do you have for Dolfans who have witnessed one game from Ryan Tannehill and yet are expecting greatness?
Be patient. Rome was not built in a day and neither are good quarterbacks. The most important characteristic is not the ones you would think. If you want examples of what doesn't work take a look at the failures. JaMarcus Russell didn't have the work ethic and countless others lose their confidence because they don't have early success. There's a fine line between success and failure and most of these guys have the physical talent to be successful. It takes the right situation and the right mental makeup. Look at Alex Smith in San Francisco. He was left for dead by the fans and the damage done in his early years may have ultimately limited his development. It's hard to be patient as a fan, but the reality is you need to give a rookie quarterback two full year and even into his third year before you can make any determinations about him.
4.) Lastly, both teams are coming off of a loss and both teams feature a new head coach. What team has the edge in coaching?
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was the director or player personnel in Green Bay where Joe Philbin coached for eight years prior to becoming head coach in Miami. When McKenzie went looking for head coaching candidates he didn't interview Philbin. I don't know why he didn't interview Philbin and I don't think he would have survived in Green Bay for so long if he was a bad coach or gotten a head coaching position if he was a bad coach, but McKenzie saw something he liked in Dennis Allen. I'd call it a draw. I think Philbin is a very good coach and I think Allen could be a rising star and it will come down the the players on Sunday.
We definitely appreciate and thank Chris Hansen for his time and insight on the Raiders this week!
Please continue to read @Phins_Phocus
It all started in the late 1990’s when my mom returned home with my very own Dan Marino jersey. It doesn’t take much to sway the loyalties of an 8 year old, so the aqua and orange pulled me way into Miami Dolphins fanhood. For the past 10 and some years, I’ve sat idly as a fan voicing my opinions to anyone who would listen until recently, when an opportunity to pick up a loud speaker arose: Phins Phocus—complete opinionated coverage of the Miami Dolphins.
Each week, The Stop and Go will analyze the previous game and the upcoming one in terms of what the Dolphins must stop, something they should start, and something they have done well and should indeed continue. Let us take this opportunity to put week 1 behind us.
Stop: Tipped Passes and 3rd Down Miscues
I could evidently compile a whole list of things that the Miami Dolphins need to stop after their week 1 debacle versus the Houston Texans, but, I will slip on Joe Philbin’s shoes and pinpoint what I deem the most pressing. Individually, Ryan Tannehill must stop the tipped passes. Coach Sherman rightfully pointed out that it is on Ryan himself, as a professional, to tweak that part of his game. One of the most telling stats in an NFL game is third down efficiency. The Dolphins converted 2/10 third down attempts and the pitiful miscues must stop. Tannehill taking his eye of the ball and fumbling the snap, tipped passes, and botched pass protection. The dolphins must succeed on third down if they want to have a chance to beat Oakland.
Start: Ball Skills and Stretching the Field
What I found lacking from a player standpoint was cornerback Richard Marshall’s ability to find the ball in the air. Luckily for him, Texans wide receiver Lestar Jean couldn’t hang onto the ball in the end zone, everyone knows Davis would have come down with that interception. Sean Smith wasn't so fortunate when Andre Johnson hauled in a great touchdown grab, right over his head. SMH Ireland. On the other side of the ball, the Miami Dolphins offense needs to take shots down field; stretch the field to open up the intermediate routes. Tannehill threw a gorgeous ball to Hartline for a 30 yard completion…once the game was out of reach. Come on Sherman, let the kid have some fun.
Continue: Slash n’ Dash
I thought it best to end the article with a little bit of optimism; a feeling quite hard to come by in light of recent events. The Dolphins offensive line man handled the Texans with their run blocking. On numerous runs even John Jerry could be found sealing off the second level. This success shouldn’t stop as the Dolphins face a sub-Texans defensive line unit. As fans we should have no reason not to believe that Randy Starks, the one true bright spot last Sunday, will not continue his dominance over opposing interior lineman.
In the words of the great Vince Lombardi, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” There is nothing good about losing in this business; let the team Stop and Go forward so we may get used to winning. But, if we do lose, put on your angry face and be a poor sport.
Until next week,
Dolphins find themselves back in the news for all the wrong reasons. Once again Dolphins fans have to just sit back and shake their heads.
Dolphins once again find themselves the laughing stock having created an impossible halftime show contest.
Here are a couple of articles on what the Dolphins did now, including one by yours truley on ThisGivenSunday.com
Enjoy, and try to hold back those tears Dolphins fans !
***UPDATE : Do to probably being completely and utterly embarrassed by having this contest trend on twitter per Pro Football Talk the Dolphins have decided to move this competition up 20 yards making it only a 40 yard kick now.
@SedanoShow So, now the #Dolphins have moved their silly halftime FG contest to 40 yards. LOL. It never ends.
Taking a look at the roster and who stood out in last week's game versus the Texans, Richie Incognito provided quite a few soundbites and commentary in the post game, but mostly from the other team.
Whether Incognito was cleaning up the mess that was Tannehill's 3 interceptions by tackling Antonio Smith of the Texans or blocking on the left side of the line to keep his quarterback upright, Incognito continues the blue collar work ethic and lunch pail approach that makes him a three year starter on the Miami Dolphins offensive line.
Incognito brings it at the snap of the ball and can block with good speed on the run or hold his own on the pass. Incognito forces his opponent to play his game on every snap which seems like wrestling an aligator. He usually wins these battles and his oponent is seeing writhing in pain on the turf.
In the past, Incognito has been known for somewhat dirty antics that include anything and everything that can be seen on film such as an extra shove or extra curricular activity under the facemask at the bottom of the pile.
However, Incognito as the three year starter in Miami is known for protecting his teammates, protecting his quarterback, and being a leader in the locker room.
Another attribute that makes Incognito a key cog on the line is his vesatility. Richie can play every guard position and the center position on the line.
In his first season he started all 16 games with the Rams. After a short stint three years ago in Buffalo, Parcells and Ireland brought him aboard to help shore the left side of the line. Occasionally, he filled in a center when necessary.
It's rare that fans pay attention to detail of what occurs at the line on every play, however on Sundays, take a moment to appreciate the sheer force of Richie Incognito and to be glad he is in Miami.
As for Antonio Smith calling Ricie a dirty player, Richie prides himself on his tough and hard play.
It may not be pretty, but he gets the job done!
Check out this video from HBO Hard Knocks of Incognito giving Atlanta the business!
Phins Up! Please continue to come back to @Phins_Phocus for more insight and news about the Miami Dolphins!
Such a pleasure not having to wait until Sunday every week now that we are fortunate enough to get NFL football every Thursday, that being said the Dolphins only play Sunday so we will have to anxiously wait to see if the Dolphins will be able to get their act together in Week 2.
This week I am proud to announce we have added a 4th writer to Phins Phocus, Josh Feder (
@jfedz12) will be contributing with a featured blog called The Stop and Go which will detail things the Dolphins did well and things well they didn’t do so well on a weekly basis. Be sure to follow him on twitter and look out for his blogs on the site.
Earlier in the week both @DolfanDan and I broke down some of the key factors and matchup in this week’s game against the Raiders. Both articles can be seen below. That being time it’s time to man up and make a prediction on this week’s game.
PBP predicted a 15-9 win for the Dolphins and I have even had a friend of mine at ESPN ask me if they should take the Dolphins in survivor, I told him he was crazy but with that being said I’m going with a 24 17 Dolphins win.no comments
With week 1 of the NFL season now in the books, many Dolphins fans have chose to analyze Miami's struggles in a 30-10 loss to Houston last week instead of looking ahead to this Sunday's matchup, the home opener against the Oakland Raiders. While the Texans showed that they are a Super Bowl calibre team, the Dolphins were able to find several positives from the game including the play of Reggie Bush and Randy Starks, the run defense and the special teams unit.
Like Miami, the Raiders begin the year with an 0-1 record after a 22-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. The eight point defeat allowed the game to appear much closer than it actually was seeing as Oakland's touchdown came with seconds remaing in the 4th quarter and they were unable to muster any sort of offense for most of the night.
This week 2 matchup will provide a fair idea of where the Dolphins stand this season and luckily for Miami all the advantages are in their favour. Here's a look at why Miami should come out with a victory and even their record to 1-1 on the season.
1. The Dolphins Have the Raiders Number
Despite the fact that the Dolphins have been in a rebuild for the past several years and have failed to make the playoffs the last three seasons, the Raiders have a habit of making Miami look like one of the elite teams in the NFL. In the past two matches between these teams, the Dolphins won both in convincing fashion including a 33-17 win in 2010 and a 34-14 victory a year ago. For the last Raiders win against Miami you would have to go all they way back to the 2007 season. Since then the 'Phins have come out on top in three straight occasions when taking on the silver and black.
2. Miami's Stout Run Defense
One aspect of the Dolphins game that stood out to many in the loss to Houston was their impressive run defense and ability to contain the league's best running back. Arian Foster was held to a pedestrian 79 yards on 26 carries while averaging only 3 yards per attempt. The Raiders have their own threat out of the backfield in Darren McFadden however he is certainly not on the same level with the likes of Arian Foster. Against the Chargers, McFadden was a better reciever than running back as he caught 13 passes for 86 yards and only managed 32 yards on the ground on 15 carries. If a young Chargers defense was able to shut down McFadden, a talented Dolphins front seven should have no problems doing the same. The challenge is defending him as a reciever where Miami continually struggles to stop the short pass.
3. The Dolphins Pass Rush Will Put Pressure On Carson Palmer
While 297 yards passing and 1 touchdown is certainly not a bad day's work, Carson Palmer was never able to find his groove against the Chargers as he was sacked three times and knocked down twice. Ensuring Palmer remains on his feet will be a tall task for Oakland's offensive line just like it was last season when the Dolphins pass rushers were in the Raiders backfiled on seemingly every play. Similar to nearly every other NFL quarterback, Palmer crumbles when facing a heavy pass rush and his entire game completely falls apart. With Cameron Wake, Karlos Dansby and Randy Starks among others, Miami is in prime position to expose the Raiders' largest weakness; the offensive line.
4. Raiders Wearing Black Uniforms Under the Miami Sun
Throughout all of the major North American sports, there are few uniforms that are more iconic than the silver and black of the Oakland Raiders. While the colors are a significant part of the Raiders identity, they are incredibly uncomfortable to be worn in the scorching Miami heat at 1 pm in the middle of September. The reason for this being that darker colors, especially black, trap heat and ultimately effect the performance of the players. Also don't think for a second that the Dolphins didn't have this in mind when choosing to wear their aqua jerseys for this home game.
Altough many aspects of the game are in Miami's favour, the Raiders are current favourites by a 2.5 point spread. These advantages all add up to a Dolphins victory and a great way to cap off the day the 1972 perfect season is honored at Sun Life Stadium.
For coverage and analysis throughout the Raiders vs Dolphins game be sure to follow @Phins_Phocus on twitter.