Defensive Debacle

If I told you that I thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would beat the Dolphins this past Sunday, you probably wouldn’t have bat an eye because we would have all been pretty much in agreement on that one. But if I told you that Tom Brady would have had arguably his best statistical game is his 22 year career, you probably would have said “no way!” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened on the field in Tampa on Sunday and it was not pretty. This was the worst defensive performance for the Dolphins since that embarrassing beatdown in Buffalo to end last season’s playoff dreams.

The defense looked disinterested, lost, and gave up too many big plays. Xavien Howard got absolutely lit up by Antonio Brown as he seemed to be a step slower all game. Then when Brady decided to get Mike Evans some statistical love it was our safeties who were getting abused over the top. Jerome Baker could not get lined up all game as Fournette made him look silly on snap after snap. The Dolphins couldn’t stop the run and were completely outclassed in the passing game. Tom Brady was playing Madden out there and put up video game numbers.

This Dolphins team is starting to look the part of a one win team and that is very concerning. One has to wonder if the defense has fallen into a sense of malaise and if they have simply let go of the rope on this season. This defense was arguably elite last season and this season they have become unrecognizable. We are not really seeing the creative blitz packages and vaunted amoeba defense that gave so many offensive coordinators fits last season. This defense rarely gets pressure on the quarterback and are not creating turnovers like they did last season. Many people told me that I made too big of a deal when I was upset over the expulsion of Bobby McCain, Kyle Van Noy, and Shaq Lawson but now you are seeing why I had my doubts about those moves. While those players were not individually burning up the stat sheet, they played key roles in the team defense and you felt their presence when they played and absence when they did not play last season.

We have to be honest with our appraisal of where the Dolphins are at this point in the season. This is a lost season, there will be no playoff birth, and we are back in the lottery. The offense finally made some improvements and good strides as Godsey finally opened it up and started throwing on some early downs. However, 17 points is probably still not good enough to win consistently in this league. Especially when the defense has regressed the way it has. Jacksonville is looking at the Dolphins in London as a potential first victory and they are not crazy for thinking that. We are what our record says it is and if our defense continues to be disengaged, it could make for an even longer season full of more embarrassing losses. At this point 6-11 is looking like a likely scenario, 7-10 would be very impressive, and 8-9 would be a virtuoso performance from coach Flo over the next 12 games. We shall see what times team is made of as we go deeper into Autumn.

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