Dolphins Defeat Patriots

The Dolphins got off to a great start in the first quarter against the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick dared the Dolphins to beat him with long drives by playing 3 safeties deep and giving the Dolphins everything they wanted underneath. Tua was very patient in his distribution of the ball leading to methodical time eating drives down the field. Jason Garrett said on “Football Night In America” that he thought the Patriots would win the game because he did not think that the Dolphins could sustain long drives in that way since the Dolphins are a home run hitting team. That must be why Jason Garrett is in a studio in New York instead of still coaching in Dallas, because last season, when Tua was healthy, that is all the Dolphins did was drive. Drive and score that is (to be more accurate). The Dolphins are a home run big play hitting offense for sure, but they also possess the patience of a sagely wise old wizard and will happily drive the ball like Uber exec if that’s what the game calls for. Tua doesn’t force the ball downfield just for the sake of taking deep shots.


Brilliant Offense

Six words that describe this Dolphins offense when it’s clicking: Horrifying. Petrifying. Terrifying. Stupefying. Mortifying. Mystifying. “Mystic” Mike McDaniel is an absolute play calling Chess master and he was pitching heat with his play calls from the center of the board in the first half. Inside zone to e4. Outside zone with RB2 to c6, check. Inside slant to d7, check. One minute offense before halftime to f8, checkmate! Miami’s offense can drive the ball slow and methodically or they can take what the defense gives them and then hit you for a big pass to move the ball down the field in the blink of an eye. Singles and doubles can put points on the board as well, everything does not have to be a grandslam. Speaking of grand slams, as good as Coach McDaniel is at calling plays, his challenging record as the Dolphins head coach is atrocious. When he challenged the incomplete pass that was clearly an incomplete pass and ended up in a 4th & 10. I could hear Dolfans around the world collectively asking “why?” That poor challenge ended up costing us a timeout that may have been critical to help us score at the end of the first half. Thankfully, we got lucky with a pass that Berrios caught inbounds, originally being called a clock stoppage for going out of bounds until it was reviewed.


Dominant Defense

The Dolphins defense in week two was much improved! The Dolphins defense affectionately calls Vic Fangio “Lord Fangio” aka “Lord Fangs” because of how he is always watching over the defense from his tower like a high born lord from Game of Thrones. I love the nickname, so I will henceforth be referring to Vic Fangio as “Lord Fangs.” So let it be written, so let it be done. Lord Fangs pitched an absolute beauty of a 1st half mixing up pressure blitz calls and defensive coverage calls like the true master he is, confusing the young Mac Jones in the process. Andrew Van Ginkel was an absolute menace, causing pressure after pressure and moving Jones off his spot. Brad Chubb didn’t have much success in the pass rush early on, but his downfield hustle turned a good play by the Patriots into a fumble recovery that Tua and the offense scored a touchdown from.


2nd Half Changes

The 2nd half was more of a struggle as the Patriots made their inevitable adjustments. Instead of sitting back and playing deep the Patriots started involving their safeties in the action more by bringing them closer to the line of scrimmage and sending pressure. The Pats even showed a cover zero blitz look and dropped out of it on a 3rd down play to break up the slant behind the pressure. It was a bit of Brian Flores style defensive wrinkle. The Pats showed Tua the middle of the field open look pre snap and Tagavailoa took the bait which ended up in a pass break up as the linebacker dropped and gained depth instead of rushing up the middle on 3rd down. Then as Jason Sanders was setting up to take the 49 yard field goal on 4th down, Brenden Schooler was sent into motion and came flying in to easily block the attempt. It was a brilliant field goal block play design. Chris Wilkins saved the touchdown by making the open field tackle and Xavien Howard made the red zone interception to keep the Pats offense from getting points off that block.

The defense really saved the day as the Dolphins offense had many execution issues in the 2nd half. Holding an NFL team at home to just 17 points is no easy task. Especially when that team possessed the ball for 30 minutes of game time. The defense got pressure on Mac Jones and Andrew Van Ginkel had himself a game filling in for Jaelan Phillips at the outside linebacker and edge rushers positions. Bradley Chubb finally showed up and had a big sack in the 4th quarter of Sunday night’s game as well. It was a big sack that we needed at that moment. The Miami edge rushing definitely raised their level and saved the day. Van Ginkel helped in making sure the Patriots were short of the line to gain on the 4th and 4 that sealed the win for our squad. Isn’t it ironic? Just last week after the win over the Chargers, Coach McDaniel stood in front of the team and said that one day we would need to lean on the defense to win a game. Who knew that moment would come immediately in week 2?

Tua was amazing in the first half but did not have his normal prolific passing game in the 2nd half as the Patriots did a good job of mucking it up. Even still Tua had a couple of shots to make big plays in the passing game in the 2nd half but some errant throws got him in trouble and ended up as turnovers. Thankfully, the defense had Tua’s back as he had the defense’s back last week.

Raheem Mostert had a big game as well with 18 carries for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. Salvon Ahmed was having a big game as well until he got hurt before halftime. The Dolphins’ running attack showed up in a big way and when Raheem Mostert took the inside zone handoff and made a 43 yard house call, that felt like the dagger in the moment. Nevertheless, it still ended up being a nerve wracking dramatic end. The Dolphins wouldn’t have it any other way. We like to do things the hard way. So now here we are, the Miami Dolphins sitting at 2-0 atop the vaunted AFC East after starting the season with 2 games on the road. Tua Tagovailoa is now 5-0 against Goatichick. I hope prognosticators remember that the next time they pick a Dolphins Patriots matchup. Now, it is time to get some home cooking at Hard Rock as we welcome the Denver Broncos to South Florida next sunday. Fins up!

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