Lost in London

Miami Dolphins: Lost in London

The Miami Dolphins are currently a franchise drifting with a dead engine, no map, and no recognizable landmarks to help lead the way back home. I would be lying if I said that I thought this season would turn out this way. These first six games have turned out to be so contrary to my expectations coming into this season. That’s the thing about expectations that can make them such a dangerous yet fickle and fleeting thing: they can set you up for disappointment and put you on an emotional rollercoaster. Before last season we were clearly in a rebuild and no one had great expectations for this team. However, the team was ahead of schedule and started winning game after game in a row and barely missed the playoffs. Fast forward to right before this season and because of last season’s performance, every pundit and their football watching mothers were picking the Dolphins to take the next step and be a playoff team. Boy was everyone wrong on those predictions!

Historically, the Dolphins tend to do well in London. It’s like a home away from home for the team from Miami. It’s always amazing to see the London crowd clad in their bright aqua and orange color scheme team embroidered gear set against the backdrop of the drab colors of England in the midst of the London fog and rain. That opening drive from the offense gave us Dolfans a sense of hope, like Tua was back and maybe we could salvage this season with a run of winnable games coming up in the meat of the season! Tua looked spry and happy. He didn’t look like a man nursing rib injuries and managing pain when he was jumping around celebrating Jacoby’s one completion. Which is why when Tua made some questionable decisions like throwing a horrible pass on 3rd and 2 when he had clear daylight to run, get the first down, and slide, before getting hit- I just laughed it off. The guy looked like he was high up on a cloud way above us down here at sea level. Whatever they gave him for pain in the pre-game had him feeling quite good and sometimes those substances, while being effective at killing pain, don’t lead to the best decision making. I commend Tua for shaking that bad play off and throwing an absolute dime on a frozen rope to setup the first down conversion on the ensuing 4th & 2 play. Unfortunately, those bright fuzzy feelings that we had early on led to the familiar heartbreak that fans of this team have become numb to and just accept as a symptom of being a Dolfan.

Tua was not the problem today. We can kill that narrative now. The Dolphins have no running attack and no consistent interior run blocking to speak of. Yet still Tua was able to deliver darts using RPOs and play action pass. Tua was asked to drop back roughly 50 times, the most in his career, with no running game to spell him, Jacksonville knew it, and Tua shredded them anyways. Tua completed 70% of his passes, threw 2 touchdowns, ran for 3 first downs with a 7.8 yard per rush average (highest on the team), threw 1 interception that resulted in no points for the opposition, and then made up for it with a 91 yard go ahead touchdown scoring drive on his next offensive possession. Yes Tua had a few inaccurate throws today, but he was by far the best Dolphin on the field. He is not perfect, but the talent is clearly there. Don’t take my word for it. Look at what he did with 3 starting receivers out. Look at what his presence on the field meant to Gesicki’s and Waddle’s production. These are uber-talented guys who were completely forgotten about when Brissett was in there. Look at the impact his availability had on the dynamism of the offense and how many drives ended up in scoring positions with Tua back on the bridge today.

The Dolphins lost in London today and are a franchise lost at sea, but with a better GM at the helm of the ship- maybe the crew can be saved. The Tua Tagovailoa experiment and assessment continues, but today was another positive step in his development. The Dolphins are what their record says they are, and they now have the dubious distinction of ending one of the longest losing streaks in NFL history for the Jags. They are only a game behind Detroit in the hunt for the #1 overall pick. They should use that pick on a future all pro left tack- oh wait…what’s that you say? The Dolphins don’t own their first-round pick in the 2022 draft because Grier sent it to Philly?!? Oops! The first thing the franchise needs to do to get this team back on course is get Grier out of the chief scout chair and surround Flores with some competent offensive minds. Then and only then will this team be able to meet the lofty preseason expectations that we all had for this team.

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