AmBUSHing in Miami
The Miami Dolphins were victorious in grand fashion in their home opener against the Oakland Raiders. Miami pounded Oakland 35-13. The Raiders were ambushed, by a heavy dosage of Dolphins star running back Reggie Bush. Miami’s rookie signal caller, Ryan Tannehill, corrected his mistakes from week 1 and was impressive this week.
The Dolphins offense was impressive this week. After a shaky start to the season in Houston, Miami came out ready to play at home. On the first drive of the game, the Dolphins marched 80 yards to the endzone for a touchdown. The Phins got off to the quick start they had hoped for. Unfortunately, five punts followed the initial touchdown for the Dolphins. After the first drive, Miami couldn’t manage to do much offensively totaling just 67 yards and took a three-point deficit into the locker room at half time. However, the 2nd half was a completely different story for the Miami offense. They had gotten away from the run game in the 2nd quarter but quickly returned to it in the 3rd and it proved successful. Once the ground attack start gashing the Raider defense, the aerial attack started to open up for the Dolphins and Tannehill took advantage of what the defense gave him. Reggie Bush and Ryan Tannehill combined for 404 yards of total offense. The team combined for 452. Bush looked like a man possessed in the 2nd half making the Raiders look like a Pop Warner team. Bush was showered with affection by his home fans chanting “REG-GIE, REG-GIE”! He ended his day carrying the ball 26 times for 172 yards and two scores (23 yd td and 65 yd td). Bush also added three receptions for 25 yards. Rookie running back and former Miami Hurricane Lamar Miller played in his first NFL game and played well. Lamar switched from his robust preseason number 44, to a more sleek and sexy 26 and it paid dividends for the Miami native. Lamar carried the ball 10 times for 65 yards and earned his 1st NFL touchdown. The tandem proved to be too much for the Raiders to handle. The Dolphins’ rookie quarterback also had himself a very nice game. Perhaps overshadowed by Reggie’s heroic performance, Tannehill did not look like a rookie in just his 2nd game as a pro. He and Head Coach Joe Philbin earned their 1st career win. Tannehill ended the day completing 18 of his 30 passing attempts for 200 yards and a score. Ryan also added 14 yards on the ground along with a rushing touchdown. The Dolphins ground attack accounted for 4 of the team’s 5 touchdowns.
The Dolphins coaching staff must be commended for their efforts in Week 2. The team was obviously ready to play and did not at all resemble the team that was manhandled in Houston just seven days prior. The coaches also made adjustments at halftime and it was evident on the score board. 28 of the Dolphins 35 points came after half time. The coaches saw that the Raiders were gassed, having come from the west coast to play an early game in the blistering Miami heat (no pun intended). Coach Philbin and Coach Sherman ordered the offense to keep the tempo fast. It was clearly too much for Oakland. The Dolphins were also more disciplined than they were in week 1. In week 1 the Dolphins were penalized seven times, this week, only three. Perhaps the most important stat of all is the number zero. Miami turned the ball over zero times against Oakland.
This is a feel-good win for Miami. Things went from good to better on Sunday for them. However there are a couple causes for concern. First, the defense allowed Raider receiver Denarius Moore to roam free in the secondary. Too many times he was operating in open spaces in the zone. The second problem is the most glaring. Miami got absolutely no production from the third wide-receiver position. It’s great when Brian Hartline can catch the ball 9 times for 111 yards and Davone Bess can add 3 catches for 43 yards, but unfortunately that will not happen every game. The third best receiver for the Dolphins on Sunday was Reggie Bush. The Phins desperately need a guy to step up and fill the void left by an absent third wide out. Against a good defense, such as the one Miami will face next in the New York Jets, Hartline and Bess will likely not be able to get the same separation they consistently enjoyed against Oakland. This is a problem that will continue to plague Miami because, plain and simple, they need more talent. They showed flashes of brilliance this week, but the team still needs talent and plenty of it.
Overall, the Dolphins and their fans should be proud of the way the team performed. The defense played adequately but has to adjust some minor things. The offense was great. For them to put up 35 points is almost unheard of for Miami fans. Dolfans are accustomed to kicker Dan Carpenter scoring all the points. Moving forward, it is essential for the Dolphins to establish the run against opponents to then open up the pass. Special teams for Miami were brilliant. The Raiders had a long field to travel the entire game; they were constantly backed up inside of their own twenty yard line. Punter Brandon Fields was spot on. It was refreshing to see the Dolphins do the dominating for a change. The best thing this particular team can gain is confidence. They’re obviously not the best team in the league but if they play confident mistake-free football, they will surprise a lot of people, including some of the other teams in the division. After two weeks, the Dolphins are tied for 1st in the AFC East. Take that New England. Up next the Dolphins host the hated New York Jets at home. This is a much better quality of opponent. Miami will need to play smart and play fast as well as be disciplined in order to give themselves a chance to win. But for now, Miami can revel in the fact that they’re a .500 team.