Dolphins Hold On
There was no 4th quarter collapse that led to an overtime loss this Sunday for the Miami Dolphins. The trifecta of misery was avoided this time by Miami as they were able to hold on to their lead and pull out a win in Cincinnati against the Bengals. The 17-13 win for the Phins was by no means pretty but luckily for Miami aesthetics don’t count for anything in the Win/Loss column.
Miami displayed another solid showing in Week 5. Head Coach Joe Philbin has the team playing very well. The team’s play is a testament to how well prepared Philbin’s staff has the team week in and week out.
Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill proved once more that he in fact is the Miami Dolphins franchise signal caller. Tannehill really has total control of this offense. He looks extremely poised on the field and does not get rattled. The rookie had another mistake-free game on Sunday. It’s no coincidence that when Tannehill doesn’t throw an interception, the Dolphins are 2-0. He completed 17 of his 26 passing attempts for 233 yards and toted a 92.3 passer rating. His favorite target, Brian Hartline, led the team in receptions again this week. Hartline hauled in 4 of his 5 targets for 59 yards. Hartline (514) still leads the league in reception yards edging out Demaryius Thomas by a single yard. Running back Reggie Bush is still nursing a knee and a hip injury but that didn’t deter him from getting into the endzone Sunday. Bush ended his day with 48 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.
As exciting and buzz-worthy the offense has been it’s the Dolphin defense that has been most impressive. Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle has the defense playing at a very high level. The Miami pass defense is getting better each and every game. Cornerback Sean Smith is having a career year. Smith drew the assignment of checking Larry Fitzgerald last week in Arizona and had a career best, two interceptions. His defensive responsibilities did not get any easier as he had to cover Cincinnati’s AJ Green this week. He held green, one of the premiere wide receivers in the game, to just 65 yards. In the absence of Vontae Davis, Smith has really stepped up for this defense. Also making himself known is defensive tackle Randy Starks. Starks is a pivotal piece in Miami’s top five run-stopping unit. This season, he’s doing much more than just stuffing the run. Starks has been all over the place. He even recorded an interception against the Bengals as he jumped up at the line of scrimmage to snatch away a dart thrown by quarterback Andy Dalton. Defensive End Cameron Wake registered another sack in the contest. He now has 5.5 in the last two games. Wake is tied for 6th in the league in sacks. The Dolphins defense has also not allowed a 100 yard rusher in 19 straight games.
Since getting blown out by Houston in Week 1, Miami has strung together four solid performances in a row. This team is consistently competitive. In reality they are only two plays away from being 4-1 rather than 2-3. That being said, other than Houston, they have yet to face elite competition. Moving forward, however, the play of the team thus far is very encouraging. After Hard Knocks the expectations for this team were about as low as can be. This team is not the same team that football fans around the country would tune in to HBO just to laugh at. This team is scrappy and tough. With a couple wins under their belt, they’re now a confident bunch as well. Miami is not a playoff team. Yet. But they really are not too far off. With 5 picks coming in next year’s draft Miami will have the opportunity to fill the holes they have. The Dolphins obviously need a number one receiver (Hartline is a really good two, not a one), a second tight end to compliment Anthony Fasano, another cover corner to put opposite of Sean Smith, and a safety. If the Dolphins fill those needs, they can easily make a run at the playoffs.