Written by Matthew Cannata at 2:40 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins offense gained less than 50 yards in the first half, which was bad enough for one of the worst 30-minute performances in franchise history. Although the defense dominated and scored once which kept the offense off the field for a while, they failed to find any rhythm until they got out of the locker room in the second half.
“As I said to the team at halftime and this has happened too frequently, but as I said to the team at halftime, sometimes in football one side of the ball may be struggling that particular day,” Joe Philbin said. “The other two phases have to pitch in, contribute and kind of carry the load. I think the one positive and I don’t have the stats right in front of me, but I think our last four or so drives offensively were relatively productive. I’m with you, it’s part of my job. I’m going to do a better job. I’m going to look every way possible to help us get off to a better start. I also give some credit to Jacksonville yesterday for the way they played earlier in the game. That was on tape. They played well early in the game recently.”
Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor said that it was a strange game because the offense was running its eighth play with only about six minutes left in the second quarter. However, he stopped short of using that as an excuse as to why they struggled early on.
“I’ve never described myself as bonkers before (laughs). I would think that was unique in being that it was about six-and-a-half minutes left in the second quarter and we were about to have our eighth play. I can’t remember another time when we’ve played less football and I’m not complaining about the defense getting a touchdown. We’ll take that every time. But there’s nobody to blame, but ourselves. We had two opportunities before that to make first downs and we didn’t do it. We went over the whole list of reasons why we didn’t, but those are just the facts that we didn’t. It’s our responsibility when we get onto the field to score, and we would love to do it in three plays. If we were coming up on our eighth play and we had scored two touchdowns already, I would have no complaints. The amount of times we were on the field doesn’t matter. Getting our job done is what matters, and our job is to score. Usually you have to make a couple of first downs to get that done (and) we didn’t early.”
With all that said, Lazor echoed Philbin by saying that they knew the Jaguars were a tough first half team and knew they would be playing tight defense early on in the game because that’s what they’ve done all year.
“I would have to give a lot of credit to Jacksonville. I thought they played really hard, especially up front, to start the game. So let’s give them their credit. What I’m disappointed in with me was I knew they did that. I don’t know what their statistics are, but when you watch them, as I did Saturday night, I just watched the beginning of every one of their games. You see three-and-outs. You see tackles-for-loss. This is a team that comes out of the gates on fire almost every game, and so knowing that, talking about it, trying to devise a plan to start the game, that’s where I failed.”
“It’s easy today to look back at some of the plays that worked in the second half with, ‘Hey Bill, you should have started the game with those.’ That’s what I have to do. When you look at our players, you just have to deal with the details of why did we have some problems up front early in the game? Why did we have some really, I thought, simple assignment errors? Same plays later in the game we handled correctly and planned all week. There’s no answer. I trust our guys, and I know they prepared well, but you string a couple of those together and an illegal formation. You would think at this point of the season those things are behind you, but they weren’t. We have to deal with the reality, so again I’ll take the burden for me knowing how fast the Jacksonville defense has been starting its games, we knew they would do that. Did I do a good job of getting us started? Obviously not, after the fact I can say that. For each position, why didn’t we come out the gates? I thought we were pretty loose. I thought we were ready to go. I actually felt pretty confident in pregame. That shows you how much I know (joking).”
The Dolphins cannot afford to get off to a slow start against the San Diego Chargers and they’ll need to come out firing on all cylinders. If they don’t, Phillip Rivers and the rest of the offense may put up enough points in the first half to render the second half useless.
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