Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
There were several things that went wrong in the game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday but the coaching staff pointed out a few specific things that led to various breakdowns and collapses throughout the game.
“After watching the film, I don’t think a lot has really changed since some of the comments I said yesterday after the game. I think the Broncos deserved the win the game. I thought they played better, sounder football than we did. They made more plays than we did. They played better in the fourth quarter than we did, so they deserve to win," Joe Philbin said. “None of (the losses) feel good. Again, from my seat, fundamentally, we had too many penalties. I didn’t think we looked like a great football team. That starts with me. You sometimes don’t get lined up well and ball-security, we didn’t lose a lot of fumbles, but the ball was on the ground a bunch. There are things we have to get better at and that’s my job.”
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle admitted that he never felt like the defense was in control of the game because they weren't able to stop them throughout the vast majority of the game.
"We stopped them on the second drive, which I felt good about. The initial drive, there were a couple of plays that they got on us. But I wasn’t feeling, even at halftime, I’ve got to be honest with you, they had 65 yards rushing at halftime and 25 came on a second-and-long play that I didn’t put us in the greatest defense to stop. We shouldn’t have given up 25 yards, but I was anticipating them throwing the ball. They had thrown the ball almost 90 percent in that scenario throughout all of their season. We anticipated pass and they ran it and we missed a tackle on the play. But yet, I didn’t feel like they were just running it down our throats, I thought they were being very physical though. I didn’t think we were as physical as we normally are at the point of attack."
The Dolphins got dominated at the line of scrimmage, which allowed the Broncos to rush for 201 yards, with 167 of them coming from CJ Anderson. However, they were also beat soundly in the passing game as Manning racked up 257 yards and only missed on 7 passes.
"And all of the passes, when you look at it, he didn’t throw the ball vertically down the field, other than the fade that they missed on the second drive, until the two minute drill," Coyle said. "There is not a pass, if you go back and look at the tape, where it’s more than a five yard throw down the field in the entire first half. Now, he caught the shallow crosser for the big first down on third down, but that was about a 3-yard route across the middle, everything else was perimeter, slants, bubble screens, hitches, and so forth. They weren’t throwing it vertically and I didn’t feel like they were just controlling in the run game at that point. In the second half, they busted a couple of runs and we were never able to get off the field.”
It sounds like though that perhaps the defense wasn't properly prepared for the Broncos coming into the game. That's because Coyle admitted that he wasn't sure if the physical play from Denver caught the defense by surprise. Why wasn't he sure though? He didn't have a clear answer.
"We’ve got to talk about that here as we go into the week. I think as the game wore on, there were no surprises anymore. They were determined to run the football and they did. When going back and looking at it, there were 35 pass attempts, I think there were only nine of them that were down the field throws. He gets the ball out quick. We knew that going into it (that) he’s averaging one sack per game and there’s a reason for that. He gets the ball out quick and he doesn’t take sacks. But we thought we’d do a better job of handling both the perimeter passing game and the run game.”
With the loss against the Broncos, Philbin doesn't know if the margin for error is disappearing, even though it is. Even if the Dolphins finish the season with a 4-1 record, there is a chance they don't make the playoffs. IF they finish with a 3-2 record, it will be almost impossible to make the playoffs. Why is there no sense of urgency though?
"We really are focused on making the corrections on this game and moving forward. I told the team in the locker room we have to go on the road again. We have to play an AFC East opponent on the road. We are going to have to play a lot better than we did yesterday to win that game. I don’t think the records really matter right now. We have six wins right now. We have to go win a football game against the New York Jets. That’s really the only thing that’s on my mind and should be on our players’ minds at this point. The other stuff, stuff happens. We really don’t control that stuff, what the other teams do. We do control how we play when the ball kicks off next Monday night at 8:30 p.m. or whenever it does.”
Philbin will likely be coaching for his job over the next several weeks and the schedule certainly lines up in favor of the Dolphins. Will they be able to execute the proper way and come up with good game-plans to keep the other teams off guard? Only time will tell.