Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
On Sunday, the St. Louis Rams defeated the Denver Broncos in dominating fashion, scoring 22 points and only allowing 9 to the Broncos' high-powered offense. Did they provide the blueprint to success against the Broncos and if so, are the Dolphins coaches aware of it? Both Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle say yes and learned a few things by watching the game.
“I watched some of it, but I didn’t sit in front of the TV the whole time. But obviously I’ve watched it since, on film," Philbin said. "I think they [St. Louis] played good overall defense. That’s going to have to be part of what we do. Again, to sit here and think that we’re going to have something, seven brand new coverages that Peyton Manning has never seen before and have time to execute and practice those, probably not realistic. I think the formula that we’ve had is stop the run first, get pressure on the quarterback, have tight coverage, tackle well. We really have to play, I know it gets old, but this a team that you have to really play solid, sound, fundamental football against and not give up anything cheap. He’s very smart, he knows how to get rid of the ball, he doesn’t hold it very long. We’re just going to have to play good team defense.”
Kevin Coyle said he watched the game on his couch and like Philbin, thought that St. Louis did a good job of mixing up pressure and coverage. He noted that they also forced Manning to throw over 50 times by stuffing their rushing attack.
"Denver, they had some injuries during the course of the game that they had to start trying to plug people in. I don’t know how much that affected them, but certainly St. Louis did a good job against the run, which forced them to throw the ball 50 some odd times in the game. Even with Peyton, I don’t think that was what they wanted to do necessarily. I was impressed with what St. Louis did, yet, at the end of the day, (Denver) has over 400 yards of offense, but they only got seven points in this particular game. That was a good job by St. Louis.”
Following the game on Sunday, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said the key to their success was showing Peyton Manning looks that he's never seen before. Coyle didn't go into too much detail about what he had in mind but said it's hard to show Manning things he's never seen before because of how good he is.
“I don’t know how many things Peyton hasn’t seen in the years he’s been playing. He is remarkable. Talking with people who have been around him, he’s got almost a photogenic memory. When he sees something, he locks it in and can retrieve it a year later or two years later. You always want to try to keep a quarterback off-balance. Each week, we’ll do some things. Whether it was Peyton or anybody else, you do things that you try to disguise things you’ve done in the past. That can only go so far in terms of the game plan. You have to execute the plan. Certainly, as we prepare for this game and every game, if you’ve run something you’ve put on tape and you want to still run it, you have to do some things either off that look, get into that look a little differently than what you did, or these quarterbacks are going to be able to try to take advantage of it.”
With injuries to key players on the Broncos - Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas and Montee Ball - the game is slowly swinging in favor of the Dolphins. It will be up to them to capitalize on it, apply pressure to Manning throughout the game and get them off their game plan as quick as possible.