Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
It wasn't easy for the Miami Dolphins defense on Sunday against the Denver Broncos as they gave up 450 total yards, with almost half of them coming on the ground from the Broncos rushing attack. Throughout the game, they were presented with several unforeseen challenges.
One of them came on the now infamous 3rd and 20 play, where Emmanuel Sanders burned Jamar Taylor for a 35-yard reception. The Broncos would go on to score a touchdown several plays later. Kevin Coyle explained what went wrong before that play even started.
“What happened was we were trying to substitute there at that point. It was kind of unusual there. In the two minute drill there, it wasn’t a completed pass I don’t believe. He was hurrying them right back to the line. I think what he saw was that we were going to try and substitute and consequently was trying to get us either in the substitution to try to get a first down, because it was third-and-20. So we communicated quickly from the sideline to get us into what we thought was going to be a safe coverage and there was a little bit of communication on the field. But it didn’t affect the coverage down the field. It did affect the rush a little bit, but I don’t think, with the rush that we had intended, that it was going to be factor in the play anyway.”
The Dolphins were barely able to get any pressure on Manning throughout the game. In fact, they only sacked him once, despite him not being a mobile quarterback. Coyle said it was just the way things shook out, mainly because of the coverages they were playing.
“We weren’t very successful rushing the quarterback. I think what happened a couple of times during the game was we had some maximum coverages that we felt might be the answer to some of the passing game that they were utilizing. We weren’t on point with some of our coverages as we needed to be. Consequently, they got a couple of first downs against some of the looks that we thought were going to be good and should have been good against some of the things they were doing.”
Of course, they were faced with several injuries in the secondary, which may have had an impact on the way that Coyle called the game. However, he said that it's part of the game and people need to step up when their name is called.
"In the secondary, it’s a little bit more difficult because those guys that have been getting the majority of the work have seen a lot of the things in game action. When you’re putting people in for the first time, it’s a tough spot to be in. I’ve got to be honest with you, playing corner in the NFL is about as difficult a spot as you can be out there in competitive sports. I thought our guys hung in there and battled. I don’t think that was in any way the reason we didn’t perform well late in the game yesterday. But it is a challenge for us as we move forward. Hopefully, we’ll get some guys back and plug some people in. That’s what you have to do at this point of the season.”
The Dolphins should get some sort of a break on Monday against the New York Jets but then they'll have two tough opponents with the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. Coyle will need to do a much better job of preparing his defense for their upcoming opponents.