By: Hussam Patel
Good Teams have bad games. We know this, and we don't expect the Dolphins to go undefeated. I admit we have been a little spoiled by this 5-game winning streak. This loss emboldened the Dolphins weaknesses, and the Broncos feasted on that. The run game was nonexistent, passing game going nowhere. The offensive line was getting bullied by Bradley Chubb and the Denver defensive line. Most glaring was definitely the play of Tua Tagovailoa, from the beginning of the game, he seemed off a little jittery, not hitting those throws he would hit in practice.
I’ve seen and heard, publicly and privately, that this team had no fight in them, had no energy, no spirit to win this game. Really? When have you seen this Brian Flores led team “Give Up?" Did this Brian Flores team give up in a 59-0 rout against New England Last year? Or against the season opener against Baltimore Last year? Did they throw the towel in losses against the Bills, Patriots and Seahawks? No, they kept fighting till the end of the clock.
Don't tell me they don’t have the guts or glory to win, because they do. The Dolphins lost this game in the trenches and were bullied within them. Not having Christian Wilkins and Solomon Kindley hurt this team. Glaringly, the O-line did not do its jkob protecting Tua as they should have; tallying 6 sacks. The Dolphins' run defense was flat-out non-existent, missing tackles left and right and getting gashed by Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay for 189 yards and 2 TDs and well over 5-yards per carry for each of them.
On the bright side, Xavien Howard and Raekwon Davis were the highest graded defenders against the Broncos. Howard continues his great play, tied for first with 6 interceptions and helps this team. Davis is quietly becoming on of the best interior D-Lineman the Dolphins have picked up. Eating up blocks and doing his best in the run game. A star could be born, and Coach Flores seemed to know it back on Draft Day.
The offensive line needs to be better and do better, The wide-receivers have to separate and do better, the defensive line needs to tighten up in the run game, and Tua needs to stay calm and hit his receivers and backs for those quick-this gains. Not only do the players need to step up, the coaches do too; specifically offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey. Denver seemed to have figured out the offensive tendencies, rarely did we see RPOs, crossinf routes and slants; something Tua feasts on and would have kept Denver's defense honest. The offensive play calling has to suit Tua's strengths.
To add on to this, there is a QB controversy as there might be eyebrows raised in the locker room, right? WRONG (Talking to you National Media). Ryan Fitzpatrick eloquently described the Dolphins saying, “this is Tua’s team.” The Dolphins will do whatever is necessary to ensure Tua is succeeding, learning and winning. Pulling Tua, right or wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion, was a move made by Flores. Tua wasn't performing and he knew that, and he’ll learn from this and he’ll be highly motivated to be better. His confidence was not shaken. Flores is confident in Tua, this team is confident in Tua, and Tua is still learning and confident in himself.
Pardon my age and I know I’m pulling the strings of the Shula era, but do you all remember back in the 80’s, Shula would pull David Woodley out when he was having a bad game and Don Strock would play. Woodley would remain as starter the following game. Flores benched Tagovailoa with a 6-3 record and trailing by only a touchdown. My guess is Flores didn’t like the things Tua was missing downfield and/or he was concerned about him taking too much punishment. He is the future of this team. We wouldn't want something to happen to Tua and look what happened to Burrow. He’s also been taking a beating and tore his ACL, MCL and out for next year.
The Dolphins can make the playoffs, but this is not a playoffs or bust season, this is a season to find out who and what this Dolphins team is. This is a growing and learning experience. Be honest with yourselves, this is not a Super Bowl team yet, this is a team in year two of a rebuild, and quite possibly a year ahead of schedule. They will figure it out, they made improvements in a tanking season last year and have shocked everyone's expectations so far. Reinforcements are coming in next year's draft. This team always had its eyes set on 2021. Don’t lose track of the main goal, stay levelheaded and chill out.
This loss will light a fire into this team, they got this.
As Always #finsup
Please welcome Hussam Patel to PhinManiacs and please give him a follow on Twitter @AirXAlpha1721