By: Hussam Patel
Tua Tagovailoa threw 39 times and completed 25 of his passes, easily could've had 300+ passing yards if Jakeem Grant caught it. The first half was very conservative and frustrating and then came the second half. Lo and behold, the training wheels were off. The RPO was finally here, the up-tempo offense was rolling, Tua was cooking and flashed were shown of his Alabama days.
What goes unsaid is that at times there were 5 rookies on offense playing crucial snaps against the Bengals. Ereck Flowers suffered an injury making the already young Offensive Line shift. LT Austin Jackson, LG Solomon Kindley, C Ted Karras, RG Jesse Davis and RT Robert Hunt. Three rookie Offensive linemen, unheard of and kept Tua clean in the pocket. This is the first time in team history that three rookie OL started in the same game. No sacks, no pressures that lead to turnovers and finally a game with over 90+ rushing yards even with sweeps. Kudos to the offensive line and they receive my game ball.
Rookie WR/RB Lynn Bowden had a nice game piling up 4 receptions and 41 yards with a 10.2 average. He looked like the key to this offense, not as a reception leader but as a “gotcha” player. Consistently drawing one or even two defenders with his speed and opening up single looks for TE Mike Gesicki. While he can help in the running game, Bowden needs to make more of an impact in the passing game. There is no true #2 WR opposite of Devante Parker-Bowden can be that in the slot. He reminds me of a leaner and faster Jarvis Landry
Tua played very well and was getting the ball out very quick. With urgency, Tua got the ball out in 2.38 seconds or less with extreme urgency yesterday. It was great to see the offense take a change of pace approach in the second half. I’m certain Brian Flores told Chan Gailey to let Tua rip it out. Regardless, this would not have happened without stellar Offensive line play. The only “bad” play was a busted blitz that led to Tua almost fumbling the ball. Per Sports Information Solutions data, Tua's passes were given a 87.2% catch-able grade and had his best statistically accurate game.
On the offensive side of the ball, The Dolphins brass did a stellar job in the Draft. Getting the QB they wanted, The Offensive Lineman to protect Tua, an upcoming play-maker in Malcolm Perry and an out of the blue trade for Lynn Bowden. So far, these picks have turned out to be significant contributors and have done their jobs. A continuous improvement in these players is expected and will get better next season when a new crop of offensive talent is infused. Year two of the rebuild is looking good.
Third down conversions continue to be a major problem for the offense. The offense could not consistently move the chains- mainly a result of play calling. I understand wanting to establish the run game, but our run game is not good. Running the ball does not work in the red zone, the Dolphins were routinely stopped within the red zone and had to settle for field goals instead. 1 for 4 in the endzone is not a recipe for success. If the personnel of Parker Grant and Gesicki is available, I don’t see the need to run in the endzone. Make special plays in the endzone not simple runs and fades. consistently move the chains- play calling was not good. Inside the 10 the playbook should be open for misdirection passing plays and trickery to get a score.
You cannot win against the chiefs with this type of offensive play. To win against the Chiefs you need to control the clock, run the ball efficiently if you can, convert on 3rd downs and get the TD’s. Conceptually play concepts such as RPOs are key. It will be up to Tua to make the reads and correct decisions. Play calling has to be better than any game the Dolphins have, roll-outs, RPOs and getting their play-makers in mismatch match-ups to keep the chains going.
Up tempo offense will be key in this match-up. Chan Gailey said it himself in Tuesday’s Zoom conference: “First it defines rushers. people have to go out & cover those guys. but what it means if they bring one more than you have blockers, we almost got caught on that; we feel like it gives him the opportunity to see the rushers, the match-ups. The challenges are he doesn't have enough time to see what's happening. The benefit is that the DEF doesn't get enough time to see what's happening. you have to decide the trade-off. are you gaining more by being in the up-tempo or are you hampering him.”
Pretty sure going forward Up tempo will be the way he’ll go depending on the match-up and how successful Tua is doing. In order to have a solid chance of defeating the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs, the Dolphins offense has to be run like it’s never run before- better than the Arizona Game.
As always #FinsUp!
Please welcome Hussam Patel to PhinManiacs and please give him a follow on Twitter @AirXAlpha1721