Written by Matthew Cannata at 9;15 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
At this point in the season, it's clear that the Miami Dolphins are not a first half team but instead, a dominant second half team. On Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills, the story was no different with the Dolphins struggling to get going in the first half but then turning on the cylinders in the second.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and we knew that they’re a good football team," Joe Philbin said. "It was kind of strange the first half. I think there was really…I think we had maybe three possessions and in essence they had two. I think they had a fourteen play possession and a fifteen play possession. As I said to the defense, our red zone defense was great. We just need to obviously get some stops, get a three-and-out, which is what they did. And offensively, to protect the ball a little bit and punch the ball in the end zone. The coaches did a great job with some adjustments and off we went.”
The Dolphins only allowed three rushing yards in the second half and only 72 passing yards for of course, a total of 75 yards. What was the key to their turnaround? Jared Odrick said it was just playing better.
“You know, everyone always expects people to say we made this adjustment, made that adjustment, made these huge adjustments. But it’s just paying attention to what they were doing, and then putting them in a position where their backs are against the wall so their offense is limited. There are not really changes as long as you’re executing. You don’t really want to change anything that’s going good."
Olivier Vernon echoed those words and said they just kept on playing the same way and the difference was execution and being persistent without giving up.
“They (Buffalo) were just making good plays and getting the ball out of there. We had to make some half time adjustments, and just stick to our game plan. We just went out there in the second half and showed the world what we could do," he said. "We knew we had to get pressure on Orton. That was something we lacked last time, against EJ (Manuel), so as soon as we can get pressure on him and force him to make errors, that’s what we got done today. We didn’t do a good job the last time we met them up there (Buffalo), and we’re not trying to repeat any mistakes. So I’m glad we got the win.”
Ryan Tannehill also turned it around in the second half and again, like the defensive players, it was all a matter of better execution without any major adjustments being made.
“I thought we executed better in the second half, without a doubt," Philbin said. "I think we ran one of the nakeds and ran a naked and he did a good job of kind of extending the play and finding the open receiver there. Got the ball to Jarvis [Landry, WR] and I think he broke the tackle and got in the end zone on that one, too.”
Brandon Gibson said that his honest assessment of the second half was the fact that they picked up their intensity and played better. He noted that it's not how you start, it's how you finish and they did a good job of finishing the game. Jarvis Landry said while they mixed up the cadence a bit, it was all about momentum and finishing the drives that they weren't able to complete in the first half. Mike Pouncey said that they ran the same plays in the second half because they were working and it was all matter of making things happen and playing with better effort.
Tannehill said that the team was efficient all day - running the ball and making completions throughout the game - and that allowed the offense to open up where the Dolphins could do anything they wanted.
“We made some big plays. Making the plays that the defense made; getting a safety was a huge turning point in the game for us. We scored touchdowns which is obviously the goal. I thought that we moved the ball well in the first half. We just had the fumble on the second drive and on the first drive we didn’t get it in the end zone. We had our opportunities but I’m proud of the way the guys fought back in the second half. It really turned the game around.”