Thursday, October 29, 2020

Assessing The Miami Dolphins’ Week 2 Loss

The Miami Dolphins lost 31-28 to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, extending Miami’s start to the season to 0-2. After the 21-11 loss to the New England Patriots in week 1, it was hoped that Miami could get off to winning ways. However, after week 2, whilst there is positivity to take, there is also plenty of areas of concern.

The Miami Dolphins were give a dose of reality and fans that dreamed of a playoff appearance have probably seen those hopes lessen since the week 2 loss in the home opener against Buffalo.

In terms of the game itself, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finished the game with 31 completions from 47 attempts, 2 touchdown passes, 0 interceptions and 328 passing yards against his former team.

Ryan Fitzpatrick joined the Miami Dolphins in the 2019 off season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick joined the Miami Dolphins in the 2019 off season.

This is an improvement on the 0 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions that Fitz threw in week 1. However, the defense was where the Dolphins struggled, allowing Bills quarterback Josh Allen to throw for 417 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns.

Defensive Issues

Miami’s defense looked promising in the week 1 defeat. Fast forward 7 days to Sunday and they looked far from impressive. The run defense was once again an issue but the Dolphins were not able to stop the pass either.

Miami only recorded one sack in the entire game, Andrew Van Ginkel and Emmanuel Ogbah both combining for half a sack each

Josh Allen was repeatedly left with plenty of time to throw to his teammates and was also allowed to make a 20 yard rush in the 1st quarter. The Miami Dolphins defence dealt with the run game if you look at the stats, with Devin Singletary’s 56 rushing yards the most recorded by any Bills player on Sunday.  

Singletary against the Miami Dolphins defense.

Along with Allen’s run, Devin Singletary made some crucial runs. We saw this when he got the first down through runs in the 2nd quarter as well as midway through the fourth quarter. This was evidenced in the lack of Miami stopping the run in crucial situations.

Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin was only able to record 7 carries but managed 46 rushing yards, which worked out as 6.6 yards per carry. Gaskin had three impressive rushing attempts, making first downs with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter and 30 seconds left of the 2nd quarter. We also saw Gaskin, with 12:23 remaining and 1st and 10 to make it close to another first down. Breida had his moments in this game, as did Jordan Howard but Gaskin has come out of nowhere and has impressed me more. 

Gaskin was a seventh round in the 2019 draft by the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins offense took a while to get going and the lack of 3rd down conversions had a big say in the final result. Just before the two minute warning in the 2nd quarter, Fitzpatrick had nowhere to go and noone except Mike Gesicki to throw to on 3rd and 3. We also saw this in New England a week before and this needs to vastly improve if Miami are to make any progress on the field. 

There were several times in the third quarter where Miami failed to get that conversion to first down. This was seen with 2:05 remaining in the quarter at 4th and goal. The Miami Dolphins could have changed the score from 17-13 to 17-16 and gone for the field goal but instead went for it and Fitz’ pass couldnt reach the hands of receiver Preston Williams. 

Fortune seemed to change in the fourth quarter, bang on the 15:00 mark where Fitzpatrick found Isaah Ford on 2nd and 6 and once again a few minutes later with the Miami Dolphins on 3rd and 2. Howard ran into the end zone with 10.15 remaining to give Miami the lead for the first time in the game before Buffalo went on to win the game, despite the late touchdown from tight end Mike Gesicki.

Talking of Gesicki, he had one of his best games in a Miami Dolphins jersey and was easily our best offensive option, with 130 receiving yards and a touchdown. In the second quarter, Gesicki showed his ability to catch the ball when it matters and made the catch needed to get in field goal position late on in second quarter. He also made some impressive catches in the third quarter.

Mike Gesicki impressed.

It was with 4:47 left in the 3rd quarter where Mike showed his hand ability at its best, making a catch that Odell Beckham and Deandre Hopkins would be proud of. A late touchdown in the fourth quarter resulted after a drive which saw another good catch two minutes beforehand. Along with the aforementioned plays earlier in the game, Gesicki’s performance shows his importance to this Miami offense.

Rookie Struggles

Buffalo wide receiver Stefon Diggs was the difference, with 153 receiving yards from 8 catches. However, rookie defensive back Noah Igbinoghene struggled. He showed rookie errors multiple times and struggled in coverage.

Noah Igbinoghene struggled against the Buffalo Bills..

There was a point in the first quarter where the Bills were on 2nd and 9 around the 2 yard line. Stefon Diggs beat Igbinoghene in coverage and caught a pass from Josh Allen around the 30 yard line. Igbinoghene was later caught out by Diggs in the second quarter at the 5:55 mark where Josh Allen threw the ball under pressure and Diggs caught the pass in double coverage, beating both the rookie and Eric Rowe. Whilst this shows the excellence of Diggs, it also shows the lack of NFL experience Igbinoghene currently has. 

When the Miami Dolphins went 20-17 in the fourth quarter, the Bills soon got themselves back into game. Allen, who was just past the Buffalo 20 yard line, found Diggs for a 47 yard gain. Once again, Igbinoghene was beaten in coverage.

The same would happen again with 3:39 remaining in the game where Noah was beaten in coverage by Diggs. The former Vikings wideout made a 21 yard catch which ultimately was part of a Bills drive. That drive finished with a brilliant 46 yard pass by Allen to John Brown that found the end zone and the touchdown that ultimately won Buffalo the game. 

Josh Allen and John Brown celebrate for the Buffalo Bills.

This game for me, in conclusion, showed how Buffalo are further ahead in their rebuild then Miami. The Bills took their chances and made those crucial plays when needed, also showing what Josh Allen can do with a true number one receiver. 

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