The Miami Dolphins played their first game of the 2020 NFL season yesterday against the New England Patriots. The 21-11 loss was not the result that Miami wanted but there were definitely some reasons to be positive, along with areas where improvement can be made.
Devante Parker got the better of Stephon Gilmore in week 17 last season. However, this time Gilmore got the better. In his first opportunity up against Parker, Gilmore showed his intention and managed to get a big hit on Parker.
Parker never really recovered from that, only recording 4 receptions. He recorded 11.8 yards per catch but when it was one on one, Parker never really got the better of Gilmore and a hamstring injury forced Parker out of the game.
The Dolphins struggled against Stephon Gilmore all game. The 2019 Defensive Player Of The Year beat Preston Williams to an interception and recorded 4 tackles.
New Season, Same Issues
The Miami Dolphins’ biggest issue, once again, was stopping the run. Miami Dolphins players could not stop the RPO plays that New England were calling. Whether this be Cam Newton or any of the Patriots running backs, Miami simply could not stop the run.
However, there can be plenty of positivity from the fact the Cam Newton did not throw for a touchdown.
Miami managed to record two consecutive three and outs and almost recorded a brilliant comeback. Patriots wide receiver N’keal Harry had the chance to score a touchdown, before linebacker Jerome Baker got to the wideout and forced a touchback.
Miami scored on the next possession, with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s two point conversion making the game 14-11 and hope was in the air.
A combination of a Patriots touchdown and a Fitzpatrick interception killed the hope, with the game soon becoming a foregone conclusion.
Fitzpatrick struggled out on the field but did play alot of the game without his best receiver after Devante Parker left the game with an injury.
If Fitzpatrick plays next week the same way he did against New England, then calls for Tua Tagovailoa to start will become more and more apparent.
I feel that Flores will give Tua time to learn off Fitz, especially with the tough fixtures against solid defensive outfits such as Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Rams.
Jerome Baker was a bright spark, with the aforementioned stopping of a N’Keal Harry touchdown that caused a touchback. Baker also got 12 tackles and one sack on Newton. I felt that the Miami Dolphins defensive outfit impressed stopping the pass but the run defence was once again mediocre.
Running back Myles Gaskin also impressed, with 40 rushing yards from 9 attempts and 26 receiving yards from 4 receptions. That gave him 4.4 yards per carry and 6.5 yards per reception.
Gaskin seemed to make some good runs, either getting that first down or making significant yardage. It will be good to see him get more of the ball as i felt, despite Jordan Howard getting the only Miami touchdown, that Gaskin was more effective than Howard and Matt Breida.
Miami Dolphins players and fans such as myself should not be too disheartened by this loss as despite the 10 point loss, the defensive outfit did well against the pass.
Head coach Brian Flores will want to work on the run defense coming into the Buffalo Bills week 2 game, especially with Josh Allen’s similar playing style to Cam Newton. If he can help that get better, then Miami still have a chance of being a darkhorse for the division.
Miami can be fairly happy with that performance, but ‘work in progress’ is definitely the term best used for the week 1 performance.