The Miami Dolphins suffered an ugly loss to the Atlanta Falcons last night, and the only feeling and thoughts that went through my head were that of complete disgust and embarrassment. The whole first team failed to move the ball the whole first half, or make anything happen on either offense or defense to suggest that the starting units as a whole made strides from last year. They were completely dominated, plain and simple. The Falcons were the better team, and despite the score, 16-6 suggesting otherwise, this game was not that close, and could have been a lot worse if Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was more accurate last night. But even though I am disappointed, I do have some quick thoughts to share before I watch the replay on my DVR.
- Vontae Davis was the lone bright spot on the team last night. He registered 7 tackles, one forced fumble, and three pass deflections on the night, and he did not even play the full game! Davis made his presence felt in both the run and pass defense. He was in single coverage most of the night, against Roddy White, and dominated. Granted, there were some plays where White or one of the other Falcons receivers broke loose, or caught a pass in front of Davis, but with Davis being on an island, you have to take the rare mishaps with the multiple highlights and plays he gave the Fins defense last night. Davis was described by some members of the media as one of the most improved payers on the team this year, and he showed why he has garnered that praise last night.
- The Dolphins are committing way too many penalties right now in the pre-season. Yes, this is the pre-season, and the team has yet to form that chemistry within the whole offense or defense. But the team is committing stupid penalties that just come down to mental mistake, which is the one thing that this coaching staff will not tolerate. If this continues during the season, one has to question the coaching staff and why these mental mistakes keep happening.
- The ground game was nothing last night. In fact, this is the third straight game where our rushing attack was invisible. Our team is built around the run. All of the players on the starting offensive squad are reknowned for their run blocking, or their mean streak. So you can see my concern when our one main strength has not been effective during the pre-season. The biggest gains on the ground last night for the Fins came out of the Wildcat, something that I thought we would not need to use as much with our run offense being so reliable without it.
The Dolphins have a lot of work to do yet before Week 1, and even though they play the struggling Buffalo Bills, as the team can remember from last year, if you sleep on the Bills, they’ll make you pay. The Fins need to make things happen, and straighten out whatever they need to straighten out, before Week 1, or it could be a long season again for a team that has big expectations facing them.