Final Week 2 Observations

The mood certainly is different on the off day this week after the Dolphins' impressive 35-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Sunday's home opener at Sun Life Stadium. Before the Dolphins begin their preparations for Sunday's game against the Jets, let's take one final look at the Oakland game.

• Hard to believe, but just one week after The Onion satirically suggested the Dolphins could make a run at an 0-16 season, the word "playoffs" now is being mentioned. Well, just as the panic after Week 1 was premature, so is the notion that the Dolphins have arrived.

• Really, we're only an eighth of the way through the regular season. It's still too early, way too early, to accurately gauge what kind of team the Dolphins have.

• Hate to be a party pooper, but this was a bad Oakland team the Dolphins beat on Sunday. A bad West Coast team playing a 1 p.m. game on the East Coast. After playing the previous Monday night. Clearly, the NFL schedule makers, who have been tough on the Dolphins in the past, did them a favor in this case.

• That said, it doesn't change the fact the Dolphins were dominant in this game.

• In particular, the Dolphins killed Oakland in the running game on both sides.

• That the Dolphins shut down Darren McFadden shouldn't have been a surprise, though, because they've always done it. McFadden had 13 yards on three carries when the teams met in 2008, then was held to 2 yards on eight carries in 2010 before he sat out last year's meeting with an injury. After being held to 22 yards on 11 carries Sunday, McFadden now has a grand total of 37 yards on 22 carries in three career games against the Dolphins.

• On the other side, Reggie Bush ... wow! That's all you can say. The 65-yard touchdown is the one that's going to stand out because of the distance, but his 23-yard TD run actually was more impressive. On the long run, Bush wasn't even touched as he took advantage of some great blocking and linebacker Rolando McClain filling the wrong gap. On the shorter touchdown, though, Bush broke three tackles, bouncing off the last attempt and putting his hand on the ground to maintain his balance. That was impressive.

• The other offensive star clearly was wide receiver Brian Hartline, who set career highs with nine catches and 111 yards. It seemed he was open all game. The Raiders secondary had no answers for him.

• It also was a strong outing for Ryan Tannehill, and the Dolphins deserve kudos for rolling him out as often as he did after the problems he had with tipped passes in the opener.

• Defensively, perhaps the most encouraging thing beside the run defense was the play of safety Reshad Jones. In addition to coming up with Miami's first interception of the season, he also chased down Mike Goodson from behind to drop him for a 6-yard loss on a running play. The Dolphins have lacked a playmaking safety for so long, it would be a great boost for the defense if Jones can become that kind of player this season.

• Finally, we can't leave the special teams because that's what kept the Dolphins in the game in the first half. Remember, the Dolphins were outgained 263-147 in the first two quarters and Miami's one takeaway came in the second half. Think about it. The Dolphins gave up 263 yards (that projects to 526 for a full game), yet only trailed 10-7. The reason? Their special teams helped pin Oakland back time and time again in the first half. On average, the Raiders started their drive at their own 13-yard line in the first half. That helped keep the Dolphins in the end despite not recording a first down on their last four drives of the half.

• In the second half, though, the Dolphins offense took off, with touchdowns on four of their first five possessions.

• It's not going to be that easy every week, but it sure was fun to watch.


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