Dolphins Keys to a Win Over the Ravens

Sean Heffron breaks down his keys to a Miami Dolphins victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

1. Run. The. Football.

 The lopsided nature of the Miami Dolphins offense has gotten out of hand. Last game against the NY Jets the Dolphins ran the ball an inept 9 times for 12 yards. The pass-happy Dolphin offense threw the ball a whopping 58 times for 351 yards 3 touchdowns and one interception. The problem with such an uneven offense is that it has become completely predictable. When you only run the ball 9 times in a game the defense does not have to respect the run threat and can bring pressure on the quarterback. Ryan Tannehill was sacked and stripped of the ball in the third quarter and that turnover essentially ended the Dolphins chances of making any serious comeback in the game. Throwing the ball that often especially on early downs puts the offense behind the down and distance and forces Tannehill to convert long third down conversions. Against the Jets the Dolphins were only able to convert 4-15 third down conversions, which is detrimental to an offense. The most frustrating aspect of the lack of a running game is that talent that the Dolphins have at the running back position. When Lamar Miller has been given a significant amount of carries in a game he has proven to be a legitimate playmaker in this league. In the four games Lamar Miller has been given 12 carries or more the Dolphins are undefeated. In their two most impressive offensive performances against the Titans and Texans Lamar Miller was given the ball 19 times for 113 yards and a touchdown and 14 times for 175 yards and a touchdown respectively. The formula for success is simple give Miller the ball. Running the ball not only has proven effective when they commit to it, but it also establishes a tone and physicality to the game as well as help with time of possession. The Dolphins were plagued especially in the first half by three and outs which impede the offense’s ability to develop a rhythm, but also takes a toll on the defense because they do not get an opportunity to rest and have to go right back out on the field. If there is there is any question the offense needs to run the ball more, the fact that the Dolphins on paper threw the ball incredibly well on sunday and still go blown out is all you need to know. When your quarterback throws for 351 yards and your top receiver, Jarvis Landry, has 165 yards receiving and the game is not even close thats when you need a change. The solution is simple on offense Lamar Miller needs no fewer than 15 touches a game for the rest of the season. Not to mention Jay Ajayi who in the two games he was given 5 carries or more he averaged 8 yards a carrie. The offense needs to find a new identity because throwing the ball nearly 60 times obviously is not the solution. Even though the Ravens are a top ten rushing defense this game needs to be more about the offensive identity than their opponent.


2. Play with Pride on Defense.

Last week against the Jets was a disaster defensively. Poor tackling, lack of pursuit, and bad angles have been issues for the Dolphin defense all year and were all evident on the play where Chris Ivory broke free from multiple tackles for a 31 yard touchdown. Yes the loss of Cameron Wake was huge, but it does not account for the complete collapse of the defense. Ryan Fitzpatick torched the Dolphins with 4 touchdowns, and the Jets offense totaled 411 yards and 38 points in their route of Miami. The Miami defense has too many playmakers on the field to be this awful on defense and a matchup against the injury plagued Raven offense should be an opportunity to get back on track. Without Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett the Dolphin defense must bring pressure and force Matt Schaub to make quick decisions, where he is known to commit turnovers. Buck Allen has been an impressive replacement for Forsett and the Dolphins led by Suh need to make a statement game against the run. No more excuses no more broken tackles no more blowouts the defense needs to play for their jobs at this point in the season and show ownership why they belong in the plans of the Dolphin’s future. Ndamukong Suh has been a non factor in most games, Brent Grimes has given up the most production to opposing teams number one receivers and the defense as a whole has been a disappointment across the board. Reshad Jones has been a lone bright spot defensively and could have a big day against Matt Schaub and add to his interception total on the season. The defense needs to play hard, fast and physical and dominate this beleaguered Raven offense. 


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