Analyzing the Miami Dolphins' Loss to Bengals

Michael Hernandez gives an in depth analysis of the Miami Dolphins 22-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Recapping the Miami Dolphins underwhelming offensive performance against the Cincinnati Bengals in Thursday Nights loss-- 22-7 Bengals. The Miami Dolphins faced off against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday Night, and the Miami Offense picked up right where it left off against the Browns.

Having a defense that is allowing an average of 401.8 yds/G to opponents, the Dolphins offense knew they to start off fast and match every Bengals score. They seemed to do just that… for 1 drive. There was no slow start that night. After the Bengals went down the field on their first drive and kicked a field goal, Ryan Tannehill and the offense got the ball at the Miami 19 with 9:52 left.

They answered back 2 plays later-- finding a wide open Kenny Stills for a 74-yd bomb. Unfortunately, the offensive droughts continued as Miami essentially went 3-and- out on their next 5 possessions (1 of which was a sack fumble) to end the 1 st half. This allowed the Bengals to score 1 TD and 2 field goals to put them 16-7 at halftime. The 2 nd half was just a continuation of the 1st. Except the Dolphins had 2 drives with 5+ plays(yay! Progress!)—the 2 nd ending with bad interception by Ryan Tannehill (nay. Regress). The Dolphins last possession took place with 3:40 left in the 4 th quarter, consisted of 4 plays for 5 yards, and ended with a Jarvis Landry drop.

The Bengals were able to kick 2 field goals during this time making the Final Score 22-7. All in all, the Bengals dominated every major phase of the game… Time of Possession Bengals- 38:02 Dolphins- 21:58. 1 st Downs Bengals- 19 Dolphins- 8 Total Yards Bengals- 362 Dolphins- 222 Evaluations QB Ryan Tannehill went 15/25 for 189 yds, 1 TD, and 1 Int. Despite his 1 beautiful 74-yard pass showing off his physical gifts, he resorted bad to his bad habits. Most noticeable, He demonstrated his inability to feel pressure and lack of pocket presence.

Despite being rushed on almost every play, Tannehill continued to dropback to the deepest part of the pocket and sit there. Allowing easy sacks for the Bengals edge rush. When pressure was in his face, he didn’t try to scramble out of the pocket to by more time. This has been a problem since day 1, and will never get fixed. Offensive Line Despite Tannehill’s shortcomings, the offensive line was the main cause of the Dolphins debacle. After solid run blocking and pass protection in the 1 st half, the offensive line began to fall apart in the 2 nd . With Branden Albert out, Laremy Tunsil moved to LT and the Dolphins inserted Billy Turner at LG. And Turner got abused play after play by pro-bowler Geno Atkins.

This led to immediate pressure up the middle for Ryan Tannehill and was the main cause for the Dolphins stagnant attack. Although the run blocking indeed looked better, Branden Albert needs to return soon to put Laremy Tunsil back at LG. If not, this is essentially the same horrific line the Dolphins have had since 2013. 2 strong Tackles, 1 strong Center, 2 weak guards. RB’s Just like the Browns Game, Adam Gase continues to use 4 back in the rotation causing headaches for Dolphins and Fantasy Fans alike. Jay Ajayi had 6 carries for 33 yards averaging 5.5 yds/C, and 2 receptions for 13 yards. Ajayi displayed decent power, burst, and vision on his runs.

Despite having a good showing, his limited use makes him remain a non-factor for the Dolphins. Kenyan Drake had 2 carries for 15 yards. Despite his talent, and being drafted in the 3 rd round, his limited use prevents him from doing anything for the Dolphins. Damien Williams came into the game as the starter, but mostly seemed to be used in passing situations. He had 2 carries for 9 yards, and 1 catch for 6 yards. Isaiah Pead also came into the game and just like Drake and Williams, he was a non-factor. 3 carries for 5 yards, 1 for 6 receiving. WR’s Kenny Stills lead the Dolphins in yards and TD’s. 1 rec for 74-yds. Its great to see that his speed is a game changer for the Dolphins.

Because this offense is so inconsistent, every play matters. Jarvis Landry seems like the only player with heart on this team (at least on offense anyway). He was 2 nd on the team with 7 catches for 61 yards and led the team with 10 targets. He created another nice run-after- catch in the 4 th quarter on 3 rd and 9. However he dropped a pass on 4 th and 5 on the Dolphins last drive. He seems to have a case of the Dropsies since the preseason. But everyone on this team is playing bad, so it’s not like matters much. DeVante Parker… Someone put an APB out on this guy. Despite being a 1 s- round pick in 2015 and having the most physical talent of all the Dolphins wide receivers, he still is hardly involved in the offense. Not sure why, he is healthy and in the game, this kid can help you win games. He went 2 for 20 yds on 3 targets.

Coaching: I questioned some of the play-calling made by Adam Gase in this game. 3 rd and 6- he calls a crossing route to Stills for 1 yard. Then on the next drive, 3 rd and 5- draw play to Isaiah Pead for 2 yards. Even I know that asking for 3 yards on a running play is asking for too much. Especially on 3 rd down, and especially behind an offensive line who hasn’t proved it can create any holes in 4 games.

Another coaching move(or non-move) that astounded me is why the Dolphins never called a roll-out play despite Tannehill being consistently under pressure. Tannehill tends to make some of his best throws while being on the move, and roll-out plays could by him some time for plays to develop. Yet, for years, the Dolphins continue to not call bootlegs or rollouts for the Athletic Quarterback.

The 3 rd coaching move I disagree with is Gase’s decision to continue the 4-back rotation. I understand the Dolphins don’t have a clear-cut running back. But 4 running backs cant get a rhythm when they are only getting 3 carries each. Cut the rotation down to 2 backs. Ajayi was supposed to be the 1A or 1B with Arian Foster, so use him. Kenyan Drake was your 3 rd -round pick who brings explosive pass catching ability. Use him as your 3 rd down back. Adam Gase also needs to stay more committal to the run. In the 4 th game, offensive line had their best run-blocking by far this season. However, the RB core only received a total of 13 carries, despite Jay Ajayi averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

Shout Out! I wanted to give a shout out to the Dolphins Defense for keeping the team in the last 2 games. AJ Green might have torched the Dolphins secondary in the first half, but the defense only allowed 2 Touchdowns overall, and held the Bengals offense to only 2 Field Goals in the 2 nd Half—a hard task to accomplish when you have an offense that does NOTHING for 10 straight possessions.


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