Final Game 4 Observations

The Dolphins switched up their schedule this week, with Coach Joe Philbin explaining that he had his players return to work on Tuesday instead of Monday because of the long trip back from Arizona. Our schedule remains unchanged, however, which means our weekly last-look Tuesday observations.

There's obviously a lot to discuss after the 24-21 overtime loss to the Cardinals, which made the Dolphins the 15th team in league history to lose back-to-back games in overtime.

• A clear starting point are the turnovers, three of them in the last four possessions more specifically. The pick and one of the two fumbles go on Ryan Tannehill's resume, but they weren't his fault. Again, they were NOT his fault. The offensive line bears responsibility for the interception, as Tannehill was nailed as he was about to go deep to Brian Hartline, who had gotten behind the Arizona defensive back again. The fumble also resulted from the failure of the offensive line to pick up a blitz.

• The other turnover, of course, came when Legedu Naanee simply lost the ball after catching a pass. That was, mind you, Naanee's first catch of the season. The guy, frankly, has been a disaster, although you have to give him props for not giving up on the play and making the tackle of Patrick Peterson to keep him from scoring a touchdown.

• That tackle became huge two plays later when Sean Smith intercepted Kevin Kolb with a great catch near the boundary in the end zone. It was a simply tremendous play all around by Smith, who followed Larry Fitzgerald as he motioned in two different directions in the backfield before sprinting to the corner of the end zone. Smith killed that play from the start, but Kolb wouldn't accept defeat and tried to force a pass, and Smith made him pay for it.

• Of course, Smith was the culprit on the Arizona touchdown on fourth-and-10 that tied the game with 20 seconds left when he let Andre Roberts easily beat him with an inside-out move.

• Earlier in the fourth quarter, Roberts spanked Richard Marshall with an out-and-up move and even though it appeared as though safety Chris Clemons should have provided deep help, Coach Joe Philbin said the day after the game the blame belonged to Marshall. It's not the first time we've seen Marshall beat by a double move. It's actually rather alarming to see him beat with the same move constantly.

• Want somebody else to blame? Well, Dan Carpenter again badly hurt the Dolphins when he missed a field goal attempt. Sure, it was a long 51-yard try, but the timing again was bad. Miami was leading 13-0 early in the third quarter and Arizona had done nothing to that point. The miss gave the Cardinals the ball at their 41 and they marched for a touchdown, and suddenly we had a ballgame.

• Then again, the Dolphins needed to lead by more than 13 points after outgaining Arizona 250-68 in the first half.

• Just like the Dolphins have no business losing a game where they outgain the opponent by 183 yards (480-297).

• Most of those yards for the Dolphins, of course, came via the air thanks to the record-breaking performances of Tannehill and Hartline. Both were tremendous, Tannehill's turnovers included.

• With Hartline now leading the NFL with 455 receiving yards, guess nobody will be talking about the lack of a No. 1 wide receiver on the team. And Davone Bess is a very good No. 2. What is lacking at the position is depth because there is nobody behind those two. We've already discussed Naanee, but Rishard Matthews was inactive, Marlon Moore has been injured and Anthony Armstrong was active but a complete non-factor.

• The running game wasn't very productive, but Arizona made it that way by committing a lot of players close to the line of scrimmage. Let's be clear, that certainly contributed to the big days for Tannehill and Hartline. Put simply, the Cardinals weren't going to let Reggie Bush beat them.

• Truth is, what Tannenhill and Hartline accomplished should have been enough for the Dolphins to leave Arizona with a victory. But, again, the Dolphins can't seem to win the close ones these days. They've now dropped 10 of their last 11 games decided by three points or less, going back to the 23-22 loss to Pittsburgh in 2010.

• That's why the Dolphins are sitting at 1-3 when they easily could be 3-1.

• Still, Miami continues to look much better than anyone could have imagined. Also don't forget that two of their losses came against two of three unbeaten teams in the league.


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