Chargers 16, Dolphins 20 – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
by Rich Rodriguez
Ryan Tannehill had a solid game, completing 63% of his passes for 268 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The INT was a very good defensive call by the Chargers that confused Tannehill. There was one Mike Wallace underthrow, but later on a Mike Wallace overthrow. I guess that is progress. Overall, Tannehill played well, chipping in 21 rushing yards. He looked better in the pocket and ran out of the pocket more often. He just has to complete those deep balls to Wallace.
Daniel Thomas turned his 10 carries into 57 yards and 1 TD. He ran decisively and with power.
Charles Clay had an excellent game. He had a 39 yard touchdown that was a thing of beauty, catching a short passes and running through and around the Chargers defense on the way to the score. This offense needs more of those explosive plays.
Brent Grimes had a nice game, with 1 interception and 2 passes defensed, including a late pass in which he had to outjump a receiver that was 7 inches taller than him.
Considering that the offensive line was missing Mike Pouncey on top of Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, and was made up of back-ups and one practice squad player, they played relatively well, opening running lanes for Daniel Thomas and at times offering decent protection for Tannehill. They did allow 4 sacks, although one was Tannehill running out of bounds on a rollout.
It is concerning that a defense that used to be known for stopping the run can no longer do so. The Dolphins allowed 154 rushing yards on 26 carries (5.9 ypc), including a 51 yard run by Ryan Mathews. This run defense has been shaky since the Dolphins switched to a 4-3 defense last season (they allowed 132 ypg on the ground in the last 8 games of the season). Unfortunately, coaches are more prone to forcing players to fit a system rather than making the system work for the players. If the Dolphins were running a 3-4, you could have Odrick, Starks and Soliai all on the field at the same time and use Jordan at OLB, where he is a better fit, opposite Wake. You could then shift Misi inside with Ellerbe. But, we have what we have and it isn’t going to get fixed anytime soon.
It’s sad to think that if the Dolphins would have won games they should have won (Buffalo, Tampa Bay), they would be 7-3 rather than 5-5 right now and in control of the final wild card spot. Thrown in games in which they had leads late against New England and Baltimore and they’d be 9-1. Instead, they are on the outside looking in right now and need to get hot to finish the season in order to make the playoffs
Still a lot of concerns on this team from offensive line to the defense’s ability to stop the run. With the talent on this team, they should be performing better, especially on defense, but they are not. The coaching staff is still a puzzle. They seem so dettached from what is going on. I know the Dolphins won today, but when looking at the big picture, there are big concerns with this team that need to be addressed. Next week, a tough game against an explosive Carolina Panthers team with a terrific defense.
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