Dolphins Suffer Encouraging Loss Against Packers

Packers_Dolphins_Tannehill_2014The Miami Dolphins suffered a heartbreaking 27-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers this past Sunday, but I don’t believe the loss itself or their now 2-3 record should alarm Dolphins fans too much. Of course there were issues to point out on both sides of the ball, but there are more encouraging bright spots that show this season still has potential.

From the Packers’ opening drive, it appeared the Dolphins defense would not be up for the challenge of Aaron Rodgers and it would be too much for the Fins offense to keep up. Despite still giving up 27 points to the Packers, the defense had 3 sacks and 6 QB hits on Rodgers. The defense also got some key third down stops to give Ryan Tannehill and the offense a chance at winning the game.

The offense looked abysmal in the first half with Tannehill throwing two interceptions, both on ill-advised throws. Luckily the defense kept the team in the game during the first half, but the direction of the game seemed like the defense would start to get exhausted in the second half while the Packers easily pulled away and the Dolphins just wouldn’t have answer offensively.

The most impressive aspect of this game for the Dolphins were the halftime adjustments made on offense and Tannehill stepped up. Tannehill was nearly flawless throughout the entire second half. The Dolphins offense put together several long drives, giving the defense some rest and it gave them the energy to make a couple third down stops that unfortunately were not enough.

The blame for this loss could go to a few places, but after hearing reports that head coach Joe Philbin might be losing respect in the locker room it gives more reason to hand Philbin some blame. A key moment that I believe decided the game was deciding to run the ball on 3rd and 9 with around 3 minutes left in the game. This decision proved Philbin still lacked confidence in Tannehill, but it was also dumb game management. It is ridiculous to think that taking another 35 seconds off the clock would do anything to hinder the Packers’ chances of scoring a touchdown when Rodgers is their quarterback. At least give Tannehill the chance in that spot to make the third down conversion.

An important observation here is that this is a different Dolphins team. Making a strong second half comeback after a poor first half is not familiar to Dolphins fans in recent memory. The ability to make halftime adjustments and step up their game when they have to is there. That alone is very encouraging and it says a lot about the talent on this team, regardless of the coaching staff.

Of course it’s still early in the season, but now at under .500 through three games the Dolphins are about to start putting themselves in must-win positions every week. Next week in Chicago against the Bears needs to be a win to avoid being 2-4 and after that you cannot lose to the Jaguars. We should start to see how the Dolphins’ season is going to unfold in the next couple of weeks.