The Miami Dolphins’ offense was shutout for the second time this season on Thursday night as they were dominated from start to finish by the Raven defense. Miami is now 4-3 following the 40-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
They must now undergo a great deal of soul searching in order to figure out what must be done to sustain drives and put points on the board.
Leading up tonight’s matchup, coach Adam Gase stated that he’s had to scale the offense back in order to give the team plays that they’re able to consistently execute. As a result, the offense has become predictable and teams know exactly what to expect from the Dolphins’ offense.
The Dolphins are an outside zone team but in order to run effectively, they’ve had to place multiple tight ends to one side of the line, essentially giving away where Jay Ajayi is going to run the football. The Ravens got penetration in the Dolphins’ backfield all night long and Ajayi finished with just 23 yards on 13 carries.
The Dolphins fell behind 20-0 at the half. With the run game shut down, the pressure was on Matt Moore’s right arm to save the day. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, Moore was unable to get on track and lead his team to a scoring drive.
Moore was 25 of 44 for 176 yards and two interceptions on the evening. Each of Moore’s interceptions were returned for touchdowns. Wide receiver Kenny Stills is targeted regularly when Moore gets extensive playing time and he was again tonight as he led the Dolphins’ wide receiver corps with 65 yards on five receptions. Leonte Carroo also played well, hauling in a game-high six passes on the night.
The Dolphins’ offense is clearly broken and if Gase and company would like to return to the playoffs, they’re going to have to find more ways to disguise what they want to do in the run game.
The Dolphins are currently unable to run out of 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers), which has been an impediment to their offense.
In order to fix their offense, the Dolphins will need to keep defenses off balance by throwing the football on early downs. They must also get Kenyan Drake involved in the run game. Ajayi has taken such a pounding that there are times he’s leaving yards on the field. The Dolphins should look to spell Ajayi to get Drake a few more touches.
In Drake’s six carries compared to Ajayi’s 13, Drake fell just one yard shy of Ajayi’s rushing total. Successfully executing more passing plays on first and second down out of 11 personnel, and keeping Ajayi fresh by getting other backs in the game could go a long way toward helping the Dolphins enhance their ground game, and ability to score more points.